The new iPhone 7 has been officially announced, and is available to buy now. It has iOS 10, a new dual-core processor, stereo speakers, an upgraded camera and IP67 waterproofing. But the rumours were true: the headphone jack has gone. Read on for full details on the iPhone 7 UK release date, iPhone 7 UK price, iPhone 7 specifications and iPhone 7 new features. See also: Best phones 2016.
Update 21 September 2016: Various iPhone 7 users are reporting intermittent issues with the in-line volume control on the Lightning EarPods supplied with the iPhone 7, which will apparently be fixed in a future software update. However, it is bad news that comes just a couple of days after Digital Trends reported that some users are reporting a hissing sound when the iPhone 7's processor is under strain (512 Pixels’ Stephen Hackett posted the below YouTube video to detail the sound).
iPhone 7 UK release date: When is the iPhone 7 coming out?
iPhone 7 UK release date: 16 September 2016 (buy now)
You can now buy the iPhone 7, which went on sale on 16 September.
Initially the new iPhone will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, the UK and the US.
A week later it will go on sale in Andorra, Bahrain, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Greenland, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechenstein, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
iPhone 7 UK price: How much is the iPhone 7?
iPhone 7 UK price: £599 32GB; £699 128GB; £799 256GB
iPhone 7 US price: $649 32GB
Apple has in the US kept the pricing the same for its flagship iPhone model with double the capacity, but UK prices have gone up (we can only assume this is due to Brexit, since Apple hasn't commented on the fact its entry-level model has gone up by £60). However, it has this time doubled the storage capacities, so you now get 32GB as standard and can upgrade to 128GB or 256GB. In a nice touch it is also upgrading the storage capacity of the iPhone 6s, which remains on sale.
For the first time Apple will also be opening its iPhone Upgrade Programme to the UK, which means for a monthly fee you can get a brand new iPhone every 12 months.
The iPhone 7 will also be available on contract through all major UK mobile operators (Three and Vodafone have already told us they will be ranging the iPhone), as well as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile in the US.
The iPhone 7 now comes in five colours: Gold, Rose Gold, Silver and two blacks, Black and the more premium-looking, mirror-finish Jet Black. The Jet Black iPhone will be available only in 128GB and 256GB capacities.
Below are the cheapest iPhone 7 contract deals. Choose the capacity and colour of the iPhone 7 you want to buy, and adjust the amount of minutes, texts and data to suit your preferences. If you already know which carrier you want to buy from or intend to buy SIM-free, read on.
iPhone 7 specifications, iPhone 7 new features: What's new in iPhone 7?
We feared the iPhone 7 would be a minor upgrade over the iPhone 6s, with most of the changes saved up for next year's iPhone 8, but actually Apple had a fair bit to announce (separated into 10 sections, which we'll come to in a moment). There's nothing here that's revolutionary in the smartphone world, but some features that will certainly help set apart this phone from the iPhone 6s.
As was rumoured, Apple has removed the headphone jack and you now have a choice of using the Lightning-connected Apple EarPods supplied in the box, using the Lightning adaptor also included in the box (nice move, Apple) to attach a standard pair of wired headphones, or using the brand-new and sold separately wireless Apple EarPods. These have a list price of £159 and will be available from late October.
Other key changes are the aforementioned doubling up on storage, the new water- and dustproof design (rated IP67, which means they can handle being submerged in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes), new stereo speakers at top and bottom, an improved camera, a Force Touch home button, and better performance and graphics than ever with the Apple A10 Fusion quad-core processor. We'll expand on all these points below.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 design
The unibody iPhone 7 is now available in five colours: Jet Black, Black, Silver, Gold and Red Gold. The Jet Black option is a brand-new high-gloss premium version with a mirror finish, complete with a stainless steel Apple logo. The plain black option diffuses light and comes with a black Apple logo.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 Force Touch Home button
Apple has introduced a new Taptic (haptic feedback) engine to revitalise its Home button, and that makes sense given that it is used for a multitude of tasks beyond simply returning to the home screen (there's also multi-tasking, Siri, accessibility, Touch ID, Reachability and Apple Pay). The new Home button is more responsive and customisable, and solid-state. Force Touch functionality uses the Taptic engine to alter your experience with the button, and provides haptic feedback for quick actions, messages, notifications and ringtones.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 is IP67 water- and dust-proof
This one is fairly straightforward: the iPhone 7 is the first iPhone that will survive a trip into the toilet, the sea or the bath. It's IP67 rated, which means it is dust-proof and also water-proof up to 1m of water for 30 minutes.
Outrageously, though, liquid damage is still not covered by Apple's warranty for the iPhone 7.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 camera
Apple was singing the praises of its new camera during the iPhone 7 launch event, although notably the camera on the iPhone 7 Plus is much better with a second 56mm telephoto lens.
The standard iPhone 7 has a 12Mp, f/1.8 camera at the rear that features OIS, and a new six-element lens with larger pixels. Apple says it is 60 percent faster and 30 percent more energy-efficient.
There's a new Apple-designed image processor too, which handles up to 100 billion operations (everything from face and body detection, exposure, focus, white balance, tone mapping, noise reduction and the piecing together of multiple photos to create one best shot) in as little as 25ms. There's a new quad-LED true tone flash and a new flicker sensor, too.
Pro photographer Christopher Anderson said of the iPhone 7 camera: "This iPhone is going to be a part of any professional's repertoire of tools. The camera didn't just handle low light, it rendered the separation of colours in a way that reminds me of film. Just Beautiful."
You can see some of Anderson's unadulterated photos shot on the iPhone 7 below.
You can also see an example of the images taken on the iPhone 7 on Twitter:
Experimenting with the iPhone 7 camera at The Mayfair Hotel! pic.twitter.com/pGMLYdXJj7— Lewis Painter (@LewwyPaints) September 22, 2016
The selfie camera has also had an upgrade, with Apple now specifying a 7- rather than 5Mp FaceTime HD camera. In common with the rear camera, this has a wide colour gamut.
Live Photos is still a thing, now with even better stabilisation and new editing functionality.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 display
The iPhone 7 still has the 4.7in, 326ppi Retina HD display, which we've seen bested by many Android flagships on the market. However, Apple hasn't left it completely alone and along with a 25 percent improvement to brightness it lists new features including a wide colour gamut, cinema standard, colour management and 3D Touch.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 audio
The iPhone 7 is the first iPhone to feature stereo speakers, with one positioned at the top of the iPhone and the other at the bottom. Apple says this new setup is two times louder than the iPhone 6s, and has increased dynamic range.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 EarPods
As many people feared, Apple has removed the headphone jack in a play it openly referred to as courageous. Our initial thought was that it was more stupidity than bravery, but it has made some concessions to keep users happy. Firstly, you do get an adaptor in the box that allows you to plug in traditional headphones to the Lightning port that was previously used only for charging and data transfer. And secondly, you also get a pair of wired Apple EarPods in the box. These connect to the Lightning connector, while the removal of the old 3.5mm jack allows Apple space inside the case for other innovations.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 wireless AirPods
Yet another option for listening to audio on the new iPhone is Apple's wireless AirPods. These are sold separately, with a list price of £159 and available from late October.
The new AirPods are more intelligent than most wireless earphones, which is thanks to the new Apple W1 chip inside. They will play music only when they detect your ear, and each AirPod (you can use only one if you like) offers up to 5 hours of battery life. The case they are sold with also features a battery, which can offer an additional 24 hours playtime, and when it's time to recharge over Lightning you can charge both case and AirPods at once. A double-touch of the new AirPods can launch Siri, too, while a built-in mic lets you vocalise your request.
iPhone 7 new features: Apple Pay
One of the less interesting announcements for Apple iPhone fans in the UK was that Apple was bringing Apple Pay to Japan in October, and Transit alongside it.
iPhone 7 new features: iPhone 7 performance
The iPhone 6s was already incredibly fast, but as with every new smartphone launch Apple has bumped up the performance. The iPhone 7 is the first iPhone to feature a quad-core processor, with two of its cores tuned for performance and two for efficiency (although, amazingly, battery life is only two hours longer than that of the iPhone 6s on average).
The new Apple A10 Fusion processor is reportedly 40 percent faster than the Apple A9 and two times faster than the Apple A8, while the iPhone 7 itself is a staggering 120 times faster than the original iPhone.
Graphics performance is also improved, 50 percent faster than the Apple A9 and three times faster than the Apple A8. Yet graphics consume two thirds of the power of the A9, and just half the power of the Apple A8. Overall, the iPhone 7 is 240 times faster than the original iPhone for graphics.
There's a new performance controller to manage which cores are in use, and the two efficiency-tuned cores consume just a fifth of the power.
Battery performance hasn't improved as much as we'd have liked. Apple claims the iPhone 7 can handle 40 hours of wireless audio, 13 hours of wireless video, 14 hours of Wi-Fi browsing, 12 hours of LTE browsing, 12 hours of 3G browsing, or 14 hours of 3G talk time.
iPhone 7 specifications
Colours: Rose Gold, Gold, Silver, Black, Jet Black
Display: 4.7in (1334x750, 326ppi) Retina HD Display
Processor: Apple A10 Fusion, M10 motion co-processor
Cameras: 12Mp wide-angle camera, f/1.8 aperture, 5x digital zoom, OIS, six-element lens, Quad-LED True Tone flash, 4K video; 7Mp FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi with MIMO; Bluetooth 4.2; NFC (for Apple Pay); A-GPS, GLONASS
Software: iOS 10
Other: IP67 dust- and waterproof; Touch ID fingerprint sensor