Friday 14 September 2012

Has Apple shot itself in its foot with the iPhone 5?

Has Apple shot itself in the foot with the iPhone5? I bet they have. Come to think about it, it was the most anticipated release of a smartphone from Apple, atleast since the release of iPhone 4 couple of years back.

The Apple website for iPhone5 gives a whole list of improvements or changes made from the previous iteration of its flagship piece of technology, a smartphone.

On all counts, leaving aside the quality of the build and a new faster processor, this latest offering from Apple is a big FAIL. The reasons are:

(1) The display size of 4" is really tiny by today's smartphone standards. The reasons quoted for restricting the screen size and that of the width of the phone sounded quite hilarious. If larger screen sizes were a real concern for most people, none of the Android smartphones (from the noted manufacturers) would be selling at all. I personally think the folks in Cupertino have teeny weeny hands and find it a problem using a mobile phone with a single hand, if it were any wider than the one on offer.

Increasing the length of the phone and not its width makes the phone look really skewed in its dimensions. Try reading a book in the portrait mode and you will know the difference. It might look great for movies, but not for reading books.

(2) I understand Apple's problem with Google and its maps, but telling the world that they have built a navigation software, which gives turn-by-turn directions, sounded like Apple employees were living in a completely different world than the one we all live in. It appears that Apple are in their own regressive timewarp and are unable to phatom the nuances of today's technology on offer from the other manufacturers.

(3) With the Panoramic feature in the Camera, Apple are selling Sony's technology and trying to con people into thinking that they were the ones who have invented it. Not at all.

(4) The new dock connector is another jigsaw in the puzzle. Why don't Apple adopt the universal micro USB adapter and concentrate on doing better things. Just trying to preserve profit margins for themselves and their vendors by adopting something that is radically different, but does nothing to enhance the overall appeal of the product is not a good approach for someone who wants to be at the forefront of cutting edge technology.

(5) What is it with people in Apple wanting smart phones to be thinner? No one gives a damn about how thin their mobile is, the moment they buy it. They are more interested in the functionality of the mobile phone and its battery life. With all the changes in the world, if the battery life sucks, not many people would really want to abandon their year or two year old smartphone and buy a newer model.

(6) Changing the headphone jack from top to bottom is another change made for the sake of making one. Most people who use their headphones whilst on the move prefer it being on the top. The reason being you want the phone to be in the upright position when you use your headphones. I read somewhere that having the headphone jack at the bottom poses a problem with people using docks for resting their phone in cars. It appears for Apple world has literally turned upside down.

(7) In this day and age, real estate on the front side of a mobile phone is quite a premium. Having a giant size home button doesn't really cut the deal. Reducing the bezels on the top and the bottom, would have certainly added half an inch to the display length, thereby preventing Apple from increasing the length of the phone. They needed to increase the width a bit and there you have a phone with completely new dimensions that are more up-to-date with the technology on display. For the home button, Apple just needed to have a soft button on the centre of the bottom dock. It would have been just great to see and feel as well.

In iPhone 6, Apple need to concentrate on doing things that they do best, design and technology. Concentrating on the technology of the peripherals (read dock connectors, audio headphone jack and satellite navigation) doesn't take you much further than where you are at the moment. What is at the heart of the phone is more important. They got it right with the processor, design build and the display quality, but, they need to get it right with the screen size and the design of the front side.

Update (07/10/2012):

Here is a picture of the four mobile phones the members of my family use,

Picture order Left to Right - Xperia T, iPhone 4S, Xperia U and Orange Monte Carlo (ZTE Skate).

Xperia T and iPhone 4S are the high end Smartphones, while Xperia U and ZTE Skate are budget Smartphones. You can see that iPhone 4S has approximately the same dimensions as Xperia U, which is a £150 phone. I don't see iPhone 5 size being any closer to the high end Smartphones on offer in the market. I think Apple needs to learn a serious lesson from this and bump up the size of the iPhone or else their market share in the Smartphone industry will dwindle each day. I certainly don't buy into the argument that iPhone5 being narrow in width gives the user the ability to use it with one hand. If you notice the person in the ad has a very large hand and he probably will be able to use it, but most people who use the Smartphone would use two hands, if they find it difficult use it with one hand for texting. 

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