iPhone 7 and 7 Plus: John Gruber's definitive guide
John Gruber, the doyen of Apple blogging, has produced what I think is the definitive overview of the new iPhone 7. In particular, he has a lot to say on the new iPhone 7 Plus camera and, from a photographer’s point of view, his comments are extremely informative and useful. He knows what he’s talking about:
The second camera has a 56 mm (equivalent) focal length. Apple is calling it “telephoto”. I would describe it more as “normal” — a field of view that appears “natural” to a human, neither wide angle nor telephoto. But given that non-photographers don’t know what a normal lens is, I endorse their description of it as telephoto: it’s more zoomed in.
Portrait and bokeh
He covers the new “portrait mode” in detail—the method of achieving a faux bokeh using a combination of the two cameras and informs (me, at least) that the 56mm camera has a relatively slow f/2.8 aperture compared with the wide-angle camera’s f/1.8. This is something I hadn't picked up.
His general insights into the iPhone 7 and Plus are particularly useful for anyone pondering whether or not to upgrade. One aspect I find particularly interesting his comments the future of the home button. I had noticed several of my Chinese and Japanese friends using the on-screen button available on the AssistiveTouch option. I had assumed this was because it somehow made it easier to use the iPhone when writing in pictographic languages, although I can't now reason why. This, according to Gruber, is not so. It is because many people in the world believe that the home button will wear out if used too much.
The Chinese tourist next to me was doing things I’d never seen with an iPhone. He was using an on-screen button to pull up a menu and perform a series of rapid commands, and moving that button around the screen, all without pressing the home button.
That floating button is called AssistiveTouch, and it’s an alternate input method buried in the accessibility settings. It’s designed for people who have trouble pressing hard buttons or swiping in a particular way, but here was a guy with no apparent disability or hardware problems using it like a pro.
I had to ask why: He said something about shortcuts being more convenient.
I asked if he knew other people who used it: He said, “everyone?”
So, if you are in the market for a new iPhone 7 you owe it to yourself to read Gruber first. As he concludes:
Even if you want to judge these new iPhones based solely on their industrial design, the new black finishes alone would make me want to buy one. But what matters is what happens when you turn them on and use them. And in every regard, from performance to battery life to camera image quality to haptic feedback to water resistance to wide color gamut displays to sound quality from the speakers, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are impressive year-over-year improvements over the 6S/6S Plus, and stunning improvements over the two- and three-year old iPhone 6 and 5S — which are the models most people considering the new iPhones will be upgrading from.
My only dilemma now is whether to take the matte black 7 Plus, due for delivery in early October, or wait for the jet black version which I also ordered—but which won’t arrive until October 18 at the earliest. In reality the colour doesn’t make much difference since I will be using a silicone case, but I do like the idea of fondling the jet black phone. I have two or three weeks to decide before cancelling one of the orders.
- Read John’s full review here
- Also read MacStories' in-depth review of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
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