The iPhone 5’s incremental updates underwhelm many consumers

As you have no doubt heard by now, the iPhone 5 has been unveiled, with Apple doing the honors at a press event in San Fransisco on Sept. 12. Unfortunately, although it’s a great phone by itself, the expectations going in meant disappointment coming out.

It’s not that the iPhone 5 sucks or anything – in fact, it’s right up there with the strongest smartphone competition – but it’s pretty much identical to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S which is why many people felt disappointed after its announcement.

Apple and its legion of fans have to share the blame for this, and it suggests a future filled with despondency for the company and its followers.

Lackluster new offering

The iPhone 5 offers several improvements to the phone’s display, camera, and battery life. And the screen is bigger. And it’s thinner and lighter than ever. But it’s all so boring.

Incremental updates are fine, especially as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S can still hold their own. But where was the headline-grabbing killer feature similar to those that have closed out past product announcements; the Retina Displays and Siris of this world. There wasn’t one. This is the iPhone 5, a great phone by anyone’s standards, but not enough of a jump for a company for whom innovation comes naturally.


The disappointment from all but the fanboys was palpable. Read any one of the reports from the Apple event across the Web by unbiased technology journalists, and their feelings are laid bare. Many Apple fans tried to put on a brave face for the cameras, the pick being MG Siegler’s illogical ravings about the negative reaction to the iPhone 5 in which he summons The Prestige and keeps repeating that it’s all about ‘The Turn’. Because repeating something makes it true.


The reason the iPhone 5 is a huge disappointment is because of expectation levels. Just watch the video embedded above, which was uploaded to YouTube a year ago. It shows several concept features that someone, somewhere imagined Apple could be planning to include in the iPhone 5. At the time of writing 61 million people have watched the video, all of whom will have had their expectation levels piqued.

On top of that, several months before this week’s iPhone 5 announcement, the leaks began. Whole websites cropped up dedicated to rumor-mongering around the iPhone 5, while even the big tech blogs got suckered into chasing pageviews in this way. This accomplished two things: the iPhone 5 was revealed in dribs and drabs over the course of months; the hype built to a crescendo that Apple could never sustain when the time came to reveal the truth.


Ultimately I suspect Apple’s future is now set. Its most innovative days are behind it, at least for several years to come. It boasts a line-up of products that sells phenomenally well, and a large enough set of dedicated fans that will upgrade every year or two regardless of how much the technology has moved on.

In spite of this, the speculation and leaks will continue, building to a climax in the weeks before each heavily publicized press event. And the reality will never quite live up to the hype. So anyway, what’s the iPhone 6 going to be like? The next day of disappointment is only 12 months away, after all.

Image Credit: V. H. D.