iPhone 7 introduces a new finish from Apple called Jet Black, which is a glossy dark color that looks similar to Apple Watch’s Space Black finish. The iPhone is made out of aluminum, however, so the finish is a little different from that of the stainless steel Apple Watch. Here’s how Jet Black compares to Space Black…
For starters, Apple warns that the Jet Black finish on the iPhone 7 will pick up ‘micro abrasions’ from regular use and recommends using a case to avoid this. The caseless Jet Black model feels much more like glass in the hand, however, so it’s very tempting to use on its own compared to slippery matte finish models. Apple is rumored to be returning to an iPhone 4-like all glass design for the iPhone 8 next year to provide both a glassy and scratch resistant finish.
The Space Black finish on the dark stainless steel Apple Watch is more durable thanks in part to a DLC (diamond like carbon) layer that protects it from chipping. A stainless steel iPhone with a DLC finish would be less prone to micro abrasions, but both cost and weight are limiting factors that make this unrealistic.
Stainless steel Space Black has a more metallic look than the aluminum Jet Black finish which can look more plasticky in photographs and feels like weighted glass in the hand.
In similar lighting, Jet Black is closer to absolute black than Space Black which reflects light differently and has a bronze-like look in some environments.
Jet Black is only available on the 128GB and 256GB iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (camera impressions); 32GB models only have the matte Black finish. Space Black was introduced with the first-generation Apple Watch and is now only available on the stainless steel Apple Watch Series 2 (review).
Check out the two finishes together below: