Apple's new iPhone 7 is now official and will arrive on Australian shores in just over a week on September 16. Two stand-out changes were announced: (1) no more 3.5mm headphone jack, ubiquitous on phones and computers, and (2) a dual camera system on the larger Plus model.
Removing the 3.5mm headphone jack is a controversial move. Outrage began before it was even announced. The audio port is possibly the most universally accepted port found on consumer devices. Users will now have to play audio via Bluetooth or through the sole Lightning port. Apple have tried to placate disgruntled customers by including a 3.5mm adapter with the iPhone ($12 separately). A move they haven't done in the past when changing port types.
It's black, twice
Aside from 3.5mm jack removal, the design is remarkably similar to the previous iPhone 6s and 6. It will again be available in Silver Gold and Rose Gold, however Space Grey has been replaced by two alternatives, a matte Black and shiny Jet Black. The stand out Jet Black colour appears to be a throw back to the glass design of the iPhone 4. But the new colour comes with a note from Apple:
"The high-gloss finish of the jet black iPhone 7 is achieved through a precision nine-step anodisation and polishing process. Its surface is equally as hard as other anodised Apple products; however, its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use. If you are concerned about this, we suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone."
In other words, it will scratch easier compared to the other colours. Whether this will be a real issue or not for users is hard to tell before the new iPhone is available. However it does appear to be a step to prevent "scratch-gate" news articles from popping up without warning.
Otherwise, the design includes only minor changes. The dimensions are exactly the same, albeit both models are marginally lighter. A few of the antenna lines across the rear have been removed and the camera still protrudes from the body. Splash, water and dust resistance is included for the first time. However the strength is not enough for the iPhone to survive being submerged in water.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in Australia on Friday 16 September. Pre-orders open at 5:01 pm on 9 September. Compare the models and pricing here.
Apple also announced a new set of wireless headphones named AirPods at the event in San Francisco. The AirPods offer up to 5 hours of battery life per charge and come with a portable charging case that offers up to 24 hours of battery life. Apple says sensors inside allow the headphones to activate audio only when they are placed in-ear and to turn on the mic when you're speaking.
At $229, the costly headphones will be available in late October.
Apple Watch Series 2 marks a minor update on the original. It's key new feature is an embedded GPS chip. This allows for greater accuracy for fitness tracking and movement. It too includes water resistance, however to 50 meters, making it suitable to wear for activities like swimming. Besides an improved CPU, it does not feature any other significant changes from last year's model.
The Apple Watch Series 2 also launches Friday 16 September, with pre-orders on 9 September.
Google is next
Elsewhere, Google is soon expected to launch a new range of phones named Pixel. The new devices will include more apps and features on top of a stock version of Android. A contrast from the current Nexus brand. It's expected Pixel will be announced on October 4.