COMMENT: So, after all the leaks and hyperbole, the iPhone 5 has arrived. But for David Edmundson-Bird, the magic has gone.
Autumn beckons and with the leaves turning golden I can only assume it’s time for a new Apple product launch. Apple’s product development calendar is as relentless as it is predictable. The hype preceding the event, the leaks, the forecasts of new features are all part of the cycle of events designed to excite geek, fanboi, the fashion-conscious and cool alike.
And when it arrives, there’s mixture of elation, disappointment and regret. The longer screen allowing more icons, no doubt, delights people (it also allows more advertising potential). They’ll be pleased by the addition of 4G LTE meaning better and faster data connections (entirely dependent on the mobile data networks, mind). Everything is faster, better, shinier. Hell, the earphones might even be good this time.
Disappointment follows the lack of NFC (near field communication) support (no contactless, walletless payment solutions this year). And inevitably the battery life will be just short enough to make people hate it at around half past nine in the evening.
My real disappointment is Apple’s corporate response to Samsung. A great company with great products shouldn’t need to resort to the courts to stop competition or imitation (depending on your interpretation).
Companies have always imitated their rivals. If your product is great, your audience won’t stop buying it. Apple’s action smacks of fear and a lack of confidence. If Samsung’s products are better, people will buy them; if Apple products are better, people will stay. Once you have to use the law to stop your competition, you know that your products can’t stand on their own two feet. And the Apple magic ends there.
Regrets? Just a few
Regret comes from the fact that I’m paying another £529 (minimum) for an Apple iPhone (which means some people will have handed over around £3000 to Apple if they’ve bought each upgrade since the launch of the range).
But let me make this clear: If this is the first iPhone you’ve bought, you will love it. It will change your life. People will think you’re cool. You’ll belong to the tribe you’ve always wanted to be in. You’ll join the network of connected citizens, your Instagrams will start appearing in Vogue, you’ll fit into skinny jeans.
But the phone is not, as has been described by numerous commentators, a ‘game-changer.’ It is simply a classic product extension: an improvement on an existing very good idea. As local digital thinker @paulfabretti noted, Porsche have been churning out the 911 for 50 years. It’s the same thing tinkered with, made a bit better, a bit more desirable, a bit more useful, a bit more important in your life. A classic.
Maybe the iPhone (iPhone 1 pictured) has got a bit further to go before it can claim classic status alongside the timeless 911. The iPhone 5 is still just an iPhone; there isn’t a great deal of functional difference between the first model and the 5. The first iPhone was revolutionary. The iPhone 4 was an evolution. The iPhone 5 is just the offspring in the next generation.
But of course I want one!
David Edmundson-Bird is Principal Lecturer in Digital Marketing at MMU.