iPhone 7 Impressions So the iPhone 7 released one week ago. At release Apple made news stating that any 7 Plus models would be hard to obtain at launch; that news followed suit with the jet black finish. The phone comes on as an incremental (if you want to call it that) update in terms of the 7 and a larger update with the 7 Plus. I ended up preordering a jet black 7. Jet Black So Apple offers two new color options which both replace space black: black and jet black. While the plain Jane black color is a darker, matted version of normal anodized aluminum, the jet black is a finish that is just as dark, if not darker, with a high gloss finish. Both of the finishes are attractive with the matted black reminding me of the DarthPod of the iPod Touch 1G days. I have to admit right off the bat that the jet black iPhone 7 ties the iPhone 4/4s design in terms of aesthetics... It's just so seamless. Apple states that micro abrasions are an expected consequence of the jet black design. They do happen, they are visible, and they can bother the anally retentive types... However, it generally isn't visible unless you search for them. Over time, it may form a patina on the device. Whether this looks good depends on the person; it may give the rustic feel to the device. If this were to irk you, I do recommend a case. On the other hand, there are the finger prints... And oh gosh do they come in swarms. After a day of use, expect the phone to be riddled with them, front and back and everywhere in between. It's nearly impossible to have this phone without a single print on it; it'll either be on the front or the back. Again, anally retentive types avoid. With all that said, I'll be rocking this one naked for a little while. After all, it is a lot easier to grip compared to the matted counterparts of the iPhone 7 series. Home Button The home button is no longer a button with the iPhone 7. The Taptic engine works as you'd expect it to giving the sensation of a click when you push down on the home button. The click doesn't quite feel like a button click as it does a trackpad click. In short, it feels like you're pressing in the entire bottom half of the screen (like you would a trackpad). It does feel weird, but you adjust to it. Then comes the ugly truth... Do you live in a climate with harsh winters? Do you wear gloves for an ample amount of time during the year? Do you not own a pair of touch screen gloves? Do you like to unlock your phone with your gloves on? If you answered yes to all of these questions, the iPhone 7 just screwed you over! Unless you own a pair of touch screen gloves, you can't press the home button as it doesn't register a finger on it. And even then, some touch screen gloves don't seem to register with the home button as well as others. Testing it with four pairs of touch screen gloves: 2 light winter gloves 1 sports/activewear 1 knitted pair I found that the only one that didn't work reliably with the home button was the knitted pair. Take that for whatever its worth to you. The home button is an interesting concept, and know half of it is gone. It's still there, just not a button, but rather a weird clicky thing that takes you home. I don't hate it, but it does feel different. Camera Camera upgrades are always expected at Apple evens nowadays, and the iPhone 7 is no different. Are the images cleaner? Maybe slightly. OIS was added for the 7, which is nice, though I haven't had too much use where OIS was practical. It's still a smartphone camera shot, and looks that way too. Just treat it like you would a 28mm prime and you should be good to go. The iPhone 7 Plus did receive the dual-camera setup. As much as I would have loved to test drive that, the size of that phone is simply impractical. The dual lens setup is nice (equivalent of carrying a 28mm and a 56mm prime with you) and the Portrait mode seems cool. Maybe they'll add it to the 7s or 8 when it releases next year? Lightning Audio The last thing is Lightning Audio... Such a cumbersome change; the requirement to use the adapter is annoying. I already made a large post about the implications this could bring with the mobile audio market, which can be a big plus for audiophiles if it goes right... Outside of that, people are left with a choice between the dongle and wireless. At the end of the day, it is an annoyance to need to use it. Lightning to 3.5mm Adapter The adapter itself puts out more power than the iPhone 6s headphone jack and sounds similar in terms of signature. It gives a slightly colder sound in comparison to the 6s headphone jack by controlling the texturing of the bass more and tightening up the punch; these differences are small, but easily distinguishable. The treble might be a little more detailed, but the differences are so minute at this point. The midrange seems untouched. Measurements have come out about the adapter showing that its output changes with how much power it receives from the device (iPad vs iPhone). But there are three major differences that were found: The dynamic range is around 97 dB (down from 99 on the iPhone and iPad) which is just slightly above the 96 required for 16-bit audio. So it shouldn't be a huge problem in this department. This really isn't a loss or a gain unless you're trying to play 24-bit audio. But if you're trying to do that, why are you using a 16-bit DAC? The total harmonic distortion (THD) went from 0.0001 to 0.0002. The gain is there, it's able to be measured. Technically, this is a loss. The output impedance dropped from 1.5 dB to 0.5 dB. This is a huge gain for highly sensitive or low impedance headphones as their sound characteristics tend to change greatly with sources of high output impedance. This change here will probably have the largest change in audible output. Other dongles have already been created, Scosche has theirs which I will be reviewing in late October. Hopefully other manufacturers make their own as well. Final Thoughts So that about sums my my first two days with the iPhone 7. The phone is great, but doesn't look or work much different than the 6s. The jet black definitely feels different as its easier to grip. Outside of that, the aesthetics are really something with the new jet black color. Oh, and it's like super shiny and reflective too!