iPhone 7 : first impressions

My iPhone 7 arrived two days ago and here are my first impressions. In other news – I still have a blog!

I ordered a (matte) black 7. It looks better than space grey and even though it comes without the micro scratch warning of the Jet Black, it went straight into a case anyway. It is a slippery sucker, last phone I dropped before getting a case so it was a great relief to get it into a case ASAP.

Speed wise the restore from a backup to my computer felt much quicker than previous. Though I currently have concerns about my iCloud Photo Library sync (which could be a whole series of posts before that’s sorted) the apps downloaded and installed noticeably quicker than the 6S. Everything feels a tad zippier.

I’ve already had one crash. I was checking twitter and suddenly lost 4G data. In fact I lost all service. I switched to wifi and by the time that was going mobile service was back. But then the home button stopped responding and when I tried the power button that failed too. Thankfully I’d read a comment somewhere that you reboot the 7 with power and down volume. That worked and everything went back to normal.

There also seems to be a slight frame loss in the animation when you close an app. It’s probably the moment the OS takes a screen shot to show in the app switcher. It’s small but noticeable and annoying on a new device. I presume it will be fixed in iOS 10.1.

The CPU ran hot during the restore, but hasn’t really warmed up since. But then I don’t play any games so most the time I wouldn’t expect it to.

The screen feels sharper and clearer even though I am pretty sure the PPI hasn’t changed. It just looks better than the 6S I had previously.

I was interested in the new stereo speakers and although the sound is louder and does seem to come from the whole device it’s still as tinny as you would expect. The most interesting and completely unexpected part of the sound is that you can clearly feel a sound source positioned behind the screen.

I haven’t tried the camera and I haven’t got it wet. Yet. Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps a road trip weekend.

With regards the new home button – which isn’t a button at all just a 3D Touch enabled finger print sensor with haptic (Taptic) feedback – it’s … interesting. Yeah. Interesting. One thing it does do is suddenly make the unlock process change make sense. With the real button on the 6S it was still tempting to tap the button to wake up the phone when really lift to wake (possibly my favorite addition in iOS 10) would make sense in most cases. But that meant the click to unlock could still be triggered rather than waking the phone and it just didn’t make sense anymore.

With the 3D Touch ‘button’ it, subconsciously, doesn’t feel right to 3D Touch to wake so I automatically lift to wake to check notification or time and then 3D Touch to unlock. The new unlock sequence suddenly made sense to me and felt like the natural way to unlock this phone.

In normal use the button doesn’t feel like a button any more. It’s different. You can choose between 3 levels of button feedback intensity – I went for 2 initially but upped it to 3 pretty quickly. It will take a while to get used to the change. Sometimes my finger is fooled but mostly it’s clearly a different response. Along with the change you get occasional, unexpected, haptic feedback. Like when you zoom in on a picture or change a settings switch. It leans more towards  skeuomorphism and arbitrary than natural. Again, time will refine those things but the new reality is to expect unexpected haptic feedback – all the more so as developers hook into the haptic API.

I haven’t got a feel for the battery life you. I’d already felt that iOS 10 was giving me better battery life on my 6S. To be specific it felt like it got down to below 50% as quick or even quicker than under iOS 9 but then seemed to last longer than before below 50. Totally subjective but it felt like I got more life from my 6S under iOS 10. On the 7 it’s too early to tell though it seems to be going down slower. I’ll still have to charge everyday anyway, so battery life is a wait and see.

Deal wise, I’m on the same initial spend as last year but with more data. I have an iPad with a sim so I contacted Telstra and they reduced that plan by $10 and I got a $10 discount off my phone plan. So I’ll spend less, have a new phone and an extra 4.5GB of data – to share between devices –  a very rare feeling of win with regards a phone plan.

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