Thoughts on the new iPhones

Another year, another announcement from Apple. Not being an Apple fan, I wasn't particularly excited, more interested to see whether they have come up with anything actually new or innovative.

This year, it was more about confirming rumours than announcing anything amazing or surprising, which in itself is not surprising. There are two new iPhones, the 5S to replace the 5, and the 5C to... uh... oh dear.

5C, cheaper?

The 5C is meant to be a cheaper iPhone to intice people who wouldn't normally be able to afford an iPhone, or need additional incentive to enter the Apple ecosystem. But what is wrong with this, is it isn't cheap. Since when was £469 cheap? Phone makers such as Hauwei and Google offer good quality, powerful smartphones for a significantly lower price (In the case of Google, less than half after their recent price cut for the Nexus 4 to an amazing £199).

The colourful sides of the iPhone 5c

Further more, they've made the back out of plastic. They best be careful before Samsung sue them for stealing the idea of very cheap materials (Although I'm sure Jonathan Ive has a great video coming out about the new non-plastic plastic back they've invented). Edit: There is a video of Jonathan Ive explaining the 5C, and it was just as I expected it.

The 5S

The 5S, the new flagship from Apple does very little to actually be a new product. There's a new tacky gold colour and it can now be unlocked using "Touch ID", checking your fingerprint on the home button. They also seem very keen on the fact they're using what is apparently the first 64 bit chip in a smartphone.

The iPhone 5s is basically the same as the iPhone 5

While they will probably be credited by most as the first company to put a fingerprint reader on phone, they're not (But at least they themselves are not claiming to be). The Motorola ATRIX has a fingerprint reader, but is not a very successful phone. That is either because Motorola only seem to sell noticable amounts in the US, or because a fingerprint reader on a phone is just not that interesting or useful.

As I say about almost all security systems; if someone wants to get through your security, they probably will. Briton Gary McKinnon is alleged to have hacked into NASA and US military computers. If he could do that, as one man, it will take virtually no time for someone to bypass a fingerprint reader, making it effectively useless.

The 64 bit architecture is probably a good step, although being the first phone, it's not particularly clear yet whether the move is necessary for smartphones at this time. But I guess it counts as innovation?

iOS7

The new version of iOS was announced months ago, but is now being officially released. It features childish icons and pretty colours from designer Jonathan Ive who I think may have been hit over the head with a brick.

The main reason don't like the design of the iPhone, is it has barely changed now for 4 generations of the device. They are certainly good build quality, but just not very original any more, especially when other companies try to mimic them (Said companies should stop doing this, immediately, forever).

It looks like Jonathan Ive (And I assume the team he will have working with him) tried to come up with something different, and all they did was vomit some bright colours onto iOS7 and the 5C.

There doesn't seem to be any innovation in terms of the software, although I'm sure Jonathan Ive has a great video coming out about the new OS being entirely rebuilt from the ground up. I feel like I've said something similar to this already this post. They should also just rid themselves of their own mapping technology and licence Google Maps (This is the one criticism which journalists seem to have of Apple).

The media ignore the negatives

A fairly sweeping statement, but true in most cases. Android phones are constantly caught out for not including micro SD slots. Google defend themselves by saying files, music and video can all be stored in the cloud and streamed to smartphones over wifi and mobile connections.

The iPhone is yet again without any form of SD card slot as well. Where are the negative comments about this? There are none.

Android handsets are increasingly shipping with NFC chips (Near Field Communication), enabling easy sharing and wireless payments. They have been praised for this. No iPhone is yet to ship with NFC. There have been a few comments saying about the lack of support for it, but not actually criticizing Apple for the move (Or lack thereof).

To summarise

I'm really hoping enough people have realised there is a lack of innovation from Apple this year, and that this ultimately reflects in the sales of the new iPhones.

It has to be said, that in most cases, no other smartphone makers are releasing any breakthrough technologies either (If only the Ubuntu Edge had raised the $32 million target).

If Google have another phone just around the corner, I'll probably be excited. It is unlikely it will have anything spectacular about it, but if it is anything like the Nexus 4, is will be very high quality, very fast (Thanks to now bloatware; take note Samsung), frequently updated and very nicely priced. Hopefully this will start becoming the trend across the industry instead of tiny innovations to maintain extortionate price tags.

Note: I must repeat, I'm not an Apple fan, so this was likely to be biased. But I would like to point out that I really dislike what companies like Samsung are doing, just not as much as I dislike Apple. But give me time, I may build up an equal grudge to every smartphone maker.

Posted by Ant on the 11th September 2013 at 9:12am. (0 comments)

Categories: Technology

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