Yes, I got the name wrong! Apple named it iPhone 5. Yes, the 6th Gen iPhone is called 5.
Apple, as expected announced the 2012 iPhone a few hours back and tech pundits are busy dishing out predictions, analysis and all the gyaan that would be consumed over the next few days. Not much has changed on the software side, we had seen the iOS 6 at WWDC, hence the iPhone 5 announcement was more about hardware than software.
After 5 years of loyalty to a 3.5″ screen, Apple has made a jump to a larger / taller screen (4″), keeping up with the market demand. The resolution for the first time on an iOS device goes up by less than 4x pixels, with the iPhone getting its second change.
For Apple, iPhone is a big business. And while the room for disruption in mobile market like is much narrower than it was in 2007, Apple is focussing on its strengths, design and software. While its competitors are churning out larger screens and faster processors, Apple spends the energy on demoing apps, talking about software upgrades and the design. Thinner & Lighter is most welcome, always.
Yet, the iPhone homescreen looks just the same as a 2007 iPhone. That’s something Apple has nailed right since the beginning.
From what I have seen, the iPhone 5 is gorgeous, packs best in class games, apps, a much needed larger display and some upgrades like better voice clarity for talking on the phone, LTE (for International markets) and FaceTime HD. A lot of incremental software updates make its way, but for an iPhone user, they add up to a lot. It is hard to see the importance of a consistent OS growth from the outside, having seen it on Windows Phone and iOS, I am convinced about it more than ever before. My question to all those giving hate to Apple on my timeline, specially taking about innovation and ‘nothing new’, have you used an iPhone 4 or 4S for a month or more?
I somewhere believe that the unchanged homescreen layout acts as an illusion to a lot of people. It is hard to judge the leap iOS has taken over the years, by just looking at that screenshot above.
The Road Sure Isn’t Smooth
It would be interesting to see how Apple manages to get 700k apps upgraded for resolution. iOS 6 does bring in some help for it, but devs have a task at hand here. The much talked about screen size fragmentation might well be happening for Apple now.
Apple not only has a new screen size / resolution, they have a new SIM type, the Nano SIM (4FF). This would be a challenge for adoption. I still get calls to borrow the Micro SIM cutter that I purchase soon after the iPhone 4 launch, and now that no cutters would exist for the iPhone 5, its prospects in India might well take a hit. Carriers can play nasty by charging extra for iPhone specific plans or just plain unavailability of Nano SIMs would hurt.
The 2010 iPhone 4 is now free in US with a contract. This might be a big one. In India, if the iPhone 4 can touch a price point of Rs 25,000 or even Rs 27,500, it still holds the potential to sell in good numbers (no, not great numbers). The 3GS is phased out and there has been no new stock pouring in for a while now. The 5 would of course launch at a premium rate, crossing the 40k barrier and thus eluding most of our pockets.
If I am to comment on the international market, particularly US, I have no doubts that the iPhone 5 would be more successful than the 4S or any other smartphone on the market. Apple has pushed out a good upgrade to the iPhone series. The ones who compared the Samsung Galaxy S to the iPhone 4 and then the Galaxy S2 to the same iPhone 4 and then the Galaxy S III to the iPhone 4 and 4S, would surely disagree on the merit of iPhone’s success. And I wouldn’t get into that argument today.