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Start Page: The appeal of the newest Apple iPhone? The core

September 21, 2016

WilsonRecently, Apple announced its most recent product offerings. Some will find reason to poke fun at the new iPhone 7. (They removed the headphone jack! Wow, a black phone!) But there is no denying that the iPhone is popular among lawyers. According to a recent International Legal Technology Association survey, 94 percent of firms that purchase smartphones for their staff purchase iPhones. ILTA does not track smartphone purchases by firms where lawyers bring their own devices. Because Apple has sold over 1 billion iPhones, it’s safe to say there are a lot of lawyers using iPhones.

The major announcements from Apple included the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, Apple Watch Series 2, and the new AirPods. This article will provide a brief overview of the new features available on the iPhone 7 to help you determine if it’s time to upgrade.

Inside the core

The new iPhone looks slightly different on the outside, but it’s the core that’s most impressive. The processing speed is now double what it was with the iPhone 6. Apple’s new A10 chip is a quad core processor comprised of two high-performance chips and two high-efficiency chips. Apple built a controller for the chips to determine which activity on the iPhone needs higher performance or efficiency, which should extend the battery life.

The camera(s) have also been improved. On the 7 Plus, there are two rear cameras, both at 12MP (wide-angle and telephoto). There is both optical zoom (2x) and digital zoom (10x). On the 7 Plus and the 7, the cameras have image stabilization, better flash and improved processing for photos. The camera also shoots 4k, 1080 HD or 720 HD video. If you are a camera person, it’s worth watching the keynote feature on the camera.

The storage configurations have changed, too. The new phones will start at 32GB capacity. While there is no more 16GB option, the cost of the new iPhone at 32GB is the same as the previous 16GB option.

Overall, the performance of the new iPhone 7 should be noticeably better than prior phones. That’s pretty incredible, given that the prior phones are still fast.

The skin

The iPhone 7 comes in two sizes: 4.6” display (7) and 5.5” display (7 Plus). The screen is probably the most important part of any smartphone and the “Retina HD” displays on the new phones will not disappoint. Personally, I really like the larger display of the Plus, especially for reading. It is definitely a handful, though, and one-hand operation is difficult.

The exterior has been engineered to be splash-, water-, and dust-resistant. The “home” button has been redesigned and is now digital with haptic feedback to let you know when you’ve pressed the button. Early reviews are mixed on this change.

Apple removed the headphone jack from the iPhone. It will ship with Apple’s EarPods, which will connect through the lightning (charging) port. Apple will also provide an adapter so that existing headphones can be plugged in. Apple is clearly pushing its new AirPods, which are wireless headphones that are meant to be tightly integrated into the Apple system.

If you don’t use headphones, the iPhone now has stereo speakers.

Take a bite?

To buy or not to buy? How do you decide? If the features listed above didn’t resonate with you, don’t spend the money. If shiny new toys make you happy, and you have the money, have fun! Or, consider the following:

You might be eligible for an upgrade with your current carrier. If so, that means your current device is probably ready for an upgrade and you will wonder why you waited so long. Make sure you have a backup of your current device and the user names and passwords needed to log in to the phone and all your services before upgrading.

If you are on the fence, consider how often and for what purpose you use your current device. As lawyers, we need to have good tools at our disposal. If your iPhone is your tool, it might be time to upgrade for the improved performance. Better battery life, better cameras, faster performance and larger storage capacity can mean more productivity. If your iPhone is a toy, games are supposed to be incredible. Maybe your iPhone is a little of both.

If you are consistently running low on storage, it’s probably time to upgrade and get a larger-capacity iPhone. You’ll spend less time dealing with deleting apps and photos and more time getting work (and play) done.

Ultimately, humans often like the shiniest apple in the basket. In the case of the iPhone 7, it looks like Apple delivered.•

Seth R. Wilson is an attorney with Adler Tesnar & Whalin in Noblesville. In addition to practicing law, he helps manage the day-to-day technology operations of the firm. Seth writes about legal technology at sethrwilson.com and is a frequent speaker on the subject. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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