Last night I was at the Singapore F1 Grand Prix and, in advance, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the new camera in the iPhone 7 Plus. I was in the standing area at turn 12, 15 feet away from cars travelling at over 100 miles-per-hour. Single-shot, burst mode, using camera zoom or not using camera zoom (not that that would make a difference), the cars were just too fast for the iPhone camera:
4K video, on the other hand, worked well:
A lack of good pictures from the iPhone aside, it was incredible being that close to the track and I’ve still got to look through the pictures from my Nikon to see if I managed to capture anything coming close to decent.
Here’s what I think is going on: in countries around the world, particularly Asia (China, Korea, Singapore), and also Brazil, iPhone users don’t use their home buttons. Really. They turn on AssistiveTouch, an iOS accessibility feature designed for people with motor skill problems. AssistiveTouch allows you to navigate across the system, in and out of apps, without ever clicking the home button. Why don’t they click the home button? Because of a widespread misconception that the home button will wear out, thus reducing the resale value of the iPhone.
I moved to Singapore in early 2013 and — truth be told — most of the phones I saw people using on my commute weren’t iPhones. They were larger screened Samsungs.1 When I did see an iPhone in use, it was overwhelmingly being used with AssistiveTouch turned on. It was a feature that was alien to me, I had never seen it in use in the UK.
I don’t see AssistiveTouch in use as much now and my belief is that usage started going down with the introduction of the iPhone 5s, and TouchID, in late 2013. Subsequently, usage really plummeted with the introduction of the larger screened (and, importantly, gold2) iPhone 6 in 2014. (At this point, I also started seeing far more iPhones in use than Samsungs.)
It’ll be interesting to see if usage habits, including mine, change with introduction of this year’s force touch sensor in place of the Home Button.
I ordered an iPhone 7 Plus today, well aware of the fact that it wouldn’t have an 3.5mm headphone jack. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about as Apple have covered the whole gamut of user needs.
Continued Use of 3.5mm Headphones
This is possible using the included1 Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter. There is simply no need to abandon 3.5mm headphones at this stage. You’ll be able to charge and listen using Apple’s Lightning Dock while at a desk. On the go, things are more complicated. Using Belkin’s Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar in conjunction with the 3.5mm adapter, you’ll be able to charge and listen on the go. One can only imagine what this will look like:
The EarPods bundled with the iPhone 7 are Lightning EarPods. If using an iPhone 7 (4.7”), I am positive you will be able to use the iPhone Smart Battery Case to charge and listen and the same time.2 Alternatively, charging and listening at the same time is also possible using Belkin’s Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar on iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
Coming in October, Apple will release their new AirPod wireless headphones. All I can do now is reserve judgement — I’ve not been overly impressed with any wireless headphones I’ve tried. However, their introduction does fit with Apple’s long term vison of a wireless future, as Jony Ive put it.
So, what’s the fuss about?
When have Apple ever given away an adapter for free? ↩︎