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


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

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.

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.

iPhone 7 Available in Five Colours? →

August 30, 2016 · 19:20

Joe Rossignol:

The website now believes the new glossy black option will be part of a five-color lineup, including Gold, Rose Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. It previously said the new color will be a “much darker” variant of Space Gray that is “close to black, though not quite black,” and mockups of what an iPhone 7 in that color could look like, including the one above, quickly surfaced around the web.

I’d actually prefer more colourful options than another monochromatic variant. Red with white front please.

Mark Gurman on the iPhone 7: ‘Brighter Photos’ →

August 20, 2016 · 13:13

Mark Gurman:

The dual cameras on the larger new iPhone will produce brighter photos with more detail, according to a person who has used a prototype version of the upcoming device. Both sensors, which each capture color differently, simultaneously take a picture, and the device produces a single, merged photograph, said the person.

I keep on wondering what Mark means by ‘brighter photos’. A photo by definition is either exposed currently or not, hence it cannot be brighter or else the highlights will be blown. I assume he meant something else, perhaps that the lens itself will have a larger aperture and let in more light, or perhaps the sensor will have a higher dynamic range, which will make it possible to bring out more details in the highlights and shadows.

The dual system sharpens photos taken in low-light environments, the person said. The combination of the merged photos from the two camera sensors also allows users to zoom while retaining more clarity, the person added. The smaller version of the new phones will not include dual lenses, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year.

Whatever technology Apple is adding to this years model, I’m most curious about the camera itself. So far, having dual lenses hasn’t markedly improved image quality — the Huawei P9 has already demonstrated this. It will be really interesting to see what they come up with.

Apple Reportedly to Move iPhone to 3 Year Cycle →

May 31, 2016 · 18:15

Yuichiro Kanematsu:

Apple will likely take three years between full-model changes of its iPhone devices, a year longer than the current cycle. In a typical two-year term, fall 2016 was supposed to see a major upgrade. But the changes on the model to be launched this autumn will be minor, such as improved camera quality.

Unfortunately, this seems reasonable. ‘Unfortunately’ because I don’t want to wait so long.

Apple to Skip iPhone 7S, Jump Straight to iPhone 8 →

April 22, 2016 · 12:35

Luke Dormehl:

Apple will drop its incremental “s” iPhone release next year in favor of jumping straight to the iPhone 8, claims Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz.

Moskowitz backs up previous suggestions that the iPhone 8, which will launch in 2017, will boast the biggest upgrade since 2014’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — with OLED displays, no home button, and wireless charging, leading to what he calls a “mega cycle” upgrade.

As for this year’s iPhone 7? He’s not quite so optimistic.

I’m pretty sure this has a lot to do with the previous rumours from Kuo, and quite frankly, I don’t believe either of them until we start seeing some solid leaks.

Two Different Cameras on iPhone 7 and 7 Plus →

February 3, 2016 · 10:08

Eric Slivka:

According to a source who has provided reliable information in the past, the iPhone 7 body will appear very similar to the design used for the iPhone 6 and 6s, with two significant exceptions.

The first involves the rear camera, which protrudes slightly on the iPhone 6 and 6s. On the iPhone 7, the camera is said to sit flush with the rear casing, enabled by a thinner camera module. Recent rumors have indicated Apple is considering equipping the iPhone 7 Plus with a dual-lens rear camera, but the smaller iPhone 7 is expected to include a more traditional camera.

I don’t mind that bump very much, until I look at it. I do however hope the thinner camera module will not compromise quality in any way. I’m also glad the antenna bands will (supposedly) go away — I still find them extremely unattractive.

I can’t say I’ll be surprised if the two iPhones turn out to have different camera modules — thus far only OIS has been the differentiating factor between the 6/6S and 6 Plus/6S Plus. I’ve been a Plus user for the past year, because I needed more battery on a daily basis, but this changed recently and I was going to go back to the 4.7″ size for the iPhone 7. I will probably reconsider if the 7 Plus has a better camera system.

iPhone 7 Plus Likely to Have Dual-Lens Camera →

January 28, 2016 · 11:11

Tim Hardwick:

To that end, Kuo expects a 2-3x optical zoom function to feature in Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus. However, owing to supply chain constraints on dual-camera modules, the KGI analyst expects the larger handset to come in single-camera and dual-camera versions.

I doubt Apple would ship two different versions of the iPhone 7 Plus — they prefer their line-ups to be as simple as possible. I could imagine a scenario where the iPhone 7 has a regular lens, while the 7 Plus gets the new dual-lens setup — this would correlate with OIS being present on the 6/6S Plus, but not on the 6/6S. Having said that, if such technology was to be used by Apple, I’d expect it in the 7S / 7S Plus.

iPhone 7 Will Reportedly Switch to Lightning Port for Audio →

November 29, 2015 · 17:07

Joe Rossignol:

The report, citing a “reliable source,” claims the new same-sized Lightning connector will support Lightning-equipped and Bluetooth headphones, and have a DAC, or digital-to-audio converter, for backwards compatibility with wired headphones using standard 3.5mm stereo jacks. A 3.5mm to Lightning adapter would be required.

I really don’t care for the iPhone to be any thinner. I just want the 4.7″ model to have the battery life of the 5.5″ model, or better. That’s the only reason I currently use a 6S Plus.