Ridge Report Writing and Photography Contest

This year, you can submit a short story, poetry piece, and/or photography connecting to one of three possible themes. Your options are "Hush", "Bang", and "Click". Be as creative as you want!

Entries will be accepted starting Monday May 1st 2017

The deadline for entering is Friday May 20th 2017

First place winners in each category (short story, photography, and poetry) will have their entry published on the Ridge Report website and will be awarded a prize.

Click on each category to submit and know about the rules and requirements.

Short Story

Sunday, October 23, 2016

iPhone 7 Overview

It’s that time of year again. Students go back to their busy schedules, the leaves start to change colour, and of course a new iPhone comes out.

The iPhone 7 is an outlier in terms of iPhone upgrades.  It strays away from its traditional evolution of a ‘tick tock’ cycle.  Since the iPhone 3Gs, iPhones have experienced a major design overhaul every numerical increase, and a big internal upgrade with every ’S’ model.  But this year, the iPhone 7 retains the same dated design introduced in 2014 with the iPhone 6.

The iPhone did tweak its design in a few ways. The most notable change is the controversial removal of the headphone jack.  The headphone jack is one of the oldest ports still in use today, and has been around since the 19th century.  Every iPhone prior to the iPhone 7 has used one, with many people still using audio accessories with this port.  Its absence in the iPhone 7 has sparked outrage from many iPhone customers.  Now, Apple provides a pair of lightning headphones that plug into the charging port and offer better sound.  Alternatively, Apple has just released its new wireless headphones dubbed the AirPods, that offer a glimpse to a truly wireless future.  But more on that another time.

Apple is known for taking a widely adopted standard like the optical drive and the floppy disk, and removing them from their products for the sake of innovation.  Today we look back at these standards as things of the past, but the transition will soon be forgotten in future years as the 3.5 mm headphone jack gets phased out as a historical port.  Apple isn't the first company to have moved away from headphone jacks. Phones such as the Moto Z have already removed to headphone jack before this latest update from Apple, signalling that this is an industry wide shift."

The iPhone 7 is still an excellent option for those who are upgrading from an older device.  For those moving from the iPhone 6 and earlier, the 3D Touch interface will offer a host of new features introduced on the iPhone 6s.  It offers an additional form of input, most noticeably found in “peek and pop”, Apple’s take on previewing files.

The iPhone is also available in two new colours.  Jet black which has a high gloss finish, although be warned, there have been many reports that this new colour can be easily scratched and shows thumbprints easily.  There is also another new black colour simply named black, which is a dark matte finish that offers a safer option against wear and tear than jet black.  Both colours will be replacing the space grey colour, which has been described in the past as too light.

This iPhone, like all other new iPhones, is faster, but this year's new A10 fusion processor is not just an incremental speed boost, it's a monumental upgrade in speed.  It’s twice as fast as the iPhone 6.  iPhones have now come to the point where speed is no longer a limiting factor of the device.  The new processor also comes with another trick.  Now the processor is quad core, with two of the the cores extremely efficient and used for low processing intensive tasks, saving a lot of power. In fact it is so much so that with the combination of a slightly larger battery, Apple claims it offers 2 additional hours of usage than past iPhones.  This upgrade can address one of the biggest complaints from iPhone users, battery life.

One caveat of the iPhones in the past is the lack of waterproofing.  Many android competitions offer this feature, but now the new iPhone offers IP67 water and dust resistance. Furthermore, the iPhone’s audio quality has seen a massive upgrade, with the introduction of stereo sound, offering a more cinematic media consumption experience.

Now for probably the most exciting feature, the camera, or rather cameras.  The iPhone 7 comes in with the usual bigger aperture, and faster camera sensor, but the real change is in the iPhone 7 plus comes with a dual camera setup.  One lens is the traditional camera, whereas the other lens comes in with a telephoto lens, made to take pictures further away.  This overcomes one of the biggest restraints of smartphone cameras.  Smartphone cameras have no moving parts, and can not do optical zoom, but rather crops the image and loses resolution as you zoom in.  But with this new dual camera system, when you zoom 2x or further it switches to the telephoto lens, that can zoom up to 10x and you don't lost as much resolution.  This new camera system also allows for a shallow depth field, which means your subject is in focus, but everything else is blurred.  This makes a really cool effect, but has long been only possible for DSLR cameras, until now.

Overall, this iPhone is an excellent upgrade for those coming from an iPhone 6 or earlier, but you aren’t desperately in need of an upgrade, you should wait.  The tenth year anniversary iPhone coming out in 2017 is said to be total redesign that will be the greatest upgrade ever made.  But more on that later, as the we hear more details on the iPhone.

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