Apple's 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 -- and dominant.
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
Although everyone complained that the iPhone 4S 3.5-inch screen was small compared 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 hardly changed
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
Apple 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, Apple?
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.