Hello! And welcome to our Friday column, Worst of the Week. There’s a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for us at RCRWireless.com to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We hope you enjoy it!
And without further ado:
Well, there you go. Apple did indeed launch a new device worthy of a new number and for the most part seemed to check all the boxes a dire consumer – and media/analyst – base desperate for something more than the 4S were clamoring for. Bravo Apple. Bravo.
And for many, life now has new meaning.
For the most part, Apple made updates to its latest icon that while not as revolutionary as previous incarnations, seemed to be enough to maintain its position in the minds of Apple-fiends as the be-all, end-all when it comes to smartphones. A larger screen, faster processor, updated operating system, (finally) LTE support and dozens of little tweaks will ensure that we will be bombarded with video images of crazed consumers camped out inside of their local Apple outlet. Some of us might even see someone we know.
Drilling down more, Apple seemed to address many of the requests I had put forth in a recent column in regards to making its latest device even more appealing (if that is possible). Those answered suggestions included more durable construction (more aluminum, less glass), a bigger screen (4-inches, which is just barely enough) and improved camera technology.
(A quick read of the spec sheet also showed Apple’s intent on making the device work across a broader range of networks by including support for CDMA2000 1x EV-DO Revision B. Rev. B?!? Who in the world is even running Rev. B?!?)
I think it also goes without saying that while the iPhone 5 does carry on the basic styling introduced with the iPhone 4 back in 2010, the elongated shape may take some getting used to. From my eye, the new shape appears a bit too similar to a pair of “skinny” jeans that seem to be all the rage in high schools and hipsters these days. Not that there is anything wrong with that style, but for me I prefer the “baggier” look of those smartphones with screens that are a bit bigger and “squarer.”
However, there were also some points where the new device still falls short. Those include battery life, pricing, name and country of origin.
Apple noted that the battery in the iPhone 5 is larger than in the previous version, but with all the newer capabilities, battery life on paper seems to be just a smidge better, and I am guessing real-life use will be a wash. Looks like the battle over electrical outlets will continue.
To the delight of many, pricing will remain in line with previous iPhones, with subsidized costs beginning at $200. I was hoping Apple would use this updated design and improved performance to also readjust pricing models in a way that would help offset a negative reaction from carriers burdened with having to fork over subsidies, but that was not too be. Can’t really blame Apple as they are more interested in moving product than making friends, and subsidies are really just a short-term problem for carriers.
The naming issue was also skipped over as Apple did the easy thing by just adding a number to its previous model, and set the stage for next year’s slightly altered “5S” model. Now instead of typing out the “Apple Trans Am” or the “Apple Parson’s Project” for the next year, I will be wearing out the “5” key on my keyboard.
I was hoping that the latest iPad’s name adjustment to just “The New iPad” would drizzle over to the iPhone space, resulting in of the course the “New iPhone.” I mean, how cool would it be to be sitting around with all your iPhone-enabled hipster friends throwing out what number device you have, and to just be able to say: “I have the New iPhone.” Well, maybe it wouldn’t be that cool, but you get the idea.
Most disappointing, but least surprising, was the fact that Apple continues to import finished products from overseas. As I acknowledged previously, the thought of setting up an entirely new manufacturing procedure in the United States would be a project of epic proportions, especially for a product that sells as quickly as they can be stamped out, but Apple continues to miss out on a golden PR opportunity by not moving at least a portion of its production to a domestic plant.
There seems to be a growing movement amongst the media to uncover employee abuses at overseas plants tasked with building all the electronics equipment we can’t seem to live without. As its position in the consumer electronics space continues to be what it is, Apple remains at the center of these stories that for the most part are rarely positive. More distressing is the fact that Apple for the most part pays only a passing interest in tackling these claims.
Of course, as with anything Apple, there were many not impressed at all by the iPhone 5. The device could have included a “cuddle” feature that replicated a koala bear giving the device owner the softest hug imaginable while at the same time saving baby seals and spraying pixie dust on unicorns and yet there would still be those not satisfied.
Thus, we witness the results of a survey conducted by www.CouponCodes4u.com (sort of rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) that claims 57% of those surveyed were not impressed by the iPhone 5. Those unimpressed individuals mostly cited the absence of Steve Jobs from the proceedings as the reason they were unimpressed with the device (go ahead and figure that one out), with nearly one-third noting that the device did not bring anything new to the table.
This obviously will always be an issue moving forward as many of Apple’s rivals seem to have thrown caution to the wind when it comes to infusing their latest smartphones with every imaginable gadget known to man. It’s hard to impress the masses when other devices include more doo-dads that in reality few will ever take advantage of.
Taking a step back, perhaps the most important aspect of Apple’s iPhone 5 unveiling was the casualness in the event that comes from a company that knows how to make an entrance, without looking like it’s trying to make an entrance. This is of course in contrast to recent device unveilings from rivals that if anything, seemed to have a hint of desperation.
Apple knows it’s still the big kid on the block, and that no matter what it launches people will fall over themselves to both laud and critique. Rivals may like to put out claims about the millions of devices they have sold or even show a handful of people standing in line somewhere looking to get their hands on their latest wares. But, we all know that when it comes to a cult of personality, no one can touch Apple.
And that cult appears solidified with the iPhone 5 for at least another year. Speaking of which, when can we claim that the iPhone 5 is now outdated and start up the rumor mill on the next iteration? I think we all know that is what the real meaning of life is all about: dreaming what Apple will do next.
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