Friday, 14 September 2012

The iPhone 5: Where has Apple's 'famous' innovation gone?

Apple, rightly or wrongly, is famed for being a wonderful innovator; a company that is at the forefront of technological advancement. I can't help feel like that innovation seems to have deserted them recently, with the launch of the highly-anticipated iPhone 5 being testament to this.

The recent big announcement in short has produced an almost identical iPhone (yes its a bit bigger, thinner etc), some more iPod touches which are again far from revolutionary, and some new iPod Nanos which have circular icons instead of square (and that's pretty much it...). In fact arguably the most revolutionary announcement was the headphones, which have been changed and do look good, and apparently sound good. It all echoes the release of the iPhone 4S, and the 'New iPad' with many consumers responding with a resounding "Is that it?".

Features-wise the iPhone 5 is 4G capable yet without a hardware change O2 and Vodaphone users won't be able to access 4G speeds. The new camera now includes panoramic mode (which has been available on most Android handsets for about 2 years) and an option to capture photos during video (just blatantly ripping off HTC). Now, I don't want to turn this into an Apple-bashing but Apple immediately attacks other companies (mainly Android) for 'stealing' Apple features and too often gets away with doing the reverse. Thinner, lighter blah blah blah. It's simply another tweaked upgrade to squeeze money from the consumer. This is highlighted by the new accessories. So to charge the new iPhone you need this new 'Lightening adapter'. Great, it looks nice, but it'll cost a bomb. Just unnecessary. The prices STARTING at $649 (!!) for the 16GB version and ending up at a ridiculous $849 for the 64GB edition. (Yes, that is $200 more for 48GB storage... Go figure...).

(Spot the difference)

Now before you start saying "oh you just hate Apple" - I'm the first to admit I'm not the biggest fan of Apple but I would've liked to see Apple do what they did in 2007 and revolutionise the Smartphone market but they just haven't in this case. Success for any tech company forces other to up their game and continues technological advancement.
Is it time for Apple to acknowledge that they are now playing catch-up to Android devices? If not, then they will be doing in the very near future. Many may deny this, and they will probably come up with a convincing argument but it has reached the stage where the line "because it's Apple" does not cut the mustard. After all the criticism of Microsoft and Nokia becoming complacent in the tech world; have Apple done the same? I wrote previously about the importance of the iPhone 5 to Apple and it appears that they've fallen into the trap I was concerned they would do. Apple are better than this, just as Microsoft and Nokia were back in 2000. As Adam Leach, analyst for Ovum, correctly summarises -

“Without the continued innovation which we are accustomed to with Apple, the company risks losing consumer appeal. The iPhone re-defined the Smartphone category in 2007 but it cannot reply on past success to guarantee its future or rely on litigation to keep its competitors at bay.”

I would almost go as far as saying that Apple is cheating consumers into splashing even more money on a product, and indeed series of products, that are far from revolutionary. With that in mind, In my opinion, you would be far better off going for an iPhone 4S or even an iPhone 4 which have now been massively reduced in price. Get something for free/a small amount instead of spending £520+ on what is effectively the same product (just bigger, thinner blah blah blah...)

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in particular. Debating this topic with people is always fun and I certainly have my view and am open to hearing the thoughts of others.

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