My initial thoughts on the device:
1. Still don’t care about the lack of headphone jack. I have mentioned it before, but I am an audio geek. I prefer using AirPlay at home. This means I can listen to music on decent speakers (not the un-spec’d junk that Apple is selling in their stores). I also have AirPort Express units feeding DACs and amps around the house for headphone use. My DACs will all except a USB input, so I can feed a signal to them directly with the camera adapters that Apple sells.
One of the adapters has a USB and Lightning input, so I can even charge while listening to music. When I am out and about, my preference is Bluetooth, whether that is my Parrot Zik 2.0s or cheap Bluetooth Airbuds. In my car, I use Bluetooth and at work, I use Bluetooth. Nothing has changed related to my normal use. I know some people care, but it had zero impact on my normal use.
2. Camera – so much better in low light (f2.2 vs f1.8). I also wanted the “telephoto” lens (f2.8) for shooting in decent light (the telephoto does not have optical stabilization like the wider lens). The front facing camera is also quite a bit better. I am also looking forward to their “portrait mode” that uses both lenses to create a shallow DOF.
3. Faster / Smoother – Every new generation of iPhone feels smoother and faster, this one is no different. More RAM, better processor, etc.
4. Better looking screen – wide color gamut (DCI-P3) like the iPad Pro.
5. Louder speakers – I do use the speakers quite a bit (YouTube or quick trips in and out of the backyard) and these are much louder than the 6s Plus.
6. 256gb option – I love having more space for video and music.
7. Water resistance – while I haven't ever dropped my phone in the toilet, I do keep it on the bathroom vanity in the morning, and use it around the pool and hot tub. I have been using Lifeproof cases in many of these situations in the past, but it is nice to be able to use the iPhone in those situations with my regular case.
For me, the main reason for updating is still the camera. Quite often, the only camera I have on me is the phone. It is just the reality of life, and the better the camera I have on me is, the better the pictures will be, and the more likely I will have something I can cherish forever. I still don’t think that the iPhone or any mobile camera can compete with cameras (DSLR/Mirrorless) that have removable lenses, but they aren’t really in competition. When a DSLR and its lenses fit in my jeans, then we can start comparing them.
I am still trying to figure out which case I want to use. I have a few review cases I am trying out now. I will write about the case I end up using, but right now I have a clear case and a red case from Amazon. I have a black case coming, as well. I will probably order a RhinoShield Bumper because it looks intriguing and it has an optional front and back cover that I can use at the beach (I still think sand might scratch it).
I also want to mention that the jet black is very reflective. Here is a shot after that I took with the focus on Pokey's reflection in the iPhone, as opposed to the iPhone lettering on the bottom of the phone, like the shot above.