What's in a year between Plus-sized iPhones? Nothing too dramatic, but, as Apple has a way of doing, there may end up being just enough newness to tempt upgraders. Let's help you make that call, as we compare last year's iPhone 6s Plus to the new iPhone 7 Plus.
Don't expect any size changes, as the iPhone 7 Plus has identical measurements to last year's 6s Plus.
The iPhone 7 Plus only shaved a few grams off its predecessor's weight. And both are heavier than the iPhone 6 Plus from two years ago.
iPhones have had aluminum unibody designs for the last five generations.
This is one of the few major changes in this year's iPhone: Rated IP67, it's protected against immersion in water up to 1 m (3.3 ft).
With the new models, space gray is out, and black (both matte and jet) are in.
Just keep in mind that the jet black option is limited to 128 GB and 256 GB storage options. Apple isn't above using a fancy new color to upsell some customers on a more expensive phone.
No differences here, as the iPhone keeps its 5.5-inch screen – and larger "chin" and "forehead" than many of its Android rivals have.
Pixel count also stands pat.
Leaks are pointing to next year's iPhone switching to AMOLED (perhaps to power an iPhone VR headset?), but Apple is sticking with IPS this year.
Apple's pressure-sensitive display, which gives you right-click-style shortcuts on your iPhone, has yet to become the must-have feature Apple was hoping it would.
Capacitive home button
Similar to Force Touch in new MacBook trackpads, the new iPhones have a capacitive home button that doesn't physically move, but uses some haptic feedback to make it feel like it is being clicked.
It isn't yet clear what advantage this provides – other than "neat!" – but we'll reserve judgment for our review.
Of course Apple's fingerprint sensor is back, also living inside that home button.
Finally: Apple has officially received the memo that 16 GB of internal storage is cruel and unusual punishment to inflict on customers in 2016. It's a long-overdue move, but apparently Apple has fully realized the urgency, as it even updated the older models, including the 6s Plus, to remove the 16 GB option.
We don't yet have the full specs on Apple's new A10 Fusion chip, but it's a pretty safe bet it will be a screamer.
Also no official word yet on RAM in the 7 Plus, though some unconfirmed benchmarks have suggested it will jump up to 3 GB.
The 7 Plus has a second camera on its backside.
HTC tried something similar a few years ago, but we suspect the iPhone's results will fare better than some of the hilariously off-key results that camera's bokeh shots often created.
That second camera gives the iPhone 7 Plus a 2x optical zoom option (if you weren't already aware, zooming on other phones is just a glorified crop).
The new iPhones get a higher-res front camera, to give you clearer selfies.
Camera aperture (rear)
The main camera in the new iPhone gets a wider aperture, which should help out in low-lit conditions.
Optical Image Stabilization is back this year.
No official word yet on the iPhone 7 Plus' battery capacity, but Apple is estimating "up to one hour longer" battery life compared to the 6s Plus.
We can dream about a flagship where we get much less "meh" promises like, oh, "twice as long," but that would mean sacrificing slim and sexy builds that help them sell in the first place.
Apple has still yet to add any kind of fast charging tech to the iPhone. Apple has fallen two years behind the Android competition on this front.
Apple decided to kill the headphone jack this year, instead asking you to use the iPhone's Lightning port (or just wireless headphones) to jam out to Spotify or Apple Music.
Both phones support Apple's mobile payments service.
Starting tomorrow, the iPhone 6s Plus will run the new iOS 10 update (stay tuned for our review).
Apple has been launching iPhones in this Fall (Northern hemisphere) slot since 2011.
Starting price (full retail)
The iPhone 7 Plus did get a $20 price hike over the $749 launch price of the 2014-15 Plus-sized iPhones. The 6s Plus, meanwhile, got the annual $100 price drop that last year's models always get.
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