Apple accused of lacking innovation and ripping off customers with iPhone 7

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iPhone 7 release has prompted a barrage of abuse towards Apple on social media, with many bemoaning its decision to remove the standard 3.5mm headphone jack and charging £159 for its own ‘AirPods’ 

Apple unveiled its latest iPhone incarnations the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus yesterday evening (September 7) in San Francisco prompting mixed reaction from customers, the channel and industry analysts alike.

A quick search on Twitter (#iPhone7) showed an overwhelming majority were underwhelmed by the latest models, the 14th and 15th since 2007, accusing the manufacturer of playing catch-up with its rivals for features. In total, 1.36 million tweets were sent about the Apple launch last night.

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The biggest frustrations however were reserved for Apple’s decision to axe its 3.5mm AUX headphone jack with its own lightening socket – which also charges the device. It means customers will have to not be able to use their own headsets with the device without an adaptor, which will be included in the box.

Apple has received similar criticism for its decision to not include industry standard USB charging sockets for its phones, something adopted by all other handset manufacturers.

The manufacturer will also no longer include headphone with the device. During the event it announced its new AirPod wireless earphones, which will retail for £159.

Twitter blows up

‘The iPhone 7 is the biggest disappointment so far,’ @dejankovacevic

‘Death of the iPhone. Steve Jobs must be rolling in his grave.’ @xero0992

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‘New iPhone looks disappointing and not a huge upgrade. Taking features already on previous phones.’ @ajwhittingtond

‘Not enthusiastic at all. What happened to those days when I was excited to buy a new iPhone?’ @calvindean

‘They made the iPhone 7 water resistant so your tears can flow over it when you realise it has almost the same features as the previous model’ @waleednasir00 

‘If disappointment is what I expected, Apple didn’t disappoint me’ @deepakbest 

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Analysts reaction

Industry analysts have also had their say on the launch, with many remaining upbeat that Apple can turn halt its consecutive decline in quarterly sales

Ben Wood, chief of research, CCS Insight
Ben Wood, chief of research, CCS Insight

Ben Wood, chief of research CCS Insight hailed Apple’s decision to provide significant differentiation on the new models compared with previous incarnations, which it has received considerable criticism for.

Whilst some have been critical, Wood described the removal of the headphone jack with its own lightening cable as a “masterstroke,” one which presents it with lucrative revenue opportunities over the next year and beyond.

“Although some may view the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus as incremental improvements, Apple has proven many times over that iteration wins when underpinned by the Apple brand, installed based and ecosystem.

“In the context of a smartphone market that is firmly in an innovation drought, there’s a strong argument that the iPhone 7 is more than an iterative update”

“Upgrades are all important to Apple and for consumers coming from an iPhone 5s or iPhone 6, the iPhone 7 will feel like a considerable step up.’

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“The removal of the headphone jack will be the spark for widespread innovation in accessories and a meaningful revenue opportunity for Apple. 12 months from now, the removal of the headphone jack will be viewed as an Apple masterstroke.

“Apple is providing the first real differentiation of standard and Plus variants beyond just screen size with the dual camera and supporting features. This could see a tangible change to product mix and boost ASP.

“iPhones have had a poor reputation when it comes to accidental drops and water damage. The IP67 rating on the iPhone 7 will be welcome news for careless owners and will doubtless hurt some of the numerous repair shops that have appeared on every high street.

Uswitch employee Ernest Doku praised Apple for its improvements to features, such as the camera and water resistance, but remains unconvinced the device will help holt it recent quarterly sales decline.

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“Despite being touted as a credible numbered sequel, it was difficult to escape the feeling that the iPhone 7 is very much an iterative device rather than the step change needed to allay concerns of falling fortunes.

“Having said that, the device nailed the key features consumers look for in a flagship smartphone, from an improved display and increased resilience to water and dust, to an improved camera and better battery life.

“Only time will tell if this is the model to help Apple to break away from Samsung, who is aggressively biting at their heels with a strong line-up in the Galaxy S7 and Edge.”

“The iPhone 7 is the apex of the design we’ve been seeing for a number of years, refined with richer materials and adding yet more colour variants; albeit two of the five models are shades of black.”

“The loss of the headphone jack is likely to divide opinion. The pricey AirPod earphones are part style statement, part practicality, but Apple just didn’t seem to land a persuasive justification for the bold move. The headphone adaptor helps bridge the gap, but suggests a lack of commitment to something touted as a courageous step.”

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Chief strategy officer at Blancco Technology Group, Richard Stiennon believes the decision to replace the headphone jack with its own lightening port will matter little to Apple customers, and claimed improvements to its camera puts its back on a level playing field with rival Samsung.

“The lightning port will act as the device’s audio, which means third-party (i.e. Bose) headsets and other accessories no longer work. But when it comes to Apple, people tend to follow what the company puts out. I anticipate users will buy connectors to attach their older accessories when they buy the new iPhone 7.

Apple has always adopted the philosophy of eliminating older features and adding newer, more sophisticated ones. That innovation is critical to why the iPhone has been as popular and renowned by users, engineers and industry experts alike.

“The dual lens camera is the most significant benefit of the iPhone 7. It will definitely improve the overall image quality of photos and will take better photos in low-light conditions. I think this new feature will help Apple catch up to the superior camera functionality of Samsung devices – it’s the one area/feature where Apple has lagged behind Samsung. By introducing it into the new phone will help them catch up and possibly steal loyal Samsung users away.

Stiennon also praised Apple’s decision to make the iPhone 7 its first waterproof device.

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“Being water-resistant will definitely help, as it’s quite common for users to drop water on their phones. And when that’s usually happened, it’s damaged the phones either partially or completely rendered them dead. So making it water-resistant will alleviate customer frustrations and possibly reduce the number of returned devices. But it will also be challenging because it means the device has more complex design needs and hence, would increase the complexity of repairs that would need to performed on them.”

Stephen Ebbett, global director of gadget insurer Protect Your Bubble described Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack as “controversial”, but believe updated to features and design has silenced its critics.

“Apple aren’t averse to the odd controversial step, but the decision to remove a headphone jack port from the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models is truly a marmite move.

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“Regardless of your take on it, the latest iteration of Apple’s ever-popular iPhone is proof of how they’re constantly looking to innovate in an increasingly busy space.As expected, they’ve silenced the critics’ quibbles by amping up the camera’s quality in low light – which includes a dual camera for the larger iPhone 7 Plus model.

“A savvy move, as ever-improving camera apps are putting the onus on the hardware providers to rise to the challenge of developing tech that’s as sharp as their users’ expectations.

“Then there’s the flourish of additional colour options and water resistance, which will bring the iPhone in line with some of its Android competitors.’

1 COMMENT

  1. Apple really stuffed up.
    NO Not in 1 year from now will they be hailed for a master stroke in innovation apple have never been innovative they have always been copy cats slave drivers of devices made by slaves in factories unfit for human workers.

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