Blancco security expert gives view on iPhone 7 launch

Thomas Wellburn
September 7, 2016

A top security expert from data security firm Blancco has given his thoughts on the imminent iPhone 7 launch and what it may include.

With the iPhone 7 launch happening later today, plenty of industry figures are touting their opinions on the new handset, which is expected to drop the headphone jack and include a dual lens camera. Richard Stiennon, Chief Strategy Officer at data security firm Blancco, is the latest person to comment on the launch and seems to share a more positive view on the whole thing.

Stiennon commented on issues surrounding the headphone jack and a potentially thinner device, plus the dual lens and possible waterproofing. He joined Blancco in July 2016 after working at rival security firm Gartner as an IT Research Analyst. As a seasoned IT security expert, he is a go-to guy for information regarding security threats and the impact they can have on businesses.

His latest comments pretty much echo what most people are thinking, the iPhone 7 will feature a few big innovations that should separate it from the mundane launches seen in the last year or so. However, he doesn’t believe waterproofing will be included as a feature, due to thickness constraints.

iPhone 7 launch thoughts: Richard Stiennon

1)   How will the removal of the iPhone headphone jack affect audio performance or other performance? If a second speaker is added in its place, will this improve audio performance? Do you anticipate any issues with functionality?

I don’t think removing the iPhone headphone jack will hurt audio performance on the iPhone 7. You have to remember that most users already have Bluetooth headsets. Obviously, I can’t say for sure until I can actually get the new phone model in my hands. But from everything I’ve read and seen about it, I’d say the biggest impact will mostly be to the aesthetic look of the phone.

If a second speaker is added in its place, the way they did with their iPads recently, I would expect to see an improvement in audio quality. For example, my iPad pro has additional speakers on it and there is a clear difference in the sound on it compared to my iPhone 6 Plus. The sound is crisper, louder overall and creates a bit more of a studio/amplified experience.

If you’re a man and usually put your older iPhone into the pocket of your pants, it would collect a lot of dirt and dust. Not having the headphone jack will prevent that from happening and also prevent it from getting caught/snagged on surfaces. I have a feeling other smartphone manufacturers will follow suit and do the same thing pretty soon.

Since the headphone jack will be gone on the new phone, the lightning port will act as the device’s audio. So it might affect users who previously bought and have used third party headsets from manufacturers like Bose to listen to audio on their new phones. So they won’t be able to use them on the iPhone 7 and will end up having to buy new accessories that work on the phone. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple starts selling a new accessory to support the old headsets for something like $39.99. That would be additional incremental revenue that it could generate.


2)   Removal of the headphone jack may make the iPhone thinner. Will this make the phone more fragile? On the other hand, will it make it more waterproof and, therefore, more durable? What other user functionality issues could arise from a thinner phone?

According to many rumors, the iPhone 7 is expected to be about 1 mm thinner than the iPhone 6 models. Making it thinner is going to be a double-edged sword for users. On the one hand, a thinner phone will give users a premium feel in their hands and that’s something that’s become integral to the Apple experience. Plus, it’ll look more sleek and be lightweight, making it easier to carry around. It’s a big reason why so many users prefer to use the Macbook Air vs. Macbook Pro. This is something users will appreciate until it starts slipping out of hands and dropping a lot more. Because Apple is smart and has likely thought about this, you can bet they’ll be selling new phone cases to protect the thinner devices.

Typically, when you make a phone thinner, it requires compressing the battery. So when that happens, it could possibly cause some issues with the battery life. But my instinct tells me that probably won’t be the case because Apple’s pretty well known for leading the charge with strong battery performance.

On the other hand, there are rumors that the iPhone 7 will have a larger battery than previous models. iPhone 7 might have a 1960mAh battery, which is an upgrade from the 1715mAh battery in the iPhone 6s. However, it’s tough to say how strong the battery life will be. But I can say that the new A10 processor will be more power-hungry.


3)   The phone is rumored to have a dual lens camera that takes photos simultaneously to combine and create a better image. Will this new camera outperform Samsung’s smartphone cameras, which currently do better in low-light conditions? Will this dual lens system camera affect the amount of storage needed for photos?

This new dual lens camera will definitely improve the overall image quality of photos taken and will take better photos in low-light conditions. This is one area that Apple hasn’t been as strong in previously, compared to Samsung devices that have been doing this for some time. I think this new feature will help Apple catch up to the superior camera functionality of Samsung devices.

But because photo resolution will then increase, it’ll require more storage capacity on the phone. And this might be one reason why Apple decided to no longer offer the 16GB version on the iPhone 7.


4)   Do you think Apple will announce a new waterproof device? 

I don’t think Apple plans to make the iPhone 7 water-proof. If they did that, it would likely mean they would have had to increase the thickness and size of the phone because specific materials would need to be added and built into the device to make sure it’s waterproof. So if the phone is thinner than previous models, then I’d venture to say it won’t be water-proof.

And I think Apple is being very deliberate in its decision to not offer water-proof devices – something that’s been offered on Samsung models for a while now. For one, they would probably get more devices returned if they gave a water-proof guarantee to users. The thing about Apple iPhones is that users are pretty loyal to the devices. So they’ll keep buying the new models regardless of whether it’s water-proof or not.

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