NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple is getting ready to launch the iPhone 5 at an event Sept. 12. Still the new iPhone already lags behind its competition in innovation.
You already know that Apple is launching its new iPhone 5
in San Francisco Sept. 12. You already know that the hype has reached levels
unseen since, oh, the launch of the iPhone 4S (which everybody thought would be
the iPhone 5).
Secretly, deep down inside, you probably also know that
this new iPhone will not be as innovative as you'd hoped it would be.
While there are some very nice improvements planned for
the sixth iteration of Apple's iPhone, they're still iterative changes. There
do not appear to be any blockbuster features, and most of the features that are
at least interesting are not as interesting as some of what Apple's competition
is doing. In other words, Apple's conservative approach to hardware updates is
putting a limit on what the company can do.
The new iPhone
will have a bigger screen
. This is information that's been out there for a
while, and it's something that everyone has expected. The screen on the iPhone
4S and earlier is now tiny by comparison to what's available to Google Android
and Microsoft Windows Phone devices. The emergence of video and imaging as
killer apps for phones has made screen size matter a lot. But while the new
screen will have a 16:9 aspect ratio needed by video, it will still only be
about 4 inches.
The limited screen size is due to the fact that the
iPhone 5 will be the same width as recent iPhones. It will simply be taller.
Apple may have reasons for limiting the width, such as comfort, but those
reasons still result in less viewing area. While the Retina display will still
provide lots of detail, no matter how you look at it, smaller is still smaller.
The new iPhone will support faster networking.
The iPhone 5 will support Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and Evolved
High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+), depending on the version. Considering that
virtually every other smartphone on the planet has been supporting LTE for a
long time, this means that Apple is catching up with the rest of the world, but
it's certainly not an innovation leader. Support for faster HSPA+ is also no
surprise since every other recent smartphone is already doing this.
Likewise, Apple may also be including near-field
communication (NFC) on the iPhone 5-something other phone makers from BlackBerry
maker Research In Motion to Samsung have had for a very long time, but there's
some dispute about that.