Quick guide to the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus

UPDATE: Apple also announced today that Apple Pay would be available in New Zealand for the first time, allowing iPhone and Watch users to pay at a Paywave terminal, initially only through ANZ (also so far the only bank to offer Pay in Australia due to a dispute over who controls millions in interchange fees, and some banks' opposition to Apple blocking third-party digital wallets). The feature is "coming soon" for ANZ credit card holders.

EARLIER: Apple previewed its new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus at an event in San Francisco this morning, confirming a series of leaks — including that it would depart from its usual pattern of making a big change to the iPhone's shape every second year.

The new models are the same dimensions as 2015's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus respectively (which themselves were essentially the same form as 2014's 6 and 6 Plus) but are fractionally lighter.

The headline new features:

No headphone jack: The industry-standard headphone jack that has featured on previous iPhones is dispensed with. The iPhone 7 will come with earbuds that plug into its Lightning jack, plus an adapter for connecting "old" earbuds or headphones to the Lightning port. Given the inconvenience factor of not being able to charge and plug in headphones at the same time, and the annoyingly short battery life of wireless headphones, this will be a controversial one.

Wireless earbuds: Apple will separately ship AirPods ($289, pictured) in late October. Although these wireless earbuds will work with any iPhone, they will particularly support the headphone jack-free iPhone 7. Apple says they'll have five hours battery life and be able to detect your voice for calling, or commanding Siri. In a hands-on review, Wired says they "look crazy but work great".

A new home button: It's "click-less" but pressure-senstive and gives a haptic feedback physical response wen you click it.  A Verge reviewer, who has tried it hands on, calls it "awful".

Dual camera setup, optical zoom: Cellphone cameras have traditionally had two major drawbacks: poor performance in low light, and no zoom (bar simulated "digital zoom" and all the pixelation that entails). The larger of the two new models, the iPhone 7 Plus, features two 12-megapixel cameras. One for wide angles, one for 2x optical zoom.

Stereo speakers: The removal of the headphone jack allows for the addition of stereo speakers (a first for Apple but already a mainstay for high-end Androids). Apple says they are twice as loud as the iPhone 6 s' speaker, and offer better dynamic range for speakerphone calls.

Water and dust proofing: To the IP67 standard, so your iPhone 7 should be fine if you wear it in the shower or drop it in a pool (just don't try a recharge when it's wet, Apple warns). Good to see but, again, playing catch-up with the top Androids.

Brighter screens: Apple says the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will have the same resolution Retina screens as their predecessors, but the display will be 25% brighter (that sounds like a major drain on battery life, but Apple claims the new models will have the longest battery life of any iPhone).

Faster processor: Apple says the iPhone 7's new A10 Fusion chip will be twice as powerful as the processor used in the 6 s series but draw less power. As with a number of top-shelf Androids already on the market, it has two sets of cores: a "little" one for handling routine operations and a "big" one for more demanding tasks.

New colours: The iPhone 7 will come in five colours: silver, gold, rose gold (as per the 6 s series) plus new black and "jet black" options (jet black being the glossy option billed as "piano black" in leaks). Predictably, jet black will be initially restricted to the more expensive models (see pricing below).

Apple also previewed the next generation of its Watch. As expected, the signature new feature is GPS. The new Watch series also gets waterproofing. While welcoming the addition of GPS for tracks runs etc, US tech commentator David Pogue complains it reduces battery life from 18 hours to five hours. 

The new Watch will also come bundled with Nintendo's Pokemon Go. A new Apple-Nintendo partnership will also see the Japanese company's Super Mario Run available for iOS and bundled with the iPhone 7. Nintendo shares jumped 28% on the news, regaining a lot of the ground they lost after the Go-driven spike in July faded. 

VIDEO: the new Apple Watch

iPhone 7 and accessories: New Zealand pricing & availability

  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in silver, gold, rose gold and the new black finish in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models starting at $1199 inc.GST for iPhone 7 and $1429 inc.GST for iPhone 7 Plus and the new jet black finish will be offered exclusively on the 128GB and 256GB models.
  • Orders will open Fri September 9 with availability from Fri September 16
  • The AirPods including charging case will be available from late Oct for $269  
  • All iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models will include AirPods with lightning connector and a lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, also sold separately at Apple.com for $49 & $15 respectively.
  • Apple-designed accessories including leather and silicone cases will cost $59
  • An iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case will be offered in black and white for $169
  • Lightning Docks in several colour-matching metallic finishes will also be available fo $95
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