Apple's big post-Jobs Innovation is Plastic?

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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Apple's big post-Jobs Innovation is Plastic?

And where there isn’t a discussion of plastic, the company seems to think new colors or fancy cases are the key to wooing smartphone customers looking for the next big thing


Apple made a few big announcements today and together they should be taken as ho-hum. First-off you should know there are a couple of new devices the 5c and 5s – Marc Benioff says the monikers stand for “cheap” and “same”. He is pretty on-point.

The iPhone 5 gets discontinued while the 4S is still available for free with a two-year contract and the 5c starts at $99 and the 5s starts at $199 for 16GB versions.

Apple gets a lot of crap for not innovating anymore –especially after Steve Jobs died and in response they launch a phone made of plastic – the 5c. Now I realize there is more to the day’s announcements – after all the company announced the new A7 processor, packing 64 bits into a mobile phone – for the first time ever. And then there is the M7 motion coprocessor designed to assist in allowing a new generation of fitness apps. The challenge here is Apple has always been a company that abstracted the features and specs – now they are touting them; As if this is different than every other smartphone manufacturer.

On the different front, Apple has released a biometric fingerprint reader which was as well-kept a secret as NSA spying has been this summer. If the company got this right, it will be potentially a big deal as Apple forces users to enter passwords almost excessively. Thankfully in the last few years they stopped requiring a password to upgrade apps.

The next big improvement is in camera technology where the front camera can now engage in HD FaceTime. The rear camera has been improved with lots of whiz-bang tech to improve image quality. You can even zoom in on a video now as you record. Although the camera has been improved greatly according to the company, photos are still eight megapixels in size. On the flipside, the area available for pixels has increased by 15 percent, the pixels are larger — 1.5 microns, to be exact and the camera aperture has increased to allow impressive 33 percent increase in light sensitivity. Finally, the flash is now a dual white/amber LED allowing the phone to determine the right intensity of each – up to one-thousand variations in order to provide the best photo possible.

There has been tremendous emphasis on speed – from download speeds over WiFi to LTE. Still, nothing to get so excited about. Apple likely senses that there are more evolutionary than revolutionary changes in today’s news so they decided to entice us further by giving away software like iPhotos, iMovie, Pages, Keynote and Numbers. Oh and offer us new colors and cases.

Here is the bottom line… you don’t need the 5s. The screen is the same size as the 5. You get better photo quality and better FaceTime video quality along with increased download speed but you are talking about such a small screen relative to the phablet competition that Apple has realty pigeonholed itself into a silly position of popularizing smartphones but failing to capitalize on the fastest growing segment… Large-screen phones. The fingerprint-sensor could obviously make life easier than but not as much as having a larger screen to watch videos and surf the web more easily.

Larry Ellison implied Apple is doomed without Steve Jobs but what he didn’t count on is the momentum of Apple and iOS. Meaning That Apple has enormous financial opportunities which it can take advantage of just by launching a new form factor. The iPad Mini is a great example. What the company needs to do now is stop playing around with minute upgrades to a phone which is arguably too-small and make a large-screen iPhone and do it now.

Although millions will upgrade to the 5s and the 5c will be a big seller among the price-conscious overseas, there is nothing in today’s news which is exciting and Apple seems to have lost its ability to wow us with true innovation.

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