Tuesday, September 20, 2016

iPhone 7 Notes

Matthew Panzarino:

Every time you take a picture with the iPhone 7, both the wide angle and telephoto fire off. Yes, two 12 megapixel pictures for every shot. This could be a prime driver behind the increase of the iPhone 7 Plus’ memory to 3GB.

Both images are needed due to an Apple technique it is calling “fusion” internally. Fusion takes data from both sensors and merges them into the best possible picture for every condition. If, for instance, there is a low-light scene that has some dark areas, the image-processing chip could choose to pick up some image data (pixels or other stuff like luminance) from the brighter f1.8 wide angle and mix it in with the data from the f2.8 telephoto, creating a composite image on the fly without any input from the user. This fusion technique is available to every shot coming from the camera, which means that the iPhone 7 Plus is mixing and matching data every time that trigger is tapped.

John Gruber:

In my testing I didn’t see any noticeable difference between 1× shots on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. I think this “fusion” stuff only kicks in, or at least mostly kicks in, once you start increasing the zoom level. Put another way, I think the wide angle lens assists the telephoto lens more than the telephoto lens assists the wide angle.

Riccardo Mori:

Of all the new camera improvements in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — as ingenious as the dual camera system is on the bigger iPhone — my favourite is the flicker sensor. As Schiller explained, The flicker sensor reads the flickering of artificial lighting and can compensate for it in the photos and videos you take. I take a lot of indoor photos, and the flickering can be very annoying, especially when you want to include the source of artificial light in the frame. If this works as advertised, indoor photos and videos taken under artificial light will definitely look better, probably with more natural tones.

John Gruber:

Here’s the genius of the black and (especially) jet black iPhones 7. In a very seductive way, they look like something new and desirable. And at the same time, they are instantly recognizable as iPhones.

John Gruber (Hacker News):

After just five days — more than half of which I’ve spent using the matte black iPhone 7 Plus — this jet black iPhone 7 has a few “micro abrasions”, to use Apple’s own term. I can only see them when I’m looking for them, and only when I reflect light off the surface at the perfect angle, but they’re there. This is after two days of careful use, and never putting it in a pocket that contains anything else. The back surface of this phone shows more wear after (effectively) two days of use than my space gray 6S does after nearly a year.

That said, the unblemished back of the 6S looks downright boring. The jet black back of this iPhone 7 looks glorious.


The iPhone 7 now has OIS, for both stills and video. It works great. Side-by-side with my old iPhone 6S, I got noticeably better photos at an outdoor family gathering at dusk. I got noticeably better photos shooting indoors at night. And video shot while walking around is noticeably more stable and fluid. OIS does exactly what it says on the tin.


The new home buttons don’t feel like actual button clicks at all. It feels like the iPhone is clicking, not the button.


The new Taptic Engine is cool. Here’s my favorite use so far: the spinner control for things like picking a date or time (say, setting an alarm in the Clock app) now feels like a real spinner. It’s uncanny. I can’t wait to see how developers use these APIs.

Jason Snell:

I found that the Jet Black model indeed felt much more grippable than other iPhone 7 or iPhone 6 colors. Imagine placing a slightly damp finger on an iPhone screen, and how much harder it is to swipe your damp finger along that screen. That’s what’s going on with the Jet Black phone: even a little dampness on your fingers will cause them to skid along the surface, while it might slide right over the rougher anodized aluminum surfaces of the other colors.


I wouldn’t recommend you start using the iPhone for underwater photography—and Apple cautions that water invasion can void your warranty. But if you should get an iPhone 7 a little wet, everything will be okay.


When I first felt the new home button, I was really disappointed. The vibration felt halfhearted, and it made the act of pushing the home button feel like a letdown. I shouldn’t have worried: Apple actually offers three different levels of vibration in the new Home Button entry in the Settings app. And the most aggressive of those three levels worked great for me. No, the feel’s not the same as the old moving home button, but I managed to get used to it after about three button presses.

David Pogue:

When your phone is locked up, you can no longer hold down the Sleep + Home buttons to force-restart it. Instead, you’re now supposed to use Sleep + Volume Down, just as on many Android phones.

Gus Lubin (via Mike Rundle):

There’s an old rumor that iPhone home buttons break easily, and it’s causing millions of people to use an obscure accessibility feature called AssistiveTouch to avoid pressing them.

Juli Clover:

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus users are going to have a tough time unlocking their devices during wintertime. As it turns out, the new “solid-state” Home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus requires skin contact or the right kind of capacitive gloves to function. […] And because the iPhone 7 uses the redesigned Lock screen in iOS 10, there's no quick and easy way to bring up the passcode entry screen to unlock the phone manually[…]

Raymond M. Soneira (via Craig Hockenberry):

The display on the iPhone 7 is a Truly Impressive Top Performing Display and a major upgrade and enhancement to the display on the iPhone 6. It is by far the best performing mobile LCD display that we have ever tested, and it breaks many display performance records.

Paul Miller and Dieter Bohn:

As pictured above, you can see a piece of plastic sits behind the ingress protection (waterproofing!), right where the headphone jack would have been. And (update!) according to Apple it’s a “barometric vent.” Apparently adding all the waterproofing to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus meant that it was more of a sealed box, and so to be able to have an accurate and working barometer, Apple used that space. The barometer is the thing that allows a phone to measure altitude, and Apple points out that on the iPhone 7 it can measure even minor changes like climbing a flight of stairs.

Juli Clover:

IPx7, the water resistance rating, means the iPhone 7 can withstand immersion in water to one meter (3.3 feet) for 30 minutes, tested in laboratory conditions. IPx7 is the second-highest rating, below IP8, which indicates an ability to withstand long periods of immersion under pressure. Samsung's devices, by the way, are rated at IP68, suggesting better overall water resistance.

Apple has said that removing the headphone jack helped Apple meet IP67, however Samsung’s IP68 Galaxy S7 does have a headphone jack.

Chipworks (MacRumors):

We have revised our first A10 floorplan with help from our friends at AnandTech in the search for the small, high-efficiency cores. Our combined guess is that it is likely they are indeed integrated within the CPU cluster next to the big, high-performance cores. This makes sense given the the distinct colour of the small cores indicating a different digital library, and the position of the big core L1.

John Gruber (MacRumors):

Looking at Geekbench’s results browser for Android devices, there are a handful of phones in shouting distance of the iPhone 7 for multi-core performance, but Apple’s A10 Fusion scores double on single-core. […] The iPhone 7 scores better on both single- and multi-core than most MacBook Airs ever made, and performs comparably to a 2013 MacBook Pro.

John Gruber:

The iPhone has all the benefits (in short: superior design) that would keep me, and I think most other iPhone users, on the platform even if it didn’t have a performance advantage. But it does have a significant performance advantage, and it is exclusive to Apple. This is an extraordinary situation, historically. And year-over-year, it looks like Apple’s lead is growing, not shrinking. It’s not a fluke, but a sustained advantage.

Mark Sullivan:

Why? For a long time iPhones were one-size-fits-all-networks phones, but the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus each come in two different versions (or SKUs, in industry-speak), one with an Intel modem chip inside and one with a Qualcomm modem. The Intel 7630 modem doesn’t work with Sprint’s and Verizon’s 3G CDMA networks, so all Sprint and Verizon customers will get an iPhone 7 with a Qualcomm chip inside. For everyone else, the iPhone 7 could have either an Intel or a Qualcomm modem.


The end game for Apple may be to work with Intel to co-design a future system on a chip (SoC) that includes the modem, Apple Ax CPU, GPU, and many other components on one chip. This unified design can reduce the space the chips take up inside the phone, reduce the heat they emit, and reduce the power they require. The whole thing may be fabricated at Intel fabrication facilities.

AppleInsider (MacRumors):

In most cases, users claim the EarPods’ volume and call answer/end buttons become unresponsive after a few minutes of inactivity. Audio continues to play, and the microphone remains active, but users are unable to adjust volume settings, start or stop calls, or invoke Siri with the embedded remote.

Mitchel Broussard:

On the MacRumors forums, mentions of a “buzzing” and “static” sound coming from the back of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus began on Friday afternoon. […] As pointed out by The Verge, the consensus of the noise’s origin online is that it’s caused by a phenomenon known as “coil noise.”

Oscar Raymundo:

So, you’ve unboxed your brand-new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. It’s all set up, and it still has that fresh, new iPhone smell. Then, you hear a weird hissing noise. Or realize that the Home button or the Lightning EarPods are acting funky. Or your iPhone 7 is just not connecting to the cellular network. Yikes!

Yes, those are actual glitches that have already been reported by iPhone 7 users. If you’re experiencing a similar technical issue with your new device, take a deep breath and check out some possible solutions below.

David Steele:

Let’s take a look at seven features that Apple are belatedly bringing to the market and then consider why this is a good thing.

See also: more reviews.

Previously: iPhone 7.

Update (2016-09-24): James Thomson:

The lightning headphone adaptor sucks - walking about town listening to podcasts, it went dead 4-5 times and I needed to unplug / replug.

Yes, this was on 10.0.2, and I was actively listening to stuff and the audio just stopped.

Serenity Caldwell:

My general takeaway from the week’s misadventure is this: You can probably use your iPhone in the shower, at the beach, or wash debris off its screen under the faucet with no ill effects. But when you completely submerge it, you’re putting stress on every water-resistance gasket in the phone — and if just one of those gaskets fail, you’re looking at an Apple Store visit and a costly to very costly repair.

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