On September 4, Apple provided the iOS 10 update and revealed the long-anticipated iPhone 7 three days later.
Last year, the iOS 9 update included emojis with different skin tones, generating a positive reaction from iPhone users. iOS 10 brought out new emojis as well. There are now female athletes, police officers and detectives, men with turbans, single parent families and the rainbow flag.
Not all emojis have gotten positive reactions. Apple made the decision to replace its pistol emoji with a plastic water gun, making a bold statement against gun usage in everyday lives. Apple has a history of standing up to powerful organizations. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook refused to help the FBI hack into San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s phone, and this year Apple is standing up to the NRA and gun lobbyists.
The idea to get rid of the pistol emoji came from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, who started a campaign to get rid of the pistol emoji, called #DisarmTheiPhone. They wrote an open letter to Apple, asking them to “stand with the American people and remove the gun emoji from all your products as a symbolic gesture to limit gun accessibility.”
iOS 10 is a complete reformation of what the iPhone can do. Other new features include revolutionary additions to text messaging. You can now send handwritten and invisible messages, pictures and symbols. It’s also possible to replace certain words with emojis by a simple tap of the finger, as well as turn on read receipts for specific people.
Furthermore, there are several special effects in which you can send messages with emphasis. Options include “loud” messages sent with a bang, “gentle” messages sent in a small font that eventually gets larger and messages that include a “slam” effect. There are also different screens in which you can send texts with balloons, lasers, fireworks and other wacky effects.
Other than emojis and texting, major changes are a bolder font, a new way to unlock the iPhone, the ability to delete preinstalled apps (such as Stocks, Watch, etc.) and the layout of the Music app. To unlock the iPhone, you now have to press the home button in addition to scanning your fingerprint. There’s also no more “slide to unlock,” which provided an easy way to enter in passcodes without as much hassle.
Overall, iOS 10 has gotten a mixed reaction, but many are wary of the iPhone 7 due to some controversial changes to the phone.
The new iPhone 7 doesn’t have a headphone jack, so FaceTiming in your dorm room and even listening to music will be a hassle. There is an alternative, though. Apple announced its wireless headphones, called AirPods. Their battery lasts up to five hours on one full charge, recognize your voice and include sensors and motions that know when you take them out and put them back in your ears. Airpods do come with the phone, if you should choose to buy it.
Apple has been called out for its failures to provide users what they really want, while many of its advanced characteristics have gone unnoticed. The iPhone 7 is water-resistant and has a better camera quality and resolution, presenting results as “more representative of what you see with your own eyes,” said CNN writer Heather Kelly. In his review of the new iPhone for The Verge, Nilay Patel calls it “the future in disguise.”
Whether or not you like the updates, it’s clear that both iOS 10 and the iPhone 7 are changing the way we communicate and see the world. Even their minute details, such as certain emojis and camera resolution, hold such large influences on our lives. Being able to enjoy and criticize technological advancements shows just how much we care about these products and how we’ll still use them in the years to come.