I considered skipping this iPhone due to the disappearance of the headphone jack, for about one second, then I moved back into reality and took the plunge. Why?
The iPhone 7 is much more than just a missing headphone jack, even for those of us in the connected, online blind community.
Image stabilization on the camera, now in both iPhone models, means it should be easier to receive remote sighted assistance through apps like BeSpecular and read printed material using the KNFB Reader. Furthermore, the dual camera lenses and large screen of the iPhone 7 Plus should benefit people with some usable sight.
The increased battery life, memory, processor and storage found in the iPhone 7 represent a significant performance boost for all users.
Another reason why I decided to upgrade is that my previous phone was an iPhone 6, so the improvements I experience in features and performance are huge.
Apple supplied a simple, stop gap solution to make the upgrade a little less painful for those of us who miss the headphone jack. A lightning-to-3.5mm adapter cable is provided, free of charge, in the box with every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. After ten days with the iPhone 7, I have not yet used this dongle.
I think we will find, over time, that the loss of the headphone jack will go down in history as nothing more than a tempory annoyance.
As for now, I have taken a number of steps to cope.
My biggest objection to the loss of the headphone jack is the inability to simultaneously charge the iPhone while listening. I believe this issue does impact those of us who rely on VoiceOver much more than it does most sighted users, and I wish Apple would have done a better job of taking our accessibility needs into consideration.
I purchased an Apple iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case to significantly increase the iPhone's overall battery life between charges.
I also sprung for an iPhone Lightning Dock, which allows simultaneous connection of a lightning cable for charging and synchronization and a 3.5mm audio connection for listening with wired headphones.
The last accessory I bought was the LG HBS-770: LG TONE PRO Bluetooth headset to enable wireless listening around the house while charging the iPhone. This headset, along with many other similar Bluetooth solutions, has its significant advantages and disadvantages. I recently published a review of this product right here on AppleVis.
While my iPhone 7 wears the battery case 100 percent of the time, I listen to my iPhone through my Bluetooth headset about 70 percent of the time and I occasionally use the included Lightning Earpods, I rarely use the Lightning Dock.
Although the latency of most Bluetooth headsets makes using iOS devices a bit of a challenge for those of us who rely on VoiceOver now, I am hopeful that Apple's soon-to-be-released AirPods will represent a significant improvement.
One significant disadvantage of the iPhone 7 upgrade for me has been the expense necessary in order to achieve something important I had with my iPhone 6: the ability to charge the iPhone battery while listening to VoiceOver. So far, I have spent $220 in accessories from Apple and other companies. Will I spend another $159 for Apple's AirPods? Only time will tell. Someone recently said the iPhone 7 will be a boon to accessory makers, and, after my experience, I believe it.
If you have an iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus, my recommendation would be to wait for next year's model. If, however, you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or something older, and you are up for the additional expense of accessories needed to charge and listen simultaneously, then my advice is to fearlessly go for it!