There are some external changes. They’re rather minor and inconspicuous: the antenna lines on the back have disappeared and the home button has changed. But despite this, the latest iPhone looks almost identical to its older brothers, the 6 and 6S. I had secretly hoped for a proper make-over. Having said that, the design is still fine for today's smartphones. And in terms of build quality, I do get the impression that the latest iteration has become a touch more robust and reliable.
The biggest outer change is the home button, which now works with a Taptic Engine. A what? Well, basically it means it's now a sensor instead of a traditional mechanical button. This also ensures that the iPhone can give off small vibrations when performing certain actions: for example, when you set your alarm. Apple calls these "system vibrations". Although they're not really necessary, they are fun. It does feel a little different and I had to get used to it. But it's not unpleasant. More than that, after two weeks I actually found it to be one of the greatest new features of this iPhone.
Apart from that there are two new colors: matte black and glossy black. My test model was the latter variant and I have to say, it looks very stylish. The screen seamlessly morphs into the body of the phone. However - and this is less good news - it's very prone to fingerprints. Moreover, it's apparently quick to pick up scratches, although I didn't really encounter this problem myself.
Another important new feature is that this iPhone is now also water- and dust-resistant. It has been given the IP-67 rating. For us normal mortals this means you can keep it under water for half an hour up to a depth of one meter. Or use it for up to eight hours in a dusty environment.