by Wil Barrett
September 15, 2016
I’ll admit that I love geeking out on mountain bike technology like suspension linkages and geometry tables, but when it comes to personal technology like laptops and mobile phones, I am 100% ambivalent. I understand that people absolutely flip-out when a new Apple product is announced. Then again, people also become obsessed with things like Pokemon GO!, which I genuinely feel has become its own religious cult. But that’s absolutely fine, because everyone is entitled to have their own interests, even if it is getting excited about touch-screens and imaginary monsters.
Though while I’m neither here nor there when it comes to new stuff like iPhones and whatnot (honestly, who really has the time for getting excited about that? I know I’m too busy occupying my personal thinking about tyre compounds, cassette ratios and spring rates to worry about anything else. You should come to my dinner parties – they are scintillating!), our publisher Mark is absolutely obsessed with new tech and electronic gadgetry. In fact, all he’s been banging on about the last week is the Apple iPhone 7, which apparently represents the second coming of Christ.
As per usual, most of us here at Singletrack Towers aren’t too bothered either way. After all, we’re used to being bombarded with press releases about ‘the next big thing in cycling’, that we’ve grown to become somewhat resilient to anything as over-hyped as a mobile phone. But while filtering through Mark’s excited mutterings about the new iPhone 7, we did hear about a bunch of interesting features on the new iPhone 7 that may actually be of use to us mountain bikers. Given that most of us ride with a mobile phone to run GPS apps like Strava, or use it to shoot photos and video during a ride, the reality is that a smart phone is actually quite a useful device already.
With that in mind, we thought we’d ask you the question: are you looking to get a new iPhone 7? And if so, why?
For a start, the new iPhone 7 claims to be splash, water and dust resistant. Not waterproof, but water resistant. We’re guessing that means it won’t take too kindly to being submerged in a muddy puddle for an hour as you backtrack to find where you dropped your phone, but it sounds like it’ll be more resistant to your sweaty back when it’s stuffed down in a jersey pocket. Not having to put our phone into a waterproof ziplock bag would actually be quite nice, and being able to still pull the phone out to take mid-ride photos when it’s starting to drizzle with rain sounds kind of cool too. Yes, I’m aware that there are fully waterproof cases that regular phones can go into. I don’t know about you, but after the first month of using one of those fancy cases, I usually get over the bulky size and just accept that at some point my phone is going to be cracked open when it hits the deck.
Now this feature might not be so useful to everyone, but Mark is losing his shit over the secondary camera lens on the iPhone 7 Plus. Yes, it has two cameras, because we all know that two is better than one right? The second lens is a fisheye lens, which is actually really useful for us at Singletrack, as we do a lot of Facebook Live videoing where a fisheye lens allows you to get closer up to your subject for better audio. For the riders out there who love taking GoPro selfies, having a fisheye lens on your phone means you can leave the little GoPro camera at home too. The new camera also comes with image-stabilising trickery so that your videos don’t look like an homage to The Blair Witch Project.
Unfortunately, the new iPhone 7 is not smaller. It is apparently the same size as the iPhone 6. And Apple are still offering the ‘Plus’ version, which we refer to as a “phablet”. If Apple is reading this (ha!), please make your phones smaller. However, we will concede that the improved battery life is good for bike riders – the less battery drain we can have while using the phone’s GPS the better.
Ooh so this one is controversial! Apple have also released ear-tampons for the new iPhone 7 that they call Airpods or something fancy like that. We prefer our name, but whatever. Anywho, so the new iPhone won’t take a regular headphone jack anymore, just like Apple killed off the CD drive in their laptops. Way to make us feel old Apple!
But are wireless earbuds the way to go? That kind of seems like something you’ll lose really easily, even it does mean you won’t have to put up with messy cords. I guess the other question is, do you ride with earphones while riding anyway?
Just got those new AirPods. pic.twitter.com/hbvr3HpLaI
— Dr. Sheldon Cooper (@TheRealSheldonC) September 8, 2016
So, do you see any value of the new iPhone from a mountain biking perspective? Does it have any useful features that you think you would like for riding? Or is it all just another over-hyped smartphone that basically does the same thing as what Samsung and Sony have been doing for ages with their smart phones?
Will you buy an iPhone 7?
- I'm phone ambivalent (42%, 241 Votes)
- No way. The ear tampons have turned me off (31%, 180 Votes)
- Only when it gets passed down to me in 3 years time (14%, 81 Votes)
- Yes, but no ear tampons for me (9%, 53 Votes)
- Yes, I'm in the queue right now! (2%, 11 Votes)
- Yes, and I can't wait to wear those airpods! (2%, 11 Votes)
Total Voters: 577