Mobility

iPhone 7: What business users need to know

Apple recently announced the latest version of its flagship smartphone. Here are the features and functions that will matter to professionals.

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Image: James Martin/CNET

The iPhone 7 is officially here. At an Apple event in California on Wednesday (September 7, coincidentally), the phone was unveiled by Tim Cook and the crew amid a variety of Apple announcements.

The first mention of the new device came in a now-deleted tweet that read: "New cameras. Water-resistant. Stereo speakers. Longer battery life. This is 7." Apple is known for being tight-lipped until the last possible second, so it was definitely a surprise.

The phone has a new design, featuring an aluminum body with almost non-existent seams and is available in gold, silver, rose gold, black, and Jet Black. The home button was also redesigned, with Force sensitivity and a new Taptic engine. It can also be programmed by third-party applications and customized as well.

The above tweet wasn't a fluke. The new enclosure is both water and dust resistant, with IP67 protection standard.

The new, 12-megapixel iPhone 7 camera has image stabilization and a wider f1.8 aperture lens that is made up of six distinct layers. The sensor for the camera is faster and more efficient, and a quad-LED flash can help users take better photos. The iPhone 7+ gets a second 12MP camera to use as a telephoto lens.

A new image processor helps balance colors and tone in an image, among many other features. This could be helpful for small marketing departments, or businesses that rely on image content, to produce better photos.

SEE: iPhone 7: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)

The front camera is a 7MP FaceTime HD camera. This will be helpful for road warriors and remote workers alike, as it could provide a better experience for mobile video conferencing.

The new Retina HD display is now 25% brighter than previous generations. The iPhone 7 has stereo speakers with twice the volume and better quality sound. If you want to use headphones, the traditional auxiliary input jack is gone, and the Apple EarPods now connect via Lightning connector only. If you have traditional headphones, though, Apple will include an adapter in the box with the new iPhone 7 and 7+.

Apple also debuted a wireless version of its earbuds called AirPods. They use a W1 chip to enable "intelligent connection" and users can access Siri through the AirPods with a tap. The batteries provide five hours of listening per charge.

In terms of performance, the iPhone 7 has a new A10 Fusion 64-bit, four core processor. Using two high-efficient cores, tasks like checking email will take less battery power. It also has stronger graphics performance while consuming less power than previous models. Pro apps, like those from Adobe, can perform better on the device as well.

Storage-wise, the new iPhones will be available with 32GB, 128GB, or 256GB of space.

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Image: CNET

Apple also announced the Apple Watch Series 2. The watch is swim-proof, which is a fancy way of saying that it is water resistant up to 50 meters. Its second-generation SiP (system in a package) has a dual-core processor that's up to 50% faster, and a stronger GPU for better graphics performance as well.

A new display is easier to read, and the more powerful hardware allows for more complex apps to be built for the device. Built-in GPS will be good for business travelers, and developers can take advantage of it to build more contextual apps. Of course, watchOS 3 came to preview back in June, but Apple was expected to bring a new version of the hardware for quite some time.

Real-time collaboration is coming to the iWork suite as well. Apple showcased the functionality by editing the slide deck live on stage. Of course, Google Docs and Office 365 have had similar functionality for some time, and iWork has struggled to gain traction in the enterprise, but it's a welcome update.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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