Is it safe to say that the iPhone 5 is a bit of a dud? After months of expectation and rumor, patent-war galore and even a billion-dollar bonus, tech giant Apple finally unveiled the latest iteration of its bestselling smartphone, the iPhone 5, the very date of its launch shrouded in mystery and speculation. The run up to the launch was of course overshadowed by Apple’s much-publicized litigation against South Korean rival Samsung, taking it to court for patent infringement and eventually winning its cases, being awarded $1 billion in damages with a possible sales ban of Samsung devices in the offing, too.
Analysts saw this timely court success as a way for Apple to shore up the launch of its latest product, something that quite definitely paved the way for a new product launch. Of course with the billion dollars in tow, Apple quite headily embarked on what was going to be yet another historic launch, with die-hard and casual fans alike eagerly waiting for the iPhone 5. Of course being typically Apple, details about the device were closely guarded, and this further fuelled the expectation. Before it was revealed at an event in San Francisco, fans were sure to have held their breath.
But was the wait worth it?
Techies are most certainly divided. While some have described it as raising “the smartphone bar,” others have described it as simply “boring,” while indeed a good share of them have, in an almost bittersweet reaction, lauded and denigrated it. Mat Honan of Wired wrote, “The iPhone 5 is the greatest phone in the world. It has top-notch hardware … Its new operating system, iOS 6, is slicker than slugs on ice. And its ultra-slim body is a triumph of industrial design ... It’s aces. Just aces. And yet it is also so, so cruelly boring,” adding that the new smartphone was “an amazing triumph of technology” but “every bit as exciting as a 25 mph drive through a sensible neighborhood at a reasonable time of day.”
And it’s safe to say that Mr. Honan and techies like him are spot-on as while the phone may look sleeker, being 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter, it certainly does not offer any new technology. As to features, the iPhone 5 comes 4G-enabled; offers Apple’s new OS, the iOS 6, and a newly designed chip, the A6; is larger than previous iPhones at 4 inches (10.2cm) but still smaller than other smartphones on the market; and with a glass touchscreen, an 8-megapixel camera and no NFC.
Possibly the only new addition to the smartphone, besides Apple maps, is a smaller socket for its charger. And if users want to plug in existing speakers, they’ll have to buy an adapter.
Critics have said that with Apple’s tradeoff between new technology and size, Apple may lose out. Fred Huet, managing director at Greenwich Consulting, says, "The decision to omit NFC in the iPhone 5 could cost Apple. It is just a matter of time before the smartphone replaces the plastic card, and by skipping this technology, Apple may have missed a valuable opportunity to take the lead in this market.”
The smartphone’s lack of innovation is again pointed out as Mr. Honan of Wired concluded that possibly the most exciting phone out on the market today was the Nokia Lumia 920.