The Good

  1. Entire Screen will be Touch ID

This is a potential addition to the new iPhone as dozens of rumors have surfaced about it following Apple winning the patent for the concept. This could be one of the most revolutionary and significant additions to the iPhone, but it is incredibly unlikely. Not only would this technology take up a significant amount of the display, but it would also take up a lot of battery power. If this was added, the size of the iPhone would have to increase dramatically to fit the technology and a larger battery.

  1. OLED Screen

This technology has existed in Android phones for a while, and finally Apple will/might be joining the force. OLED Screens are more vibrant in colors, more battery efficient, and allow opportunities for technologies such as the entire screen Touch ID.

  1. Edge-to-edge display

The bezel of the iPhone has been widely criticized and it would not be surprising if Apple adopted an edge-to-edge display as seen on the Moto X.

  1. Dual Camera Lens

Apple has already added this to their iPhone 7 Plus, and users are clearly loving it. From allowing them to zoom with clarity to the beautiful portrait camera mode, the dual camera of the iPhone 7 Plus is amazing. Apple may continue with making this feature solely available on their largest and most expensive product, to maintain its value, but there is a chance they could add this to all sizes of the new iPhone.

  1. Removal of Home Button

One of the most notable iPhone 8 rumors is the removal of the Home Button or at least it moving to the left side of the screen. Apple has already removed the button part of its home button by simply mimicking the clicking sensation through a Taptic Engine. It is rumored that Apple will remove the home button entirely and make the entire bottom half an area available for “home button usage” and Touch ID. The rumor is incredibly vague, and therefore there are infinite possibilities of where Apple could go.

  1. Touch Bar

Instead of the entire screen having Touch ID, it is more likely that the bottom part of the iPhone will be made into a Touch Bar that does not have a home button and utilizes ultrasound technology to make that portion of the screen entirely fingerprint-sensitive. This would resemble the touch screen of the same name on the new Macbook Pro. The Touch Bar on the Macbook Pro also has Touch ID, perhaps foreshadowing its addition on the iPhone. The Touch Bar on the iPhone could have the same function as on the Macbook Pro and offer customizable usage with each app you are on.

  1. Face Scanner

Similar to Windows Hello, Apple could potentially be adding facial recognition software through their FaceTime Camera. Although this is unlikely to replace their beloved Touch ID, it could be used to unlock the iPhone and make apps more personal and interactive.

The Bad

  1. USB-C ports

It is rumored that Apple is searching for “Type-C Power Delivery Technology,” making researchers and writers conclude that Apple will be implementing the USB-C port in the new iPhone. However, this was debunked by Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who said that the Lightning Port will remain in the iPhone. The high-speed data transmission of USB-C is not significant enough for Apple to change their monopolized port, Kuo claims. Also, because Apple made a huge deal about the lightning port being incredibly versatile, at least enough to replace the headphone jack, they would not get rid of it the next year. To get faster power delivery, Apple will likely adopt Texas Instrument’s (Apple’s long-time partner) power management and Cypress’s power delivery technology.

  1. Best iPhone (iPhone Edition) will not arrive until November

Another bad rumor about the iPhone is that the best version of the iPhone and Apple’s future claim to fame as the ten-year anniversary of the iPhone will not be available until far later in the year. It is rumored that the iPhone 7s will arrive in July, while the iPhone 8/Anniversary iPhone/iPhone Edition/iPhone X/The-iPhone-Of-Many-Names will arrive in November.

  1. Will cost over $1,000

This new iPhone 8, or the iPhone of many names, is rumored to cost over $1,000. iPhone prices have been rising over time, the iPhone 4 with the largest amount of storage costed $299 while the modern iPhone 7 Plus with the largest amount of storage costs a flat payment of $969. Because of the advanced technology of the iPhone 8 and the fact that it is the 10 year anniversary, it is likely that Apple will bump up the price.

  1. Wireless charging

A widely-spoken leg-up that Samsung has on Apple is their wireless charging feature. Android-lovers and Apple-critics alike use this solitary feature to place themselves above the iPhone. Although wireless charging is visually and aesthetically pleasing, the technology is simply not at the point we want to where it is practical. Apple must be pragmatic after abandoning the headphone jack, and wireless charging is simply not useful enough for them to sacrifice a metal architecture and make their device thicker to implement.

The Ugly

  1. Curved glass back

Although this could be incredibly cool and visually pleasing, there are way more negative effects of a glass back, let alone it being curved. First, the glass attracts tons of fingerprints, as seen on the new iPhone Jet Black color and the old iPhone 4s. Secondly, if the back is made of glass, it is more vulnerable to shattering, a huge problem with the iPhone 4s. Additionally, if the back is curved, the phone is that much more vulnerable to shattering.

  1. Curved Screen

Much like the iPhone’s rival the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Apple is supposedly considering curving the iPhone display. Although this is cool technology, it is frankly nearly useless, and its vulnerability to cracking greatly outweighs its attractive physical appearance. Not only that, but this nearly useless feature could be replaced by more useful technology such as the Touch Bar or even the entire screen having Touch ID.

George Bernard Shaw, an Irish playwright and critic, once said, “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.” As eloquent as this quotation is, it comes down to one simple truth: history repeats itself. On September 7th, 2016, Apple dropped the headphone jack and there were mixed responses. Most people resulted to condemning Apple on social media, few praised Apple for their efforts to modernize, and some, or maybe just me, slowly cried themselves to sleep next to their analog headphones. No matter the case there is one thing for certain: Apple got rid of the headphone jack and we are mostly upset. But, is this the first time Apple has gotten rid of old technology on their phones, replaced it with the lightning port in efforts to modernize their phones, and we all have responded radically negatively? Definitely not.

Recall back to 2012, when Phil Schiller, dare I mention the name, announced that Apple would get rid of their old 30-pin connector as their charging port for the new, modern lightning connector.

In this event, Schiller explained, “A lot has changed and it is time for the connector to evolve.” Apple has had a history of seeking thinner phones, as he said, “It is more durable, and much easier to use because now you can plug it into either direction it doesn’t matter. And best of all for the engineering team to make a product like this, it is 80% smaller.” He concludes his speech by calming his audience with, “This is a 30-pin to lightning adapter. And it works just like you would expect. You can plug a 30-pin connector into it, and into your iPhone 5.” This is irrefutably exactly like the predicament Apple has themselves in now. They got rid of an old port that iPhone users loved, and replaced it with the lightning port because it is inherently more useful. On top of that, they met consumers halfway by offering a cheap adapter for all their devices that use the old port.

The initial response to this sudden change was Apple being criticized by the media for cultivating a scheme for users to buy new chargers, thereby boosting Apple’s profits in a moment of weakness. However, as the lightning charger became more popular, consumers began to realize its benefits, and how necessary the change was to engineering a more innovative device for years to come. The new lightning port provided many more opportunities for innovations in the phone, as there was a significant amount of new, open space. There is not a soul out there that would prefer the 30-pin on their device at this moment, and everyone has come to understand that it is smaller, reversible, and faster, all qualities that are required in a contemporary smartphone.

So, yes, history does repeat itself. At the moment, Apple may seem like a bunch of supervillains sitting in the towers of 1 Infinite Loop slowly milking the money out of your pockets with new lightning headphones. But in reality, even if they are these antagonists and are unaware of it, they are simply forcing consumers into the future. It is necessary for us to recognize that the analog headphone jack is outdated, and just like the 30-pin connector that we held so dear, it must be removed from the modern iPhone.

For perspective, here are some things that Phil Schiller said in 2012 versus what he said in 2016. They are shockingly similar:

2012 2016
“What about all the devices and speakers and connectors you have now, that already use the 30-pin connector?”…“This is a 30-pin to lightning adapter.” “Now we know there are people in the world who do have some analog, old connected devices out there.”…“We have also made this, it is lightning to mini phono adapter.”
“[The 30-pin connector] has served us well for almost a decade. But so much has changed since we first created that 30-pin connector” “[The headphone jack] has been with us a really long time. I’m sure you know the source of this miniphono jack is over 100 years old, used to help quickly exchange in switchboards.”
“So many of the things we used to do over the wire, we now do wirelessly.” “We do have a vision for how audio should work on mobile devices, and that takes us to our next feature: Wireless.”
“We are working with accessory makers to have them integrate lightning connectors into products you may choose to buy.” “[The lightning port] is perhaps the largest digital audio connection in the world. And there are speakers and headphones that decided to take advantage of it.”
“[Lightning] is adaptive to what those signals need to be for the different accessories you might need to plug into.” “We designed lightning to be a great digital audio connector.”

On September 7th, 2016, we all suffered a great loss. On this day, Apple announced their iPhone 7 would not have a headphone jack, which is one of the most universally used analog audio connectors. The headphone jack was a great utility, and it will be forever missed. And because it’s riddance was announced by Apple, we can almost confirm that it will never be seen again, as its absence will be popularized by the massive corporation. Following their announcement, there was much confusion as to why Apple would do something so seemingly horrendous, alongside the belittlement of Phil Schiller for his whole self-proclaimed “courage” rant. To fully understand their decision, we must first look at what the headphone jack is, and where it came from.

The headphone jack dates back to 1888, following the invention and popularity of the telephone. They were used to speed up the process of telephone switchboards, where workers would use these double-sided audio connection cables to connect one person to another over the phone. It was a very simple concept and, at the time, very efficient. 76 years later in 1964, Sony popularized what we know as the 3.5 mm jack that apparently we hold so dearly to our mobile devices. This technology remained the same until 52 years after that, it suddenly, shockingly disappeared on Apple’s new iPhone 7. For perspective, the headphone jack was invented in the same year as the ballpoint pen and the portable camera.

Here are some things invented after the headphone jack:

  • Zippers
  • Gasoline powered cars
  • Frozen packaged food
  • Velcro
  • Rollerblades (invented nearly 100 years after)

If you are not getting the picture: The headphone jack is ancient.

But just because something is old does not mean it should be tossed away, as the common saying goes, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” So why would Apple get rid of it?

Well, according to Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Apple, “it really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on, do something new that betters all of us. And our team has tremendous courage.” To most people, this was far less than satisfying. It seems as if they are making us buy entirely new sets of headphones or carry around a weird adapter thing that’s so small you lose it just by looking at it so that they can call themselves courageous. Not off to a hot start, Phil.

He quickly follows it up explaining that, “our smartphones are packed with technologies and we all want more. We want bigger and brighter displays, we want larger batteries, we want faster processors, we want stereo speakers, we want taptic engines, we want all of that, and it’s all fighting for space within that same enclosure, and maintaining an ancient, single-purpose, analog, big connector doesn’t make sense because that space is at a premium.” Here is where it gets a bit more honest and reassuring.

In fact, Apple did not do this in vain, the new space acquired by getting rid of the headphone jack allowed them to give way for 5 new innovations:

  1. A new Taptic Engine that is twice as big as that of the iPhone 6s and supports their enclosed home button, giving users the opportunity to customize their home button
  2. A significantly bigger battery that Dan Riccio, Apple’s Senior VP of hardware engineering, said increased the battery of the iPhone 7 by 14%, or nearly 2 hours of battery life
  3. A new stereo speaker system that is louder and more widespread
  4. A barometer that is so accurate Apple claims it can track if you walk up a set of stairs
  5. Dramatically increased water and dust resistance ranked at IP67. Less ports led to a more enclosed phone that can survive depths larger than that of the Samsung Galaxy S7 according to tests by EverythingApplePro

These innovations go far, and the lightning port will work just fine for transmitting audio, and it might even be better. Phil Schiller, during the announcement of the iPhone 7, said, “from the start we designed lightning to be a great digital audio connector.” This is undeniably true as Schiller said in 2012 when they announced the new lightning port that, “[lightning] is adaptive to what those signals need to be for the different accessories you might need to plug into.” This might bring into question, how long has Apple been planning this step forward?

Nevertheless, the iPhone will still sell. According to a study of over 70 million iOS devices by Localytics, in its first weekend, the iPhone 7 took over 1% of the iPhone market, with the 7 Plus at .2%. This is very small deviation from the iPhone 6s’s 1% and 6s Plus’s .3%. Despite this difference, the iPhone 7 was expected to sell 13 million models in its first weekend, way above that of the 6s according to Localytics’ Caitlin O’Connell. Localytics is the only trusted source of Apple’s sales, as the corporation refused to release their sales in the first weekend, most likely to avoid condemnation by the media. However, Apple was able to announce that the response to the iPhone 7 was greater than what they expected, with significant backorders and a large amount of sales online. All in all, no, the loss of the headphone jack will barely, if at all, affect Apple’s sales.

Another contributing factor to the lack of negative feedback to the iPhone 7’s sales is the growing popularity of Bluetooth headphones. According to a study by NPD on July 28th, 2016, Bluetooth headphones had actually surpassed that of analog headphones in June of 2016. Bluetooth headphones accounted for 56% of all headphones sales, with 65% of that being sold by Beats, which is owned by Apple, and LG.

So, was it truly a good idea in the end? Well, we must consider a few different ideas: Apple’s reasoning, what they put in place of the headphone jack, their sales, the growth of Bluetooth, and, finally, will it work?

Apple’s reasoning: Legitimate. Yes, we need to free up some space for all the things that we want. But this is not courageous, investing in Tidal is courageous.

What they put in place: Legitimate. The enclosing of the home button by the Taptic engine makes it sleeker and more water proof. We all love a bigger battery, especially to compensate for a more powerful phone. Speaker system could be useful, and the barometer is pretty impressive.

Their sales: Indifferent. Their sales did dip a little bit, no doubt about that, however it did not dip enough for this to define this as a bad move by Apple.

The growth of Bluetooth: Helpful. The growth of Bluetooth simply buttresses, or softens the blow of, this change. The growth of Bluetooth is dramatic, and it is for the better.

Will it work: Yes, but not for a while. Until Bluetooth becomes more popular in which all consumers are using them, this change will probably not turn a huge profit for Apple. Nevertheless, Apple is forcing their consumers to purchase Bluetooth more regularly, and we should see a large growth in Bluetooth headphones, despite it already being a growing product. The headphone jack does take up a significant portion of phones, and perhaps the new technology in its place will divert consumers’ attention and help Apple make phones better than ever before. Apple may have dropped the headphone jack too soon and this decision may have been rushed so that they would not have to announce it on their 10-year anniversary iPhone coming next fall, but, despite their rush for consumers to modernize, we should still see headphone jacks become less common, and within about 7 years perhaps become obsolete.

Over the past few years, Bluetooth headphones have entered the market. High-end brands such as Bowers & Wilkins decided to stay out of the market because the company claimed Bluetooth did not provide the ability to deliver high-quality audio. B&W has entered the market with the help of aptX which delivers higher quality audio – however devices such as the iPhone do not support aptX. The P5 Wireless headphones bear a resemblance in hardware to the P5 Series 2 headphones (Wired). The wireless headphones are in the luxury price range at $400, a $100 increase from the wired P5.

The design of the wireless headphones is basically the same as the P5 Series 2. It sports the aluminum design along with leather ear pads that provide an elegant design. It is evident that B&W carefully thought through the design challenges of a wireless headphone. For example, below the right ear pad, the MicroUSB charging port is cleverly hidden. In the event, the headphones run out of battery, one of the ear pads can be removed to insert an audio cable. The headphones come with a beautiful quilted case to store the headphones with a hidden compartment to store the charging cable and audio cable.

When testing the P5 wireless headphones on an aptX supported device, the audio quality was incredibly clear. Compared to the wired versions of the P5, it was hard to tell a difference in audio quality. On non-aptX devices (such as the iPhone), there was a marginal change in audio quality, but the difference was only noticeable to trained ear.

The P5 wireless headphones are not noise cancelling headphones, but it does a good job for the most part. The only time I notice a difference is on flights when noise cancelling headphones are necessary. One benefit of the P5 wireless headphones not being noise cancelling is the extended battery life, it is reported to play for 17 hours (compared to Beats Studio Wireless noise cancelling headphones at 9hrs). If noise cancelling is a must, these headphones are not for you. In my testing, I didn’t notice a huge difference except on airplanes. I preferred the 8-hour battery life gain since I rarely ran out of battery and it gave me one less thing to worry about charging.

The P5 wireless is a beautifully designed headphone that delivers a high-quality audio experience. These headphones require some compromise and this experience is not for everyone. But, if you are looking for high-quality headphones that block most noise and desire longer battery life, these are the headphones for you.

Low Cost: Cheerson CX-20

Price: $300

A great drone for anyone starting out. When I first got my Cheerson CX-20 I beat, dropped, and slammed into walls. Eventually the drone broke after a few months, but this was a great way to learn how to fly. The Cheerson lacks a high end interface and auto pilot controls, but through this lack of technology I became a better pilot. Having moved on from my Cheerson onto more advanced drones (that basically fly themselves), I would have never gotten to my skill level had it not been for the Cheerson. The Cheerson is a basic quadcopter with similar resemblance to the older DJI Phantom. The UAV does not come equipped with a built in Camera so you will have to snap on a GoPro. Incase you would like a more advanced drone without the price, you can always upgrade your CX-20 with a POV monitor, gimbal, and other accessories at $50 to $100 at a time.

Note: Cheerson has updated to the CX-22 (but it costs twice as much)

Medium Cost: Xiro Xplorer

Price: $800

Probably one of the best valued drones on the market is the Xiro Xplorer. There are two models sold by Xiro including the Xplorer G equipped with a 3-Axis gimbal for your GoPro, or the Xplorer V equipped with an in-house camera created by Xiro delivering crisp 1080p video. The Xiro Xplorer is a very durable and well made device that looks like it should cost twice as much as it does. It also includes much of the technology expected from higher end drones like video streaming, a specially design app, orbit mode, follow mode, and many other features. This is a high end drone, without the high end price tag.

Note: Watch out for the Xiro’s new Xplorer2!

High Cost: 3DR Solo

Price (UAV): $1000

Price (Gimbal): $400

Deemed the smartest drone on the market, it is hard to disagree after my first flight. The 3DR Solo has a noticably sleek and clean look as compared to its ugly competitor the DJI Phantom. Compared to the DJI Phantom the 3DR Solo only lacks in its range, but can be fixed for $20 dollars by buying range extenders and ends up bettering the Phantom. 3DR put time in to developing one of the best applications for their drone, so that a beginner will have the ability to take professional quality shots. The Solo is able to keep itself very steady in the wind, launch itself, orbit, follow, cable follow, and much more (not to mention the updates). If you have the cash, the 3DR Solo is worth the investment as a beginner drone as it is not very difficult to fly.

Note: Don’t worry about model updates as the 3DR Solo has updates that change its dynamics and expansion bay allows for extra accessories to be attached.