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Critics say Apple is moving to slowly to compete with innovative competitors

"While many will no doubt proclaim the iPhone 5 to be a miss due to the lack of radical change, I say look at it logically. The last time a product as successful as the iPhone got a radical change it was a total disaster. Remember New Coke?" wrote James Kendrick, a contributor at ZDNet.

I. Some Reviews Blast Apple for Slow Progress

There's praise in there for Apple, Inc.'s (AAPLnew device -- indeed Mr. Kendrick even titles his piece "Just what Apple needed".  But by the same token Mr. Kendrick is openly acknowledging that some folks will be less-than-impressed with Apple's modest hardware improvements and virtual standstill on the operating system front.

Others like "Fake Steve Jobs" -- Dan Lyons -- were far less kind.  Writing for BBC News, Mr. Lyons comments:

Somewhere up there, I can hear Steve screaming.... Apple's renowned designer Jonathan Ive has replaced the tiny 3.5in (8.9cm) screen with a slightly-less-tiny 4in (10.2cm) screen? Wow. Knock me over with a feather. What do you do with the rest of your time, Jony?  ...despite all its bluster about innovation, Apple has become a copycat, and not even a good one. Why is Apple making the iPhone bigger? To keep up with the top Android phones.
In terms of products, Apple has become the one thing it should never be. Apple has become boring.

And CBS writes in a piece entitled "Apple iPhone 5: big innovation takes a holiday":

Let there be no doubt, the device will sell a boatload of units. However, the changes seemed all incremental improvements -- new features that were nice, but none that catapulted Apple ahead and left all rival Android phones in the dust.

Doubtless the hardcore fans will argue that Apple is revolutionary, blazing trails and creating amazing products. But from a more detached view, the company's pace of major innovation seems to be slowing. For example, there didn't seem to be anything new that was the equivalent of a Siri or Retina display.

To be fair, there were some glowing articles as well -- and the majority of bloggers took the high road in terms of simply reporting the facts and details on the presentation.

But the iPhone 5 is perhaps the most mixed reaction to an iPhone since the product's 2007 launch.  If the iPhone 4S launch left some lukewarm, this one left the critics downright chilly.

Surely this kind of negative publicity would never have occurred under Apple co-founder and two-time CEO Steve Jobs' watch.  But Steve is gone, and Tim Cook is at the helm, and so far Apple seems to have lost some of its magic which once enraptured most members of the media.

II. Is Apple "Pulling a Vista"?

The reaction draws some analogies to the reviews of Windows Vista.  That's not to say the product is the same -- it clearly isn't.  Nor are the circumstances.  But reading the reviews recap:

I'd say the majority were guardedly positive, saying that Vista looked good overall but wasn't a killer product that demanded instant installation on every PC on the planet. ZDNet’s Ed Bott (who didn’t publish a comprehensive review), PC World’s Preston Gralla, and Paul Thurrott were enthusiastic overall; BusinessWeek’s Steve Wildstrom, CNET's Robert Vamosi, and PC Magazine’s John Clyman all accentuated more negatives than most. Only Forbes’ Manes was extremely negative, period.

...from Technologizer's study on the contentious Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) product and one observes some similarities -- a massive company pitching a flagship product that leaves many neutral, and a few vehemently negative, to the point where some were complaining that the innovative fire was gone from the product maker's eyes.

Windows Vista
Windows Vista was another iconic product to draw mixed reviews; yet it generated decent sales overall. [Image Source: FoxNews]

The Vista comparison isn't very flattering.  But remember, Vista sold 60 million copies in 7 months -- almost 30 million licenses per calendar quarter.  The lesson?  Even if Apple's product is as much of a dud as its strongest critics state, residual product loyalty and its massive sales machines will drive modest sales, much as similar factors at Microsoft helped move Vista licenses.

Sources: BBC News, CBS News, ZDNet, Technologizer [Vista Reviews]

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RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By bjacobson on 9/12/2012 6:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
why compete when you can just sue the market into submission? That way people have to buy your rehashed, non-innovative tech.*

*personally I think it's fine. 4" will make a nice difference.

RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By ammaross on 9/12/2012 7:19:33 PM , Rating: 2
The screen's not even 720p. It's spitting close at ~1150x640 by that's still going to hurt comparatively. Bonus on the screen size bump, but wasn't the polls saying iPhone users preferred the smaller screen/phone size as one of their major "likes" about the platform? Guess their opinion will change now that Apple's has.

RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By someguy123 on 9/12/2012 11:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't see that as their main problem, or even a problem at all really. Personally I don't understand the point of wasting resources on more pixels at the cost of general performance or battery life, unless the battery life was much longer. The only reason it's even 640 is to keep their "retina" phone standard. Right now raw specs on phones just seems like a pissing contest compared to general UI improvements or extended battery life. Hell the thing to do for android phones is to undervolt them (not sure if this is possible through iphone jailbreaks). Why is something like that even necessary?

RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By mcnabney on 9/13/2012 10:09:30 AM , Rating: 2
No, it is 640 because the iOS platform requires it. Apple is not resolution independent like Android is. iPhone 5 users will actually see black bars on the side when running most apps that weren't rewritten for the new resolution.

RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By othercents on 9/13/2012 12:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
What Apple has done well is getting all applications to run across all the phone models smoothly. I rarely have a complaint about application performance on the iPhone or iPad like I have on my android devices or WP7. However what other competitors have done well is the home screen interface. Creating an interactive interface would do wonders for the iPhone. Apple did well adding the notification center, however I don't think it is enough to capture business users or those interested in social networking capabilities.

The interactive interface is why I switched to WP7. Since I was always launching Twitter and Facebook the integration was more important to me than the loss of the Apple App Store.


RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By jimbojimbo on 9/14/2012 12:55:10 AM , Rating: 2
You do know Android had the notifications LOOONG before Apple put it in right? You do also realize that older apps on the iPhone5 will have letterboxes along the top and bottom right? How is that doing well getting all the applications to run across all the models?

By othercents on 9/17/2012 9:23:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yes I know Android had notifications first because I own 5 or 6 Android devices, however it doesn't matter what was, but was is and right now I like the iPhone's implementation of the notifications better than the Androids which is still much better than the WP7 notifications. I also like the lock screen notifications that iPhone provides which in my opinion is much better than the Android version.

Yes, I understand letterboxes and I also understand that developers will need to update their software for the new platform. This is all part of being a software developer and I don't understand why anyone would choose this as an argument point. Do you know that the same things happens on Android devices too? You know if you watch older TV shows on your HD screen there are letter boxes? In my opinion this isn't a big deal since gameplay or quality of the app should overriding decision made on purchasing an app, not if it fits across the whole screen.

Getting applications to run "well" on all models is a plus for Apple especially since their competitor has issues with doing the same. When I recommend phones to people I take this into account since the people asking my advice definitely are not technically savvy and they keep phones for a really long time. In most cases I can't even download some applications from Google Play since my devices isn't supported. I haven't seen this issue on the iPhones and typically on the iPhone the games will adjust to the screen and processing power to give you the best experience. Most of the applications in Google Play that are introduced with the top end devices don't work with the previous generation or if they do they crash all the time.

NOTE: I won't purchase another iPhone unless they put in a smart screen that can integrate the messaging and social aspects of the phone, however I still recommend it to some people. Everything I have stated above is my experience with my devices which are numerous different iPhone, Android, WebOS, etc...

RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By EnzoFX on 9/13/2012 12:40:33 PM , Rating: 1
It is a pissing contest for people obsessed with specs, usually Android fanboys, because their iterations are strictly spec driven to offset the still not completely smooth interfact, or the bloatware their favorite manufacturer ads. Nevertheless the resolution argument is retarded. Screen size is entirely subjective. Simple as that. As far as the actual res on the iPhone, well it still has a higher PPI than any Android. For someone that doesn't want a big screen that's unusable with one hand, then the iPhone is clearly the better choice.

RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By Chaser on 9/13/2012 12:56:51 PM , Rating: 4
Yes those insignificant features that no one cares about like LTE and a larger display. Oh wait I guess they're important now.

RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By retrospooty on 9/13/2012 3:54:36 PM , Rating: 2
and what is this "un-useable with one hand" argument I keep hearing as an excuse for the small screen on iPhone? That is ridiculous.

It's almost as ridiculous as the huge bezel space on the top and bottom while claiming to be conscious of size. Hey Apple, why not make the phone smaller by not wasting all that space on the top and bottom? By the end of the year we will start seeing android phones with almost no Bezel, bringing the overall size way down.

By foolsgambit11 on 9/13/2012 7:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
But if they get rid of the bezel, they will no longer be operating within their broad design patent....

By jimbojimbo on 9/14/2012 12:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
One of my biggest complaints since the original! Sure they made the bezels a little smaller now but WTF is with one stupid button on the bottom? Hey, give me more buttons instead of blank black landscape that does NOTHING. How people can use an iPhone and tolerate is still beyond me. Then again I like being efficient.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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