Just a few thoughts from the iPhone 5 event today…
The iPhone 5
What was surprising about the iPhone 5 announcement was that there was nothing actually surprising. With all of the rumors and component leaks, everyone pretty much knew the specs of the iPhone 5 and what it was going to look like weeks before the actual announcement. Part of me was hoping it was of an elaborate hoax put on by Apple and the real iPhone 5 would be something completely unlike what we’d seen in the photos and read about on the rumor sites. The idea is more than a bit farfetched, though, when you consider how many different companies and people are involved in making something like the iPhone. Still, it would have been great if it turned out to be the case. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
The iPhone 5 wound up being exactly what many of us suspected, but maybe fell short of what some had hoped. LTE is great, of course, but having a separate model for AT&T that cannot be used on LTE networks outside of the US and Canada sucks. I love the idea of a taller screen, but I wish it were even taller and wider. To me, the larger screens on some of the newer Android phones are much more usable (Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablet being an exception). I also wish Apple would have gotten behind NFC. With as many credit cards as they have on file, their marketing muscle could have made NFC payments ubiquitous. And let’s not forget that third party developers would come up with a ton of useful ideas for NFC as well.
Overall, the iPhone 5 just isn’t that exciting. It feels like a small evolutionary step, much like the iPhone 4S. More to the point, it feels so… obvious. It had to do a larger screen, because that’s what people want. Apple needed to catchup to other mobile phones and support LTE. It needed to be faster with a better camera, because that’s just the way it’s always been with a new iPhone. I was hoping for something jaw dropping. After all, Apple completely rewrote the book on the modern smartphone with the original iPhone. I was hoping they would do the same thing again this time around. At least a chapter or two.
Oh to be sure, I will be getting an iPhone 5, but really more because I need one for development work and testing. Who knows, maybe when I have it in hand I’ll change my mind. But for now, if I didn’t make my living developing for the Mac and iOS and if I wasn’t otherwise wed to the Apple ecosystem, I would give the Nokia Lumia 920 some serious consideration as my next mobile phone.
The iPod Touch
I actually think Apple hit it out of the park with the new iPod Touch except for one thing: the price. It needs to come down $100 across the board. If it weren’t for the price, I would probably order an iPod Touch for development purposes and take my off-contract, soon-to-be-unlocked iPhone 4 over to Straight Talk Wireless so I could save a couple of hundred dollars a year over what AT&T gouges me.
I was never really a big fan of any of the previous iPod Touch versions, but the vastly improved cameras, 4-inch retina display, and thinness really has me wanting one. If only it wasn’t for the dang price.
The iPod Nano
Since its very first release, the iPod Nano has always struck me as the perfect on-the-go music player. After I quit working out regularly, I stopped buying them. But now that I’ve taken up running, I’m really thinking about it. The only downside: you can’t develop third party apps for it. Yet. I’m hoping that as Apple settles into the new form factor, they will open it open to developers. I think you’ll see some great apps if they do. For now, though, I’m going to try and sneak one in with the iPhone 5 order and hope my wife doesn’t notice. You know, because it’s for ‘business’.
The iPod Shuffle
No screen. Don’t care. Sorry.
It’s about damn time. Just about everyone thinks iTunes is a bit long in the tooth, too busy, and is in dire need of a rethink. From what I saw today, it’s difficult to tell whether or not Apple succeeded on this one. The demo raised a lot of questions that can only be answered once I get my hands on it. I guess I’ll find out when it’s released next month.