Print 96 comment(s) - last by Helbore.. on Sep 19 at 1:14 PM

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 Helbore on 9/13/2012 8:29:21 AM , Rating: 2
The iPhone 5 looked fine to me.

I'd say that's exactly the problem that many people are having with it. It is just "fine."

IT really doesn't do anything more than catch up with the current competition. There is nothing there to make you want this over an S3 or a One X, for example. The only thing it has going for it is that "its an iPhone."

Even as someone who's never owned an iPhone, I can see the many benefits that came with new models. The App Store. The retina display. Siri. etc. There were new features that weren't on competing handsets and allowed the latest iPhone to (even if it may have been brief) be the best new handset on the market.

But when you look at the iPhone 5, all you see is a phone that has just caught up with handsets released in H1 of 2012. It doesn't beat them in any way. IT doesn't offer features that would make you want to swap your existing handset, unless your existing handset is an old iPhone and you only buy iPhones.

It represents the potential moment where the iPhone completely slips behind the competition. It got caught up fast by the rate at which Android phones are released. It is now behind and playing catch up. If the trend continues, the iPhone 5S may not even compete with handsets that are already on the market months before its release.

Put simply, the iPhone 5 is a respectable device, but offers zero innovation. Only its brand name allows it to stand out - and as many prior companies can attest, that is not something you can rely on forever.

By mcnabney on 9/13/2012 10:19:19 AM , Rating: 2
Outside of pushing the resolution limits with Retina, there has never been anything that set the iPhone apart. Even Siri is just a chatbot. Heck, my Droid 1 responded just fine to voice commands. A front-facing camera wasn't anything new either.

By bah12 on 9/13/2012 12:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
Don't downplay the significance of the app eco system, or "it is an iPhone". That is HUGE!

Look for years MS got what Apple didn't on the PC side. Computing was all about the software. Hardware was there just to support software, enthusiasts cared but the consumer wanted consistent app experience.

With the iPhone Apple truly nailed this. The VAST majority of the consumer users, don't care nearly as much about performance as they do ease of use. Apps matter. To date I've easily spent more in apps that I did for the hardware. Switching requires I re-spend that money. One cannot downplay the importance of this.

If today I was going to by my first smartphone, Apple would be a tough sell (even with the 5). But I am eligible for an upgrade, and even though I'm not happy with my iPhone, nor am I excited about the 5. It still has to be on my short list for 3 reasons.

#1 - Apps Apps Apps. I'd have to repurchase several apps.

#2 - Popularity. My kids can't face time grandma from an android. I know there are other options, and I can set them up, but grandma...not so much.

#3 - Gaming. I'm a completionist. I don't want to beat every level of cut the rope again (or a dozen other ones), just to access the newest levels.

RE: It's About Iterating, Not Re-Inventing
By lawrance on 9/13/2012 5:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
It was Apple who invented the current chiclet style OS. Google stole the idea from being on Apple's board. They were busy copying RIM until they saw Apple's plans. If it weren't for Apple, there would be no Android as you know it. So if you want to talk about lack of innovation, don't use Apple as an example.

By foolsgambit11 on 9/13/2012 7:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know if you've noticed, but 'chicklet' is no longer the current OS style for non-iOS phones. Windows phones use live panes. Android has very few icons that could be considered chicklets among first-party apps; most look more similar to classic Windows icons. Besides which, the interface has live widgets, not just icons for interfacing with apps.

By Helbore on 9/19/2012 1:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
And Apple weren't the first to make a mobile phone, or even a smartphone. So what's your point?

This isn't about prior smartphones or even prior iPhones. I was stating why many people are disappointed in the iPhone 5 - and that's because it really doesn't bring anything new to the table.

Plus, if you really want to go there - how is a bunch of screens full of widgets in any way a "Chiclet"-style OS?

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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