Friday, September 20, 2013

Apple, iOS7, the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C and Innovation

Apple had been on a media blitz. With iOS7 being release yesterday, and the impending iPhone 5s and 5c onslaught, its been dominating tech news today. It seems they are trying to paint the picture that Jony Ive, Craig Federighi and Tim Cook are the happy awesome replacement for Steve Jobs as the head innovators of Apple. They may be able to pull it off, but I must say that some of the quotes that have been coming out of Apple have left me a little less than sure of this. I think Apple makes some beautiful products, but the reality is I'm not seeing the same swagger that I used to see at Apple during the years of Jobs. I am however seeing a lot of arrogance. Thats not to say that Jobs wasn't arrogant, but at least it seemed like he backed it up with some innovation.

I upgraded my iPad 2 and my sons iPhone to iOS7 last night, and played a little, and I can honestly say: meh. In all honesty, iOS needed a UI update. It's looked pretty much the same since 2007, it was getting dated. Now it looks like... well, I'll put it in the terms of my teenage son: "check it out, now it looks kinda like the [Samsung] Galaxy [S4]!" Ouch.

Now I don't want to take that quote out of context, he was thrilled, but as Apple, when your big UI update has you "catching up" to a phone released months ago, you may want to get to work on wowing us a little more next time. I think Apple can do it, clearly they've put a lot of thought into the underpinnings of the OS with things like moving to 64bit architecture etc, so there is definitely more to the update than just fancy UI elements. Speaking of other elements, how the hell did the lock screen vulnerability get past Apple? I can't imagine that would have ever flown with Jobs at the helm, especially with one of big features release on the iPhone 5s was a new security feature!!!!

Which brings me to the new iPhone. The lines are forming, but they usually do for new iDevices, because after all they are luxury "must have" item. Apple devices always have been sold at a premium. in 20 years I have never looked at an Apple device and thought of it as cheap. Even when the company was struggling in the 90s! That being said, Tim Cook taking shots at Android and the "cheap" market seemed strangely defensive to me. I mean by now you should know that Apple products aren't cheap. I'm still not sure what people expected out of the iPhone 5c. I certainly didn't expect a new $50 iPhone. I expected it to be cheaper than the iPhone 5s but where they priced it is about where I expected it. Realistically it's a way of cutting some of the costs of manufacturing the iPhone 5 to keep the margin on those devices where they were.

The iPhone 5C is simultaneously a way of taking trying to make a play on the used phone market. Right now the iPhone 5 starts at around $400 on eBay. While the iPhone 5c is a little pricier at $549 unlocked, you can guarantee that is new, works, and won't have any issues during activation! Alternatively you can buy it on contract with one of these new upgrade plans that the carriers are offering! That's where the brilliance of this move comes into play!

So I think rumors of Apple's demise might have been largely overplayed. They seem to be playing the media and marketing game better than anyone at the moment. Despite Tim Cook being defensive when it comes to talking about Android, Apple is still making the right moves for them. While I'd love to see some huge technological innovation from Apple, I just think in the mobile market were not going to see the level of innovation we've been used to over the last few years. I would have liked to see something more distinctly Apple in iOS7 rather than doing Android Apple Edition. I do believe that Apple is still Innovating, just maybe not in ways that we expected.

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