I’m starting to worry a little regarding Apples iPhone strategy. At first I believed that a new phone every 12 months was a great idea, a good balance of introducing new features without overwhelming the market with constant upgrades. The minor upgrade ‘S’ models every other year provided Apple with some breathing room to make more sweeping changes with their numbered revisions, while still keeping up with demand for a new version. However, the smart-phone market is a very different place now than it was a few years ago and I’m not convinced Apple is doing enough to keep pace with their more nimble competitors.
Despite the hints from various leaks, I found myself hoping for more than an iPhone 5S today. I genuinely wanted new and compelling features in an enhanced form factor. I wanted it to be fully waterproof and preferably more drop resistant. I wanted more exciting colours (seriously, gold?) I wanted it to have a solar panel on the back for charging on the go. I was excited for the possibilities of NFC. I desperately needed a larger storage option at a price slightly less than Apples standard ‘kidney per GB’. Basically, I wanted to feel excited about a new phone again. Even typing this is making me realise I have iPhone fatigue, my current phone does pretty much everything I can think of to do on a phone. Yes the new 5S will do it faster, with a slightly better camera and 64bits of awesome-sauce. Blah.
The iPhone 5C on the other hand felt rather superfluous. It’s basically an iPhone 5 with a gaudy plastic coat on. I’m not convinced this was the direction to fragment the brand. As a ‘cheap’ model it’s not particularly cheap at $549 off contract. I appreciate they are aiming at emerging markets, but if that was truly the goal why not compromise the features to get the price down? Of course they can achieve the exact same thing by just selling a crate load of iPhone 4’s, but if that’s a viable option then why have the 5C at all? Personally I would have preferred these two brands combined, the iPhone 5S with more interesting colour options.
Unexpectedly the most exciting part of today’s event for me was iOS7. There are a couple of features that I am dying to get my hands on, better multi-tasking, cleaner internet browsing and airdrop on my phone (at last!) It’s a bit early to say if I’m sold on the new design, I’ll have to play with it for a few days to decide, but it certainly looks clean and swanky. Only time will tell.
Overall I was a little disappointed today. Not that the iPhone 5S isn’t a great phone, but I was (unrealistically?) hoping for something a little more. I guess I’ll have to wait until next years iPhone 6 reveal to get something truly new. 364 days and counting…