The iPhone 7: ‘Hit the Road, Jack!’
Sept. 12, 2016
by Mark Ollig

It’s the second week of September. The Minnesota State Fair has ended, and Labor Day is behind us.

We now begin our journey towards fall.

Being Minnesotans, we know there are still some hot summer days left.

Last Wednesday, I watched Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, take the stage at its Cupertino, CA headquarters in what has become an annual event for the last nine years.

Cook introduced the world to Apple’s newest smartphones; the iPhone 7, with a 4.7-inch Retina high-definition display; and the larger 5.5-inch display iPhone 7 Plus.

“There’s a reason you see so many iPhones everywhere you look – we’ve now sold over a billion of them,” he addressed the audience.

The new iPhone 7 is water-resistant down to 3 feet, and dust resistant, too.

The new iPhone uses a 2.4 GHz (gigahertz) A10 Fusion 64-bit quad-core processor chip, which is said to be two times faster than the previous A9 used in the iPhone 6.

Apple’s iOS 10 operating system is used on the new iPhones.

It has a Touch ID fingerprint touch sensor built within the new Home button.

A new stereo speaker system provides two times the audio sound than the previous iPhone model.

The A10 fusion has an embedded M11 co-processor.

The M11 links with the accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and barometer. The M11 supports a wide range of applications, such as fitness tracking.

These processors are manufactured by the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

The iPhone 7 comes with 32 GB (gigabytes) of storage, and goes up to 256 GB.

It has two cameras; the front-facing 7MP (megapixel) features auto image stabilization.

The iPhone 7 Plus boasts a 12MP camera with optical image stabilization, wide-angle, and telephoto picture-taking.

All of us expected the iPhone 7 would have improvements to existing applications, design, and electronic components.

However, the removal of one commonly used feature surprised me: There’s no analog output jack for my earphones.

This new iPhone 7 lacks a 3.5mm analog audio output headphone jack for plugging in an earphone.

Apple might as well have played the song made famous by Ray Charles: “Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.”

If my smartphone would no longer have the 3.5mm socket for my earphone, yours truly would not be a happy camper.

I share this feeling with Steve Wozniak, who, as you know, is the co-founder of Apple Computer.

“If it’s missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that’s going to tick off a lot of people,” Wozniak said in the Australian Financial Review.

Many of us know the lineage of those handy, plastic-corded analog earphones I remember them being commonly used to plug into those portable 1960s transistor radios.

Apple seems to want us to evolve our earphone listening habits from using an analog 3.5mm output, to their digital output “Lightning” connector, located on the bottom of the iPhone 7.

The iPhone 7 will include its new Earpods with the Lightning connector cable.

Apple noted the Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones will also be compatible with the new iPhone 7.

Apple said on their webpage they included a 3.5mm to Lightning connector cable interface, so folks’ existing analog earphones will be compatible with the iPhone 7 using this additional cable.

Apple will also be selling its small (actually tiny) wireless infrared sensor AirPods earphones, which include a microphone for recognizing voice commands.

The AirPods are stored in a little white plastic holder – so now we’ve got something else to easily misplace.

The AirPods have a five-hour battery life, and work with other Apple devices, such as: iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.

The iPhone 7 also has the longest battery life ever installed in an iPhone – lasting an hour longer than the iPhone6s Plus.

Apple also announced their new user interface operating system, iOS 10, will be available for download to your iPhone and iPad Sept. 14.

I forgot to mention; the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus can also be used to place telephone calls.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the first iPhone.

I wonder what new bells and whistles the iPhone 8 (or whatever Apple names the next one) will have.

Social media is still buzzing about the new iPhones, which will be available this Friday.

The hashtag: “#iPhone 7” is being used for Twitter user comments.

Follow yours truly (without a hashtag) via my @bitsandbytes handle.

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