When Apple AAPL -2.23% launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 this week it proved yet again that keeping a secret in the tech world is almost impossible these days. The new models had almost no surprises, except one…
‘Great Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating operating system updates for the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.
Throughout the Apple keynote, company executives always referred to the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus as a pair. We were told they share the same design, software, main camera (excluding the iPhone 7 Plus second telephoto lens) and performance. But it appears this last claim isn’t true.
Tried and trusted smartphone benchmarking software Geekbench has recorded what looks to be a legitimate test of the iPhone 7 Plus which reveals it has 3GB of RAM – 50% more than the iPhone 7. And this should give the larger handset a significant performance advantage over its smaller stablemate.
It also ties in with widespread speculation before the launch event that Apple would give the iPhone 7 Plus additional RAM. But hopes of this appeared to be dashed when Apple’s presentation implied no performance difference between the two models existed. With hindsight this may have been to avoid presenting the iPhone 7 as a downgraded handset, given it also lacks the dual rear camera of the iPhone 7 Plus.
So how likely is this to be correct? I suspect very. Geekbench automatically detects the model of phone when a test is run on it and it shows the correct ‘iPhone 9,4’ signature. Why 9,4? Because iPhone 9,1, 9,2 and 9,3 are the three storage tiers of the iPhone 7, implying it was a 32GB iPhone 7 Plus that was tested on Geekbench.
One note of caution for those now planning to scrap their iPhone 7 pre-orders and buy an iPhone 7 Plus: the performance gap between the two phones may not turn out to be as big as it might appear.
The reason for this is the iPhone 7 Plus has a much higher resolution display (1080p) than the iPhone 7 (750p) so it has to drive almost twice the number of pixels. The iPhone 7 Plus will also require more power to process its dual camera photos than the single rear camera on the iPhone 7, so performance there won’t be drastically faster either.
That said, the Geekbench scores still show the iPhone 7 Plus as the fastest iOS device Apple has ever made – even beaten the iPad Pro 12.9-inch which has 4GB RAM. So if it is office bragging rights you want, then iPhone 7 Plus is what you should buy…