The iPhone 7 hit shelves on September 17 in the Gulf, marking the first time that a new flagship smartphone from Apple is available in the Gulf on the same date as the United States.
In previous years, Gulf buyers have had to wait weeks before they could get new iPhones through official channels. To compensate for this, a host of “grey market” sellers would pop up – sellers who managed to get iPhones through unofficial channels and then pass them onto Gulf consumers. There was nothing illegal about this, but the sellers charged premiums for being the first to supply a new iPhone. To get in early, you had to pay up.
Today, however, you can get a brand-new iPhone 7 from the Apple Store starting at the recommended retail price of Dh2,599. That’s not bad in comparison to the prices that grey market sellers charged in previous years. However, just because you can get the iPhone 7 at its regular price, does it mean you should?
Let’s start with what you get for that base cost of Dh2,599. For this, Apple offers a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, 32GB of storage and an all-new 12MP camera. There’s also the firm’s new A10 Fusion Chip powering the whole package, and that chip is widely touted as the industry’s most advanced – it’s comparable to a medium-powered laptop’s chip.
In terms of looks, the iPhone 7 looks almost the same as the iPhone 6S that it replaces, though it is available in a bigger selection of colours. That said, one of the new colours – and arguably the best-looking – is Jet Black, and that’s only available on the top-end 128GB and 256GB models. These will set you back Dh2,999 and Dh3,399 respectively.
If you want a larger screen, you’re looking at even more expense. The new iPhone 7 Plus starts at Dh3,099 wit 32GB of storage. In return, you get a glorious, 5.5-inch Retina HD display that delivers a resolution of 401 pixels per inch, as well as a new, dual-lens 12MP camera that has wide angle and telephoto features. It’s arguably the best camera to be fitted to a modern smartphone.
If you’re looking at an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, then, it’s likely to be an expensive proposition. Happily, at least you can now get away with opting for the cheapest option. This is the first time that Apple has offered 32GB as the base amount of storage – in previous years, you got a paltry 16GB, which was nowhere near enough for modern needs. For many people, though, 32GB of storage should be just about enough. Certainly, though, if you opt for the middle storage tier of 128GB (because you need the Jet Black colour) you won’t be wanting for space at all. There really is no need to opt for the 256GB option – unless you want the bragging rights.
So for the iPhone 7, you shouldn’t be spending more than Dh2,999, and for the iPhone 7 Plus, don’t fork out more than Dh3,499.
Still, that seems like quite a lot now that the similar-looking iPhone 6S has dropped down in price. You can now get a 32GB iPhone 6S for Dh2,199, and a 32GB iPhone 6S Plus for Dh2,599. And is the iPhone 7 Dh500 better than its predecessor?
Well, yes and no. Yes in that the iPhone 7 really is packed full of latest technology. The cameras are stellar; the screens are stunning; and that processor is state-of-the-art. What’s more, they’re waterproof and dust-proof, meaning they’ll be able to handle the rough and tumble of daily life better than previous iPhones could. That right there might be worth the extra Dh500 investment.
That said, the iPhone 7’s big talking point is that there’s no headphone jack socket, with the included headphones instead plugging into the phone’s Lightning charging port. An adapter is included with the new phone, but many people have pointed out that they charge their phones and listen to music at the same time. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, you’ll have to opt for a phone other than the iPhone 7.
On the other side of the coin, it was only a short year ago that the iPhone 6S offered the best mobile technology that money could buy. And, if you compare it to even the latest generation of Android-based handsets, the iPhone 6S still holds its own. It’s a properly good phone, the 6S, and the fact that Dh500 has now been knocked off its asking price can only be a good thing.
Otherwise, if you still want to get into the iPhone ecosystem, but are finding the numbers above a little scary, you can opt for the iPhone SE, which was released earlier this year. With a 4-inch screen, it’s small, but it still looks and feels great. What’s more, you can get that device for as little as Dh1,649. Given that the phone has relatively similar innards to the iPhone 6S, that’s something of a bargain.