12 Ways the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2 Are Better for Travel
A water-resistant design and built-in GPS are just some of the features that will be incredibly useful while you're on the road.
Apple announced the new iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and Apple Watch 2 today, introducing a slew of new features—some of which will be available on existing models with a software update.
The New iPhone Features
Water and Dust Resistant
For the first time, the phones are protected against both water and dust, so you don't have to worry about getting them wet or dirty on the road. From a design perspective, they'll come in new black finishes as well: a matte finish and a glossy jet black finish.
A Better Home Button
The home button has been redesigned to include force sensitive mechanisms (similar to the existing Force Touch on the iPhone 6S) and has a Taptic Engine that provides users with tactile sensations like vibrations when sending alerts.
Travelers will love the long-awaited dual camera on the 7 Plus, which allows for 2x optical zooming—great for capturing tiny details or people in stunning settings. There's also the new ability to create a shallow depth of field on images for beautiful portraits. This feature will be available via a software update in October.
The new 12-megapixel camera will improve optical image stabilization on both phones, and has a larger aperture to capture videos and photos in better detail.
Both phones will also have a new 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with wide color capture and audio image stabilization to allow for better selfies.
Longer Battery Life
The new A10 Fusion chip allows for longer battery life and increased graphics performance for games and apps.
Faster Data Rates
Both phones will also include support for up to 25 LTE bands and LTE Advanced at up to 450 Mbps to offer three times faster data rates than the iPhone 6.
Wireless Headphones and Improved Speakers
Perhaps the biggest change to these new phones is the lack of headphone port. Instead, headphones will now be connected through the existing power port (a 3.5mm headphone jack adaptor will ship free with all new models). In mid-October, Apple will be launch wireless headphones called AirPods, which come with sensors and can be easily connected to the iPhone and Apple Watch without going through the Bluetooth screen.
The new iPhones also have stereo speakers, allowing for a sound quality that is twice as loud as the iPhone 6S.
If you don't have plans to immediately upgrade your phone, you'll be able to download iOS 10—available September 13 for most existing models—for new updates including improved integration between Siri and apps, a more personalized Messaging system, increased opportunities for using 3D Touch, and Map redesigns.
The New Apple Watch Features
The new Apple Watch Series 2 will have a brighter display and a dual-core processor that is 50 percent faster. It's also waterproof up to 150 feet, so you'll no longer have to take the watch off whenever you're at the beach or swimming in a pool.
The new GPS feature is probably the biggest bonus for travelers. You'll be able to use it in apps like ViewRanger, which hosts downloadable maps and can alert users when they are on the wrong hiking path.
The company will also launch its Apple Watch Nike+ model in October at $369, which will include a fuel tracker for avid runners who want to exercise outdoors.
The new OS also has a personal safety tool that allows users to press and hold the side button of the watch to put out a call to emergency services at any location.
Talia Avakian is a digital reporter at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @TaliaAvak.