I’m a tech geek as well as a world traveler – so of course I was following the iPhone 7 announcement, and of course I have some opinions.
Our iPhones were kind of our Swiss Army Knives of travel on our round the world trip – we used them all the time, as cameras, flashlights, or for music, podcasts, books, and of course for WhatsApp and messaging. And we used them in all kinds of conditions, from zero coverage in the Peruvian Andes or Mulu national park in Malaysia, to overnight trains in Africa and India with spotty coverage and no power to charge them, to beaches on all the major oceans in the world (except the Arctic 😉 ) I travelled with an iPhone 6, and Sabrina with 5S. Of course the better camera looks awesome – especially since we only used our iPhones for pictures. But, looking at the Apple announcement through the lens (pun intended!) of our travel experiences, I’m also excited about a lot of the seemingly small improvements the iPhone 7 includes:
There were a lot of times we didn’t have our phones with us because we were worried about getting them wet, and so didn’t have any pictures. When we took a boat ride under the Iguazu Falls in Brazil for example, or when Amy and I went to Vana Nava Hua Hin waterpark in south Thailand. In either case we weren’t planning on going swimming with the iPhone, but still didn’t bring them along becuase we were worried about too much splashing.
Iguazu Falls, we went under some of these in a boat (without a phone!)
Vana Nava Hua Hin in Thailand – this was the best picture I got at the water park
Longer battery life
You can never have enough battery life. We did bring along portable battery packs, but with iPads and iPhones competing for a limited amount of charge things got a little tight a couple of times. Our first train ride through South Africa, after an overnight plane ride from Sao Paulo, we didn’t have a South African power adapter (because I didn’t know that existed!) so nearly ran out of power. And our trailer in Bingie Australia just had a 12V electrical system and couldn’t charge anything. Since we used the phones for so much, no power would have meant no photos, music, etc.
The train cabin on the way to Port Elizabeth, South Africa – you can see the not-British 3 pronged outlet between Hannah and Amy
Our trailer in Bingie, Australia
Because you don’t always have enough wireless coverage to move photos and videos to the cloud. Gunung Mulu national park in Sarawak, Malaysia has no cell coverage and barely has WiFi. And trains both in India and Africa are hit-and-miss at best. Also we tended to have a lot of music and podcasts downloaded, which takes up storage space. I have a 64GB iPhone 6 and Sabrina has a 32GB iPhone 5s, but they were barely enough – and sometimes not even that. Many times we ended up having to delete downloaded music or apps to make more room for photos and videos (always the right choice!)
Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia
I’m hoping that brighter flash would mean a brighter flashlight. We did eventually buy flashlights on our trip, but of course we always carried around our iPhones. I’m thinking mostly of outside walks at night where extra light would have been great – the outdoor walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night in Sillacancha, Sacred Valley, Peru for example.
One less port
Controversial! But no more headphone jack means one less place for sand (beaches), dust and dirt (anywhere in India) to get into the phone. It also means that if you keep your headphones plugged into the Lightning port, it’s sealed up entirely. Think about that – you’d never leave a Lightning cable plugged in while walking around with your phone, but leaving headphones plugged seems much more reasonable.
Goa, India (sandy!)
Galu Beach, Kenya (also sandy!)
So should you buy a new iPhone 7 before your RTW trip? That’s hard to say, but if you were going to buy a new phone anyway, this seems like a good choice.