iPhone 7: Why do we even care?

With tomorrow's big Apple event about to use up more worldwide bandwidth than Netflix, David Gewirtz asks the one brave question we're all afraid to utter: "Why do we even care?"
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor


A long time ago, in a valley far, far away (Silicon Valley), I was a young product manager giving a sales briefing on new software products. A salesman raised his hand and asked, "Why do we need more software? I mean, seriously. Don't we have enough already?"

He had a point. Even though Facebook, Google, and even Photoshop were still at least a decade in the future, the world was awash in working solutions that were getting the job done. Wasn't enough enough?

It's with that question in mind that I have to ask why those of us with iPhone 6s devices should even care about the iPhone 7. As many of you know, I'm on the iPhone Upgrade Program. Theoretically, all I have to do is drive an hour and a half, wait in line for an hour or two, fill out paperwork for an hour, transfer everything dear to me to a new phone, and drive back home for an hour and a half with a new phone.

But why?

According to a very excellent rumor summary in 9to5Mac, the new phones are supposed to come in a new shade of black. So? Most of us use cases anyway. I did an informal poll on Twitter, and 69 percent of the respondents keep their phones in cases. I've had my iPhone 6s Plus in a case since I got it. I don't even remember what color it is. It could have been Rose Gold for all I care.

And, yes, there's supposed to be a better camera. I'm all for a better camera. In fact, the single biggest benefit of the iPhone 6s Plus has, to me, been its camera. I've taken some splendid pictures of my little pup. I've used the 4K video constantly to produce workshop videos on 3D printing.

I'm already more than satisfied with the camera on the iPhone 6s Plus. So, while even better pictures are always nice, is it worth nearly a thousand bucks to get a better camera? You could get a decent DSLR for that price.

Stripes out

Oh, let's see. The antenna stripes across the top and bottom of the back of the phone are going away. And we're supposed to care, why? Again, with most of us using cases, we don't see them. And even if we did, so what? It's a stripe. Deal with it.

The processor is supposed to be a faster 2.4Ghz A10, instead of the quite powerful A9 in the current model. That's nice, but the A9 is already plenty fast. Yes, the new camera might need better processing power, but at the risk of sounding like a broken record, why should we care? The iPhone 6s is plenty fine as it is.

There's no change being made to the screen sizes, but they're supposed to support a professional color gamut. They are rumored to be more vivid, like the colors on the iPad Pro 9.7 inch. Does that mean I'll be able to read anything, and I mean anything, outside in the sun? No, of course not. All it means is that we'll be able to see Donald Trump's hair, glowing with a more fluorescent orange, in all those Facebook rants we're seeing these days.

The larger of the two iPhones is supposed to be coming with 3GB of RAM. That's nice. More RAM is always nice. But, again, I haven't a single complaint about the performance of the iPhone 6s Plus, so where's the beef?

It's also nice that the iPhone 7 should be available in up to a 256GB storage capacity. But I've been taking 4K videos all year. With minimal storage management, I still have 42.7GB available on my 128GB Plus. So, for all but the worst bit piggies among us, 256GB will be overkill.

Then there's the "pressure sensitive" Home button that apparently no longer presses but simulates being pressed. Okay. Whatever. Hard to get excited about a button that's not really a button but pretends to be one. Or something like that.

That's the jack lack

Finally, Apple's taking away a feature I've long relied upon: the headphone jack. I use it to attach an external mic for recording videos. I haven't yet found a good alternative wireless lavalier solution. However, in 9to5Mac's rumor summary, there's some indication Apple might include a Lightning-to-3.5mm jack adapter. If so, the lack of a jack might not be the deal-killer it would otherwise have been.

The point of all this is that, sure, the iPhone 7 is shaping up to be a nice enough phone. But, so what? The iPhone 6s is a damn fine phone as it is. Speaking personally, it's one of my two favorite all-time phones. My other favorite, from back in the day, was the Palm Treo. I've found the iPhone 6s Plus to be incredibly useful and far less annoying than I expected.

So, why do we need to put ourselves through all of this? Do we really need an iPhone 7? Is there anything, at least based on the rumors, that we really need? Sure, we usually give Apple a big fuss, but think about this. Be honest with yourself. Do you really care? Really?

Whether you care or not, let us know, and tell us why, in the TalkBack below.

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