Upgrade to iPhone 7 - dummies

By Ryan C. Williams

The choice to upgrade to the newest Apple iPhone is a decision that only you can make, following deep and meaningful consultation with your significant other, your financial professional, and possibly any members of the clergy you wish to involve. No matter who’s on your team, though, you should always go in to the process with all of the available information and a little bit of sound advice.

So read this article, learn how the iPhone 7 upgrades strike you, and make your decision!

More power with iPhone 7

Most folks don’t get excited about the power under the hood of their mobile devices, as long as they can play any game, video, or song they want at any time. The iPhone 7 carries a faster A10 chip, but you won’t notice this much. The real benefit is that you won’t notice any problems when using other apps. Unless you really load down the system, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Apple also claims the screen is brighter and more colorful, which you really need to see side-by-side with a previous model to appreciate. Still, if you spend a lot of time looking at photos or videos on your phone, or playing every single video game you can get your hands on, this could seal the deal for you.

Apple also claims faster network speeds for this model, but the usefulness of that feature depends on where and when you try to use it. Having the fastest phone in the world won’t help you if you can’t find coverage or if you’re in a large crowd with everybody trying to tweet the same fantastic baby panda picture at the same time.

More room on the iPhone 7

The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus tops out at 256 GB of internal memory, which doubles the previous cap of 128 GB. That’s laptop-level storage on a mobile device, so those who want to carry large amounts of apps, music, or video on their phones without wanting to rely on a network (or encounter network overage fees and slowdowns) might want to make the step up.

This feature won’t mean much for streaming services or those who access everything from the cloud, so those users who stick to these services could probably choose a lower-storage model.

More cameras added to iPhone 7

If you’re deeply involved with photography on your iPhone, this update brings you a lot more to play with. The iPhone 7 adds a spiffy new 12MP camera that handles more light and adds an improved flash.

This model also offers optical image stabilization, which is software that eliminates blur and other things that make your photos appear to be shot by crazed zoo animals. Toss in 4K video (the current industry-leading standard) with some other features, and you could be creating intricate photo or movie projects in between calls to your friends and parents. (It has been a while, you know.)

True photo enthusiasts will want to take a look at the iPhone 7 Plus, which adds a second camera for wide-angle and telephoto shooting. The key is a 2x optical zoom. As many times as you see fancy 10x or 20x digital zoom numbers, this 2x may look a little puny. The key term here is “optical.” An optical zoom presents a more clear and detailed zoom than digital zooms, which just make the pixels in the picture larger until the image looks fuzzy.

The iPhone 7 Plus may not replace a professional camera for those so inclined, but it will certainly handle whatever the rest of us need to do.

Are you a klutz?

Making the phone resistant to water and dust may not be the sexiest feature, but those who may have experienced unfortunate incidents in the past with their iPhones may see this new feature as a true benefit.

Where do you plug in your headphones?

Ah, what’s probably made the most news about the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus is what it’s missing. Yes, this release does away with the standard 3.5mm headphone jack. Instead, you’re invited to plug the included earbuds into the Lightning connector jack. Theoretically speaking, the Lightning connector lets you possibly take advantage of high-resolution audio, above and beyond the CD-quality preamp built into previous iPhone models.

Unfortunately, if you stick with what’s in the box, you’ll probably not get the benefit of this audio because you’re listening on the included earbuds, which don’t have a great history of quality audio. Apple does offer an upgrade to wireless AirPod earbuds, which let you interact with Siri by voice prompt. But that’s an extra cost for an already pricey device.

However, you can always use third-party Lighting headphones or Bluetooth headphones, just like you could with previous models. And if you’re absolutely stuck on your old headphones, just use the adapter included with the new iPhone to connect those headphones to the Lightning port. The drawback is that you can’t charge the phone at the same time, but some enterprising manufacturer is already crafting an adapter to fix this situation.

Bluetooth headphones introduce too much latency (delay between sound creation and when the headphones actually play it back) to be efficient when making music. Plugging into the Lightning connector takes away the charging option while using power-hungry music apps. Sadly, musicians may lose out the most here. But if you’re not intent on making your next great audio masterpiece on your iPhone, you should be able to skate by without much trouble.

And don’t put too much credence into the stereo speakers included in the iPhone 7 itself. You won’t be getting audiophile sound out of something that small, so it’s better to stick with the headphones or external speakers on this one.

So should you upgrade to the iPhone 7?

Again, the ultimate choice is yours. If your current and treasured iPhone still does everything you need it to do, you probably don’t need to rush out and get the newest version. Everybody with an iPhone 5 or later will be able to use iOS 10 anyway, so no matter what you’ll get some new features this month. But if any of the previously mentioned features solve an aching need for you, and your bank account can stand it, now might be the time to upgrade.