Ap­ple’s new iPhone 7 ditches head­phone socket

Fiji Sun - - Techworld -

The lat­est iPhone 7 from Ap­ple will not have a tra­di­tional head­phone socket, with users en­cour­aged to use unique wire­less ear­phones in­stead. The US com­pany has un­veiled the iPhone 7 at an event in San Fran­cisco, af­ter a year in which its phone sales shrank.

The most no­tice­able dif­fer­ence is the lack of a head­phone socket, which could be used with any stan­dard head­phones.

Ap­ple said its light­ning con­nec­tor could be used in­stead, which would make room for other com­po­nents.

It will also pro­mote the use of wire­less ear­phones, and has re­leased a set of its own called Airpods. The firm said it had taken “courage” to take the step. How­ever, it now risked an­noy­ing users who would now re­quire an adapter for ex­ist­ing head­phones. The launch comes a week af­ter the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion de­manded Ap­ple pay up to 13 bil­lion in back taxes to Ire­land - a rul­ing the firm is ap­peal­ing.

“The cur­rent dif­fi­cul­ties with the EU will have lit­tle bear­ing to­wards the iPhone 7 at this junc­ture,” pre­dicted Ben Wood from the CCS In­sight con­sul­tancy. “But the dis­pute will drag on for years, and if sen­ti­ment turns against Ap­ple that could have ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions for the brand. “For now, there’s a strong ar­gu­ment that the iPhone 7 is more than an it­er­a­tive up­date. “Up­grades are all im­por­tant to Ap­ple and for con­sumers com­ing from an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, the iPhone 7 will feel like a con­sid­er­able step up.”

Airpods

The 3.5mm head­phone jack was made pop­u­lar by Sony’s Walk­man cas­sette play­ers, but was first in­tro­duced in one of the Ja­panese com­pany’s tran­sis­tor ra­dios in 1964. Ap­ple has re­peat­edly been will­ing to ditch con­nec­tors and other age­ing tech from its prod­ucts ear­lier than its ri­vals. But one ex­pert ques­tioned the ben­e­fit of the lat­est move.

“If you’ve been in­ter­ested purely in the au­dio qual­ity then a wired con­nec­tion has al­ways been best,” said Si­mon Lu­cas, edi­tor of What Hi-fi mag­a­zine.

“You have greater sta­bil­ity - there’s no pos­si­bil­ity of drop-outs. Wire­less head­phones also need to be charged, and the louder you lis­ten to them the quicker they will run out of power. “With re­gards to head­phones with a light­ning con­nec­tor, there’s only about eight pairs cur­rently avail­able and they will all have had to pay Ap­ple a li­cence to use its pro­pri­etary con­nec­tor.”

Ap­ple, how­ever, sug­gests there are ad­van­tages to us­ing its Airpods, which will cost $US159 ($US213).

It demon­strated that the wire­less head­phones could be paired with the phone much more quickly than is nor­mally the case with Blue­tooth sets. The Airpods also con­tain in­frared sen­sors to de­tect when they are in the user’s ears. This al­lows them to au­to­mat­i­cally stop mu­sic from play­ing when they are taken out. Mo­tion sen­sors in the buds also al­low the firm’s vir­tual as­sis­tant Siri to be ac­ti­vated for voice com­mands by dou­ble-tap­ping their sides.

Users will, how­ever, have to get used to charg­ing an­other de­vice. Ap­ple said the Airpods would last “up to five hours” on a charge, and come with a recharg­ing case that can ex­tend their life up to 24 hours be­fore a plug socket is re­quired. An­other re­lated change is the in­tro­duc­tion of stereo speak­ers - one at each end of the hand­set - which Ap­ple said meant the iPhone 7 could de­liver twice the vol­ume of the iPhone 6S. One com­pany watcher said re­mov­ing the 3.5mm socket would still an­noy some users, but added that their frus­tra­tion might be short-lived. “Ap­ple changed the charger port a few years ago and peo­ple got up­set,” said Fran­cisco Jeron­imo from the re­search firm IDC. “But it didn’t stop peo­ple from buy­ing the iPhone. “Re­mov­ing the head­phone jack won’t either. “What’s more im­por­tant is whether a con­sumer likes Ap­ple’s ecosys­tem or An­droid’s, be­cause at this point Win­dows and Black­berry phones have an ex­tremely low mar­ket share.”

Two cam­eras

The iPhone 7 Plus has both a wide an­gle and tele­photo lens on its back, both us­ing the same 12 megapixel sen­sor. This al­lows the owner to quickly switch to a tighter shot with­out sac­ri­fic­ing im­age qual­ity, and also al­lows the de­vice to of­fer 10x zoom - dou­ble the amount than be­fore by dig­i­tally crop­ping the photo in the cam­era app.

A sim­i­lar fea­ture is al­ready avail­able on LG’s G5 phone. But Ap­ple says it will also use the com­po­nent to sim­u­late an ef­fect as­so­ci­ated with larger DSLR cam­eras. The phone’s soft­ware will be able to au­to­mat­i­cally pick peo­ple’s faces out from the back­ground, keep­ing the hu­mans in fo­cus while blur­ring the rest of the shot.

The fea­ture will not, how­ever, be avail­able at launch but will rather be pro­vided as an up­date later on. Ap­ple also un­veiled a new ver­sion of its smart watch, which it de­scribed as the “ul­ti­mate fit­ness de­vice”, and re­vealed that a Su­per Mario game would ap­pear in the fran­chise’s first iPhone video game be­fore the end of the year.

The new head­phone for the IPhone 7 from Ap­ple.

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