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Not Enough Change?
Many in the media have complained that the iPhone 5S doesn’t introduce much change. When I read and watched these news stories, the press seems to have got it wrong. Perhaps they were too busy Tweeting during the keynote. They seem to think the fingerprint scanner is the only new addition. Most news reports don’t mention the 64-bit processor, motion co-processor and improvements to the camera. They only mention the superficial — new metallic colors and a fingerprint scanner. Then they accuse Apple of not innovating.
This is the iPhone 5S, not the iPhone 6. Before the unveiling, most people expected the 5S. This is typical of Apple. They shake things up once in a few years with a new, groundbreaking product. The iPhone redefined the smart phone. The iPad was the first successful tablet, and is still the leader of the pack. Once Apple introduces a groundbreaking product, they make small, incremental changes. These changes are almost predictable. I’m surprised that the media isn’t aware of this. Perhaps they are, but they also know that controversy makes for more readers and viewers.
Controversy is why Apple has to continue making small, incremental improvements. They’re under a microscope. They are blamed for problems that are intrinsic to all similar products. While other companies can get away with producing inferior products, the smallest flaw in an Apple product will make headlines. Antennagate and iOS 6 Maps were completely blown out of proportion. All phones lose signal if you hold them in a certain place. All mapping applications have flaws. Even with a policy of taking baby steps, Apple can’t escape the spotlight of scrutiny. I don’t expect the iPhone to ever exhibit radical changes. I do expect Apple to redefine new classes of products. There will be new breakthroughs. After that, the new products will evolve with minor improvements.
The iPhone 5S is not radically different from the iPhone 5. Nonetheless, it outclasses all other smart phones. It is the only mobile device with a 64-bit processor. While it is not the first device to feature fingerprint authentication, Touch ID is implemented well. It will not only succeed, but will be a central, critical feature of many Apple products.
Most people don’t even know the other smartphone that had a fingerprint scanner. (It was the Motorola Atrix.) Other smartphones also had the ability to unlock the device using facial recognition. Despite these advances, the technology wasn’t pervasive. It didn’t evolve. These were one-off devices, and these features were not implemented well. The media didn’t criticize these devices. They didn’t take note. I think they were too busy dumping on iOS 6 Maps. The media’s ignorance of this is striking, as most news stories contend that the iPhone 5S is the first device with a fingerprint scanner.
The iPhone 5S will be available for purchase on September 20th. The 16GB model is priced at $199. 32GB and 64GB models are $299 and $399, respectively. It’s a great phone, and I very well may upgrade. Of course, since my existing iPhone will run iOS 7, I don’t have to upgrade. It is in mint condition and still has excellent battery life. I may just wait for the iPhone 6.
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