New Delhi: 'What would Steve Jobs do?'. Really, that's a question that Apple chief Tim Cook should ask himself before and after each big product announcement. Jobs' big legacy at Apple wasn't that of a manager, it was of a visionary, an innovator. And if the iPhone 5 is anything to go by, then the days of innovation at Apple have come and gone.
Yes, the iPhone 5 is a good phone, bigger screen, faster processor, better connectivity and a super camera it really could be a dream gadget, except it's not.
The iPhone 5 is at best an improvement upon the iPhone 4S.
Apple could have very well called it iPhone 4SS, going by its naming convention.
Losing the Apple 'mystery'
A big indicator of the change in times at the tech giant is how each and every aspect of the new iPhone was leaked before the launch. While that's hardly something new, what was different this time around was that the leaks proved to be a 100 percent correct. And unlike the past, Apple failed to deliver that one 'wow' feature that all the insiders and rumour mills had missed.
This would have been unthinkable under Steve Jobs, who famously didn't even reveal details of the original iPhone development project, codenamed Purple Project, to the men who were working on it!
Competiton taking Apple head on
During the days of Apple's dominance, competitors stalled their projects to see what Apple had to offer before making any big announcements of their own, but now Apple's biggest competitors have already tabled their bets, confident of taking the Cupertino giant head on.
Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy S3, the Moto RAZR Droid and the HTC One X are all in direct competition with the iPhone 5 and while Apple loyalists will no doubt upgrade in hordes, Apple really needed to break new ground by eating into its competitors' market share.
Sadly that seems unlikely.
For every feature that Cook and company announced at the San Francisco launch, are already bettered by iPhone's competitors.
iPhone's elongated 4-inch screen is the smallest of the lot with the worst pixel-per-inch resolution.
The Galaxy S3 by far Apple's biggest competitor has a 4.8 inch screen while the Nokia Lumia 920 has a 4.5 inch screen.
The processor, Apple's A6 chip is yet to be dissected, but while it may make the iPhone 5 faster than its predecessor it seems unlikely that it will be any faster the S3's quad-core processor or the Lumia's Dual-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4.
Even for Apple loyalists there is some bad news. The new smaller Dock Connector now means that you will have to buy an additional adapter to make it run on an automobile, a speaker dock, or any of the other iReady products that you have been using.
The camera too remains 8mp with a resolution of 3,264x2,448 pixels. That again is nothing special and is basically par for course with all other high-end smartphones offering the same.
However, Apple generally has better optics than Samsung on its camera, though the HTC and the Nokia Lumia phones will give it a run for its money.
iPhone 5 retains the 4S' f2.4 aperture lens but boasts of a new panorama mode which stitches together different photographs to develop one 28-megapixel rendition of a landscape.
Apple also failed to get NFC into the iPhone. A feature that most expected Apple to include, but with the new iOS 6 Passbook feature, NFC is now expected to be incorporated in the next iPhone (6? 5S?).
For a detailed comparison read here.
What the iPhone missed
-Storage: Apple iPhone 4S comes in a 64GB version, and most are happy with that. But some expected, or hoped, that Apple would launch a 128GB version. Sadly that's not happening.
Like the 4S, the iPhone 5 tops at 64GB.
-Battery life: While Apple is claiming to have bettered the iPhone 4S when it comes to juice, that's really not much of an improvement. And with a faster processor and 4G data connection, the battery may prove to be a deal breaker for Apple.
-Security features: While motion-enabled security codes are not an essential-to-my-life feature, yet it's one of those I'd rather have it, than not sort of an option. Swiping an unlocking pattern on the screen is just so much cooler than entering a password.
-Built-in wireless charging: The Nokia Lumia 920 boasts of wireless charging, where all you need is a charging mat. But with the iPhone you would need to buy a charging case with a charging mat. That just about makes it more cumbersome than just carrying a charger or a USB cable.
What the critics say
John Biggs from TechCrunch admits that iPhone5 is not very different to the iPhone 4S, but states that while the real benchmarks and games aren’t quite available yet, folks who haven’t used the 4S will notice a bump. He is cautiously optimistic however, saying,
"We’ll know far more about these phones when we get to really use them later this month but until then I can report that this is a solid and interesting improvement to a solid and interesting phone. Is it a blockbuster launch? Probably not, but it is an interstitial launch that allows Apple to update the screen size and dock connector while still hiding some tricks up its sleeve."
David Pogue seems far more impressed in his ‘first impressions post’ for the New York Times.He loves the new design, and he’s happy with the panorama capability of the camera, calling it the best he has ever seen. He also seems reasonably wowed with the other features, though with the disclaimer that he has not tested them yet.
The ‘only cause for pause’ according to Pogue, is the new lightning connector which will make “hundreds of millions’ of gadgets redundant, and the high price of the adaptors.
Dan Cooper of EnGadget says, “It’s not that I’m underwhelmed by the hardware, but after being locked out of Siri 12 months ago, I was hoping for a revolutionary leap that was a little more future-proof”. However he says he’ll still probably give in and ‘buy the thing’.
Zach Honig of the same publication says that he’ll probably stay with his Android device unless “Apple somehow manages to convince carriers to make prepaid nano-SIMs accessible in even the most obscure locales”.
Joshua Topolsky of The Verge is really vague, limiting itself to a very surface-level review of the new features. The most opinion he ventures is, “It’s obvious that the iPhone 5 shares the same design language as the iPhone 4 and 4S before it, and it’s clear that Apple was very careful when it came to modifying that chassis. Jony Ive said so himself during the event. There are plenty of improvements, but there are also a lot of similarities.”
The Next Web has several pieces centering on the device. Matthew Panzaring has spoken to some app developers, who have expressed some apprehension that the larger screen size could pose some trouble for them. He has also done a basic review, in which he says that the best feature of the device is its improved battery life.