“At a glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell Apple’s new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models, which go on sale Friday, from their 2015 and 2014 counterparts. They look almost identical and are the same sizes. But once you get your hands on them, the differences are clear: Better cameras, longer battery life, water resistance, doubled memory at essentially the same prices and more,” Walt Mossberg writes for Recode. “Oh, and upon closer inspection, you’ll notice something else: The disappearance of the age-old, standard, perfectly fine audio jack that fits every earbud and headphone you own. Yeah, I know. I’m not crazy about that change either.”

“The most important thing about the 2016 iteration of the iPhone is that, overall, it takes a truly excellent smartphone and makes it significantly better in a host of ways, even without overhauling the exterior design and despite the removal of the standard audio jack,” Mossberg writes. “Yes, Apple has a long history of removing (and also pioneering) standard components, going back to the removal of the floppy disk from the first iMac in 1998… The company is clearly trying to move the whole industry towards wireless audio, which has never been great due to patchy Bluetooth connectivity, poor fidelity — especially for music — and limited battery life.”

The top rear of Apple's new iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black

The top rear of Apple’s new iPhone 7 Plus in Jet Black

 
“As a transition, the iPhone 7 includes Apple’s familiar white earbuds — and a free adapter — only with a Lightning connector at the end instead of the standard audio plug. It sounds the same. But now you can no longer charge your phone while making long phone calls or listening to music without a bulky adapter or dock. I label that worse, not better,” Mossberg writes. “Apple says very few people do charge and listen at the same time. I respectfully disagree.”

Full review here.

MacDailyNews Take: Walt is disturbingly fixated on the headphone jack throughout one of his worst, most curmudgeonly reviews on record.

We’d venture to guess that Apple has slightly better data on how many users perform the very particular act of charging while listening via wired headphones than Mossberg. Just because Walt seems to perform this rather unique use case doesn’t mean everyone else does. You know, the difference between empirical and anecdotal data can be rather huge. As for charging while listening via wired headphones, we, for another anecdotal example like Walt’s, have never done it. The only time we listen while charging is in the car (the sound comes out of the car’s stereo speakers, obviously) or when the iPhone is sitting in a dock of an older, still pristine-sounding Bose speaker without Bluetooth (the sound comes out of the Bose speaker, of course).

You can certainly make a long phone call while charging by using the iPhone’s built-in stereo speakers or the Bluetooth headsets (BTW, if your phone call goes over 5 hours, you needed to hang up at least four hours ago). That said, we hardly ever even use the telephone (voice, how quaint), but we’re of a different, younger generation than Walt. Spring for Belkin’s $39.95 Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar (available October 10th), Walt.

When your review is tinged throughout by the fact that you can’t sit around making 5+ hour phone calls wearing wired headphones (wouldn’t that start to get annoying on/in your ears after the first, oh, three hours, anyway?) while charging (even though the iPhone you’re reviewing has battery that delivers up to 21 hours of talk time (negating the need to charge while listening in the first place), then your review is fatally flawed.

With his review, Walt has accomplished one thing with aplomb. He’s proven the old saw correct: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – no matter how simple.

SEE ALSO:
How to listen to music while charging your iPhone 7/Plus – September 13, 2016
The Verge reviews Apple’s iPhone 7/Plus: ‘The future in disguise’ – September 13, 2016
Customers begin queueing for Apple’s iPhone 7 five days ahead of release; pro line-sitters charging thousands to save a spot – September 13, 2016
No headphone jack? No problem: How to listen to music while you sync and charge your new iPhone 7/Plus – September 8, 2016