iPhone 7 Review: Boosting the mobile banking experience

23rd September 2016

Two weeks ago our COO Julian Sawyer wrote a speculative piece on how iOS10 and the iPhone 7 might help the Starling customer in their online banking experience. Today, Max De Tommaso discusses what it’s really like to use and the benefits it brings to managing money.

My knee-jerk reaction to the iPhone7 is positive.

I was front of the queue for the new device and have now had the phone for several days, giving me the opportunity to have a proper play around with it.

I bought the matte black model, and it looks very sleek indeed. Past the aesthetics of the phone, the next new feature which struck me was the renovated home button, which is built around the new 3D Touch function. As Julian’s post detailed, a firm click on an application instantly opens an options menu, providing immediate access to that app’s most basic features.

As the mock-up image shows, the menu is clear, simple, and does the job.

iphone 7

Lots of apps that aren’t top-tier popularity, haven’t programmed a 3D Touch menu yet. Of course, the iPhone 7 hasn’t even been out a week so as more and more companies and apps start to play upon this feature, 3D touch will make using your iPhone 7 just that little bit quicker, and that little bit easier. This will especially be the case if you’re after a concise, simple piece of information – like a bank balance – or are looking to perform a very basic task quickly, like transfer a contact some money.

As outlined by our COO, arguably the most significant update to the software has been in regards to iMessage.

Its feature-capability has increased substantially, with seamless addition of photo and video to a message, the option to doodle on a pad with your finger, and most importantly, the ability to use the all-new iMessage apps.

It is within this new functionality that the most potential lies.

iMessage screenshot

From what I can see, apart from being able to send music and stock gifs instantly, there are as of yet a handful of apple-developed ‘productivity’ apps, with a smattering of externally-developed ones. I would say that this is where there will be the most third-party development on the iPhone 7, with a whole host of apps being available in iMessage within a matter of months.

Where this will be most useful for the Starling customer is in the potential to send and receive money to and from contacts without leaving iMessage, with the Starling app installed. This will provide a transfer service of unparalleled speed and convenience in comparison to any external app.

Next is the new and improved Siri – improved in the sense that it now had access to third-party apps, directly from user command.

Like with iMessage, there will likely be a great deal of third-party development, relating to app integration with Siri commands. The Siri on my last Apple device was always precarious; it is a significantly easier, and quicker, process on the 7. This is in part due to the new A10 Fusion chip, but being able to instantly retrieve information from external apps is a noted upgrade to Siri’s functionality.

Information like balance, available balance, due payments, and how close you are to your overdraft limit are pieces of information which will eventually all be available through the Starling app; all through holding the home button and merely asking.

This entire facilitated mobile banking process will be complemented significantly by other model adjustments which improve ease of use. The chip is twice as fast as the 6, and provides the longest iPhone battery life ever. Not only this, but the 4G LTE is three times faster than the 6, at 450 megabytes per second. All of these upgrades will let you rely upon your mobile device more than ever before to provide a quick and easy way to manage your finances on the go, wherever you are.

Oh, and of course, with your Starling card logged into your Apple Pay, you’ll be able to use funds from your Starling card instantly and securely, merely by presenting your device.

In short, for the time being, the iPhone 7 will provide the fastest and easiest way to manage, and truly understand, your money on the go.

Watch this space.

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