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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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By Belard on 9/13/2012 4:36:16 AM , Rating: 2
I think you pretty much nailed it Jason.

But at the same time... the iOS interface is dreadfully simple to use, many people will like for it to stay the same. But why not offer the same UI but with different optional skin choices?

I am running the latest iOS on my iPad1, its quite nice, 6.0 offers nothing (obviously) because of its age. Then I can compare my Galaxy S1 Android 2.3 (running WP7 interface on top) to Android 4.0... and its LOOKS amazing, its slick. I doubt I'll run the WP7/8 UI on top of my new Android phone I'm picking up on Friday (Atrix HD) which has some 4.1 elements. Just using 4.0 was nice to use, vs 2.x which I never really cared for.

On the hardware end, my take:
1) I actually PREFER the smaller size of the iPhone4/5... I wish more Android phones were that small. Something that Motorola did with the Droid RAZR M. They stuck a 4.3" 960x540 screen into a body that is a hair wider than the iPhone 4/5. The screen itself is not as sharp as the 720p almost has no bezel whatsoever (I wonder if its more prone to breaking?) - it LOOKS AWESOME. The body shape is very nice.

To me, the perfect phone with by the Droid M body style, but slightly bigger body to hold the 4.5" 1280x720 screen. It would STILL be smaller than my Samsung Captivate with its 4.0" screen.

I also think that Apple kept the same size for easy conversion with accessories, even if the DOCK connector is smaller.

2) I'm good with the two-tone back... the metal back won't shatter. I personally like different textures.

3) the front is same-old same-old... I think they could have done a but more?

4) Speakers on the bottom is still one of the better locations (front = even better).

5) inside hardware, seems great... no NFC is odd, but the metal body prevents THAT from happening.

As other have posted... Nokia has done a bit more INNOVATIVE things with the 820/920. I half agree. The 920 is an updated 900. The 900 is an uncomfortable square block. I was sick of it after a minute. The 820 is what I would love to have (If WP8 was something I was willing to use) - it looks great all over. Changeable bodies = easy replacement when its scratched up or for seasons / moods. Only downer is the 800x480 resolution (so 2010).

I wish I liked Windows8 and that the 820 was available with my carrier. It has more of the COOL factor that the iPhone5 doesn't have.

Hmmm... hey, didn't the CEO of FOXCONN say the iPhone5 was going to kill everything else? I don't see that happening. A lot of people will buy it... but not like the iPhone 4. Its an improvement over the iPhone4s in every way, which is to be expected. I think iOS7 will need to somehow GRAB people... But it doesn't.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)

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