Mike Ryan, a digital futurist consultant, shares his opinions on the newly released iPhone 5. Discussing the controversial switch to Apple maps, Apple's shift to mainstream and Apple's new approach to early adopting.
Last week I took delivery of a new iPhone 5 as an upgrade from my worn out iPhone 4. The change really was black to white and in more ways than the colour of the device. I thought it good to share my short experience with you.
Apple apart from being the world’s most valuable company it also is fighting in a lucrative global smartphone market and is one of the established stars. Most of us who have grown up with Apple as a niche and cool brand now have to realise that this company is in the mainstream it shunned for so long. Therein lies the dilemma for Apple with the iPhone 5.
As early as January 2012, the online gossip and rumour mill has been hyping this successor to the 4S. If Gizmodo had its way we would now have an NFC wireless payment device with an OLED screen and oodles of memory. Nice as this would have been for Apple’s traditional early adopter creative base, this would cause confusion for most and lead nothing to fill the future roadmap that Apple steadfastly follows. Put simply Apple is too mainstream to risk releasing features which are too far ahead of its customers’ experience. Contrast this with rival Samsung who have everything to prove to establish them in the marketplace and you can see why on paper their latest Galaxy has some interesting features that are pushing the mobile envelope.
So back to why I think Apple has had unfair press from many geeks on its new handset and IOS 6. Apple maps really do make Manchester look beautiful. They are a refreshing change from Google and its the first time I’ve seen accurate building elevations and even see what was going on around my home when the photos were taken. So it does all the Google system did before - but better. Clearly some teething problems around Solihull not appearing - If I lived there I’d be livid. However I don’t really intend to visit Solihull in the near future and by the time I do, I’m sure this will be fixed. So you’re forgiven Apple.
My phone reception on phone calls (always the weakest point on previous iphone models) is crystal clear and so far doesn’t drop calls or lose signal randomly. OS and physical device now working well - top marks.
Battery life and screen are similar but better. That is really the story across the device. Apple have provided a cross the board upgrade and improvement to speed, weight, stamina and size which makes this a far better phone than I was really expecting.
The new lightning connector looks more solid than the previous one which in the last days of my iPhone 4 would only work with the help of 2 thick elastic bands. It should really follow the micro USB format (but when did logic ever apply with technology) but as we know peripherals give all manufacturers a generous profit channel.
I am an early adopter of most technology but I can wait for NFC (which is still to slow on my debit card) , OLED screens and if I want to really take a technology risk I’ll buy a set of Google Googles if and when then reach production.
But what I’ve got now is just right thanks. I’d far rather have a phone that’s just better at the things I’m used to doing. So Apple have delivered. It won’t please all the early adopters but for 99% of Apple’s customers it will be perfect - and that’s the point.
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