NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple's iPhone 5 is now official. And despite all of the glitz and glamour, it's really little more than a catch-up Android device.
iPhone 5 was unveiled in San Francisco on Sept. 12
to a crowd filled with
special guests and journalists. The device, as expected by the rumor mill, came
with a host of improvements, including a larger Retina display, a new design,
and 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) service. In many ways, it's the device that
customers today needed. But in far too many ways, it's also a smartphone that
disappoints those that were hoping for something far more special â and
Apple is undoubtedly a company that deserves all of the
respect it gets. For years, it has found ways to innovate beyond anything the
market has seen. And competitors have been left to only hope to catch up. It's
a feat unlike anything we've seen to this point. And it speaks to the genius of
the late Steve Jobs and his executive team.
But because of all of that success, Apple is held to a
higher standard. Customers can view the company's nominal upgrades, while nice,
as disappointments. And while any other company would be celebrated for
launching new design updates each year, Apple can only get that courtesy when
it totally changes a product's look.
Although the following might seem like more of the same,
this time around, it's truly hard to not be down on Apple. The iPhone 5, as a
standalone product, is nice and worth buying. But when considered in the
context of its market and competitors, it looks awfully dull for a company that
has spent so much of its time talking about how innovative it is.1. The 4-inch screen is small
everyone complained that the iPhone 4S' 3.5-inch screen was small
to competitors, the same might soon happen with the iPhone 5. That device's
display comes in at just 4 inches. Sure, it's better than its predecessor's
screen, but what about the countless 4.3-inch devices on the market? What's
worse, what's Apple's answer for the 4.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S III?
2. The design has
There is a slightly new design in the iPhone 5, but it's not
a major upgrade. Apple basically made the device thinner, lighter, taller, and changed
the back a bit. As Apple's design guru Jonathan Ive said himself, Apple didn't
want to change the iPhone's design too much. It shows. And it's disappointing.
3. Where's the NFC?
Apple made no mention of near-field communication in its
presentation. It's unfortunate. Near-field communication delivers communication
between products, would offer mobile payments and much more. It's available in
countless Android-based devices. Why wouldn't Apple offer it on the iPhone 5?
4. The 8-megapixel
camera isn't a major update
played catch-up with the rear camera in the iPhone 5
. The component comes
with an 8-megapixel sensor, some low-light improvements, and a better lens. But
who cares? Nokia recently announced the PureView camera in its Lumia 920 and
that appears to be superior to the iPhone's. Even the Galaxy S III's camera
appears to be able to match Apple's option. Where's the benefit in your option,
5. iOS 6 is nice, but
not a major upgrade
Apple's iPhone 5 will ship with iOS 6. For those keeping
score, the operating system will launch with over 200 updates, including
improvements to the calling screen, better do-not-disturb features, some Mail
enhancements, and more. Even so, it's not a major upgrade over iOS 5. And it's
highly unlikely that it'll be a major selling point for Apple customers.
6. The new Lightning
Apple tried to put a good face on its new Lightning port,
which replaces the 30-pin connector found in its previous devices. However,
it's a bit annoying. The port requires an accessory to connect the iPhone 5 to
existing dock-ready devices, and will force customers to upgrade to new devices
sooner than they might like. It's nice that it'll sync more quickly, but let's
be honest â Apple is trying to get rid of that, anyway.
Apple has finally unveiled the A6 quad-core processor. It's
a nice addition to the iPhone 5
. But quad-core processors are by no means
new. The chips have found their way to a host of Android-based devices,
including those from Apple's biggest competitors. Apple needed to deliver
something better, and it didn't.
8. More storage,
Was anyone else disappointed that Apple didn't offer up more
storage in the iPhone 5? With video viewing becoming far more popular around
the world, it would only make sense for Apple to give users more storage to
allow them to keep that content on their devices. Instead, it topped out the
iPhone 5 at 64GB.
9. How long will it
take developers to catch up?
With a new screen size comes new headaches for Apple's
developer partners. The apps that were built for 3.5-inch screens won't fit on
the 4-inch displays until developers make modifications. That becomes a problem
when there are many more 3.5-inch screens out there. Look for apps to look
awfully weird after the iPhone 5 launches.
10. Don't forget the
the iPhone 5 comes in at the same prices as its predecessor
should be aware that there will be hidden costs. Chief among them? The
aforementioned adapters for the Lightning port. Wondering how much that will
cost? A whopping $29. Now, think of all of the products that need the 30-pin connector,
and ask yourself if you want to carry that single adapter to all of them. Upset
Follow Don Reisinger on Twitter by