Apple’s iPhone 4S release last year was faced with one of the biggest waves of “disappointment” I’ve seen with a consumer device. Hordes of complainers bemoaned that it lacked an all-new design, a larger screen, and lots of new hardware features. Some even complained that Apple decided not to call it the “iPhone 5.”
Despite the negative reactions that buzzed around the interweb following the release, including such asinine claims that the 4S was the best Apple could do in light of Steve Jobs’ health problems, the iPhone 4S went to become the most successful smartphone of all time. It flew off the shelves. Apple could not keep the 4S in stock.
This year, the same disturbing trend has emerged surrounding the iPhone 5 – and frankly, I just don’t get it. I’m baffled. Even more baffling is that the same people who are so quick to picker about Apple’s iPhone 5′ will more than likely buy one anyway. It’s a cycle that is repeated year after year.
Why the Disappointment?
Why is it that these people are so disappointed with the iPhone 5? Is it because Apple didn’t create a radical new design? Does the iPhone 5 lack basic, critical features? Or do these people just enjoy complaining to see how much attention they can draw?
I suspect that much of this disappointment is due to unrealistic expectations. People read every rumor that they see and take it at face value. The iPhone 5 doesn’t have NFC! The iPhone 5 isn’t made of LiquidMetal! The iPhone 5 isn’t held together by unicorn tears!
Part of the problem also might be that we sort of all saw this coming. The iPhone 5 was perhaps Apple’s worst kept secret in years. Anyone who followed the rumors already knew what the iPhone 5 would look like, and how it was likely to differ from the iPhone 4S.
Has Apple lost their sense of innovation?
In truth, the iPhone 5 is far from being a dissapoitment. Sure, the iPhone 5 looks somewhat similar to the iPhone 4S – but if you think for a moment that the iPhone 5 isn’t the result of some pretty incredible innovation, you’re dead wrong.
What exactly is it that makes a smartphone great? It’s not the hardware – plenty of smartphones are just as fast and feature-rich as the iPhone 5 on paper. It’s not the software – Android and Windows Phone devices can technically do everything an iPhone can do. So what is it?
“Improving on Perfection”
In the end, it boils down to quality, and the user experience. Apple took the iPhone 4S, which was already a great product, and they made it even better. The iPhone 4S had a fantastic camera. It had a solid, stable, and attractive design. Most importantly, it offered the user experience, simplicity, and rich cecosystem that Apple’s devices are so well known for.
The iPhone 5 is one of the thinnest (if not the absolute thinnest) and lightest smartphones ever made. The taller screen allows users to view and interact with more content – it also offers deeper color saturation and a much better viewing experience.
Apple also included faster wireless data – dual-band WiFi and 4G LTE cellular. They significantly improved the camera.They added a new chip that offers twice the performance as the iPhone 4S, and on top of it all, they increased the battery life. Best of all, they did all of this without compromising quality, and without increasing their price.
The User Experience
Apple improved the iPhone 4S in every single dimension of both hardware and software. They produced something more advanced than any smartphone ever seen before. Apple referred to the iPhone 5 as the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone,” and they were absolutely right.
Instead of spending their time making the iPhone 4 look radically different, adding hardware features such as NFC with most people would never use, and coming out with dozens of half-baked new features that would soon be forgotten about, Apple focused on improving the user experience.
The iPhone 4S doen’t look as goon on paper as certain other devices, which boast five inch or larger screens, quad-core processors, replaceable batteries the size of a small steak, and the “latest and greatest” new hardware gimmicks. But in terms of increasing he quality, refining the design, and improving the user experience, it is the clear winner.
Wrapping it Up
To quote a similar article I wrote last year about the iPhone 4S:
If you’re so disappointed that Apple didn’t release a flashy new design […[ that you aren’t able to notice and give credit for all the amazing improvements that Apple did make to the iPhone […], perhaps you should re-evaluate your reasons for buying a smartphone.
It wouldn’t matter what Apple added to or changed about the iPhone – they could cut the price in half, and offer a free kitten with every purchase, and people would still complain. But in the end, all that really matters is the users – and for them, Apple just unveiled arguably the best overall smartphone experience that money can buy.
Disappointing, eh? If you’re really so deeply disappointed, then walk away, buy an Android or Windows Phone, and leave the rest of us alone.