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Designing and developing for iPhone 7

We are quite used to the leaks of every upcoming iPhone preceding the official release. iPhone 7 is not an exception. Almost all the new major features have been known and massively discussed.

But still, iPhone 7 has a different feel to it.

iPhone 7 experience hero image | Shakuro

So if it really is a new trendsetter for all the smartphones to come, then what are the key features that designers and developers have to discover in order to deliver a new experience and reinvent the application industry?

As an app development agency we knew the magnitude of potential for iPhone 7, so we bought ourselves a 128Gb Rose Gold 7 Plus test rat and put it to work. I talked to some of our designers and developers at Shakuro> and here’s what they had to say:


Chip in your armour. The biggest improvement hidden under the cover is the chip. The A10 Fusion is a 4-core processor with its two cores reserved for low-intensity and background tasks, and two high-performance cores for the most resource-consuming processes.

This allows a more efficient energy handling while maintaining an incredible speed for the important tasks. Allegedly, A10 beats the 2013 Mac Pro in performance!

Such capabilities as iPhone 7 is bringing to the table can no longer be viewed through the prism of mobile technology only.

As a matter of fact, mobile is already the predominant form of computing.

Of course, industrial and high-end technologies are still using desktop computers but in terms of market growth, there is no perspective for them. Pure numbers say that Apple’s sales of iPhones alone (74.8 million) for the course of last 3 months outreached the entire PC industry sales (71.9 million).

Bet the battery is better! Due to the deprecation of the 3,5 mm jack, Apple engineers got a significant increase of estate and used it for the battery. Could it be that this extra space was all it took to break a 24-hour active use threshold? So far with the little milage and fairly normal use of apps and website tests, a 7 Plus holds up to two days of battery life.

Aperture overture. The cameras on both of the 7s have shown massive improvements. The iPhone 7’s wider aperture lens, f1.8 is more light-sensitive and makes a better night photo experience. The 7 Plus has the optical image stabilization and a 4-LED TrueTone flash capable of fixing the flickering light problem.

The digital zoom that wasn’t a delightful experience is now optical which means your pictures and videos don’t get the reduction in quality.


Apart from the new lightning-jack EarPods and the prototyped AirPods, the most significant design innovation is the new Home button. Or is no longer a button? After losing its mechanical properties, is it fair to call it the Home sensor?

The taptic engine vibration unit inside the iPhone is a substitute to the mechanical click and is responsible for the indescribable jolt your get when pressing Home.

This is set to contribute to better durability and flexible functional of the button and is very appealing as for the first time ever the front panel of the iPhone is a solid piece.

In terms of development this means:

  • Complicated desktop applications can be ported to mobile devices without the reduction of their robust functionality.
  • More capabilities for 3D graphics and animation in apps.
  • Better camera opens a number of opportunities for third-party apps to use the RAW camera data instead of native JPEG.
  • The new taptic engine behind the Home button allows programming the new type of response into apps.
Design opportunities

In terms of the app UI/UX design iPhone 7 opens a 3D Touch experience for in-app actions to third-party apps. This means some of the UI elements and controls can be omitted and replaced by the #D Touch technology which leads to more estate for actual content and a smoother experience.

We used the app we made for MyMovies to explore the possible enhancements we can do with the utilization of 3D Touch.

We believe that being aware of the newest technology abilities is vital to keep your design and development skill up-to-date.

With the power of technology that Apple brings with every iPhone they release, there should be no slack on software.

In fact, software has to precede the actual technology capabilities, as dreams are the ultimate progress perpetuations.

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Written by Alex Tikhonov

December 12, 2016

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