New iPhone announcements are usually exciting, but the iPhone 5 one seemed to lack that fire
Apple announced the iPhone 5 on Wednesday and I'm left feeling a little underwhelmed. The iPhone 5 is a great device, to be certain, but I feel like it is a modest upgrade to the iPhone 4S in many ways. One can easily joke that Apple stretched out the current iPhone, hammered it to be a little thinner and gave everything else a boost all around. Now I'm deciding whether that's a good or bad thing.
First, there was nothing at all surprising about the iPhone 5. From its design to specific features, the iPhone 5 was the furthest anything could be from a surprise. I've seen better twists and mysteries in an episode of Scooby-Doo than the months leading up to the iPhone 5. Apple has more leaks now than my very first apartment in Brooklyn, and I can only imagine how this would make Steve Jobs rage if he were alive today. Apple, please don't be like my old landlord. Fix these leaks.
The natural tendency is to believe that anything leaked prior to a new iPhone announcement has about a 50/50 chance of being accurate -- not counting that one time an iPhone was left in a bar. That's because Apple usually keeps its channels sealed tight, and historically, most leaks and renders and rumors were flat-out wrong. This time around it seems like everyone was right, with the exclusion of NFC, of course. Most of us expected NFC, but Apple has decided to leave it out.
What's worse is that the leaks had confirmed what I was dreading -- an iPhone that would be indistinguishable from the current model from several feet away. Sure, the backing is different, but the design is effectively the same. And you'd be hard-pressed to distinguish 3.5 inches from 4 inches at 25 feet away unless you have the eye of a hawk. The iPhone 4/4S was such a departure from the 3G/3GS design that I was hoping for a similar wow-factor with the iPhone 5 design. But when I saw the leaks, I thought there could be no way the design would remain so similar. It seems like a lazy update from a company that prides itself on innovation and design so much that it sues the hell out of companies that steal even the slightest elements of those designs from Apple.
LTE, a faster processor, better graphics and an updated camera are all things that can be expected. A small child could have predicted these new features. You may be thinking that I'm expecting too much, but that's how I've been conditioned by Apple -- to be blown away with revolutionary models of a phone that revolutionized an industry!
For all my whining and ranting, however, I'm sure the iPhone 5 will eventually find its way into my hands as my primary device. For all the great things about Android handsets and the vast improvements to the apps available in the Android market, I still believe that iOS has the superior ecosystem -- even if just slightly. However, that edge is becoming smaller, and manufacturers are building amazing handsets like the Nokia Lumia 920 (on paper, the Lumia 920 has a better display and camera than the iPhone 5).
Oh, and one more thought: if there is going to be an iPhone 5S, just imagine that we'll be looking at this relatively antiquated design for another two years. What happened to Apple's flair and taste?