Received My Replacement iPhone 7 Plus From Apple;
Battery Life Is Now Greatly Improved

December 4, 2016 · 18:26

A month or so ago, I wrote a post in desperation. It was about my iPhone 7 Plus — something was wrong with it, but Apple diagnostics did not unearth and problems, hence Support did not want to provide me with a replacement unit. I tried everything, from spending multiple hours on the phone with Apple Support, to escalating the issue, to calling Apple Support in other countries — all to no avail. I finally wrote a very long email to Tim Cook and Phil Schiller…

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iPhone 7 Plus and iOS 10 Battery Life Is Terrible; Apple Support Giving Me the Runaround

November 1, 2016 · 14:39

I’m finally fed up. My iPhone 7 Plus, because of it’s abysmal battery life, is now officially the worst phone I have ever owned. I’m an iPhone-user since 2008. Since then I’ve had the 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, 5S, 6, 6 Plus, 6S Plus, and now 7 Plus. I recall that I once had issues with battery life on one of the older models, but it wasn’t anything dramatic and a subsequent iOS update fixed the problem. This cannot be said about the 7 Plus. In addition, Apple Support is basically telling me that I’m on my own.

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iPhone 7 Plus Depth Effect Is Legit →

October 6, 2016 · 10:37

Stu Maschwitz:

When I first started testing Portrait Mode, I was alone in my backyard, with only inanimate props. I took some shots where the Depth Effect shined, and some where it flopped…

This stands to reason. The depth map is very likely computed at a reduced resolution, and I bet it’s noisy. Any smoothing is going to also eliminate certain edge details, and Apple’s engineers have, I’m surmising, estimated that eating into the edges a bit overall is better than seeing a halo of crisp background between the foreground subject and the blurred background.

The next night, my family came over for a cookout. As we ate and drank into the evening, reveling in global warming, I remembered that I had a new toy to play with. I pulled out my phone, toggled over to Portrait Mode, and snapped a few shots of my brother-in-law and his adorable son.

This is the photo that convinced me that Portrait Mode is a real thing. Here it captured a fast-moving, uncooperative subject, at ISO 500 lighting, and produced results that are not just good, but actually a photo I cherish.

I already have a few shots of my wife which I will love for years to come — I didn’t have my ‘big’ camera with me at the time. They would not have worked without Portrait Mode, which isolated her from the background.


Apple: ‘A Hiss or Whine Coming From An iPhone Is Unacceptable’ →

September 30, 2016 · 10:32

Stephen Hackett:

Some sites reported that the sound was completely normal, and that all devices make it. While coil whine — the probable cause of the noise I heard — is something I have come across before, I’ve never heard it on the many, many iOS devices I’ve handled over the years.

Others suggested I was exaggerating or fabricating the story entirely.

This writing didn’t line up with the experience I had when I called AppleCare after publishing my post. My call was quickly escalated to a supervisor, who sent me to my local Apple Store to replace the phone. They agreed that hearing a whine or hiss from an iPhone sitting on a desk was unusual and unacceptable.

While I’m glad that Apple got him sorted, I feel sorry for the feedback Stephen received and had to go through.


iPhone 7 scores 86 in DxOMark, behind HTC 10 and Galaxy S7 →

September 28, 2016 · 11:09

DxOMark:

The iPhone 7 achieves an overall DxOMark Mobile Score of 86. That’s better than Apple’s previous best score of 84 for the iPhone 6s Plus and 82 for the iPhone 6s. Its improved Texture performance is likely related to the new lens design, while its lower noise score shows the effect of its faster lens and improved image processing chip (ISP). Artifacts are also greatly reduced, thanks no doubt to the upgraded ISP.

It still loses out to the HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 in DxOMark’s ranking, but it does have a smaller sensor behind the wide-angle lens. In real-world use the different is negligible however, especially if shooting RAW. If anything, from my own tests, the iPhone 7 has ever so slightly less shadow noise than the SGS7. JPGs are another matter entirely, with Apple’s ISP being subjectively superior in my tests — the Samsung images are much punchier and have a higher contrast, which results in detail loss, especially in the shadows, while the more natural iPhone shots allow for more post-processing, including going for that high-contrast look that so many people prefer.


Lightroom CC 2015.7 Adds iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Support →

September 21, 2016 · 11:17

Sharad Mangalick:

Lightroom CC (2015.7) and Lightroom 6.7 are now available. The goal of this release is to provide additional camera raw support and lens profile support, and to address bugs that were introduced in previous releases of Lightroom.

Please note that this version of Lightroom contains compatibility fixes for macOS 10.12 (Sierra) and also requires macOS 10.10 and greater.

This update also adds full support for the new iPhones, including lens profiles.


iPhone 7 Display: Outstanding →

September 20, 2016 · 10:11

Dr. Raymond M. Soneira:

An Outstanding Smartphone Display

The display on the iPhone 7 is a Truly Impressive Top Performing Display and a major upgrade and enhancement to the display on the iPhone 6. It is by far the best performing mobile LCD display that we have ever tested, and it breaks many display performance records.

I have always had reservations about Dr. Soneira’s subjective comments and while I truly believe his enthusiasm is authentic, I’ll be on the lookout for tests from others.


Why the iPhone 7 Plus Telephoto Won’t Shoot in Low-Light Situations →

September 17, 2016 · 21:29

Serenity Caldwell:

And yes, let’s be straight: It’s designed to be a system, working in tandem with the Camera app to minimize shortcomings or aberrations that come from taking a photo with a smartphone camera one-fifth the size of a DSLR or pro mirrorless camera. Those two photos of Rene, above, were both taken using the Camera app’s “2x” setting — but only one of them actually used the telephoto lens. (The one on the right.)

That’s because the telephoto lens on the iPhone 7 Plus isn’t really designed to be a stand-alone shooter, no matter Apple’s “Shoot at 2x!” marketing: It shines, appropriately, when in bright light and adding detail. If you don’t find yourself taking lots of sunlit images with the Camera app, however, you may not actually be looking through that telephoto lens when framing pictures as often as you might think.

This is fascinating. Can’t wait to dive into my own tests. Please remember that you will be able to choose which camera you want to use via third-party apps, such as Obscura — the feature should be added soon. I’m pretty sure other apps will adopt this soon enough


Austin Mann’s iPhone 7 Plus Camera Review — Shot in Rwanda →

September 15, 2016 · 12:44

Austin Mann:

As many of you know, in the past I’ve created this review in Iceland (twice), Patagonia, and Switzerland, but this year I wanted to really change things up. With indicators pointing toward possibilities of optical zoom, I asked myself: Where’s the best place in the world to test optical zoom? Africa, of course.

So this year, in collaboration with Nat Geo Travel + Nat Geo Adventure and the amazing team at Ker & Downey operating our tour, we’ve set out to get you the answers. I’m writing from deep in the Nyungwe rain forest in southwest Rwanda. We’ve been tracking gorillas in the north, boating Lake Kivu in the west, and running through tea plantations in the south — all with the iPhone 7 Plus in hand.

I’m captivated by his time-lapses. If that camera can indeed deliver those kinds of seemless exposure adjustments, this will be one awesome upgrade.

Image credit: Austin Mann


Austin Mann in Rwanda with the iPhone 7 Plus on National Geopgrahic →

September 15, 2016 · 12:37

Austin Mann:

I’m travel photographer Austin Mann, and every year I take the new iPhone on an adventure to answer two questions: What are the new features of the iPhone camera, and how do they make my pictures better?

This year I’ve been working with and testing the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in Rwanda. I trekked to a volcano and photographed mountain gorillas, putting the iPhone to work. I used the new optical zoom, put the stabilizer to the test while flying over the rain forest, and wished it would rain so I could try out the new water-resistant feature!

It’s been a whirlwind, and the iPhone 7 has been a beast of a camera, keeping up every step of the way. Here are my top tips from my adventure.

I love his work — make sure to read the whole piece and don’t forget to look at the photos.

Image credit: Austin Mann


The iPhone 7 Plus Dual Cameras Work Together During Every Shot →

September 13, 2016 · 14:22

Matthew Panzarino:

Every time you take a picture with the iPhone 7, both the wide angle and telephoto fire off. Yes, two 12 megapixel pictures for every shot. This could be a prime driver behind the increase of the iPhone 7 Plus’ memory to 3GB.

Both images are needed due to an Apple technique it is calling “fusion” internally. Fusion takes data from both sensors and merges them into the best possible picture for every condition. If, for instance, there is a low-light scene that has some dark areas, the image-processing chip could choose to pick up some image data (pixels or other stuff like luminance) from the brighter f1.8 wide angle and mix it in with the data from the f2.8 telephoto, creating a composite image on the fly without any input from the user. This fusion technique is available to every shot coming from the camera, which means that the iPhone 7 Plus is mixing and matching data every time that trigger is tapped.
This technique is made possible because the optics, coatings, sensors, perspectives and color balances of the two cameras are perfectly matched.

The fusion technique also comes in handy when using the new zoom functions of the iPhone 7 Plus.

This is extremely intruiging if true — I know this technique was used on the previous iPhones but thought it impossible to do with two different focal lenghts. I would love a more detailed exaplanation of what the ISP does exactly.


John Gruber’s ‘The iPhones 7’ →

September 13, 2016 · 13:26

John Gruber:

After just five days — more than half of which I’ve spent using the matte black iPhone 7 Plus — this jet black iPhone 7 has a few “micro abrasions”, to use Apple’s own term. I can only see them when I’m looking for them, and only when I reflect light off the surface at the perfect angle, but they’re there. This is after two days of careful use, and never putting it in a pocket that contains anything else. The back surface of this phone shows more wear after (effectively) two days of use than my space gray 6S does after nearly a year.

I don’t mind the scratches as much as constant finger and face prints on the black front.

There is a rumor, rampant on Twitter, that the wide angle camera sensor on the 7 Plus is smaller than that of the 7. I checked with Apple and they were adamant that there is no truth to this. Optically, the wide angle camera on the Plus is identical to that of the 7. The only differences between the cameras are their internal connectors. The sensors and lenses are the same.

Good to have confirmation from an official source.

The telephoto second camera has a few limitations. It does not have OIS, for one thing. Second, it has an f/2.8 aperture; the wide angle lens has an f/1.8. The smaller the f-stop number, the larger the aperture is. You know how the corneas of your eyes open wide when it’s dark, to let more light into your eyes? That’s exactly the purpose of the aperture on a camera. A smaller f-stop lets in more light. (The cameras on the iPhone 6S and 6S plus had apertures of f/2.2.)

Thus, in my opinion, the second camera on the 7 Plus is mostly useful with well-lit-room-or-better lighting. In low-light situations, you’re going to want to shoot at 1x with the wide angle lens. But when you do have good lightning, especially outdoors, the image quality from the telephoto lens is terrific.

Too bad about lack of OIS, but then again, I never really needed it, apart from days when I shoot video. Nice to hear that the quality is up there though.

Even with high-end DSLR cameras and lenses that produce a shallow depth of field naturally, the photographer doesn’t see it before they take the shot.

This part is wrong. On every camera with a TTL viewfinder1, the photographer sees exactly what the lens does, including the DoF. You can however stop down a DSLR lens to preview the set aperture, if it’s not set to wide open, to judge the DoF before taking the shot. The small viewfinder makes this harder to see than on a large LCD screen. DoF preview is not possible through the OVF of cameras such as a Fuji X100 or Leica rangefinder, unless you use the EVF.

Apart from that small error above, I urge you to read John’s insightful take on the new iPhones.

  1. Through-the-lens.

Sports Illustrated Uses iPhone 7 Plus to Photograph Titans-Vikings Game →

September 12, 2016 · 07:46

Sports Illustrated:

On Wednesday, Apple unveiled the brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, both of which feature an entirely new camera system. Now some of the first photos taken by the new iPhone 7 Plus camera are being unveiled exclusively on SI.com. On Sunday, Sports Illustrated photographer David E. Klutho took photos with the new iPhone 7 Plus camera at the Titans-Vikings game. The iPhone 7 Plus has a 12–megapixel telephoto camera that offers new zooming capabilities. Each new model also features a wider aperture and a lens that allows the camera to capture brighter and more vibrant colors in photos and videos. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in stores in 25 countries on Friday, Sept. 16.

I wonder if these were shot in RAW (DNG) and post processed or if they’re straight from the camera. Obviously the new ‘portrait’ mode wasn’t used or wasn’t available to SI.


Why Apple Killed the Headphone Jack →

September 9, 2016 · 13:06

John Paczkowski:

A tentpole feature of the new iPhones are improved camera systems that are larger than the cameras in the devices that preceded them. The iPhone 7 now has the optical image stabilization feature previously reserved for its larger Plus siblings. And the iPhone 7 Plus has two complete camera systems side by side — one with a fixed wide-angle lens, the other with a 2x zoom telephoto lens. At the top of both devices is something called the “driver ledge” — a small printed circuit board that drives the iPhone’s display and its backlight. Historically, Apple placed it there to accommodate improvements in battery capacity, where it was out of the way. But according to Riccio, the driver ledge interfered with the iPhone 7 line’s new larger camera systems, so Apple moved the ledge lower in both devices. But there, it interfered with other components, particularly the audio jack.

So the company’s engineers tried removing the jack.

In doing so, they discovered a few things. First, it was easier to install the “Taptic Engine” that drives the iPhone 7’s new pressure-sensitive home button, which, like the trackpads on Apple’s latest MacBook, uses vibrating haptic sensations to simulate the feeling of a click — without actually clicking. (Did we mention that Apple killed the physical home button too?) Taptic Engine vibrations will also be used to deliver feeling specific notifications — hitting the end of a scrolled page, for example. And because Apple has given developers an API for it, an awful lot of other stuff as well — particularly in games.

“You can’t make it feel like there’s an earthquake happening, but the range of customization lets you do an awful lot,” Apple SVP Phil Schiller explains. “With every project there are things that surprise you with the meaning they take on as you start to use them. The Taptic Engine API is one of them. It turned into a much bigger thing than we ever thought it would be. It really does transform the experience for a lot of software. You’ll see.”
Second, there was an unforeseen opportunity to increase battery life. So the battery in the iPhone 7 is 14% bigger than the one in its predecessor, and in the iPhone 7 Plus, it’s 5% bigger. In terms of real-world performance gains, that’s about an additional two hours and one hour, respectively. Not bad.


Leaked ‘iPhone 7 Plus’ Packaging Indicates Lightning EarPods and Lightning 3.5 mm Adaptor Bundled in the Box →

August 31, 2016 · 18:13

Benjamin Mayo:

An interesting image is making the rounds today: a photograph of a purported packaging insert for Apple’s upcoming new phone. If the photo is to be believed, Apple will indeed be calling its larger new phone the ‘iPhone 7 Plus’, with the ‘iPhone 7’ name being taken by the 4.7 inch sibling.

It also indicates that Apple will be bundling Lightning EarPods in the box with every iPhone 7, as a consequence of the missing 3.5mm headphone jack. More interestingly, the leak suggests Apple will also be including a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack adaptor as a bundled accessory.

Surprising that they’re adding the dongle. I guess it would be to lessen the expected wave of hate. All of this assuming it’s not a fake image of course.