Unless you just stepped out of a time machine, it’s pretty likely you aware that Apple officially lifted the veil on the iPhone 5 yesterday.
I may be coming down too hard on Apple, but throughout the announcement I had a very distinct feeling. Yawn! I was underwhelmed.
Perhaps part of the blame falls on my nerdiness. I read a lot of tech blogs, and iPhone 5 photos and specs were leaked left-and-right. When Apple revealed the iPhone 5 on stage yesterday in San Francisco, there were no surprises. It became clear, from the leaks, that Apple was going to stick with the iPhone 4/4S design and merely stretch it out to make room for a four inch screen.
I think the other part of my frustration with the iPhone 5, in my opinion, falls squarely on Apple. It’s clear to me that Apple opted for safe over daring with the design. I have long admired Jony Ives, and the beautiful industrial design that he’s brought to Apple. (Mind you, a lot of Apple’s designs seem to draw “inspiration” from Braun.) In fairness, I can’t say that I really blame Apple for how they treated the iPhone 5. As much as daring, out-there design has its place, Apple is still a business with strong customer base. Paraphrasing Ives, in a new video, he didn’t think that Apple should mess the design. Ives said that the iPhone 4 and 4S were so popular that he thought the best thing to do was improve upon a good thing, not upturn the Apple cart. There’s merit in that, and I thought about how certain designs become iconic, such as a Porsche 911. I just don’t think the iterations of the iPhone 4, over time, will prove iconic on that level. Check out this interesting piece on TechCrunch that addresses the issue of Apple not reinventing the wheel.
Of course, all of this could change when I get my hands on the iPhone 5. From the photos and hands-on videos I’ve seen, the device — particularly the black model — looks beautiful and well-crafted. I guess that I was just hoping/expecting Apple to take the slab smartphone to another level. I have been exhausted by all of the lawsuits between Apple and, seemingly, every manufacturer that makes Android devices. I was willing to put all of that to the side, for the moment, and bask in the glory of Apple’s design prowess. It’s worth adding that aside from revolutionary (Apple’s favorite superlative) hardware innovation, Apple would have created much more buzz if they overhauled it’s mobile operating system iOS. It’s looking rather long in the tooth, particularly when compared to updates to Android and the Windows Phone operating systems.
To be perfectly candid, I was hoping that the iPhone 5 would end months of hand-wringing about my next phone. I don’t often rely on sports analogies, but…I wanted Apple to knock it out of the park, but they merely hit a sacrifice fly to advance a runner.
I am not wed to one platform, and will more than willing to move from Android to iOS if the iPhone design proved to be compelling. Apple didn’t help as much as I had hoped. The recently announced Nokia Lumia 920 builds on a very interesting design. (I see a trend developing here.) In about a month, if rumors hold up, Google will announce that it has expanded its Nexus program (Google’s flagship Android device) to allow several manufacturers to introduce new Nexus devices this fall (usually in November). Here is a chart comparing the iPhone 5, Galaxy SIII, and the upcoming Lumia 920. My wife recently upgraded from a Motorola Droid X to the Samsung Galaxy SIII, and she seems to love it.
One thing that is rather interesting to me is seeing the devoted iPhone camp do their best to mask their disappointment. I think that a good amount Apple loyalists released heavy sighs yesterday. I checked out a number of Apple blogs, and the mood seems to be rather reserved. People are doing their best to put a positive spin on yesterday’s reveal. Like me, I suspect that a majority of people were hoping that the leaked photos were a slight of hand by Apple’s PR shop. What happened to Apple “doubling down” on security? Fail!
Of course, Android fans were doing back flips. (rolling my eyes) I wrote a comment on an Android site, imploring people to keep it classy and be a fan of tech.
I am a fan of technology…period. I use an Android device, but I also own and use Apple products. I kinda like the division of labor, if you will. With that, I refuse to allow myself to become so entrenched in one camp, or another, that I start to take things in this arena personally. I get appreciating your favorite brand or system. What I don’t get are people who take their preference (allegiance?) to a device or brand so far as to run anything else into the ditch.
Sure, I get the whole Apple vs. Android thing. You’d have be to blind not to. I question whether Apple was run by a megalomaniac, and everyone — even subsequent to his death — appears committed to that same bullshit “everyone is out to get us” paranoid path. Maybe this has cause Android camp to develop a pretty large chip on our collective shoulders, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Calling out Apple for it’s practices would be a lot more convincing if Android OEMs didn’t blatantly copy (Yeah…I know the reverse arguments, so please don’t recite them.) and fans of the OS and ecosystem didn’t mirror the same myopia that sadly shackles so many fans of Apple.
Objectivity is the key word for me. I want all tech to be cool and interesting. This means that I can applaud and acknowledge when Apple makes something compelling, be that the hardware or the software that runs the device. It means that love of great design is not exclusive to Android and the OEMs that produce Android devices. If that were the case, I’d have a lot of pent-up self-loathing for the shiggity products Motorola keeps pumping out. (Sorry Moto fans.) Interestingly, if all of the leaks and rumors about the iPhone 5 are true, I think there will be a rather tangible sigh release from people, even the most ardent fans of Apple, who were hoping for something more…ummm…intriguing. Merely stretching out a phone doesn’t equal innovative design. I’ve come to expect more from Jonny Ives.
Look…we all (Android, Apple, Windows fans) need to come up for air, and just following the mantra of “Do you.” Let people do their thing. Stop trying to beat someone/something down in order to elevate yourself or your “thing.” Perhaps, the most important thing, in my estimation, is to stop personalizing all of this stuff. It’s just not that deep. It really isn’t.
The whole Apple vs Android debate is too much like the Hatfields vs. McCoys for my taste. It’s ridiculous. There’s just too much vitriol over “stuff.”
Ok…enough belly-aching that the present under the tree was not exactly what I wanted. The iPhone 5 is a nice looking device. It’s just not a game-changer.
I have come to the realization that I am the nerd amongst my set of friends. I shot out a status update last night on Twitter and Facebook asking who else would be watching the big Google/Samsung event. The resounding response, to quote my good friend Jeniene, was “**crickets.** I had to laugh. Nevertheless, I soldiered on, joined on GoogleTalk by my tech partner-in-crime, Francis. In a nutshell, last night Google rolled out it’s latest version of the Android Operating System, known as Ice Cream Sandwich. In tandem with that announcement, Samsung revealed the not-so-secret Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus, though a bit larger, looks like a beautiful piece of hardware. The focus, however, really was on the improvements to the operating system. I titled this piece “Good Gets Better” because I feel that Android, at this point, is good, but needs improvement. What I saw in the presentation last night has thoroughly intrigued me, and may just keep me from a possible move to the iPhone. Though I am prone to, sometimes exhaustive, long-form posts, I’ll let the folks at Google explain the what’s new.
If you really want to get your hands dirty, and get an insider’s perspective on the direction Google is taking Android, check out this great interview of Matias Duarte by Joshua Topolsky for This Is My Next (soon to be The Verge).
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to Apple’s presentation of the improved, though not entirely new, iPhone 4S
Kudos to Apple. They truly know how to do a slick presentation.
On an aside, I wonder if Apple’s people know that their keynotes would be just as successful without so many superlatives. Apple is quite fond of the word “amazing!”
I, along with many others, was disappointed that a completely new iPhone 5 was not introduced. All the rumors and speculation about a new body had me going. It should be noted that my friend Brian nailed nearly every feature of the iPhone 4S several weeks before the announcement. Irrespective of my let down over a new shiny body, the iPhone form factor is still very attractive. There are a number of interesting enhancements coming with iOS 5 that really don’t have anything to do with the new 4S itself, but if I were going to move to the iPhone, I would get the 4S over the 4. The improvements to the camera, which was already a solid performer, look really impressive. Several of my friends who are photographers have been raving about the camera. For what it’s worth, Siri, the personal assistant software, is cute but not something that blows me away. In all candor, all the post-announcement blather and giggles about how “neat” Siri is causes a slight amount of gastric juice to bubble up into my mouth. Look..I have a sense of humor, but come on!
The iPhone 4S has risen near the top of the list, right behind the Galaxy Nesus, as a replacement for my Droid X. I haven’t given up on Windows Phone 7…yet. If only Nokia would release that beautiful N9 here in the States with the Windows Phone 7 operating system.
A fellow photographer posted this video on Facebook. The folks at Sumo Science put together a stop-action animation film. What is amazing is that they only use Nokia N8 smartphones to take the images. I was so impressed with the creativity of the artists involved that I had to share it here.