Apple Unveils iPhone 7: No Headphone Jack, New Wireless Tech, Better Cameras and Water Resistance
All within a phone that looks remarkably similar to the one you're probably holding right now.
Apple is doing away with the headphone jack on its new iPhone.
The tech giant revealed its latest mobile device, the iPhone 7, during its annual product event in San Francisco on Wednesday. As was expected, the new phone is missing one standard feature: the headphone jack. Instead, owners of the new iPhone will need to connect over the lightning connector, the same port where the iPhone's charger plugs in.
"Some people have asked why we would remove the analog headphone jack from the iPhone," said Phil Schiller, Apple's svp of worldwide marketing. "It comes down to one word -- courage. The courage to move on." Apple has moved on before -- from floppy discs, CDs, to name two technologies the company was among the first to delete from its memory bank. The world was slow to adapt to those hardware pivots, and that will likely be the same here.
Schiller added that there was simply no room for the outdated jack. "Our smartphones are packed with technologies, and we all want more," he said. "Maintaining an ancient, single-purpose connector doesn't make sense... that space is at a premium."
Apple has also introduced a new set of ear buds, called AirPods, that connect wirelessly. "We believe in a wireless future," cooed Chief Design Officer Jony Ive in a video for the device, which contains the company's first wireless chip, the W1, plus dual optical sensors, two microphones, an antenna and five-hour battery life. A new line of wireless Beats headphones, titled Beats X (or "Beatsx," as no one will bother typing), that will use the same W1 chip as the AirPods. The real announcement here, really, is a new wireless connection technology -- the one contained in that W1 chip -- that may help usher out the now-ubiquitous and ever-sensitive Bluetooth.
An arguably more practical -- at least for those whom Apple's ear buds cause physical pain -- upgrade to the device's audio was also announced: it's "external" speaker count has doubled to two, and can play audio from the device itself twice as loud. Now you'll need two coffee mugs for amplification, but it will be much clearer and louder.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new iPhone on stage, reminding the audience that Apple has sold more than 1 billion iPhones since the device was first introduced in 2007. The new iteration will be available to purchase Sept. 17.
Apple is calling the iPhone 7 a major design change from previous devices (but it's not).
The iPhone 7 also comes with a new camera that Apple is calling "the best camera we've ever made." The iPhone 7 Plus, much like those speakers, also doubles down in this area, with two megapixel cameras, one wide angle and one telephoto, that creates a zoom feature built into the iPhone.
The announcement came during an announcement-heavy presentation from Apple executives that kicked off with Cook riding shotgun with James Corden for Carpool Karaoke, a spin-off series that will be premiering on the company's streaming service "early next year." And, at the top of the presentation, legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto announced that Mario would be coming to iOS, on the heels of Pokemon Go.
The company also updated the audience on Apple Music, which now has 17 million subscribers, and introduced a "swim-proof" Apple Watch, the Series 2, along with updates to the company's already-cozy partnerships with both Hermés and Nike.
"We are just getting started," said Tim Cook at one point from the stage. They aren't -- but they are still trying to act like it.