It is everywhere. The news about Apple’s new iPhone 5 and the upgrade to the operating system iOS6. However, for the first time, I find myself totally underwhelmed by the news.
Firstly, it seems to be a catchup move by Apple. Many of the Android phones have been larger and with a better aspect ratio than the iPhone, with Samsung leading the way with the screens for the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Nexus S and the Note range. Moving from the 4:3 aspect ratio found with the iPhone 4 to 16:9 on the iPhone 5 is great, but this has been the default ratio for high end Android phones for a while now.
Secondly, that saved space. Given that the iPhone 5 is thinner, personally I think increasing the battery in the phone would have been a better option. Given the iPhone battery is non removable, they do not have to conform with any battery standard. And while battery use has been touted as a huge improvement compared to previous models, with the iPhone (especially with LTE radio), you can never have enough battery.
The third issue for me is the lack of Micro USB. While Apple loves its propriety standards in such a way only a Sony executive would understand, Europe and other nations are moving towards universal charger standards. So aparently Apple will give a free Micro USB adaptor to Europe, this was a missed opportunity to embrace a standard. After all, since they are breaking the previous Apple interface, it should have been a no brainer to move to a universal standard.
And lastly, the big surprise for many users: Mapping. The Google Maps app has been on the phone from day 1, but never improved. Now Apple has licensed the TomTom maps and created a new app. However TomTom is a new entrant into this area (map data API) and lack of experience has been noticable. While many see this as part of the Apple v Google war, Jeff Jarvis on This Week in Google. The issue here is that there is value in collecting location data, and many companies are trying to exploit it (Like Foursquare, Google and even Amazon is looking to start its own location data service). As a result, we have to ask how much is this part of the Google feud and how much is it Apple jealous of the different ways Google can collect this data (via Google Now, Maps, Latatude and Google Plus). Here is a good comparison between the two services in Brisbane, one city that seems to be hard hit by the mapping wars.
This is not to say it is all bad, the LTE upgrade alone is a good argument for people to upgrade, especially those who have access to Optus of Telstra 4G services. However, for someone who is always thinking “wait for the next version”, I am already planning to see if the iPhone 5S will be worthy for me to re-enter the iPhone ecosystem.