Read early reviews of the new iPhone 7, Netflix fights back against data caps, Instagram lets you block certain words, Sony releases a major PS4 update, and people still queue for days for the new iPhone.
An Early iPhone 7 Reviews Roundup
As you’re no doubt aware by now, Apple unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last week. To the surprise of no one, the company removed the headphone jack, forcing users to either buy an adapter or buy a pair of AirPods, which almost everyone agrees look ridiculous.
Still, headphone jack or not, the iPhone 7 deserves some thorough reviews, so we have compiled the highlights from the first four reviews to appear online.
Wired calls the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus the “best, fastest, strongest iPhones yet”. It then praises the new A10 processors and 12-megapixel cameras before admitting that Apple’s recent decisions make “for boring hardware”. Wired closes by suggesting that while “the iPhone 7 won’t blow your mind with its design or features … it’s still a fantastic phone”.
The Verge admits that “the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus look more or less exactly like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus from 2014”. It then talks up the new Taptic Engine-enabled Home button, the improved display, and the better speakers. However, the decision to remove the headphone jack disappoints, and The Verge concludes that “you won’t actually be missing out on much if you don’t get an iPhone 7”.
Engadget suggests the “big question here is whether a bunch of relatively unexciting changes add up to greatness”. It then praises the battery, the display, the camera, and the chipset, but mourns the loss of the headphone jack and expresses disappointment at the unchanged aesthetics. Engadget concludes that, “while it’s not thrilling enough to warrant an upgrade from last year’s 6s, the iPhone 7 is nonetheless an excellent smartphone”.
Ars Technica reveals its feeling in its header, suggesting the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are “great annual upgrades with one major catch”. There are no prizes for guessing what the catch is, with the fateful decision to force everyone to go wireless costing Apple dear. Still, there’s praise for the processor, battery, display, camera, and added water-resistance, suggesting Ars Technica believes it ultimately depends what matters most to you as a consumer.
To sum all of that information up, most of the reviews are positive to a point. That point being the removal of the headphone jack. If it wasn’t for that, these reviews would be extolling the virtues of an incremental, if not deathly dull, upgrade to what was already a fine piece of hardware.
Netflix Wants Data Caps to be Illegal
Netflix is fighting for some data caps to be made illegal. According to Gizmodo, the streaming service wants the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to ban all data caps on wired internet connections, and “low” data caps on mobile internet connections. It essentially argues that these are just ways of gouging customers.
In a letter sent to the FCC last week, Netflix states:
“Data caps (especially low data caps) and usage based pricing discourage a consumer’s consumption of broadband and may impede the ability of some households to watch internet television in a manner and amount that they would like.”
I went over my data cap so my speed's been throttled, which means I can't watch Twitch or Netflix for a little over a week. Send help.
— Riley Lavellan (@delphoxglove) August 15, 2016
So, Netflix’s motives aren’t exactly pure here; the company is primarily looking out for itself and its ability to keep streaming movies and TV shows to its customers. However, in arguing that data caps “do not appear to serve a legitimate purpose,” it’s opening an important debate that needs to be had at a time when everybody is cutting the cord.
Data caps are, at best, pointless, and at worst, a way for ISPs to maintain control over exactly what is travelling through their tubes. Netflix’s business is wholly reliant on consumers being able to watch what they want when they want, so it’s no surprise to see the company taking such a tough stance against data caps.
Instagram Lets You Filter Nasty Words
Instagram is taking a novel approach to tackling online abuse: allowing users to filter out particular words, and block comments which contain them. The photo-sharing app has provided a list of default words it recommends you filter, or you can create your own list of words you consider harmful or offensive.
You can now filter out specific "offensive" words out of your Instagram comments. Goodbye losers
— lil juju (@offlinebabe) September 13, 2016
Instagram’s keyword moderation tool is being provided in addition to, rather than instead of, the existing tools designed to keep Instagram free of spam and abuse. The difference is that while the existing tools allow you to delete, report, and/or block after the event, the keyword moderation tool should prevent you ever seeing the comments in the first place.
All you need to do to enable the filtering is click Options, then Comments, and flick the Hide Inappropriate Comments slider. Underneath this you can add more keywords you deem to be harmful; which may become necessary if trolls quickly cotton on to what words and phrases can bypass the filter unchecked.
The PS4 Gets a New HDR-Friendly Update
Your PlayStation 4 is due to get a major firmware update today (September 13). The PS4 System Software Update 4.00 (codenamed Shingen) refreshes the UI, adds folders, changes to the Quick Menu and Share Menu, and HDR (High Dynamic Range) capabilities, amongst others.
The latter is especially interesting, as it means your existing PS4 will be capable of displaying improved visuals on compatible games, just like the new PS4 Pro. Not all games will look better, but there’s an easy way to determine which PS4 games support HDR.
People Are Queuing for the iPhone 7
And finally, people are already queuing up outside Apple Stores waiting for the iPhone 7 to be released. There have been lines outside flagship stores around the world since Saturday (September 10) even though the iPhone 7 isn’t released until Friday (September 16).
Long lines of people queuing for the latest gadgets are nothing new, of course, having been a thing since the original iPhone was released in 2007. However, it’s now 2016, and you can pre-order the latest iPhone online for delivery in-store or at home. Which means these people are literally all WASTING THEIR TIME!
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
After reading the reviews, will you be buying an iPhone 7? Do you agree with Netflix that data caps should no longer be a thing? Will you be filtering any words from Instagram? Will you be taking advantage of the PS4’s new HDR capabilities? What was the last piece of technology you queued up for?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome. Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.