Will the iPhone 7 be a hit for Apple or not?

Ernest Doku
Apple Holds Press Event To Introduce New iPhone
The iPhone 7 goes on sale this week (Source: Getty)

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have landed.

With pre-orders opened and models racing into stores on 16 September, no doubt we’ll once again witness images of snaking queues of eager Apple devotees keen to part with their money.

Apple made all the hyperbolic comparisons and numerical naming changes to suggest that this was a year of a true iPhone sequel rather than an incremental upgrade in the build up to the launch... but is that what we got?

Despite tempered expectations - thanks to the voracious rumour mill and a huge number of leaks that spoiled many of Apple’s surprises - those expecting a fresh take in the iPhone 7 will have found themselves slightly let down.

Read more: Here's what analysts are saying about the iPhone 7

However, does it do enough to stand head-and-shoulders in an increasingly competitive smartphone space?

1. New features (or the lack of)

By focusing their attention on making core upgrades to the existing iPhone rather than adding fundamentally new features, Apple failed to deliver the drastic overhaul so many have come to expect from their "tick-tock" release cycles.

And the new features Apple did reveal, such as IP67 water and dust resistance, more internal memory and an improved battery life, rather served to bring this new pair of iPhones alongside the standard currently offered by flagship competition, attempting to justify their place at the head of the smartphone pack rather than make any bid to thrill consumers.

The 7 Plus’s dual camera is a perfect example - while it’s the first iPhone to offer this feature, similar technology had been unveiled at the LG G5’s launch back in February, as well as present in the impressive Huawei P9 in April.

2. Loss of headphone jack

Leaked images that suggested the iPhone 7 would see the loss of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack proved to be one of the largest - and most divisive - rumours, one which proved to be true as the devices were revealed.

Citing the change as a courageous one, Apple seems eager to drag both consumers and the mobile industry into an era of wireless connectivity - except for when it comes to charging.

Also, by offering a Lightning-to-3.5mm adaptor for free in the box, they seem to tacitly acknowledge that this change will be a bitter loss for the many that have invested heavily into existing audio equipment.

The choice to unveil a pair of wireless AirPods mark a major step forward, but with a hefty price tag of £159 and a somewhat questionable design, it’s difficult to see this as much more than a first generation design that will no doubt require further refinement.

Read more: Everyone is going nuts for Apple's AirPod headphones

3. iPhone 7 Plus doesn’t differentiate

The 7 Plus struggles to set itself apart from the iPhone 7, with the former’s dual-camera being the key differentiator.

It will be a challenge to see consumers opt for the Plus solely on its improved camera and larger screen. The optical image stabilisation that set the 6 Plus apart is now present in both models - an admittedly impressive feat in a smaller device.

But all that’s not to say Apple doesn’t put up a fight in many respects.

The design is a well-considered, thought-out build on the classic iPhone design that’s loved by millions - and it’s now available in two new colours.

Despite what was branded by Jonathan Ive as a “deliberate evolution”, recent fortunes suggest consumers perceive the - admittedly successful - brand as one that has begun to stagnate compared to their lauded position as industry innovator.

Read more: Meet Apple's iPhone 7

As competitors have begun to turn up the heat in the style stakes - Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge and Huawei’s P9 received rapturous critical receptions for form and features alike upon their release - some of the sheen has begun to fade on Apple’s iconic iPhone design.

With pre-orders now open ahead of the official "on sale" date this Friday (16 September), we’ll soon see if the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have what it takes to steal a march and leave the competition wanting.