None of the three are going to go away any time soon, but none of them are going to win overnight. The advantages and disadvantages of each are largely in the eye of the beholder, and there’s factors like price and availability and marketing and the like.
The iPhone defined the smartphone market –it’s the one by which others are judged. The others are catching up, but that’s competition. Whatever the case, we are all carrying around remarkable pieces of technology that can do the most amazing things. Viva la différence, if that’s what it brings.
The iPhone brings a new version of iOS and a new, smaller and faster Apple chip, the A6. Many features are enhanced or changed in some way. The taller (but not wider) screen fits and extra row of apps, and significantly higher colour saturation.
As expected Google Maps has been dropped and replaced with Apple’s own product, which gives voice directions, at least in the USA. Facebook is integrated. Siri is improved. The camera allows panorama shots, seamlessly linking multiple adjacent photos. The improved camera takes 1080p video. It will start to ship in the USA by the end of the month, and Australia will get it almost immediately – it’s already on the local Apple website.
Citius, altius, fortius. Faster, higher, stronger. The iPhone 5 is very Apple, and is pretty well what we have come to expect from the company. People will complain about the new docking connector, but that’s one of the prices of the smaller design. By not playing follow the leader with screen size, Apple has maintained, or even increased, its product differentiation, which is very important in an increasingly crowded market.
A lot has happened since Apple released its last iPhone, the 4S, less than a year ago. Apple is still undisputed leader of the smartphone pack, but its rivals are catching up. Android is no longer a clunky geeky operating system for clunky geeky phones, and Microsoft – finally – is getting its mobile act together.
Apple now has to run faster to stand still. Has it done enough with this latest release? There’s no doubt that it’s a good machine, and pretty well in line with predictions, but the competition means that Apple is no longer the only game in town. Your choice of Smartphone now depends on other factors than Apple’s coolness.
- The iPhone 5 is elegant (or cool, if you prefer that word). It is lighter and thinner.
- There’s lots of great new software. Everything’s slicker. iTunes is better, Facebook and FaceTime integration is great. Apple Passbook is important – a sort of electronic wallet, whose acceptance will depend upon retailers and other merchants getting on board.
- Price doesn’t increase, availability is good. Australia gets it immediately.
- Apps, apps, apps. Apple’s got lots of apps.
- The new adaptor will irritate a lot of people. And battery life is less than its rivals.
- So will dropping Google Maps. Apple’s maps will be fine in major US metropolitan areas, but how comprehensive will they be in Australia?
- There is no game changer. With so many new features on so many new phones, there is no wow factor any more.
- Small is good, but it limits screen size. Apple has been very clever in increasing the screen’s height, but the competition’s screens are now significantly larger.
At the end of the day, it’s the company’s reputation and the Apple ecosystem that will keep Apple users with Apple. People like the range of apps, the integration with iTunes and everything that goes with all that. They like the intuitive interface and the ease of use. People currently using and iPhone will most likely go with the were model when it’s time to upgrade, but Apple will now have a much harder time convincing new smartphone users of its advantages over the competition.
Apple is no longer quite as cool, no longer quite as feature-rich, no longer quite as, how do we say, je ne sais quoi. The iPhone 5 still sets Apple apart, but for many people it is no longer the obvious choice. That’s its real problem.