Apple iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus: Virtually No Improvement for Virtual Reality
Apple recently announced several product updates in it’s notorious live streamed keynote which took place 10am PDT on September 7th, 2016. If you missed it, you can rewatch it here. Among these updates, one of the ones we were most looking forward to hearing more about was the new Apple iPhone. Ahead of it’s release there were many rumors flying around the internet with claims about features that would highly impact Virtual Reality and 360° content consumption and creation for consumers.
Now, the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are here and ready for preorder but if you, like us are interested in primarily using your phone for Virtual Reality applications, you might want to hold off and wait for a little while. In the keynote, several new features were announced and while impressive, have little impact for the VR community compared with other technology that already is available on the market. Let’s review a few of the significant updates and lack thereof, keep Virtual Reality at the forefront of the conversation:
Apple iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus: Processor
Among the more significant updates to the iPhone 7 line is it’s new A10 Fusion Processor. This new chip features 64 bit processing and 4 cores. It is also 40% faster than the current model’s A9 chipset. While this may have a significant impact for iOS Virtual Reality users and particularly for gamers, this processing power has already been on the market for a variety of Android devices.
Apple iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus: Battery
If you’ve been checking out VR games, you have probably notices that life in the virtual world can really drain your phone’s battery. The new Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus do feature a brand new battery that lasts for 2 hours more on average than the iPhone 6 and other previous models. As we spend more time in Virtual Reality on the go, this may become increasingly important. After all, how are going to get a mega high score in Headbangerz with poor battery life?
Apple iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus: Camera
For the camera, we’re both excited and a bit disappointed. While the new iPhone 7 line does feature a greatly improved camera, there was potential for so much more. What we do like is the the new iPhone 7 Plus has a telephoto lens with the ability to take stereo images. However, this is an area where there is huge potential for the world of 360° video content creation and distribution. It is also where the virtual rumors ahead of the Apple iPhone 7 did not manifest in reality.
Several devices like the Samsung 360° Fly or Ricoh Theta S feature 180° lenses on either side of these devices respectively. The dual lenses use a processor (with power less than the specs of Apple’s new A10 Fusion) to stitch two 180° photos into a single 360° photo or video. With many new consoles and systems for sharing immersive content like Oculus, HTC Vive or Playstation VR coming later this year, this could have been a great improvement for iPhone users and allow them to create and share content in apps like SpaceoutVR and many more. In the meantime, while we’re waiting for smartphones to universally have this update, we hope that Apple will open it’s telephoto lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus to developers. While they boasted about a brand new way to shoot photos, there just might be some cool applications of these lenses in Virtual Reality still to come.
For full specs on these devices, please visit this link and be sure to download the Spaceout.VR app, now available for iOS and Android in the App Store or Google Play.