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iPhone 5 itself is an innovation
The highly anticipated iPhone 5 is officially out. And this is basically what most people are saying to iPhone 5: It has turned out to be another iPhone 4S. No innovation. No cutting-edge technology. Just some minor hardware bumps that everyone expected.
Is this true? Without Steve Jobs, has Apple stopped innovating?
I don't think so. I am going to explain why iPhone 5 is still a remarkably innovative product without any outstanding features.
First and foremost, what could have possibly satisfied everyone who has been anticipating for something 'big' ? Yes, we've all wanted a revolutionary feature. But what could Apple possibly add? A virtual keyboard formed by a laser? A totally transparent display/phone? Flexible display? Or did everyone want features like "Smart Stay","Pop-up video" or so-called wireless charging? Smartphones today are already super advanced. There is nothing really meaningful to add. In 2010 when Apple introduced iPhone 4, the 'big' feature was the Retina display. It was innovative, and really meaningful, because with a high-pixel-density display everything you do with the phone just looks significantly better. But now, every high-end smartphone has a high-pixel-density display, ultra-fast processors and ultrafast networking. Because of this, Android manufacturers have been adding extra gimmicky features that they call 'innovative'. They are certainly great ideas. But are they really meaningful? Do they actually improve the smartphone experience as a whole like the Retina display? Or like Facetime, do they have a great impact on how people communicate? No. Not at all. Other Android phones have been doing the same thing like Apple. Refinement. Just that they add extra gimmicky features to 'differentiate' and not to make their products actually better.
Now, look at iPhone 5. There are no gimmicky features to appeal to you, nothing to tell you that iPhone is different from other smartphones. Instead, it is telling you, it is truly a much better iPhone! Not just marginally better, but much better without sacrificing anything. This is the point where innovative starts. Every new version of Android phone is also better than its predecessor. But, every new version is also BIGGER than its predecessor. So, basically, to put new or more hardware, they make the phone bigger. Wow, that sounds like a big engineering challenge, right?
On the contrary, since iPhone in 2007, what Apple has done is to add new stuff in the same-sized/smaller phone.
The original iPhone and iPhone 3GS have the same dimensions. Yet, 3GS offers a dramatically better experience. Likewise, iPhone 5 is thinner and lighter than any iPhone ever but yet the fastest, and the best in camera, call quality, audio quality and design. Plus LTE. While actually improving battery life. Yes, it is taller, but just 9mm taller. In fact, because it is thinner, iPhone 5 has the smallest volume compared to any other phone. So, it packs the best hardware in the smallest package. Now, does it sound like a big engineering challenge? Definitely yes. And this is innovation and the biggest feature of iPhone that sets it apart from any other phone. This is something that only Apple can do. Having the whole widget- hardware and software - they are able to optimise both to come out with an amazing product every year that is better and smaller/same size.
Now, I want to you know that I do not hate Android phones. In fact, many Android phones are really great and Jelly Bean seems to be the right way to go. I just do not agree with many people's response to iPhone 5 that it is playing catch-up, or inferior to high-end Android phones, and that it lacks innovation. There is no 4inch Android phone that is as good or even close to iPhone 5. Everyone has the freedom to choose whatever product they want to use. But to say that a product sucks just because it looks the same outside is something everyone should reconsider.
(SIDE NOTE: if you want 'gimmicky' features, there are 200 hundred of them in iOS 6. Certainly every one of us will benefit from at least a few new features among two hundred)