The iPhone 7 is better than the iPhone 6s. But better doesn’t mean great.
Call it the morning after. It’s been one week since the iPhone 7 was released and it’s clear that while the iPhone 7 is a good upgrade, it’s a not necessarily a great upgrade. In short, consumers wondering whether they should snap up Apple’s newest phone should be cautious.
Front and center is the fact that the iPhone 7 is essentially the third iteration of the iPhone 6, an unprecedented retreat from the traditional physical makeover that comes every two years from Apple.
"They’re just setting themselves to take that next step," Tuong Nguyen, an analyst at market research firm Gartner, told FoxNews.com in a phone interview, referring to minor changes in the iPhone 7 (such as the solid-state home button) that lay the groundwork for bigger physical changes later.
Nguyen added that Apple has a history of making changes at their own pace. “Apple is going to tell you what you want when you want it,” he said.
Another way to look at it is, the much-maligned removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack is another way that Apple is setting itself up for the next step.
"They don’t want [the lack of a headphone jack] to distract from next year’s phone. For now, we just got a polished version of the previous design," Daniel Matte, an analyst at market researcher Canalys, told FoxNews.com, adding that he didn’t think Apple was capable of doing a major redesign this year.
And some reviews over the past week have pointed out that the iPhone 7 upgrade is modest.
“Overall, we found few significant improvements from Apple's iPhone 6s cameras when it comes to still photography taken from the rear-facing 1x (non-zoom) cameras found on both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus,” Consumer Reports said earlier this week. Though it did say that the 2x zoom camera on the iPhone 7 Plus was an improvement.
And a review at Quartz says it all in the headline: “11 Months ‘til iPhone 8 / The iPhone 7 is the best iPhone since the iPhone 6S”
Under the subheading “What’s not so good,” the review said, “Put it in a case, or just hold it in your hand, and it’s very difficult to tell that you’re in possession of a brand-new $800 smartphone, rather than a two-year-old phone that you could grab for about $200 online.”
To be fair, the Quartz review praised the internal changes, such as the camera and battery life, and said if you have an iPhone 6 it’s worth upgrading to the iPhone 7, then added: “Coming from an iPhone 6S, I haven’t really noticed much—apart from the missing headphone jack and non-clicky home button.”
“If you're not happy with this year's edition, Apple's big 10th anniversary iPhone could be where the company pulls out all the stops,” said Cnet.
Until then, you get the second iPhone 6 update in two years. That alone should give consumers pause when the writing on the wall points to much bigger things next year.