Despite the amount of frustration I've had over the iPhone 7's headphone jack, I ended up ordering one, a 256 GB matte black. Since so many people have written far better reviews than I could hope do on my own, I recommend reading Ars Technica's amazingly good review. Instead, I'm presenting my collected thoughts in a semi-organized (or semi-disorganized) list.

  • The iPhone 7 is the worst Apple experience I've had out of the box, I say this as an iPhone 3g, 4, 5, 6 owner, numerous iPods, PowerMac G3 / G4, PowerBook G3 / MacBook Pro Retina 2013/2015, Mac Pro owner and Apple TV 1 and 2 owner.

    Why may you ask? Software. As a 128 GB iPhone 6 owner, I backed up my phone locally as my paltry $1 a month iCloud 50 GB account is only big enough for my photos. Normally upgrades are simple: back up old phone, restore the new phone. This goes around, the OS X 10.11.6 security update that was piled in with iTunes bricked my Mac Pro which meant a 10-hour recovery while Time Machine restored my Mac Pro, first time I can remember since 2009 that I've needed to use Time Machine. When I finally got my Mac Pro up and running, I discovered iTunes doesn't have a simple way to download missing IPA files. I ignored the Mobile Applications folders in Time Machine to save space. Thus I was left to search other drives for the IPA files and manually redownload the rest. Once restored my iPhone 7 proceeded to mangle all the iMessage profiles with the contacts. For example, My dad's messages appeared to be coming from a former roommate of an ex-girlfriend whom I didn't even realize was a contact in my phone. Fortunately, this appeared to be only related to my iPhone 7 and not my MacBook/Mac Pro/iPhone 6. I contacted Apple Support which ultimately had me restore: I guess there's no soft-fix. After a second restore, all way finally normal but I burned hours and hours on setting up my phone. I'd rank it more of a burden than fixing my dishwasher.

  • The iPhone 7 is bright and loud. I never had much problem with the iPhone 6's brightness, but the iPhone 7 is bright... and the second speaker makes it noticeably louder.

  • It's really zippy, it's hard to tell how much is just iOS 10's quicker interface but the iPhone 7 certainly launches apps faster. I found the iPhone 5 the first iPhone that didn't feel painfully slow. The iPhone 7 is the first iPhone that web surfing feels natural. I imagine the iPhone 6S truly was the first thanks in no small part to the 2 GB of RAM never having used one, I'm speculating.

  • The iPhone 7 gets hot. Downloading apps or music seems to cause it get really warm.

  • I hate not having a headphone jack. I'm not going to bother writing more, you can read my thoughts Headphone jacks are NOT the new floppy drive and The Courage of living in a gated community. As much as I like Gruber, he's wrong about corded headphones (for now). There may be a wireless future for headphones but it's not Bluetooth.

  • I haven't done much shooting with the camera, but it seems like a nice improvement. RAW is going to make my life wonderful.

  • The iPhone 7 can drain its battery faster than you can charge it. Cue up around 10 albums you'd like to store locally and watch the battery drop.

  • The new home button is a gimmick.

  • Force touch mostly feels like a shorter version of the long press. It's the touch equivalent of a right click. It's nice feels under utilized and a bit unpredictable. I suppose right click may have felt that way to Mac Users at one point but even OS 9 had right click support so I can't really recall the two button mouse transition.

  • The variable bright LED flashlight is nice, although 3-steps seems a bit overkill. I'm used to my maglight and bike lights, that either have low or high beams.

  • Apple's aesthetics leads to me wonder if the end game is a wireless charging iPhone? I can only imagine a ludicrous inconvenience of packing around bulky pad chargers, and strapping our phones to them to charge on the go. Perhaps one port is the plutonic ideal in Ive's universe? Are dongles really less unsightly than unused ports? This doesn't bode well for an Apple car... a sealed box that can only be serviced by Apple, using a non-standard charger that requires carting a giant dongle, without any physical buttons in the car.

  • 256 GB is finally getting to the storage levels the iPhone needs. A device that shoots/edits 4k video, RAW photos, can store music / movies, games, documents, and surfs the web is a mobile workstation. It's time it has RAM and storage to reflect that. 3GB of RAM should have been standard for all iPhone 7 models. We're almost there in performance, RAM and storage and I/O.

  • Speaking of I/O: Where is USB 3.1 or at least USB 3.0? It'd make transfers so much nicer and give quick charge options. Lightning Cables are silly in the era of USB 3.1, and only points to Apple's desire to gouge the consumer. At least FireWire was an open standard used on Windows PCs as well as Apple products. Lightning cables are dated.

  • Perhaps one of the better features of the headphone jack was the ability to discern jacks without mics and headphones with mics. This meant my line level was always maxed on my iPhone and my earbuds were at listening level. The dongle doesn't seem to have this ability. So much for the ease-of-use in my car.

  • The lightning port earbuds are unreliable as a microphone. Using a dongle set works better, file this under "headphone jacks are better". Edit: Apparently I'm not the only one and there's a fix on the way, not that I care really, they need to fix the ergonomics first.

  • The iPhone 7 is the least exciting iPhone generation update. The iPhone 7 very well could be the iPhone 6.5s, or the iPhone 6$ or the iPhone 6$E or simply the middle finger emoji.

  • I have no plans to buy a bluetooth headphone set. I have enough devices that require charging. I'm also tragically unhip and use a wired keyboard and mouse at home.

  • Edit: Only hours after completing the post, I saw daptr announced a case with a headphone jack. I told the Apple sales guy I was banking on cases with headphone jacks. He gave me a "Yeah right buddy," and I mentioned a thread on the CoreAudio mailing list. I don't think he knew what CoreAudio was but hey, we can't all be me right? Looks like I was correct. Now to survive to December for something that should have been part of the original phone...

iOS 10 reactions

Some of the transitions of the iPhone 7 are also locked into iOS 10. iOS 10 seems to be the same exact experience for iPhone 6S users as 7. For 2 year releases that's usually not the case, the iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6, and iPhone 4s vs iPhone 5 both had real estate changes. It looks like we're committed for the next 2 years to the same resolution. The biggest changes between the 6 and 7 mostly lie in RAM and force touch, much akin to the iPhone 5 vs 6 with 64 bit and Touch ID. With the SE, we can probably reasonably expect iOS 11 and possible 12 to continue to support the iPhone 5 or at least the 5s.

  • The Messages revamp was necessary. While the stickers and emojis will wear thin, the live link preview feels expected in the age of Slack, FaceBook messenger etc. OS X's messenger needs the same revamp. Messages send very fast too.

  • The dock change is neither good nor bad.

  • TI feel a bit of Stockholm syndrome with Apple. I use their products for iOS and OS X. They make damn fine hardware but given a choice I probably wouldn't use it. I didn't feel this way towards iOS until the iPhone 7.

  • Organizing Applications is painful as it was in iOS 6. It's time for a change.

  • Hey Siri spooks me when both Venmo or Square support it to transfer money. Seems a little too easy to transfer $1000.

  • Security with Touch ID needs a second layer for the paranoid like myself. Touch ID + 6 pin validates the phone for X amount of time for Touch ID only. If touch ID doesn't work, it defaults to your choice of pin or text password.

  • iOS is starting to need a minor file system. Having a common /documents for inter-app exchange would help with guess work, and allow for easy storage management (Delete, or share or edit with options). It sounds un-iOS but this is starting to become problematic and iCloud Drive already provides the interface. Loot it. Allow users to mount their phones as a disk drive. Not everything needs to be on iCloud nor should it.

  • iOS 9's ability to install content blockers hasn't changed, and we're all better for it.

  • I didn't even notice raise to wake until I read about it, I'm so programed to pressing power.

  • iOS 9's app switcher still lives on much to my ire. I prefer seeing more apps opposed to more of the app.

  • As one of the few stalwart non-emoji users of the world, I'd like to auto suggest to disable emojis. I like my smilies to be text, :) and :( have effectively served me for nearly two decades. I like the retro-ness.

  • I'd really like Apple's color sweetening/processing profiles to extend to RAW captures. The best thing about the iPhone camera is the gorgeous smart-processing. I'd like the RAW files to have the embedded recommendations. In fact, I dream that Lightroom on my desktop had Apple's auto adjust feature for lazy corrections.

  • iOS 9 to iOS 10 has absolutely no downsides that I've encounter besides the suggesting of emojis. It hasn't lead us to the promised land of power user features, but the new APIs do open up better avenues for developers. At the same time, it's a nice forward upgrade that takes little time to adjust to.

Update: 9/19/16 - Case update

Update: 9/20/16 - Lightning port headphones note