Apple says hello to new iPhones, goodbye to headphone jack, home button

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Apple has axed the headphone jack and home button in its latest iPhone and introduced dual cameras, using its annual smart device event to also launch its next generation watch.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will go on sale in more than 25 countries from next Friday (16 September).

The rumoured removal of the headphone jack was the most notable change. Apple has built new AirPods that wirelessly connect to the devices using its new low power W1 chip. Consumers can also connect headphones with the traditional 3.5mm jack by using a Lightning adaptor that plugs into the smartphones.

With the characteristic understatement the mobile industry has come to expect from Apple events, Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing outlined the rationale behind the move. He said: "It really comes down to one word: courage. The courage to move on and do something better for all of us."

The AirPods have five hours of battery life on one charge and carry dual optical sensors and accelerometers, which detect when the pods are in a user's ears. They will go on sale in late October, priced £159.

The iPhone 7 Plus comes with two cameras. The first is the same 12MP wide-angle camera as the iPhone 7, with the second a 12MP telephoto camera that offers twice as much optical zoom and up to ten times digital zoom.

Apple has also introduced a new Image Signal Processor, 7MP front-facing camera and Quad-LED True Tone flash that is 50 percent brighter than that of the iPhone 6s.

Both smartphones will be powered by the new A10 Fusion chip, comprising two high performance cores running up to twice as fast as the iPhone 6, and two high efficiency cores running at a claimed one fifth the power of other high performance cores.

Both devices are splash, water and dust resistant, and support up to 25 LTE bands, as well as LTE Advanced.

The traditional mechanical home button, a fixture on Apple smartphones since the original iPhone, has been axed in favour of a force sensitive static version built directly into the device.

The launches will coincide with iOS 10, which aim to integrate Siri and 3D Touch further into apps.

Paul Erickson, Senior Analyst, Connected Home at IHS Technology, said: "Apple’s new products match, rather than exceed, the technological envelope already created by competitors in the audio and mobile accessories markets. However, when taken in combination with the W1 chipset, a rise in convenience is offset by a clear aggregate move by Apple to move iOS device owners’ accessories purchases away from third parties and industry standards, and more distinctly into Apple’s own product families.

"This is particularly relevant given declining iPhone sales, the healthy growth of the overall headphone market, and Beats’ position atop the pile in high end headphone revenues. It should be noted that wireless models are the highest revenue-generating products within the headphone market, as well.

"In totality, these moves represent Apple’s desire to bolster declining mobile device revenues by capturing as much of its device owners’ expenditures in the burgeoning audio accessories market as possible – via a deliberate transition away from industry audio standards and towards ones it controls, and the introduction of unique proprietary functionality."

Meanwhile, Apple is targeting health for the next generation of its smartwatch, which will also go on sale on 16 September. Apple Watch Series 2 boasts GPS, an updated operating system, water resistance, a dual-core processor and will be priced £369.

The Series 1 version of the device only has the dual-core processor and GPU and will be priced £269. A scratch-resistant ceramic Apple Watch Edition is on sale priced £1,249.