Apple Makes iPhone 7 More Rugged, Watertight Minus Headphone Jack

NEWS ANALYSIS: The latest version of the iPhone offers some improvements, but at the same price as before. The new features should be useful to business buyers.

iPhone 7 Intro 2

Apple has made some bold changes to the latest iteration of the iPhone, but, to the relief of most business users, it has retained a pathway to their legacy infrastructure. Of course, the new iPhone 7 is faster than earlier iPhones models, has more memory and it includes important improvements users have wanted for years.

While there's a lot that's new, the most important changes for people who depend on their phones for their livelihood are water resistance, a more rugged structure and the elimination of the headphone jack. Other important changes include a better camera, a much faster processor and more memory.

It may seem prosaic, but the improved water resistance may be the most critical for the majority of users. The new iPhone 7 meets IP67 standards for water and dust protection.

This means that the phone is completely sealed against dust and that it can be immersed in water as much as a meter deep without damage. To all of those who have lost communications on a business trip because their phone slipped into a sink or dropped into the toilet: You now have a path to salvation.

What's important about the iPhone's approach to water resistance is that it doesn't depend on tiny rubber plugs and caps to maintain its integrity. The iPhone 7 is water-resistant on its own.

Apple has also moved to a stronger grade of glass for its screen and it's eliminated the headphone jack, which both help with the handset's durability and survivability.

The iPhone will now ship with a headphone that attaches through the Lightning port, and it will include an adapter for people who still have those old-fashioned headphones with a 3.5mm plug. It's not clear whether devices such as credit card readers that attach using the iPhone analog jack will work with the adapter.

Standard memory is being increased on the iPhone 7 and, in an unusual move, the standard memory on the iPhone 6S, which will remain in production, is also being increased. Now, the smallest memory configuration is 32GB with options of 128GB and 256GB. Even with the additional memory, the starting price of the iPhone 7 remains at $649.

The new display on the iPhone 7 will have the same resolution as what is on the iPhone 6S and it will continue to have 3D Touch. However, the new display is said to be 25 percent brighter, with a wider range of colors and built-in color management. The wider color gamut is paired with the same capability in the new camera.

The camera reflects Apple's longstanding effort to make photography an important part of their phones.

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...