When iPhone 5 was reported to be released this year, there was an excited uproar among die-hard Apple fans. After all, in terms of iDevices sold, Apple clearly has the upper hand as compared to other telecommunication company. But somehow, Apple’s latest venture into the smartphone line has left even the most enthusiastic iPhone fan with an ambivalent feeling of disappointment and exultation. The new iPhone is surely thinner and faster than the previous unit, iPhone 4S, but many critics have pointed out its failure to make good on its promise to be groundbreaking.
The iPhone 5 showcases a much larger screen, from a formerly 3.5” screen up to a 4” Gorilla Glass screen, with an A6 processor that is faster and is comparable with the iPad. Apple also has improved on its earphones (EarPods) and iTunes, rendering a more snug fit to the ear for the former and giving a simpler interface to the latter.
But all these did little to assuage the dismay felt by iPhone 5 users. According to Ellyne Phneah of ZDNet, Apple’s latest smartphone barely catches up with its competitors specifications and features and offered nothing “revolutionary” (except, maybe for the steep price, which fortunately devalues the older versions of the iPhone). When iPhone 5 expected the release of iPhone in 2011, they got iPhone 4S instead, further surging the expectations of loyal customers when it was released this year. Having high expectations, customers found the new iPhone disappointing, sometimes even calling some of the supposed improvement a mere resuscitation of innovation already being done and offered by rival smartphone companies.
Even iPhone 5’s hardware is not something to be festive about, though it boasts of a much scratch-proof screen. Seeming to play catch-up with other smartphones, iPhone 5 only has to add features that are already found in other smartphones, e.g., dual core processors, large screen display, and 4G LTE technology. Because of this, it is not surprising that other smartphone models such as Samsung Galaxy SIII and Nokia Lumia 920 is close to breaking Apple’s monopoly in the smartphone business.
It did sell more than 5 million units in its first week in the market, surpassing the previous record set by the iPhone 4S. But overall, it is forecasted to miss expectations, as according to OTR Global, a research firm, iPhone 5 sales are pegged at 35-37 million for the first quarter of 2013, way below the estimate of 47 million units.
But it is not that Apple has made very serious error in design or innovation, it’s just that it failed to meet customer’s expectations. For most of iPhone’s fans, the innovative leap that Apple has started has got loyal fans expecting something revolutionary whenever a new iPhone model is announced to be released. For more casual users, it’s a question of how much improvement it has over last year’s model. Can it do more than its predecessor? Sure, it can smoothly run free third-party services such as Skype or paid services such as the RingCentral free fax, but the 4s can pretty well do that too. Fans might make a big deal out of this but the impact on non-power users may not be as much.
The iPhone has for the longest time set the benchmark from which every other smartphones are reckoned. But with the seemingly flagging innovative capacity of the iPhone 5, this benchmark seems have gone down a notch lower, leaving an open window for smartphones that sport Android or Windows 8 OS to break Apple’s apparent monopoly of the smartphone industry. Apple has better learn from the mistake of this year and work hard to win over the hearts of customers once again.