Apple’s special media events – where do we start? The hype – tremendous. The anticipation – unrivalled. The gadgets unveiled – revolutionary? Or distinctly average? Or somewhere in between? Perhaps just, well, you know, good – without being particularly earth-moving.
Before I tap into the much-debated post-Jobs Apple, let’s talk iPhone. Apple thinned-out, lightened up, and in a changed from the usual script, stretched-out its prized asset, whilst packing in a faster processor, improved camera, and larger screen. And that was it.
Instead of lauding it as the successor to the bread-slicing machine, however, the general consensus seems to be one of slight discontent – the feeling of having witnessed something rather underwhelming. I can empathize with that notion completely, because I subscribe to it, but why?
It looks better than any iPhone previously released (subjective I know, but, well, it does), and is up to par with anything else you’re going to find in your local phone shop, save for NFC and a microSD slot. Having racked my brain for a while now, it’s dawned on me that perhaps the incredible amount of leaks we were treated to prior to today’s Yerba Buena-based Apple Fest actually spoiled proceedings to the point where there was nothing to look forward to.
Of course, there was always that little hint of doubt in the back of my mind that Apple had pulled the wool over everybody’s eyes, as it managed to last October with the iPhone 4S. However, given that the dual-core smartphone looked the same as its predecessor, it was much easier to hide, and with so many independent leaks of the iPhone 5 over a long period of time, Apple would had to have put as much work into hiding it as it did making it to repeat that feat.
As the event went on, I found myself running down a checklist in my mind, and all the expected features were reeled off one by one. That, rather unfortunately, left us with no real punch-line – that killer feature that gets the nerds drooling. Last year, it was Siri, and although it divided opinions, it was something new, unexpected, and gave prospective consumers that all-important pull factor.
A lot of people in the tech world have sold their iPhone 4Ses in anticipation for the iPhone 5, and as I sit here watching the video on loop of Jony Ive and his team of engineers, I’m still looking for that pull-factor. Impressed as I am by the speed of the thing – in adverts, at least – I see my iPhone 4S as packing more than enough power and pace to cope with my day-to-day tasks. The camera of the iPhone 4S – for a smartphone snapper – still amazes me at times, and with iOS 6 arriving next week, I am most definitely split as to whether I will be upgrading my hardware or – cue the gasps – skipping this one.
It’s too early for me to gauge what everybody else thinks, but when I say "skip," I’m actually meaning "not purchase, but keep my options open." As a techie, there’s no way I can keep the iPhone 4S running all the way through to next Fall, but far from being blown away by the iPhone 5, I’m seriously considering a Samsung ATIV S, or Nokia Lumia 920, on Windows Phone 8. Now, I fully accept that a few of you in agreement with my iPhone sentiments will have been lost by the mention of Windows Phone 8, but as somebody looking for something to grab my attention and offer something fresh and exciting, Microsoft has what I require in abundance.
Whether consumers will turn to Android, Windows Phone or simply stick with their current iPhone remains to be seen, but I couldn’t have been the only person slightly underwhelmed by what’s been announced today. The iPhone 5 will be the biggest-selling iPhone to date – that there is very little doubt of – but I can certainly see scope for the iPhone gravy-train’s derailment.
Regarding my earlier point about Steve Jobs, it’s pretty hard to contextualize the fate of a company yet to launch a smartphone without his presence, and it’s even harder to pin success or fate of a company on one individual. I personally think Apple has coped fine without Jobs at the helm, but with the man having single-handedly dragged the company from its knees to the world’s most valuable, it’s hard to ignore the increasing murmurs speculating on Apple’s ability to cope.
To sum it up, Apple is most certainly doing alright – for now. The iPhone 5 will definitely sell several million in its first few days, and the majority of consumers will be happy with what they’ve got. But, the world of the smartphone is a lot different to 2007 or even 2010, when the iPhone 4 was launched, and the Cupertino company will need to remain on its toes if the success of the past 5 years is to continue year-in, year-out.
While I personally may give a iPhone 5 a miss, at least for now, what about you? Will you buy the new iPhone 5?
You can follow us on Twitter, add us to your circle on Google+ or like our Facebook page to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Microsoft, Google, Apple and the web.