Review: Updated: iPhone 7


Let’s get right down to it: if Apple had launched the iPhone 7 in place of the iPhone 6S last year, it would probably have been the phone of the year.

We’re used to the S variants of the iPhone being minimal upgrades – just the right amount of change to encourage a purchase by those with ageing handsets – and if the myriad changes on this new iPhone had arrived in 2015, it would have been fantastic.

Instead of the iPhone 6S, with just a 3D Touch screen in the way of new features and a few power boosts here and there, we’d have had a waterproof handset with dual speakers, a brighter and more colorful screen and a boosted 12MP camera that took better pictures than the one on the iPhone 6.

Changing the home button from a clickable entity to something that responds to pressure – and possibly even the loss of the headphone jack – would have been seen as innovative and alternative in a sea of identikit handsets.

And if Apple had thrown in the new Jet Black finish with a top-end 256GB storage model… well, that would have been a real challenger, a chance for the brand to cast off the ‘tick-tock’ mentality of keeping the smaller upgrades confined to the S variants, and remind us that it just makes great phones.

But that didn’t happen, and now the metronomic quality of Apple’s upgrades seems to have come to a halt – or the pendulum is stuck.

iPhone 7 review

Because with the iPhone 7 we’ve got another ‘tock’. The initial reaction of dubbing this an iPhone 6SS is unfair, as it’s more than just an S upgrade – but it’s not as much of a push forward as many would have expected given the large changes on the iPhone 4 and 6 in particular.

Although maybe there’s a second pattern emerging here – the odd-numbered iPhones keeping things incremental before the big changes on the even-numbered models. Either way, the iPhone 7 is another very good, but not great, handset from Apple.

Short on time? Then check out our video review of the iPhone 7