There has been a lot of hype about the “iPhone 5” for the past 2 years. Last year we got the disappointing iPhone 4S rehash instead of an iPhone 5. This year’s 6th generation iPhone has finally been announced and it seems like Apple isn’t really trying much anymore. They’re kind of comfortable with where they are and don’t really need to do much innovation – although the marketing speak is certainly on full blast.
They’ve added a larger screen, since those are so popular these days. They’ve fixed the poor design issues with having a phone made out of glass so that it’s less likely to shatter when dropped. They’ve designed a new “lightning” port that is not compatible with the standard micro USB connection that all other phones support. That should help sell new accessories, since if you’re already an iPhone user, you probably have a good collection of iPod-connector-related accessories. They’ve also got LTE network support, which everyone else has already had for a long time. Full sRGB color gamut is nice to hear, though not terribly revolutionary. The A6 processor is faster; of course, that’s what we would expect, so nothing special there, either. So, most of those are really just hardware features designed to catch up to everyone else.
The iPhone 5’s camera features a sapphire crystal, but it’s still just 8 megapixels – nothing terribly innovative like high resolution oversampling or optical image stabilization to challenge Nokia. Oh, but there’s the panorama mode, which Apple says is the most amazing feature in the iPhone 5 (even though everyone else has had that feature for years). Three microphones for noise cancellation is a good idea, too; that reminds me of the old HTC Touch Pro 2.
The photo sharing with likes and comments reminds me of Windows Phone’s Facebook integration, except it sounds like the iPhone’s version doesn’t integrate with Facebook. Siri has learned some new tricks, though, that let it integrate with certain services like Facebook and OpenTable. It’s still not the kind of fully open API integration that developers will be able to use in Windows Phone 8, which will offer far more flexibility in the speech interface department.
Overall, I’m unimpressed with the new iPhone 5. It’s exactly the same as the leaks with no surprises, really. Nokia’s announcement of the Lumia 920 last week offered far more innovation and will definitely stand out more, especially in all of those exciting colors (unless the media focuses only on the iPhone for the foreseeable future). Nokia’s got a potentially better display, much more innovative camera, and far more interesting accessories that involve wireless charging and NFC connectivity. Not only that, but we haven’t even seen the full Windows Phone 8 feature set yet.
Apple has the presentation and marketing speak down pretty good and people are sure to line up for the new iPhone, even if its updated features aren’t that great. Do you think Windows Phone 8 will have a chance to steal its thunder? What do they need to do to show up Apple?