We’ve all heard of Apple and we all know who Steve Jobs was. His penchant for pushing the market to new heights and passion for I.T. was legendary. He’s no longer with us now with Tim Cook now manning the helm. Undoubtedly Apple is the worse off for Job’s passing though, with recent efforts by the fruity company having failed to impress. I was hopeful that with the next iteration of the iPhone, Apple would once again be on form – boy was I wrong!
During the last few months rumours of a cheap iPhone and an “iWatch” abounded, the market was salivating and “experts” were proclaiming the arrival of the next best thing since sliced bread. 10th September was to be the date when we’d all be enlightened, when we’d all feel warm and cosy having been blessed with Apple’s generous gifts. The date rolled along and we all waited with bated breath. We longed for the magic, for “one more thing”. What we got was disappointing to say the least.
Two new iPhones arrived on the scene. The supposedly “cheap” iPhone, the iPhone 5C, is far from cheap in price though it is definitely cheap and unappealing to look at. Basically what we have here is the iPhone 5 with a plastic coloured back! My initial reaction was that this was some sort of joke, but nope, this is the iPhone 5C. At full price it’ll be close to €550. In comparison to the iPhone 5S it may be “cheaper”, but in reality this is no entry level iPhone for the masses. Why Apple did this is beyond comprehension. There is a real and valuable market for an entry to mid-level iPhone, yet they have chosen to ignore it. A case in point is China which is one of the biggest and fastest growing mobile markets. With this decision Apple has ensured that the iPhone 5C is beyond the reach of the average wage earner.
The iPhone 5S is an even bigger disappointment. Priced as a premium top end phone, this model has nothing to really make it stand out. Once again we’re looking at a tweaked iPhone 5. In this case the main changes are a 64bit processor and a finger print reader. The former will hardly be noticeable by the user while the latter is being proclaimed as the next big thing in mobile security. The thing is this has been done before, though to be fair to Apple they do have a tendency to make technologies work were others have failed. In this case I can’t see it happening though and I am convinced that the security will be hacked within a short time. Other than that the iPhone 5S is the same as last year’s model – same screen size, same dimensions. OK, there are some colour choices but these are barely worth mentioning, though I do think gold will be the iSnobs’ colour of choice! Other manufacturers are moving to bigger form factors and screen sizes – a 5 inch screen being considered “normal”. As for the phablet phenomenon Apple appears to be completely oblivious to what’s going on in the market. Looking at the emerging Asian market, this form factor is proving highly popular and current trends indicate that phablets may become the form factor of choice. Samsung is definitely doing well, while HTC and Nokia are looking to get into the game with their own offerings.
Both mobiles will arrive with the latest version of IOS – version 7. It is now available as an upgrade on a number of other devices such as the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4 too. Here too Apple have failed. While IOS needed modernising, all they’ve done is given it a lick of paint and made it more difficult to understand. The interface is much less intuitive than IOS6 and forums are being inundated with users trying to find out how to perform simple tasks. It appears that Apple are assuming that users will know and understand what they need to do without making it obvious in the interface. This has made IOS and Apple devices much less attractive to new smart phone and tablet users. While not as bad as the IOS6 Apple Maps debacle, the bug and issue reports have already started rolling in too, including a particularly alarming security flaw. To add insult to injury there’s no new functionality to speak of other than the notifications centre. Oh, and Siri is no longer in beta!
Apple has always created solid and well designed devices, but this latest iteration in their product line offers nothing new and wont entice anyone over from Android or Windows Phone. There’s no innovation or wow factor and these devices and the new version of IOS disappoint on so many levels. It appears Apple has lost its way and the gusto it had for innovating just isn’t there. Fanbois will continue to buy Apple products, keeping the money wheel turning but Apple needs to wake up and “smell the coffee” or its competitors will continue to steal the show and force Apple into irrelevance.