iPhone 5: The Smartphone Revolution Is Now Over

Actually, the iPhone 5 is one svelte device, judging from extensive demonstrations on Wednesday afternoon.

But this isn’t a smartphone revolution anymore, it’s an evolution. And after more than a year of expectation and built-up hype, 5 is a bit deflating.

Of course, when it comes to creating hype, Apple is the best!  But it’s hard to hype a mellowing smartphone lifecycle; the most smashing breakthroughs are in the rearview.  Which is why these are smartphone iterations we’re now experiencing, not reinventions.

Now, the game is about getting thinner (by 18%), lighter (by 20%) improving over-the-air speeds (3G to 4G-LTE), enhancing maps, boosting battery power, lengthening the device (to 4 inches)… introducing a different, double-sided charger.  Superdesigner Jonathan Ive talked about an improved manufacturing process, and technical superiority over Android devices (and earlier iPhones).  Engineering breakthroughs like integrated touch and display screen layers were all major talking points in San Francisco.

But will the iPhone 5 impress your friends?  Is it worth waiting in line for?  Apple spent the afternoon touting improvements on a theme, down to the last detail…

And now that the smartphone concept has matured, everyone – of course – is fighting over it.  YouTube is no longer an embedded app, though YouTube itself used that moment to deliver its own smashing app upgrade.  Of course, the bigger battleground surrounds Samsung, all part of an epic war against Android and any other contender for this handheld future.

The iPhone is arguably superior to the Android, and certainly cleaner on deck.  But Apple is playing very competitively on price; this isn’t a ‘Mac vs. PC’ game.  The iPhone 5 starts at $199 for the 16GB version, while beefier versions stretch to $399.  Prices on earlier versions, specifically the 4S, are now being slashed or pushed to $0 on the lower end (with contracts, of course).

Perhaps the most alluring upgrades surround iCloud and iTunes Match, a somewhat buggy if tolerable service at the moment.  The iPhone 5 is being ushered alongside an improved iTunes 11 and iOS6, with mobile compatibility in mind.  Other iTunes updates include easier connectivity to Facebook and Twitter, better search, and improved playlisting functionality.  An updated earbud, called EarPods, come packaged with the iPhone 5 and can also be purchased separately.

In other words, all the stuff you know and love, just better and more enhanced.  The iPhone 5 arrives in the US first on September 21st, with a broader, global rollout by year-end.

Written while listening to The xx and DMX. 

15 Responses

  1. Avatar
    discography

    Windows Phone 8 is looking decent if Microsoft and Nokia can stop tripping over themselves.

  2. Avatar
    diMaxos

    The innovation arc is flattening.

    And so what? iPhone is generally a solid device, so they nailed it pretty much by version 2. you don’t need to switch it up, but agreed this isn’t revolutionary at this stage.

    Problem is trying to get people to constantly upgrade —

  3. Avatar
    Casey

    “The iPhone is arguably superior to the Android.”

    I whole-heartedly agree! One is a complete phone and the other is just an operating system. There is no comparison.

    • Avatar
      paul

      I’m really basing that opinion on my personal experience. I switched from an iPhone to a Motorola Droid Razr, for no other reason than just to try something else out. I can’t say I’m unhappy with either, though the iPhone seemed like a tighter, more controlled experience.

      /paul

  4. Avatar
    Corey Tate - www.spacelab.tv

    Maybe this is why they’re rumored to be moving on to the tv set. The living room is the next big frontier after mobile. Whether its an affordable set top box or a full on HD tv set, they can redefine the experience. Other big players are in to: Google, etc

  5. Avatar
    Bromine

    Meh, they’re going to sell a poop ton of these no matter what criticisims anyone has.

  6. Avatar
    Visitor

    Yah know, it’s fortunate that Apple can charge the high cost of this little piece of tech hardware, because so much good music, books, movie content can be had for free from the file locker and torrent sites! And the wealth redistribution from the content creators to the tech companies continues it’s exponential rise……..

  7. Avatar
    @calderonjacobo

    I’ve just purchased the 4S and now Apple is releasing the IPhone 5. This is crazy. I’m about to quit of this silly race.

    • Avatar
      Bromine

      Penso di no. Sto aspettando per la TV d’Apple. Google sta consctruendo qualcosa e anche Apple deve fare qualcosa per la casa.

  8. Avatar
    Versus

    No news is good news.

    A boring upgrade means no upgrade was really necessary. The current iPhones do what they should.

    The constant gadget upgrade mania is pathological, a waste of time, money, and a great cost to the environment.

    – Versus