Though I’m no longer an iPhone user, I was looking forward to seeing what would come from Cupertino’s latest mobile venture. What the industry received was a substandard effort that sets the bar for mobile innovation so low, I can’t help but feel that Apple is doing little more than playing catch-up to other handset makers.
Here’s a list of the new features the iPhone 5 is sporting.
The iPhone 5 has a new screen that sports a 16:9 aspect ratio. That’s great and all, but unfortunately it’s still not HD. What’s odd is that the front-facing camera can shoot 720p video, but that resolution is too high for the screen to display. Why wouldn’t they just increase the resolution to 720 x 1280 instead of their not-quite-HD 640 x 1136? Every high-end Android device released in the past year has come with an HD display. The Google Galaxy Nexus, the HTC One X, the Samsung Galaxy S III. . . need I go on?
A great feature, no doubt. Something that’s been available on Android devices for a while now thanks to Google+.
Built-in panoramic camera.
Again, since Ice Cream Sandwich was released last year, Android devices have had this function built-in.
With iOS 6, Apple is divorcing from Google. This means their own maps program complete with turn-by-turn navigation and 3D maps. It’s quite impressive, but once again, Apple is playing catch-up here to what Android has been doing for over a year, at the very least.
New dock connector.
This new “Lightning” connector is a step in the right direction for Apple, but it’s too little, (nearly) too late. Why Apple doesn’t just adopt the industry-standard microUSB is beyond me, but suffice it to say that Apple’s Lightning connector is painfully incapable.
Android phones are using microUSB ports to push more than just data packages and power. They can use them as USB host support for devices like keyboards and mice, as well as storage expansion for thumb drives and yes, even hard drives. What’s more, microUSB is also capable of pushing HD video directly to a monitor through HDMI or MHL, something that HTC has taken advantage of nicely.
But there is one cool thing about Apple’s Lightning connector: you can plug it in upside-down or right-side-up.
Still no NFC.
People are clamoring for NFC. The entire commerce industry is trying to move to mobile payments, but Apple has essentially spoken on behalf of half the world’s smartphone users in saying “Well, we prefer to hold technology back another 2 years because we don’t want to play nice with the other kids in the sandbox.”
And it’s not just mobile payments. The applications for NFC go beyond the exchange of funds through mobile tech. According to Phil Schiller, “Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Like I said, it’s not just about mobile payments. It seems like Apple is trying to tell us yet again what we need.
This may have worked with the OG iPhone back in 2007, but when the market is saturated with thousands of handsets that are as good as—and in many cases, superior to—the iPhone, Apple can no longer afford to dictate what the consumer wants from their handset.
There is nothing about the sixth iPhone that stands out from Apple’s competitors, and with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean being pushed to handsets, Apple may find itself playing second fiddle to the potentially more pervasive Google.
During yesterday’s presentation, a quote referencing the iPhone from TIME Magazine was placed on the screen: “The phone that has changed phones forever.” I won’t disagree with that statement.
However, that statement was in reference to the OG iPhone. Not the iPhone 4S. Not even the iPhone 4. Apple, you can’t rest on your laurels. The industry-revolutionizing iPhone came out five years ago. That’s eons in the mobile tech world. Everything since the iPhone 3GS has been little more than incremental upgrades.
It’s time to start thinking different, Apple. Or someone else will.