iPhone 5 Won't Be A Major Update: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-07-16

iPhone 5 Won't Be A Major Update: 10 Reasons Why

Apple's iPhone 5 will be launching this fall, according to most reports. And when that happens, the company is expected to offer up everything from a fresh design to a bigger display. Better yet, the device could include 4G LTE service, near-field communication and a host of other improvements that the rumor mill says will dramatically improve the iOS ecosystem. 

However, the rumor mill doesn't have a respectable track record for accuracy when it comes to speculation about Apple produce features. Although it's a near-certainty that Apple will launch the iPhone 5 in the fall, talk of it appearing with eye-popping new features is likely to be wrong. In fact, there appears to be a much better chance that, save for some nice upgrades here and there, the iPhone 5 will not be a major update at all.

 Wondering why? Read on to find out: 

1. All signs point to nominal upgrades 

Although some people would like to argue that the addition of 4G LTE service and a quad-core processor to the iPhone 5 makes it a major update, that's not really the case. Those are simply iterative upgrades that would be expected from the iPhone maker to keep up with the competition. Even a slightly larger screen, while nice, is not a surprising addition. All of the proposed features in the iPhone 5 look to be rather, well, mundane. 

2. What's really major at this point? 

It's hard to see what could be construed as a major update at this point. Smartphone designs are well-defined by now. And unless Apple can come up with some radical new feature no one has thought about before, it's hard to see how the iPhone 5 will be a major upgrade. It didn't used to be like that when Apple practically defined what should go into a smartphones. But now that the product sector is starting to mature, it's hard to find anything that's startlingly new. 

3. Apple doesn't appear to care about major updates 

Apple seems to have lost its appetite for major updates. Over the last couple of years, all of its products have come with a few nominal upgrades that didn't blow anyone's socks off. Perhaps Apple has decided that major updates are too costly and sticking with a slow and steady approach makes more sense as long as the sales and profits keep rolling in. 

4. An enterprise play 

When Apple was more likely to deliver major updates to its smartphone years ago, the company was really only targeting consumers. However, now the firm is going after enterprise customers, as well. Enterprise customers tend to shy away from major product upgrades that also require them to update their application and network platforms. IT decision-makers like iterative updates that logically follow their predecessors. And Apple seems to understand that. 

Its Software That Keeps the iPhone on Top


5. Tim Cook cares more about profitability 

When Steve Jobs was running Apple, he certainly cared about profitability. But perhaps more than anything, he wanted his company's products to deliver the most exciting experience out there. Tim Cook is more of a businessman and, according to reports, focuses more on the supply chain and margins than his predecessor. That alone could mean the iPhone 5 could be rather boring this year. 

6. Smaller updates are working just fine 

If Apple was having trouble selling products that come with incremental updates, the company would almost undoubtedly deliver something major this year. But Apple's iterative updates are working out just fine, and profits are soaring. Why change that recipe? 

7. Costs are on the rise 

With smartphones becoming so popular nowadays, companies supplying the components are making boatloads of cash. And the more those companies make, the less of a profit Apple might generate. Therefore, you can expect the company to control costs by bringing only incremental improvements to its designs. Sure, Apple has the cash to invest in an octo-core processor, but why do it? Such a component would be too costly at this point. 

8. The competition isn't so far ahead 

Apple has the luxury of being able to keep up with the toughest competition for over a year before it needs to significantly upgrade its own smartphone. After all, the iPhone 4S, which launched last fall, is still among the most powerful devices on store shelves today, even though some of its competitors have quad-core chips and better graphics. With a simple upgrade, Apple can regain its position at the top of the smartphone space. 

9. It's all about the software, anyway 

When one fully analyzes the smartphone market, they'll find that success at the end of the day comes down to software. As noted, there are products available now that are more powerful than the iPhone, but it's Apple that sells more smartphones than any other company. A key component in that success is iOS, an operating system that, most agree, works better than Android. That can't be forgotten. 

10. It doesn't appear customers care 

Customers really don't seem to care if Apple delivers a major update to its iPhone. Every time the company offers up a new device, no matter how small the update might be, sales jump. Apple knows it. Customers know it. And investors know it. And along the way, each party is happy with the result. So, who needs a major update? 

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