Apple iPhone 7: a Game Changer for Mobile App Developers or Just New Smartphone?
On 7 September, 2016 there took place the most-wanted event for all fans of Apple devices - new iPhone 7 was released. It appeared on the screen in a classical for the first iPhone devices black colour, all covered with drops, aimed to emphasize one of iPhone 7 new features - improved water resistance. Now, when all iPhone 7 rumors are finally put to rest, it became known in what way the new device of Apple company attracts buyers: increased speed, waterproof capabilities and built-in camera that can compete in quality with professional SLRs. Let's look closer at opportunities that the new phone opens up for businesses - entrepreneurs and mobile app development companies.
The new device comes with a new processor, more powerful and efficient than its predecessor. It has become a tradition for Apple which they kept this year too: a new phone has got the quad-core A10 Fusion chip. Two cores of the A10 are intended for high-performance tasks - games, video processing, etc. According to Apple, these cores are 40% faster than the A9 processor and twice quicker than the A8. Other two cores are for easier tasks - checking email, surfing the web, using organizer, etc.
New iPhone has a controller that manages the workload-sharing between cores providing a better control over battery charge and ensures the best performance of a smartphone.
Apple also equipped its new device with 3GB of RAM (6S had 2Gb). The quality of software is constantly growing and thus requiring the greater power. The internals of iPhone 7 make it clear that Apple is ready to all challenges of modern mobile development - smartphone is able to cope with resource-intensive 3D graphics, multitasking and complex logic of any application.
Capturing photo and video is an inherent attribute of mobile devices nowadays. It is the culture of mobile shooting in which "instamografs", "selfies" and similar terms have emerged. It's not only about consumers. High quality graphics are of great interest for business users, such as digital artists, photographers, designers, real estate agencies, fashion studios, etc. That's why a good camera is in a great demand.
iPhone 7 in this regard took a step forward and paid its respect to SLR cameras: there is a 12MP wide-angle camera with f/1.8 aperture on board. The device can take better shots even in low light conditions due to its sensors which collect up to 50% more light.
Some other iPhone 7 camera enhancements:
The camera comes with an optical image stabilization, as a result the image has less blur and glitches. It still supports the ability to shoot video at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K) and at rate of 60 frames per second. The higher picture quality is achieved through a 6-element lens instead of a usual 5-element ones.
There is a special chip responsible for the camera management. It powers billions of operations within each and every image - reduces noise, sets white balance and shutter exposure, adjusts focus and uses a wide range of colours in order to make the picture as close to the original as possible. iPhone can save images in RAW format meaning that photo editing apps will come in very handy.
iPhone 7 Plus in addition to all mentioned above has a dual-camera system with the same 12MP and f/2.8 aperture. Two cameras enable users to switch between 1x and 2x optical zoom right in the application. There is no loss of quality when using optical zoom. The camera of iPhone reaches the quality of a professional photography - photos with blurred background remind shots taken with SLRs.
A front-facing camera got its resolution increased to 7MP as well as new technologies of an image stabilization and usage of a wide colour range. Videobloggers and selfie lovers will appreciate this tool a lot as the quality of their work will improve tremendously. As for app development companies, now they may think of video editing solutions for mobile.
A new camera provides great opportunities for developing applications and games with an augmented reality. The image improvement and stabilization, the ability to work in low light - all that can give birth to new genres of VR and AR apps. Thanks to good camera and image stabilization more and more people will make videos with their iPhones. It is quite possible, that someone will decide to create a serious project based on the advantages of the device and the project will need all usual features - editors for color correction, postprocessing and so on. Let's not forget about popular apps-filters like Prisma. A more detailed picture allows a more fine photo processing and stylization. Cool apps with camera features may rule the mobility trends in the coming years.
On the threshold of the future
The bold and ambiguous innovation in iPhone 7 is the absence of 3-5mm jack so typical for headphones. Apple says that "It's been with us a really long time". Consumers may hold different attitudes about this upgrade but it is a progress that couldn't be stopped. Apple is trying to push people to the future promised to them decades ago. Let's take a look at their latest technologies: the synergy of a smartphone, watch and wireless headphones dramatically changes the idea of a phone communication. You can get a call on your phone, which you left in your car, take it with your watch and hear the voice in your wireless headphones. It sounds pretty exciting and the time will show if people like this novelty. However, it is worth to pay attention to apps that work across devices. If there are no big names using the functional to 100% for now it doesn't mean this idea has no potential.
AirPods already can automatically connect to the device as soon as they have been taken out of the case. Thanks to a special sensor, the earbuds can detect whether you have put them on. Besides, they can respond to physical interaction with the user, e.g. a double-tap activates Siri. The concept of iPhone 7 headphones is a first step on the way to wireless future. Who knows, maybe iPhone 8 will come with a wireless charger?
Other technical innovations
The key features of the iPhone 7 that will influence the mobile application trends, in my opinion, are the previous three ones. However, we cannot but mention some other novelties.
It's worth to note water resistance through the IP67 standard. For many people it became pretty much the main reason to buy the new iPhone. It quite often happens that smartphones die in water as not all of them have the stamina of Nokia Lumia 800 which survived after 3 months at the bottom of the lake. Many are familiar with the case when moisture and dust clog up a dynamic and a microphone of a device and you just can't hear the talker and he can't hear you as well. The new protection will save you from such issues.
Nevertheless, I'd like to emphasize, that this technology was implemented solely for the purpose to save the phone when you accidentally drop it in the water. It doesn't mean that the phone is designed for underwater shooting or bathing. iPhone 7 will not withstand long immersion in water. As for the business side of this upgrade, it mainly concerns mobile phone producers who can spread the high waterproof standard across the industry.
A display of a new iPhone also was updated. It's much brighter now, with a wider range of displayed colors, thus the image on the screen is now deeper and richer. There are iPhone 7 versions with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. As in iPhone 6s the 3D Touch feature is also included - it responds to various levels of screen pressure and allows you to use some app functionality without launching the app. A display of iPhone 7 is highly appreciated by the audience and it is considered the best display for now.
There are 2 speakers in a new iPhone: one at the top and the other at the bottom. Now you can watch movies and listen to music in stereo.
The battery life is 2 hours longer compared to iPhone 6s and it's not explosive. This update is particularly valuable for business users as the increased battery capacity means more mobility and productivity.
A home button is not a real button anymore - from now it is more like a touchpad on notebooks. A sensor will recognize swipes and pressure force through the Force Touch technology. A vibrating motor system Taptic Engine will keep the feeling of pressing the button. The nice thing is that Apple opened access to the API of Taptic Engine and third-party app developers now can make use of this vibrating motor in their applications.
This is how Apple's new smartphone looks like. As it was with macOS, iOS 10, tvOS and other recent updates, we can see that the company adheres to the strategy of developing their old ideas by improving the most useful features and services. It's not that iPhone introduced revolutionary changes - the company opts to hasteless evolution of their devices by improving existing things and investing in the future. And hopefully this future is not far off.