Why the iPhone 5 is Too Radical

Why the iPhone 5 is Too Radical

You’ve heard the collective judgement by the tech echo chamber: The new iPhone was just like the old iPhone, only taller.

The iPhone 5 is boring. Apple is too conservative. They didn’t really change the phone, but only made minor tweaks.

And that’s what’s wrong with the iPhone 5: It’s just not radical enough.

Here’s the problem: The echo chamber not only got this wrong, they got it backward.

The trouble with the iPhone 5 is that it’s too much, too soon.

Let me explain. 

The Apple Way

The iPhone 5 is considered to be an iterative upgrade because it failed to live up to our unmoored fantasies about what Apple should have done.

Apple should have added fingerprint readers and NFC chips and a new digital wallet system far exceeding the current tickets-and-boarding-passes Passbook app. Most of all, the iPhone 5 was supposed to have “one more thing” — some shocking surprise that floored everybody. (What was this supposed to be? A Star Wars Hologram feature? A built-in bottle opener? What?)

But these fantasies are inconsistent with Apple’s reality.

Apple is the ultimate “Why?” company. Every new feature faces a harsh spotlight of inquiry. Why is now the right time to launch an NFC-based digital wallet? (It’s not the right time.) Why is now the right time to add a fingerprint reader. (It’s not.) Why add a hologram?

Despite all evidence to the contrary, far too many people assume that Apple either is, or should be, like Google — a “Why not?” company.

Should we support NFC? Should we launch a digital wallet? Should we build a robotic Prius? Should we develop augmented reality glasses and launch those glasses by doing a live Google+ hangout with skydivers jumping out of a blimp over San Francisco? Google says: Why not?

When people compare iPhone upgrade expectations, they look out over the vast smart phone industry and expect Apple to leapfrog every feature on 1,000 handset models with its one phone.

A better way to understand the iPhone is to compare it to the Mac.

Why People Buy New Macs

Most people who buy new Macs don’t buy them because Apple just announced a radical new feature set. Instead, they start with the need for a new desktop or laptop computer. The old one is too slow, or worn out or just obsolete.

So they go to the Apple store and get whatever the latest model is, and the best one they can reasonably afford.

There’s an unspoken assumption that the latest Mac will be the greatest Mac. And that tends to be true.

Apple upgrades Macs conservatively and unidirectionally. In other words, almost every feature that changes in a new Mac is a change for the better — faster processors, better battery, better screens, better everything, for the most part. Apple does a lot of internal engineering under the hood that improves the user experience in a large number of small ways.

As a result of this approach, Mac fans believe (as I do) that iMacs, MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs are the best computers you can buy for the price range.

They’re better not because they’re radical, or filled with whatever technology is possible to cram into them, but because they’re expertly but conservatively improved generation after generation, and they focus on features and technologies that offer the greatest benefit to the greatest number of users.

The overall look and feel of new Macs is usually the same as old Macs (except for rare generational shifts). Apple tends not to experiment with wild new form factors, and exotic technologies because their goal is to thrill the greatest number of customers with the fewest number of models.

Why People Buy New iPhones

New-feature lust is a phenomenon driven by the tiny minority of people who make their livings writing about technology. We wallow in every detail of every major consumer electronics device. And it’s never enough for us.

We advocate Google’s augmented reality glasses not because we’ve analyzed the consumer marketplace and considered human psychology and social behavior and determined that this technology is something desired by hundreds of millions of everyday consumers.

No, we advocate them because we’re bored, and we want to try them ourselves.

The vast majority of prospective iPhone buyers have a completely different perspective from the “pundits” who dominate the public conversations about consumer electronics.

Like Mac buyers, iPhone buyers buy iPhones because they want a new phone — their two-year waiting period is up, and they get the discounted upgrade again. By that time, the two-year-old iPhone is damaged or obsolete or both. They would like to assume that the latest iPhone is the greatest iPhone in every detail.

And that’s why the iPhone 5 is disappointing. Instead of every feature being better, the iPhone 5 is a mixed bag.

Why the iPhone 5 Is Too Radical

The iPhone 5 is better than its predecessors. But it could have, and should have, been far better than it in fact is.

There are major user-experience aspects to the iPhone 5 that are provably and measurably worse than its predecessor. And the reason for these downgrades is that Apple pushed too aggressively into bold new areas all at once.

For example, Apple decided to get too aggressive with both size and performance. These are laudable goals, but they didn’t quite pull it off.

Yes, iPhone 5 is the fastest major smartphone currently available, that I’m aware of. And they also got very close to shipping the thinnest smart phone.

But to achieve these radical goals, they skimped on battery life. Rather than improving battery life — a usability issue desperately in need of improvement — they instead kept it the same in a best-case scenario, and degraded it in the worst case.

They also compromised on materials. Instead of the glass-backed iPhone 4S, which looked beautiful but was thick and heavy, we now get an aluminum housing, which scratches and scuffs easily and visibly — something Apple reassuringly tells us is “normal.”

Apple’s radical new Lighting adaptor, neither compatible nor standard, is actually really cool. It performs some neat tricks to enable you to plug it in with either side up. But while it moves charging and wired data connectivity forward, it moves usability temporarily backward. Millions of homes and hotels rooms have iPhone-compatible clock radios and other docks and accessories. Now everyone has to cope with adaptors at added hassle and expense.

Likewise, there’s going to be a long adjustment period to the new screen aspect ratio. The majority of apps will site bogusly in the center until they can be re-written.

It sounds like I’m complaining about the iPhone 5. I’m not.

What I’m saying is that Apple fundamentally changes a large number of major usability issues all at once in the same upgrade.

Unlike upgrades for Macs, the iPhone upgrade makes progress on some features at the expense of others.

We get performance and size improvements, but at the expense of battery life and aesthetics.

We get a new adaptor technology, but at the expense of compatibility, cost and convenience.

Given Apple’s One-Phone-To-Rule-Them-All strategy, the upgrade is too radical in a bad way for everyday users.

More to the point, the idea that the iPhone 5 isn’t radical enough is a misconception based on a fantasy.

Comparing the iPhone to what we imagine Apple might do is just lazy and self indulgent.

But comparing the iPhone to other Apple lines in the context of Apple’s larger strategy makes perfect sense.

And by that comparison, the iPhone changes too much, too fast and too soon.

  • bking2911

    What feature do other cpetitors phones have that are so radical. NFC not needed yet. Wireless charging not far along enough to b prt of every phone. The phone is a beautiful phone. It’s faster lighter and is reliable.

  • iDan

    rubbish.

  • shade/ohio

    idk what people need in an iphone have wings?

  • SupaMac

    They only live to get radical. They don’t understand the sea, so they’ll never get the spiritual side of it.

  • CharilaosMulder

    I just hope devs of apps and external accessories will embrace the new standards.

  • gplawhorn

    Apple is planning for a 5 or 10 year run of phone products. Remember the screeching when they dropped floppies? ADB ports? AppleTalk? Motorola processors? Users have to endure some level of disruption if tech is to move forward. Backwards compatability is a no-win in a device the size of an iPhone. The answer is very simple, though – don’t upgrade until the 5s comes out.

  • Shaun Green

    “The iPhone 5 is considered to be an iterative upgrade because it failed to live up to our unmoored fantasies about what Apple should have done.”

    Wrong. It failed because it’s falling behind the competition in just about every way. The iPhone 5 & iOS6 are both boring and predictable. There is nothing new in there, nothing that beats the competition, no compelling reason to buy it rather than say the GS3. Apple is simply playing it safe and taking the money rather than innovating and moving forward because they have become complacent. Eventually many people will realise that the iPhone 5 is not worth the hype and switch to another make.

    “Most people who buy new Macs don’t buy them because Apple just announced a radical new feature set. Instead, they start with the need for a new desktop or laptop computer. The old one is too slow, or worn out or just obsolete.”

    Wrong again. Every new Mac released is followed by an immediate spike in sales. You think all those people just happened to need a new computer at the same time? Jeez, do your research next time. It’s a well known fact that new products equal sales spike. Nobody “needs” a Retina MBP but plenty of people went out and bought one anyway just to get the new machine.

  • twleblanc

    In the week I’ve had the iPhone 5 I have observed longer battery life than in my previous 4S–by a long shot. Scratches aluminum versus broken glass? To avoid either scenario I use a case and that eliminates the worry about the change from 30pin to lightning because the iPhone in a case doesn’t fit in accessories with those docks. I welcome the new plug! I hope the cable on this one doesn’t fray like on the 30pin.

  • Complexity Staff

    Interesting article! I agree on some points and disagree on others, but well done nonetheless.

    One thing about the Lighting though.. Apple stuck with the 30 pin for ~10 *years* which is eons in the tech world (as you know). Personally (despite the large ecosystem that will need to be updated) I’m happy about the change. I hated plugging in the 30 pin and the new one is a breath of fresh air. Sure, it won’t be widespread for awhile but it will happen. It will happen because consumers, hotels, product manufacturers, etc, know that Apple will stick with it for quite some time. I welcome our new Lightning overlord! lol

    Thanks for the write up! :)

  • John S. Wilson

    The problem with this article is that it’s based off of completely subjective info. Mike tends to do this a lot.

    Battery life has stayed about the same, as reported by both CNET and PC World. This on 4G networks, which tend to sap battery life.

    How is the iPhone 5 less durable because the back scratches when the 4/4S back would crack and shatter?

    Makes zero sense.

  • Whodakat

    They only live to get radical. They don’t understand the sea, so they’ll never get the spiritual side of it.

    This is the only thing in the article or the comments that has any merit. I’m getting to the point where if Mike Elgan wrote the article, I’ll just skip it.

    And that’s why the iPhone 5 is disappointing. Instead of every feature being better, the iPhone 5 is a mixed bag.

    Wrong. I can’t think of a feature that isn’t better than on my 4S, except maybe maps, but as I’m one of the 3 customers that hasn’t driven into the ocean using it I guess I’m in the minority here.

    For example, Apple decided to get too aggressive with both size and performance.

    So they made it too fast, too thin, and too light? Seriously Elgan, you are a joke.

    Rather than improving battery life — a usability issue desperately in need of improvement — they instead kept it the same in a best-case scenario, and degraded it in the worst case.

    Wrong. I’ve seen improved battery life over my 4S. Not double or anything but better…and that’s on top of having a bigger, brighter screen, the fastest mobile processor currently available, and LTE.

    They also compromised on materials. Instead of the glass-backed iPhone 4S, which looked beautiful but was thick and heavy, we now get an aluminum housing, which scratches and scuffs easily and visibly

    As the back glass, which I admittedly loved, was their biggest complaint, I can see Apple laughing at this comment. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. I’d like to suggest one of those battery pack cases to you Elgan. As the phone is too thin, has a bad battery, and scratches to easily, this seems like a win win win for you!

    Comparing the iPhone to what we imagine Apple might do is just lazy and self indulgent.

    Sounds just like a Mike Elgan article. Lazy, and self indulgent.

  • ivo135

    I’ve had an iPhone for the last 3 years, but will not be buying this one because I just feel that it’s the same thing, and other phones look more exciting to me. I recently checked out the Nokia lumia 920 for example and it seems like a much better phone and will probably buy it when it comes out. The Samsung galaxy s 3 also seems like a phone people are pretty happy with but because its been out for a while now, I don’t want to purchase it if a new phone is coming out soon. My point is, that the competition seems to offer much better products than apple now.

  • Whodakat

    Wrong. It failed because it’s falling behind the competition in just about every way.

    Mind expanding on that troll? Just like a moron fandroid dumbass, lots of bitching but not much thinking. Faster, thinner, sexier, better screen, better camera, better user experience….

  • dallanlee

    Some of the authors for this site really suck. And it’s too bad because some people will buy into their ridiculous OPINIONS. You guys don’t know near as much as you think you do! I only follow your article feeds to learn about actual news; not your opinions anymore because they’re typically annoyingly different than mine. Don’t state your opinions as facts, please. Thanks, morons!

  • Tallest_Skil

    Wrong. It failed because it’s falling behind the competition in just about every way.

    Which explains why it’s the fastest phone on the planet, the thinnest phone on the planet, has the best LTE battery life of any phone on the planet, makes the most profit of any phone on the planet, commands more marketshare than any other single phone on the planet…

    Just shut up.

    no compelling reason to buy it rather than say the GS3.

    Right, if you want the NOT fastest phone on the planet, want to NOT ever get software updates, want to NOT have the best LTE battery life, want to NOT have the thinnest phone…

    Apple is simply playing it safe and taking the money rather than innovating and moving forward because they have become complacent. Eventually many people will realize that the iPhone 5 is not worth the hype and switch to another make.

    Yeah, “Apple products only sell because of marketing”

    So how has that been working out for you idiots? You’d think that in 16 years, the rest of humanity would wizen up to what you say.

    …Maybe you’re just wrong.

    Every new Mac released is followed by an immediate spike in sales. You think all those people just happened to need a new computer at the same time?

    No one on Earth has ever decided to make do with their existing hardware while they waited for the release of new hardware. This has never happened before. Ever.

    Man, you trolls are dumb.

  • Tao Jones

    unless you actually want to date siri i can’t think of anything that a phone should do that this phone does not do. as the article posits change for changes sake is not a good idea the phone is wildly successful because of what it already does . the expectation that the i phone 5 should be something radically different is just not well thought out . you don’t mess with success enhancing the things it actually does is good enough , i like maps and the new screen or the new camera was noticeably better than my i phone 4 i will wait to get my five ( i m a pre order ) and really look in photoshop how much better but i can tell you now that the color accuracy and resolution is much better and spot on. i don’t use an i pad i have a desktop for surfing and a comfortable chair i don’t want a mini pad in my pocket the scootch extra real estate is fine with me . even if the “competition” has a feature the i phone has not got yet I’m ok with that because i know apple will take what they are doing and figure out the essence of it and when we get it it will be ready for actual humans,

  • Pat Smith

    too radical? LMFAO. they put slightly bigger screen on it, made it a little faster and screwed up royally on their maps app. this phone merely catches up almost with the galaxy s3. a new cord you can put in either way? well yippee how innovative! of course you just screwed your customers who have a lot wrapped up in the eco system and surprise you will “only” charge 39 dollars per adapter! They mailed it in and took the money. By the way, i have had 3 iphones and ipad and 2 macs which i loved, this phone is the emperor with no clothes……

  • Pragmataman

    This phone’s pretty meh. I’m glad now that I’ve got a year left on contract. On the other hand, if it was time to trade up it mite have been a good chance to delve into the world of android.

    The bigger screen seems cool, and I get that the adaptor was a necessary step forward; but the Maps are a massive turn off and the battery is the final nail in the coffin. Why not just leave keep the thickness and dramatically improve battery life? I have to charge my 4s at least twice a day. It’s just a freakin nuisance!

  • redevil1987

    I see you focused your points around hardware, whereas I always look into software. I dont care if this is iphone 5 or iphone 13. All i care is what iOS 6 has to offer this time. And this part is pretty disappointing. We look at cydia and you can find 200 simple yet useful tweaks. Then finally after 5 years apple decided to copy some of the cydia tweaks and they copied maybe 10 of them. Only 10 and they are pretty minor tweaks . For example they enabled upload for safari, but where the hell is the download manager?

  • site7000

    Here’s what the big, boring meh consists of:
    4G, LTE, HSPA+, and DC-HSDPA protocols added
    4-inch 16:9 display with 1136×640 resolution
    44% greater color saturation
    color gamut increased to 100% sRGB
    improved touch sensors
    2x faster
    1.3GHz A6 with 1GB RAM
    Geekbench scores: iPhone 4 – 380; iPhone 4S – 635; iPhone – 1601
    JavaScript scores: iPhone 4 – 3545; iPhone 4S – 2250; iPhone 5 – 915
    Improved camera
    40% faster shooting
    improved macro and close-up performance
    improved stabilization of videos
    improved lens alignment
    sapphire outer lens
    dynamic low-light mode can boost aperture up to two stops
    spatial noise reduction analyzes image elements and textures
    auto-panorama up to 28megapixels
    shoots still photos at video resolution while shooting video
    720p front camera with backside illumination; face recognition increased to 10 faces
    shared Photo Streams lets you gather images to share via iCloud or via the Web and accepts comments and likes
    same f/2.4 aperture, 8 megapixel sensor, hybrid IR filter, five element lens; photo and video geotagging
    Lightning reversible-orientation port adds USB hosting
    18% thinner – 7.6mm
    20% lighter – 112 grams
    Only 7.5% taller – 124mm (4.9″ v 4.5″)
    Strong aluminum back and flush mounted Gorilla Glass 2
    New EarPods
    Three microphones with improved noise cancellation
    Wide-band audio transmission when supported by carriers
    Speaker improved
    Antennae improved
    Headphone amp improved
    WiFi improved – 802.11n now 5GHz (up from 2.4GHz)
    Home button reinforced, easier to replace
    Same sensors: compass, three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity, ambient light
    Same Airplay, Bluetooth 4.0, assisted GPS and GLONASS (Russian GPS system)
    Same battery life.

    So, really, why did they bother? /s

  • dolphin0kink0boi

    These are opinions, tho differ from mine, but there just opinions.

  • site7000

    What makes the iPhone popular?
    great style
    great speed
    great screen
    great camera
    great gaming
    great battery life
    great OS & apps
    great build quality
    great resale value
    greatly OS upgradability
    & an unmatched combo of all of the above.

    The dirty secret of the iPhone haters is that they never, ever name one camera to compare to the iPhone. When they do specific comparisons, which is rare, it’s against a grab bag of at least 10 cameras.

  • site7000

    You did notice, I trust, that in separate, unbiased abuse tests between the iPhone 5 and Galaxy SIII in SquareTrade, Phone Doctors and Android Authority, the Apple product mopped the floor with the Samsung.

  • dallanlee

    The progression of the iPhone is like the changes you see in a car model over several years time. Typically the same car from 10 years before resembles the newer one although the newer one has many improvements. Take the Lamborghini Diablo, for example. It was made from 1990-2001. Every single one that was produced is still easily recognizable as a Diablo. The iPhone has a unique look and style that set it apart from other phones, even wannabe copycats. It should not and has not been changed RADICALLY. Apple has done a great job of giving the iPhone it’s own identity. Don’t expect it to look like a completely different phone until Apple gives it a new name; like the iPhone Air or Apple Phone XL [humor]. As far as the aluminum back that scratches easier instead of glass; would you expect Lamborghini not to release a better looking version of one of their cars just because it could damage more easily than a previous model? You’re kidding me! It’s funny that you think that you’re smarter than a team of incredibly brilliant geniuses who have been building Apple products for a living for years and think about this stuff constantly. You think they all of a sudden released a phone that’s too radical?? They’ve done a lot more research than you and they know exactly what’s been moving them along as THE top, most impressive and valuable company in history! You’re just a guy on the Internet all day. (Directed to the author of this article.)

  • sault

    Nice article.

  • Len Williams

    I wanted to get the iPhone 5 but since I have slightly less than a year to go on my 2-year contract with AT&T, they want me to pay over $400 for an early upgrade to the 32GB model–so I’ll be sticking with my wonderful 4S until the contract is up. By then it should be about time for the iPhone 5S or 6 which should be even better. My 4S is blisteringly fast as compared to my original 16GB 2007 iPhone, which I was still using in 2012 and it was working perfectly. Mike Elgan tends to overblow in his articles, but in this one he nailed the whole “pundits are bored and want exciting changes” aspect that tends to get people expecting new technology to include hoverboards and suchlike.

    Personally, who cares if the iPhone 5’s aluminum back scratches? Get a case and learn a bit more about physics and chemistry. Aluminum isn’t all that hard a metal and it can be scratched by harder metals like steel, iron, nickel, etc. (i.e. keys, coins and other stuff people put in their pockets). It is very strong and light, however, and only an idiot who lives in a fantasy world expects he can deny the physical universe by put aluminum in his pocket and not see some damage, so get a case and be done with it. Incipio makes a great range of cases that are reasonably priced on Amazon.com, my favorite of which is the NGP Matte. I think the aluminum back is a better choice than glass, so where is the problem other than people expecting invulnerability from a material that can’t deliver it.

  • Glenn Gore

    There is a bottle opener case available that will take care of that feature, it’s offered by a 3rd party maker, can’t remember the name.

  • bking2911

    People seem to forget that the other mobile competitors are just starting to catch up to apple. Androids still lag in UI yeah you have all the widgets and crap you will never use but please tell how long before all that stuff gets boring. Windows is just not fully developed and BB10 is not gonna be mature enough to even compete. So people please ask your selves this question. Is apple falling behind in innovating or are the others just catching up? The s3 is an ugly pile of crap. It get all the attention and its not even the best iPhone competitor. The onex is by far the best android phone out and it barely gets a mention.

  • technochick

    Keeping an 8 hour battery life with battery sucking cell tech is not enough for you?

    Improving sound by adding an extra mike for noise cancellation isn’t enough for you?

    That aluminum doesn’t scuff that easy, unless you are someone that likes to out his keys in the same pocket or worse give them and your iPhone to a toddler.

    You talk about other folks that fail to remember Apples previous changes and set real expectations and yet you seem a bit guilty of the same thing.

  • MrsCleaver

    I have to charge my 4s at least twice a day. It’s just a freakin nuisance!

    You have to charge your 4S twice a day?! You’re either spending WAY too much time on that tiny computer, or you have every feature turned on… or the phone may have a problem.

    My new iP5 is not receiving any pushed data, nor has any iPhone I’ve ever had. When I open Mail or Calendar, it just grabs the info as needed. “Push” is for people more important than me.

    I don’t use many location-aware apps or notification apps, as they just suck battery. Use them if you want them, but just know that everything you turn on takes battery.

    My iP4 was in a case; no broken glass. My iP5 is in a case; no scratches. My iP4 had great battery life, and so does my iP5. And my fully charged iP5 will not lose even one percent of charge if left unplugged overnight. If I get out in the world and connect to LTE, it starts using battery, sometimes a lot, and that is to be expected. It often loads a web page faster than my Macbook Pro on wi-fi.

    My point is this: if you use the cool features of a smartphone—any smartphone—you’ll be using battery. If you have to charge it twice a day, you’re either using it a LOT, or it’s defective. Either scenario can be addressed.

  • technochick

    You did notice, I trust, that in separate, unbiased abuse tests between the iPhone 5 and Galaxy SIII in SquareTrade, Phone Doctors and Android Authority, the Apple product mopped the floor with the Samsung.

    I can’t speak to Phone Doctors or Android Authority but SquareTrade is most definitely biased in the sense that their data comes not from the whole of all units of any iPhone or otherwise but from those folks that have a policy with them. They can only speak about the claims they see against the whole of the policies. Not the whole of all units. They are guessing the same as (to pull from another industry) Nielsen is guessing about those millions of viewers. All they KNOW is the 200 from the 25k folks that have their meters. The other millions of folks could have a vastly different rate of damage/viewership

    and I suspect that Phone Doctors and Android Authority are similar samplings with similar bias.

  • Shaun Green

    Mind expanding on that troll? Just like a moron fandroid dumbass, lots of bitching but not much thinking. Faster, thinner, sexier, better screen, better camera, better user experience….

    It’s a shame you can’t comment without making a complete prick of yourself.

    Faster? So what it’s only just faster than the GS3. I doubt anyone would even notice.

    Thinner? Wow those few millimetres must make all the difference for you. Personally I’d rather it be a bit thicker and last a whole day without needing a charge. That would be far more useful for most users.

    Sexier? – Is that a feature? In what way sexier? Who cares – you still have to put in a case to stop the scuff marks and nicks. Better get a sexy case LMAO.

    Better screen? Better than what? It’s the same screen as the iPhone 4 just a bit longer which just makes it look an odd shape. I would prefer a larger screen.

    Better camera? Better than what? Same MP as before. It’s certainly not better than the camera in the new Nokia phones. Even the Sony phones have 12MP now. Oh yes and I hope you enjoy having a purple haze on your pictures.

    Better user experience? Yes Apple Maps is really great to use isn’t it. Better than what? iOS6 is basically the same as iOS 5,4,3,2,1. It’s new not and it’s certainly not any better than anything else out there now. Maybe once but not now.

    I’m certainly no fandroid. Unlike the iSheep I like to go my own way and chose the best phone for my needs whatever the brand.

  • Shaun Green
    Wrong. It failed because it’s falling behind the competition in just about every way.

    Which explains why it’s the fastest phone on the planet, the thinnest phone on the planet, has the best LTE battery life of any phone on the planet, makes the most profit of any phone on the planet, commands more marketshare than any other single phone on the planet…

    Just shut up.

    no compelling reason to buy it rather than say the GS3.

    Right, if you want the NOT fastest phone on the planet, want to NOT ever get software updates, want to NOT have the best LTE battery life, want to NOT have the thinnest phone…

    Apple is simply playing it safe and taking the money rather than innovating and moving forward because they have become complacent. Eventually many people will realize that the iPhone 5 is not worth the hype and switch to another make.

    Yeah, “Apple products only sell because of marketing”

    So how has that been working out for you idiots? You’d think that in 16 years, the rest of humanity would wizen up to what you say.

    …Maybe you’re just wrong.

    Every new Mac released is followed by an immediate spike in sales. You think all those people just happened to need a new computer at the same time?

    No one on Earth has ever decided to make do with their existing hardware while they waited for the release of new hardware. This has never happened before. Ever.

    Man, you trolls are dumb.

    Ah the world dumbest commentator Mr Tallest. Let’s see what moronic comments you have posted today. BTW do you have a job or won’t mom let you out of the house on your own?

    You know what I can’t even be bothered to read your comments. Your always wrong anyway, cough iPhone F I V E, iPad Mini – oh man that’s never gonna happen right? Wrong.

  • bdkennedy

    I love Apple, but I’m getting tired of their obsession with making things thinner. Stop shaving off the millimeters and give me more battery life.

  • Lane Jasper

    GREAT write-up! I honestly like the heft of the iPhone 4S in a case much better than the iPhone 5 weight (althought the larger screen is welcome, it didn’t push me enough to justify staying with iPhone so I moved on to another device) But a great write-up indeed. +1

  • rhebbar

    a dock connector that wasnt necessary, a maps app that doesnt work, faster processor, and a bigger brighter display doesnt seem radical. i think the word you were looking for was unorganized and messy. for example, it would have taken apple at least another year to make a maps app that worked. instead they canceled their deal with google a year early to make their own fail of a maps app. im not even going into the dock connector. i just wanna point out the fact that apple will get more cash because more people are going to by new accessories. i love macs and as a mac user my self, i understand why people by them. but you cant compare laptops and cellphones. people by macs maybe once every 4-7 years. people get phones once ever 2-3 years. as an innovator in the cellphone industry, you’d think apple would have been smarter about when it canceled its partnership with google maps, or to add nfc so when the technology was ready, iphone 5 users wouldnt be left behind, or that it wouldnt have changed its dock thats been in use for 10 years. but in the end, people will still by apple. not because their hardware is amazing or fast, but because they’re an amazing marketing company that makes good looking products.

  • Lane Jasper

    Wrong. It failed because it’s falling behind the competition in just about every way.

    Mind expanding on that troll? Just like a moron fandroid dumbass, lots of bitching but not much thinking. Faster, thinner, sexier, better screen, better camera, better user experience….

    Actually it has in many way when you compare it to other current offering. I have a 4S and a GS3 and it’s PERSONAL PREFERENCE but Apple does have some GREAT competition (which also helps the consumer mind you) in that many other devices have removable batteries, expandable storage and current tech features such as nfc etc. so I don’t think he was trolling whatsoever. I definitely see his point. YES the new iPhone 5 has a ton of stuff others don’t sure, such as retina display and a build quality second-to-none (personal preference remember) but I think the features it doesn’t offer are the most currently sought after especially extended battery and memory expansion.

  • Lane Jasper

    I just hope devs of apps and external accessories will embrace the new standards.

    They HAVE to…or someone else that will, will knock them out of the way. If they don’t they’re done! They have to adapt to stay in the game and make $$$.

  • Wirehedd

    I see you focused your points around hardware, whereas I always look into software. I dont care if this is iphone 5 or iphone 13. All i care is what iOS 6 has to offer this time. And this part is pretty disappointing. We look at cydia and you can find 200 simple yet useful tweaks. Then finally after 5 years apple decided to copy some of the cydia tweaks and they copied maybe 10 of them. Only 10 and they are pretty minor tweaks . For example they enabled upload for safari, but where the hell is the download manager?

    I agree that the OS is a primary concern before the hardware specs. I also agree that there are a lot of apps in Cydia and available via JBing that make the iPhone better. I also know that Micro$oft has never provided every single feature you would be able to use a PC for and neither has Apple for the Mac lines. Some of these apps are subjectively important to those who use them but objectively are NOT required and thus are unnecessary in the OS itself. Hence we have the App Store and Cydia.

    …and there are about half a dozen various download managers available in the App Store at this moment.:)

  • bigpics

    Re Shaun Green’s comment:

    The iPhone 5 & iOS6 are both boring and predictable. There is nothing new in there, nothing that beats the competition, no compelling reason to buy it rather than say the GS3. Apple is simply playing it safe and taking the money rather than innovating and moving forward because they have become complacent.

    You’re just pumping smoke and not adding a semblance of any facts – maybe there’s a future for you torturing iPhones on All Things Android (which, btw, found it to be tougher than the competition – and other tests have shown the jewel lens cover extremely resistant to scratching).

    Take “nothing new in there, nothing that beats the competition” – the iPhone 5 smokes EVERY other smart phone in every major benchmark related to CPU, graphics, etc. according to a number of sites that have run them. Sometimes by a a multiple. And the processor is entirely new and Apple’s own design that has been heavily optimized. The speed at which panoramas are rendered is particularly notable.

    The touch screen is entirely new – and the screen colors are the most accurate ever achieved in an iDevice – approaching covering the sRGB gamut. In fact, the HDTV uber-geek, Robert Herron has said Apple’s color tech in the phone establishes more basis for Apple to enter the TV market with a device that not only incorporates the ecosystem (internalizing the Apple TV, e.g.) but could provide a superior viewing experience.

    The multi-band LTE chip (not Apple’s but they incorporated it) is also state of the art in terms of overall performance, size and power consumption.

    As for iOS 6 I’ve been reading Anandtech’s exhaustive review for days and I’m still uncovering (not including Maps as it is today) all kinds of thoughtful useful and user-friendly additions and tweaks that appeal to me as someone who just wants to get things done with a minimum of hassle and chance of malware, and knowing the upgrade path is assured for at least a gen or two – an area where Android’s been abysmal. And one can expect at least a bit of battery and other optimization in 6.1, 6.2, etc. if history’s any guide.

    Also as for all the whining about dumping the 30 pin connector for a new standard after 10 years, first, the new connector does have technical advantages over “industry standard” micro-USB – first in terms of ease of use (orientation neutral) and will allow Apple to send kinds of signals they couldn’t with USB.

    And for Apple users, a change in connection standards is nothing new – annoying,during the transition, and for those who have to bestride the gap between old and new pieces of kit, a bit of expense and inconvenience (carrying dongles or actually having to change peripherals), but it’s never hurt the company on the path from say, VGA out to Thunderbolt (while it was going from basket case to world’s most valuable company). And not something anyone’s going to be talking about a year from now. And I firmly believe it looks like it’s been thought out to last for the next five years or more. (Granted there may be some areas where it will be felt, e.g., in terms of dedicated automobile interfaces, but the evolution in this whole area is toward wireless solutions anyway, and retrofit solutions may come from ingenious 3rd parties for most hard cases).

  • ohho

    If iPhone 5 adds battery until it weights like a 4S, I’ll call it a perfect phone.

  • Themetris

    While you make some valid points, I don’t agree with the “buying new macs” vs “buying new iPhones” argument. A MacBook or iMac is a practical, utilitarian item wrapped up in a lifestyle-appealing aluminum bundle. You expect it to be functional and doesn’t really matter if it looks the same for 3 years in a row. The iPhone on the other hand, is a purely lifestyle item with some added practicalities and features. At the end of the day, it’s the aesthetics that feel like they give more bang for your buck. You probably wouldn’t buy a 27″ iMac on impulse, but you may as well do with an iPhone. In that aspect, lack of industrial design originality, I too found it a letdown.

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Mike ElganMike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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