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The iPhone 8 exists simultaneously in two time periods—an emerging future pervaded by innovative new apps incorporating augmented reality and machine learning and a past when LCD displays offered the best quality and the user’s relationship to the screen was less emphasized.
The A11 Bionic chip is a marvelous feat of engineering, offering industry-leading performance and powering the most accessible AR platform yet. But it’s tied to a display technology that the industry is finally ready to move on from and a design that didn’t even seem fresh when it was introduced three years ago.
And then there’s the price. The iPhone 8 starts at $699—$50 more than the iPhone 7 entry price last year. Yes, this device starts at 64GB of storage now instead of 32, but that price tag puts it just shy of the Samsung Galaxy S8. The 256GB iPhone 8 Plus is only $50 less than the entry-level 64GB iPhone X, though the storage difference is notable.
When weighed against other phones in its class, the iPhone 8 poses the question: “Which do consumers care more about—performance or the design and screen?” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that today, many consumers care a lot more about the design and the screen. Initially, that makes the iPhone 8 hard to recommend to some.
That’s the current problem with the iPhone 8. By several metrics, it’s a great handset—I’m just not sure for whom.
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APPLE RELEASED the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last week. There's plenty to like about both handsets, but for comparison's sake, we thought it prudent to pit the iPhone 7 against the iPhone 6 to see how the two-year-old model stacks up against the fresh-faced contender.
iPhone 7: 138x67x7.1mm, 138g, IP67 certification
iPhone 6: 138x67x6.9mm, 129g
Both smartphones use Apple's proprietary Lightning port. The iPhone 6 used it just for charging and data, but the iPhone 7 also relies on it for audio. The rumours were true: the iPhone 7 ships with a pair of AirPods designed for use with the Lightning port rather than a traditional 3.5mm jack.
Apple also includes an adaptor in the box so you'll still be able to use your beloved analogue headphones, but bear in mind that whichever solution you choose, audio and charging can't happen at the same time.
The iPhone 7 is the first Apple handset with IP67 certification. This isn't the highest rating the iPhone could have been awarded, but still means that the device is protected from dust and can survive in water up to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes. The iPhone 6 is better left in a protective case as it's wholly at the mercy of the elements.
The iPhone 7 breaks with tradition by doing away with the classic Space Grey colour. But two new options, Black and Jet Black, support the Gold, Rose Gold and Silver models. The iPhone 6 was available in a choice of Space Grey, Silver and Gold.
iPhone 7: 4.7in 1,334x750 resolution at 326ppi
iPhone 6: 4.7in 1,334x750 resolution at 326ppi
Both generations have the same 4.7in 1,334x450 resolution display, but Apple said that the iPhone 7 screen is 25 per cent brighter than even the 6S, so the iPhone 6 lags behind somewhat in this regard.
The iPhone 6 also lacked 3D Touch, a feature that allowed future models to detect varying degrees of pressure instead of relying solely on taps.
iPhone 7: iOS 10
iPhone 6: iOS 8
Apple designed iOS 10 with the iPhone 7 in mind. iOS 10 brings new features such as lock screen widgets, revamped Messaging, Maps, Photos, Apple Music and News apps, and support for Siri in third-party apps.
The iPhone 6 shipped with iOS 8 but is upgradeable to iOS 10 now.
iPhone 7: 64-bit A10 (two 2.4GHz cores TBC), 2GB of RAM
iPhone 6: 64-bit A8 chip, 1.4GHz dual core, 1GB of RAM
The iPhone 7 is powered by Apple's new A10 Fusion processor, which is claimed to be the fastest smartphone chip available thanks to two "high performance" cores.
Apple said that the A10 provides 40 per cent faster processing than the A9 chip before it, while a new controller intelligently manages workloads and results in increased efficiency. Similarly, the iPhone 7's new GPU is capable of delivering a performance increase equivalent to 50 per cent.
The A8 is still a capable chip, but Apple has optimised things when it comes to iOS 9 and above to run on devices with 2GB of RAM. iOS 9 (and later 10) will still work, but we suspect that the experience may differ somewhat on technology two generations old.
iPhone 7: 12MP rear-facing, 7MP front-facing
iPhone 6: 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
The iPhone 7 trumps the ageing iPhone 6 in terms of the cameras. The iPhone 7 has a 12MP rear-facing unit with an improved six-element lens and a wider f/1.8 aperture. The iPhone 6 featured a 8MP snapper with a f/2.2 aperture and lacked any form of optical image stabilisation.
The iPhone 7 improves on the Dual LED (dual-tone) flash found on the iPhone 6. The Quad LED flash is 50 per cent brighter than that seen on the iPhone 6S, and there's a far superior 7MP front-facing camera that offers image stabilisation too.
In addition, t's worth noting that the iPhone 6 lacked 4K video recording capabilities.
iPhone 7: 1,960mAh
iPhone 6: 1,810mAh
Apple hasn't given exact specifications, but claimed that the iPhone 7 battery provides 14 hours of life.
iPhone 7: 32GB/128GB/256GB
iPhone 6: 16GB/64GB/128GB
The iPhone 7 ships with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB storage configurations, which means that iPhone 6 buyers are somewhat limited in their choice.
The iPhone 7 improves on the iPhone 6 on every level. The iPhone 6 was eclipsed by the iPhone 6S, and we reckon it's now a little long in the tooth. Prices start at around £449 for a lowly 16GB model, but for the extra money you're probably better off plumping for the entry-level iPhone 7. µ