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iPhone 5 (apple.com)
264 points by CoachRufus87 1835 days ago | hide | past | web | 482 comments | favorite

To talk about the software, I've been using Apple Maps in beta for the past couple of months, and having no transit directions while living in NYC is enough for me to consider a switch to android.

Trying to take the subway to unfamiliar parts of the city forces me to use google maps in the browser. Addresses seem to be hit or miss -- I've often spent time searching for an establishment or address just to give up and use google maps in the browser.

I've basically had to revert to how I got around the city prior to having a smartphone -- use my computer and remember how I need to get there before I leave.

Apple Maps is potentially a huge fail for anyone living in a major city.

Typing "21st and 6th" gives me an alert that says "no results found". I am about 500 feet from 21st and 6th. Other intersections have jumped me to Texas and South Carolina.

I can't believe this is something they're actually going to release. I hope that it might be better on release, but it seems like the backend should be continually upgraded.

Google has spent a long time pouring a ton of money and manpower into their geocoder and the data behind it. It's completely unsurprising that Apple is not able to match their quality. It will be an iterative process that improves as they get more usage data to leverage.

That said, your example is pretty shocking considering Apple's historically stringent quality standards.

I feel dirty playing the J card, but...

It this something that would have happened with Steve at the helm? I mean, the business case for moving off of your competitor's flagship map product is clear. You want to get them out of your product development cycle, you want to deny them revenue, you want to dilute their brand. I get that.

But still, Apple is ultimately achieving this by pushing what seems to be universally regarded as an inferior product out to its customers. It's basically a downgrade. When has Apple ever done that before?

"It this something that would have happened with Steve at the helm?"

Do you think Apple hasn't been working in this direction since before Steve left the helm?

Placebase acquisition: Jul 2009

Poly 9 acquisition: Jul 2010

C3 acquisition: Aug 2011

Yes, but when do you declare the quality high enough for release?

Ok we're ending random speculation territory but it was widely reported that the Google Maps agreement expired this year so there was no huge decision about when to release -- it was always going to go live with the 2012 phone.

I mean obviously if it was a disaster they would have to go back and cut another deal with Google (or Nokia/MS) but it now becomes obvious why they held back turn by turn from the old Maps app for so long. Because you can legitimately argue that 6.0 Maps with some weak spots that can be improved over time but with turn by turn plus possibly Google Maps in the App store is better then 5.0 Maps powered by Google's superior data but without turn by turn.

Wasn't the agreement renewed at the late-in-the-game last year? Is there any reason to think Google would have turned down a renewal (on the previous terms, we know there was friction over new features) this year?

I'll plead ignorance if it was up last year although just shifts the thinking above. So let's say Apple Maps was planned for 2011 but by wwdc they realized releasing in 2011 would be a huge disaster so they had to go back to google for another year.

As far as Google I'd guess they would have been fine to continue powering the default Maps app. Google's price might have gone up from 2007 but the quality increased by a similar amount.

Apple has done it a lot of times before (like most companies).

I think the maps feature that Apple believed they could produce, at the time they made the decision, was probably very different from the maps feature they were actually able to produce.

That's a fair point, software projects have schedule problems all the time, even for Apple. But if anything it's an even more serious indictment of the executive decision making: the product didn't work out the way they hoped, and they shipped it anyway. Again, would that have happened in the days of the reality distortion field?


To use ajross's term, Ping wasn't a "downgrade". Ping was more of a lead zeppelin.

As a non transit user, I see the addition of the turn by turn (especially with Siri integration) as a plus and don't miss the transit at all. So I wouldn't say it is universally inferior.

I agree. I'd add that on the iOS platform, there are significantly better transit apps than the maps app for the bigger European cities like London etc.

Mission Control


Final Cut Pro X was panned by many professional users as being a downgrade.


say what you will with iTunes but I don't really find it so bad as all the hate being written about it would seem to suggest. yeah it could be slimmer but it runs well and relatively flawlessly, and does a decent job of organizing. and I have to spend less time configuring it than foobar.

iPhoto however, I think, could use some rethinking...

iTunes may have become a bloated mess, but it's one of the key reasons for the success of the iPod and by extension the iPhone.

The same thing happened to me recently on Apple Maps on iOS 5 (Google data) in Chicago. ORD plotted a course to Ord, Nebraska, not O'Hare.

I'm in California, and typing "ord" (not even uppercase ORD, mind you) in the (Android) Maps search bar brings up Chicago O'Hare International Airport-Ord, Chicago, IL as the second suggestion. I'm going to say it's probably not (Google data)

Out of curiosity, what would you expect to show up? If someone said they're going to ORD (I live in California, too) then I'd ask if they have a connection in Chicago.

They're providing a counterpoint to the poster that said "google data" pointed them to Ord, Nebraska.

Worse for me was realizing that when you click a map direction on a website it no longer brings up The map app with directions to your destination from your current location.

Now your are taken to some dead end Google MaP in the browser that does nothing.

WTH Apple?

iOS badly needs something like Android's Intents.

Absent that, surely you see the problem with a maps.google.com link taking you to Apple's Maps app (no longer associated with Google in any way)?

No surprise that a Google Map link on a website doesn't open Apple's iMap app. More so for me who clicks map links on sites frequently being brought to a dead end in the browser Google Map is a terrible user experience, especially when for the last four years or more the experience has been very useful.

I have that happen with current iOS (Google) all the time.

Don't type: "21st and 6th", type "21st and 6th, CITY".

Hopefully Google releases a Google Maps app into the App Store, like they did with YouTube. Apple Maps looks like a major regression from Google Maps.

Google has promised this already, and it should be out relatively soon. It's not clear what all will be in it, though.

Apple Maps is a regression in certain areas (public transit, as noted above), and advances others (the turn-by-turn experience), so it's a mixed bag.

At the end of the day, most of these things are reconciled through the app ecosystem: if you are heavily dependent on public transit, Google and other app providers support you well. If you're a driver, Apple and TomTom provide worthy solutions. And so on with walking and biking directions. We, as consumer, get choices and it's relatively easy to switch between them.

Do you have a source for Google's promise of a new iOS maps app? I can't find anything.

That said, even if they do submit one immediately, I'm afraid Apple will tie it up in review for a month or two to allow their version to gain a userbase. I know if a Google version were available upon upgrade to iOS 6, I'd download it immediately. Transit directions are a must-have feature for me.

What is better about the iPhone's turn-by-turn? I've never used it, but I am really happy with Google's Navigation on my Galaxy Nexus. It's always been accurate and responsive, it starts up much quicker than the standalone GPS units I've seen (small sample size), and the voice sounds much more natural.

It's the first time they've had it. There isn't turn-by-turn on the iPhone currently. But if they have issues finding addresses in general how good can the turn-by-turn really be?

> advances others (the turn-by-turn experience)

I hope you're not talking about the "fly around" view when turning a corner, because that is the most useless feature I've ever heard of for turn-by-turn navigation. NO ONE should be looking at their phone while making a turn.

To me it would almost make sense for them to not add their google maps application so that it would make them, like mtalantikite consider switching to Android. I don't know why Google would have much of an incentive to improve iOS when it has it's own operating system to sell.

I think you are forgetting that Google doesn't sell its OS. The point of Android is to enable more eyeballs to their products since eyeballs = ad dollars. So Google will do whatever they can to get users on the Google platform (which is exactly why Google+ is great on iOS).

Maps has a huge local revenue opportunity for Google. It has user intent, most of the searches are commercial, you know the user's tastes and hangouts (through past searches), and the user is addressable (since they are close to the item of interest). This means high CPC rates (or equivalent) if you can deliver a real ad product. Thus, I'd bet pretty strongly that a maps product will be coming to iOS since Google would hate to risk losing those valuable eyeballs.

Because they'd still get advertisement money from sponsored listings vs. no advertising money.

youtube app just came out, and g+ has been pretty spiffy..

Would Apple even permit it? Last I'd heard they were pretty gung-ho on the "No apps that do the same thing as stock apps" thing.

I think they relaxed that restriction long ago, hence the variety of browsers, email clients etc available.

I was under the impression that things like browser apps are still just wrapping UIWebViews and such. I know this is the case for Chrome - the (heh) chrome is different, but the browser itself is the iOS stock. Is it a technical restriction rather than a philosophical one?

Both. Apple has a restriction on 'executing' downloaded code yourself (javascript).

After I played with the iOS 6 beta for a bit, and noticed the lack of transit and 100 other things, I got rid of my iPhone and bought an Android. Android maps are amazing, and I use it so much it makes up for the general lack of polish that you get with iOS. Though, to be fair, iOS maps have been getting better as it gets closer to release.

Yeah, I feel like this is one of those situations where companies go to war and consumers lose. Apple didn't create their own Maps to disrupt the space or because they have the same passion for wayfinding that they have for music; they did it as a power play against Google.

I disagree. Google had a monopoly on the maps market and was taking advantage of it. Apple's Maps app used vector images, brought 3d buildings to more cities, used higher quality textures, etc. They may have problems with it but I feel like the added enough innovation to force Google Maps to be better.

Google had vector maps before Apple, actually. It was on Android in 2010.

Mapping is a growing part of the iOS SDK, I can understand Apple not wanting to be dependent on Google for that, particularly after Google started demanding significantly increased fees for Google Maps API usage:


Google walked back some of the worst effects of the changes:


but by then the damage had been done in terms of Apple's (and developers') perception of the Google API.

That's the Javascript Maps API, first, and it only applies if you don't have an enterprise agreement anyways. You don't think Apple had a contract for mapping data independent of Google's pricing of their web API?

(for developers, AFAIK there has been no cost for using Map Kit in iOS or a MapView in Android)

So let me get this straight. A single app on iOS, which doesn't live up to expectations or desires AND is still in BETA (re: unfinished, unready) and this makes you consider buying an entirely new phone?

You sound like those soccer moms I make house calls for who just think it's easier to throw away a working system and buy something else.

Yes, that's correct. Out of curiosity, do you live in NYC? The subway is part of the life blood of this city, and not being able to navigate from A -> B using maps is a major loss.

Normal situational example: I'm in a neighborhood, say Fort Greene, and I'm meeting a friend for dinner at a restaurant I've never heard of in the East Village. First, I need to be able to find that restaurant by searching for it in Maps -- this largely doesn't work anymore. I often get results that are totally incorrect.

But say I do find the location, I then need to figure out how to get there from a neighborhood I don't actively live in. Do I take the A train and transfer to the F and walk from the lower east side? Maybe it's faster to walk to the Q and get off at Union Square. Or maybe the manhattan bridge is under construction, and it actually would be faster to take the G to north Brooklyn and transfer to the L. This subway system is so massive that even native New Yorkers get turned around and need directions.

If you don't actively live in NYC I think it might be hard to realize how significant losing transit directions is, not to mention useful location search.

It's a little easier in Chicago due to our more boring grid layout (Lincoln Park? I'll take the Red north and transfer to the Brown. Logan Square? I'll take a westbound bus and get on the Blue), but iOS 6 has still given me exactly the same thought of switching to Android for the transit navigation.

Totally, I was in Chicago for work earlier this summer and Apple Maps was completely useless. Luckily I still remember the transit from when I lived in Chicago a while back, but had I not had that prior knowledge I would have gotten myself lost many times.

Yup, and on top of everything you said, Google maps integrates directions from different transit agencies really well. In Los Angeles, for example, there are often routes on three different systems. All the agencies already have trip planners, but none of them will suggest using a neighboring agency's bus or train, even if it would be more convenient.

That's pretty dysfunctional. In Chicago, Metra, CTA, and Pace are three separate agencies, but they do have a common trip planner. (OK, they all fold up into the RTA, but their fights with each other for funding was pretty amusing. The MTA in NYC is much more sane.)

Yeah I used to live in NYC and if you don't know the subways by heart, you really don't live there or haven't for very long. Not to detract from the fact the app isn't ready yet, but you don't need an app to get where you're going if you can read a placard that's literally at every subway. Anyone with any visual sense and literacy can figure it out.

i might be behind the times, but it was easier to use kickmap if I had subway questions...

Think of it like VHS vs. Betamax. "Everyone" says Betamax was technically superior, but often forget that it debuted with only a ~1 hour recording time, making it completely unsuitable for movie watching. However most users wanted to be able to watch movies. So even though it was only technically inferior in one aspect, that aspect was so important to the majority of users as to make VHS a significantly better system.

The same thing is happening here. A lot of people who live in big cities now depend on their phones for directions, and a lot of them need transit directions in addition to driving directions. A phone that can't do that has greatly diminished value. Not everyone wants a phone as a status symbol: some want it to actually do useful things.

I'm on the fence myself. And yeah, when the most used app is the maps for transit directions it does leave a bad taste to go from something that worked great (most of the time) to something that doesn't work for your needs at all. Am I still able to take phone calls? Sure, as long as I'm not at the office though I blame that more on AT&T and working right near the river walk in San Antonio, but the local bus company has said their maps addon won't be out until October at the earliest, March of 2013 at the latest.

And how many people have switched to Mac due to an inferior product feeling? Sure you can still use the computer but if one of the main purposes of having it doesn't work for your needs, why keep using it?

Given it's getting released 7 days from now (and the version that comes with the GM, released today, is equally terrible), I'm, not sure it's gonna change that much before the release...

(irrelevant fact: Maps is the MOST important app on the iPhone for me - after the browser, of course. I've put my life on its "hands" an infinite number of times...)

I never ever use transit stuff in Maps, but for the average person in a major metro are, they're using their phone for this multiple times a day. This is their lifeblood. By the way, why do we still call them phones?

All the map comparisons so far are between Apple and Android. Anybody has experience using Nokia maps and how that fares against Google or Apple map product?

On Anandtech's live blog it was said that the maps demoed did not match the maps in beta. I think they specifically said he checked and there was no Big Ben 2 days earlier on beta.

Agreed, the final version is likely to be better than the beta, but adding 3D flyovers of landmarks really doesn't help me in my day to day life living in NYC. I need in app transit directions, otherwise maps are largely useless.

I also need correct search results. For example, searching for "Flatbush Farm" -- a bar/restaurant near my apartment in Brooklyn -- yields the correct establishment on Flatbush and 6th, as evidenced by the Yelp reviews, but drops a pin in Queens. I've reported many incorrect listings over the past couple of months and none of them have changed.

You should check out iTrans NYC on the App Store. I have no relationship to the developer(s), but it's probably my favorite transit app, and I've used a lot of them. Unfortunately I only get to use it during visits to New York, since I live in the Bay Area.

I had iOS 6 and brought my phone to China. It just swapped to another provider (AutoNav) that's essentially like MapQuest 10 years ago.

I'm really looking forward to Google rolling out their own already-announced maps app on iOS for this reason (although I have to imagine your city has dedicated apps that do public transit already, as mine does). And as far as I know the maps app already used Apple's locations database, which was noticeably worse than Google's. I keep hoping that Apple will simply realize that location is not their strength, but so far this seems unlikely.

I agree with you in principle, but in practice, when I was visiting New York in July, I got much better results by using an external app rather than Google Maps. ("NYC Subway", I think it was called.) Specifically, Google's directions often had multiple transfers and didn't mention any alternate routes, whereas the app gave me the route with fewest transfers and showed all the other lines going there, in case you missed the first train.

I think this is why Apple's plan to relegate public transport directions to external apps might be a good idea: there's no way a single company -- even one the size of even Google! -- can keep track of all the minutiae involved in planning routes for every public transport system around the world, whereas app makers can. Even today, every public transit system that I've been on has one or more apps, so I doubt uptake will be a problem. And with the new APIs in iOS6, it should be much easier to get directions via external apps, since they show up in a list right in the Maps app.

Oh, and the app worked offline, which as you might know is mighty helpful in large parts of the subway. :)

Wow. Being a new resident to the Bay Area, this is a potential deal breaker for me, and I had no idea the public transit was stripped out.

Granted most excursions don't necessitate the public transit directions in the Bay Area, it was amazing to have while traveling to new cities.

HopStop is the app you're looking for. I just moved to Brooklyn and was recommended the app by someone who's been here only a few months. It gives ridiculously thorough directions, and has an offline transit map you can use while you're on the subway.

As I understand it, other apps will be able to register with the maps service and add data to maps, like transit directions. In theory sounds great, it'll take a while to see how it shakes out which is a setback no matter how you slice it.

In London and probably many other places around the World Google has only fairly recently started offering public transport directions (if they offer them at all) so I'm not sure the loss is that great. There are plenty of apps available that offer this.

The people for whom this is a big issue are a fairly small proportion of the global population. Basically those in the US who live in major cities and are users of the transit system. In San Diego and New York this is a big issue and those are centres of the HN readership and probably also the tech media which might be important but the practical impact of this limitation may be limited.

I have used Google Maps for public transport very actively in multiple cities around the world, and I can't imagine living without it. Stockholm, Singapore, London, Tokyo all have it with Google. And I'd bet that a majority of smartphone users in the world use public transport, not cars, as primary method of getting around.

Hopefully projects like this will fill the void. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/228865951/transit-app-fo...

Maps on my phone are crucial to me. The single most important feature is offline use - I often sit on the Underground (no Internet) going in the general direction of my meeting, but needing to know if/where I need to change lines, and then how to get from the tube station to the meeting location.

So while this looks like it will fill a gap on iOS, it's something I'm unwilling to wait for.

To be fair, I was recently a little north of Atlanta and Google Maps had no idea about the bus system there. It knew the metro one, but not the one I needed to use to get to the metro one. Had to ask people advice to find a spot and then hang out half an hour because I hadn't known the schedule like I would with good maps support. So some people will have equal service.

Atlanta has an abysmal public transit system, but Google Maps does know about the major bus system in town. It may not be complete, but I regularly see info for nearby bus stops in Google Now, for example.

Traffic is one of the main things I use Google Maps for on my iPhone. How does the traffic in Apple Maps compare? I'd hate to lose that.

I can't say that I've used it much, but the traffic data doesn't seem to be as full in terms of coverage as Google Maps. I just did a side by side comparison of traffic in both Google and Apple Maps:

Apple is reporting heavy traffic only on Flatbush, Atlantic, and the BQE (major traffic arteries for those not familiar with Brooklyn).

Google is reporting what Apple has, plus traffic patterns on a lot of other local avenues (3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, Vanderbilt, Fulton, Union St, etc).

I believe they get their updates from TomTom. The routing around traffic was actually a bit better than Google's in San Francisco the few times I used it side-by-side.

Well, looks like I won't be upgrading to iOS 6 any time soon. I rely heavily on Google's transit directions when I'm visiting new cities.

Google maps in the browser works great for me, even in areas remote like Englewood, TN. No app needed IMHO.

Remember: When Steve Jobs was first defending the 30% app store cut he said something to the effect that it wouldn't matter in the long run because everybody was using web apps anyway.

Just as a counter: I have also been using it for a few months, but I am not a transit user. I feel the routes have been great and it has been a big addition to my phone.

Apple has a Transit API which may help reduce the gap.

apple has a strategy here, which is to allow regional 'providers' of directions to have apps on the phone. Google could be one such provider, if they want to be.

How is the 'biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone' simply a taller screen and newer processor? What about NFC? Wireless charging? Sorry Apple, but this just isn't that impressive.

Sorry Apple, but this just isn't that impressive.

You know what? Just like any startup that posts here, Apple is filled with real people who take real pride in what they do, and I can imagine that for any of the thousands of folks who worked really hard on designing this product and manufactured to absurdly low variances, the sentiment you just expressed was deeply hurtful, and, in fact, wrong. There's a lot to be impressed by here. Lots of tiny details that aren't captured on a feature checklist.

If you don't like it, don't buy it. Don't sling shit publicly on their announcement day because your pet features weren't included (1).

1) http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4357133

This is a good example of the Apple cultist. Other products get panned all the time as only being incremental but nobody waxes lyrically about the "real people who take real pride in what they do" and how saying that "the sentiment you just expressed was deeply hurtful, and, in fact wrong". Deeply hurtful? Are you serious? It's a luxury product from a corporation which will do anything from driving manufacturing workers in China into suicide to suing people over bogus patents, get over yourself and your devotion to a legal entity.

Deeply hurtful? Are you serious?

The implication being that employees who work at corporations that make luxury goods don't have feelings worth considering?

If you are deeply hurt by a consumer having a negative opinion of your consumer product, perhaps you should change industries.

It's not just a negative opinion, it's what this community decided to vote to the top as of my original response. That's kind of mean spirited.

"Not impressive" is "mean spirited"? Give me a break... It is barely even negative.

If you say so.

Sorry, but they're being judged by their own marketing, not by objective qualities. This really isn't "the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone", it's more of an iPhone 4SS. That doesn't mean that it's not a fine phone, but their marketing invites judgement on a scale their product can't live up to.

I thought the "the biggest thing to happen to iPhone" tagline is a pretty cute pun referring to the increased physical height until I read this thread. Seems like I'm the only one thinking that. Oh well, tagline done terribly, I guess.

I thought so too, then I saw that the marketing department decided to then prattle on about reductions in height and weight. They also show the phone side-on and there's no physical comparison to the earlier model showing the larger screen. The message wasn't very clear, and seemed to contradict itself.

In fact, it seems to be a play on words that the 'biggest change is the fact that it's so thin' and not the 'biggest change is the biggest screen'.

That's actually a good insight, but I doubt it's what they were going for with that tagline as it's just not obvious.

He is upset because he doesn't like it and you are upset because you like it. You are just trying to take a higher moral grounds. logical fallacy

Actually the comment about shit slinging falls outside of the logical point I was trying to make, which is that there are indeed things here to be impressed with that he omitted from his list. No moral high ground.

Apple made major updates to the core features that people use every day: brand new maps app, redesigned itunes, updated camera.

Apple understands that hardware is less important than software in the day to day experience of using the phone, they continue to focus on improving the experience of using the device, not the spec sheet. Thats why major hardware changes tend to be battery, screen, and camera: those are the features that most affect the day-to-day experience of the user.

Consumers outside HN aren't going to base a purchase decision on specs, so shiny toys like NFC or wireless charging end up compromising battery life or size, it's probably a pretty easy call for the company to make given the focus on the core experience.

Their maps app is a regression stemming from political strife with google. It's much less useful now.

I haven't used the new version, so can't comment on quality. My point was just that the "biggest thing" part of the announcement was probably based on the software updates. In terms of impact to user, the addition of turn-by-turn directions is a pretty big deal.

I think you didn't get the joke. Great that you don't think the iPhone is up to snuff, but the marketing slogan is a play on the size of the device.

That part is quite clever and will perfectly communicate to people what's new about the iPhone.

I don't think anyone seeing this marketing slogan is going to think that this is the reason.

It was my first thought.

...and you expected them to instead say what, exactly? "This is the smallest, most incremental update to the iPhone since iOS 5.1 begat iOS 5.1.1?"

It's marketing, sheesh.

Of course it's marketing, and Apple certainly isn't alone in selling stuff with hyperbole.

What I think the grandparent was getting to isn't pointing out the silliness of the ad copy, but that the actual device being advertised is an underwhelming incremental improvement. This is less of an improvement on the 4S than the 4S was over the 4, and the 4S was uniformly dinged for being a disappointing (most of the best new stuff was software) iteration.

Really, this isn't even to ding Apple: smartphones are becoming commdities. The years of rapid evolution are behind us. The Android market is seeing similar pressure, as the most recent phones all more or less look and work identically.

Incremental improvement? Yes. Underwhelming incremental improvement? No. Far, far, far from truth.

I'm deeply underwhelmed. I was half-expecting something revolutionary, maybe haptics. Something that would make the iPhone stand out from Android. But I don't see anything new that would make me give up my existing Galaxy Nexus. It's just a big load of meh.

When did they even have rapid evolution?

Sure, there was some rapid change as things like Android and WinCE dumped their old-style geek-centric interfaces and moved toward a more iPhone-ish consumer-centric approach. But after "the big switch" each one has had a similarly deliberate schedule of updates.

The original iPhone was a clear discontinuity: doubled the screen size, relied solely on a capacitive touchscreen and on-screen keyboard. The iOS market that arrived with the iPhone 3G was the first of its kind and a huge hit. The arrival of a serious GPU in the iPhone 3GS likewise changed the game for slick native UIs and all smartphones since have had one. The 800x480 resolution on the Nexus One enabled new kinds of apps (for the first time matching the anglular pixel size available to a person sitting very closet to a monitor) and the Retina display in the iPhone 4 completed that process. Most recently the dual core A9 SoCs in phones like the Atrix and 4S have become requirements.

Note that all of those features are required for a modern smartphone, and almost all of them were driven first by an iPhone release.

The iPhone 5 just isn't like that. There's nothing "new" here that we'll expect to see later on in other phones. It's just more of the same, but slightly better.

Every release for Apple is the biggest thing they've done so far. Apple does not do uninteresting releases. At least, they don't tell you that.

I would expect them to extravagate only slightly. But "the biggest thing to happen to the iphone since iphone" is pure BS.

But isn't it totally accurate that the iphone 5 IS the best iphone yet for Apple?

No. It's pure marketing.

The two are mutually exclusive?

It's harsh to suggest that marketing is just BS. It is what it is.

Probably a play on the fact that it is physically bigger (taller).

Yes, it's fairly obvious (after you pointed it out).

Do you work for Samsung's legal team? ;)

The biggest disappointment to me is the tiresome and childish war between Fanboys and Fandroids, not just on Engadget and the like, but also here on HN.

Yeaah, the Palm Pre's wireless charging sure set the world on fire...

This collective "meh" has been said over and over again in techie forums about every iteration of the iPhone (including the first one), as Apple's marched from a bit player to the most profitable company in the world on the iPhone's success. Actually, this was pretty much the response to every iPod, too.

They meant it's physically biggest. The only excitement they could generate was "it's slightly taller!"

Just about every single component was changed or upgraded. So that's pretty big. In previous generations of iPhones they only focused on one or two parts. 3G/cellular improvement, 4/screen & design, 4S/speed & camera, 5/LTE cellular improvement, screen, design, cameras, dock connector. Definitely the biggest iPhone upgrade they've ever done.

I don't know if wireless charging has improved since the Palm Pre days or not but it wasn't really setting the world on fire back then. NFC is pretty neat but my guess is Apple is looking at their own system they can control and profit from. If NFC becomes a big deal before they do their own system it may turn out to be a bad gamble.

Remember, they can add NFC and wireless charging to the 5S.

Oh geez, you need to see that Louis C.K video about how everything is amazing and nobody is happy.

Has Apple declared it doesn't have NFC? Couldn't this be a 'software enabled upgrade' in due time?

A number of chipsets do 802.11ac + NFC/RFID + (wifi,etc) in the same package. I suppose we won't know until teardowns begin appearing...

Which chipset does 802.11 and NFC? And even if there is a chipset that does both, NFC requires a flat antenna about the size of a contactless card somewhere near the surface of the phone.

There's a new chipset that does 802.11, NFC and Bluetooth. According to the date of the press release below, this chip was released sometime in June 2012, so obviously not enough time for Apple to integrate in the new iPhone.


Correct, but NXP, TI (w/ WiLink[1]), Broadcom, Qualcom, Intel,... are shipping similar products.

As someone working in the 'Internet of Things' space, I wasn't so much disappointed with the lack of NFC - as Zigbee/802.15.4. Again, thanks to integrated radios, NFC and Zigbee can be done on the same chip.

The (mass adopted) future will have to wait for another product/hype cycle.

[1] Feb. 2012 - http://www.ti.com/general/docs/wtbu/wtbuproductcontent.tsp?t...

I too would like more Zigbee support. As it stands the modules are overpriced but quite useful.

Historically, this is not something Apple has ever done. It doesn't even make sense, since their main money maker is selling new devices - not software-activating features on older models...

While I accept the premise of your comment (that Apple won't do this), I have to note that they released a software update to enable 802.11n, costing $1.99.

They didn't but seems unlikely. Would be good if they could.

Phil Schiller said that it’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem, Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today.

“As for wireless charging, Schiller notes that the wireless charging systems still have to be plugged into the wall, so it’s not clear how much convenience they add."


It's still unrealized, but imagine being able to put all your devices on the table and they would charge.. Sounds cool to me

Since the iPhone 5 has neither of those features, it's both possible for this iPhone update to be the "biggest thing to happen to iPhone" and for future updates to also be the "biggest thing to happen to iPhone".

It's a comparison to the state of previous iPhones, not a comparison to the state of all phones on the market.


Perhaps it's the beginning of the end, eh? Jobs's legacy may not last long.

Because if there's one thing Steve Jobs was known for, it was cramming in as many tick-list features as possible. /s

You forgot that Steve told us focus is about saying no.


Were you even along for the ride man?

Jobs/Apple was never about bundling tons of irrelevant features together (wireless charging? Please...), and winning by ticking feature checkboxes.

Jobs used to introduce a new iPod model every year or so. And he also got to introduce 4 iPhone models. Lots of times the changes were incremental (3G -> 3GS for example).

Heck, back in the day, a new color or some more storage was considered a huge improvement over the previous iPod model. People literally went bezerk in the possibility that the next iPod could also play video (imagine that!).

And now you have a mature phone, in it's 6th version, fast as hell, with a GPU that you would have killed for to have in your laptop half a decade ago, camera, gyro, retina, bigger screen, thin, new extremely featured iOS, some 500.000+ apps etc. What exactly do you want with that? Magic sprinkle dust?

I would be satisfied even if Apple had only sticked to making computers/OS. They have far surpassed that. Nobody even asked them to make mp3 players, phones, or tablets in the first place. Since we will be using all of the above for the next 20 years, I think they will be fine, even if they dont pull another market/device out of their hats...

I wanted something that would be qualitatively better than current Android phones. It didn't deliver. At all.

It's trivial for the phone to be better than 5+ year old tech. But that's a completely irrelevant comparison.

The same could be said about the first gen ipod, when compared against the current lineup of mp3 players at the time. The ipod didn't even have wifi or a color display!

And less space than a nomad. Lame.

>I wanted something that would be qualitatively better than current Android phones. It didn't deliver. At all.

IMHO, it's better than any Android phone out there, bar none. From the construction, to the display, to the weight and size, to the cpu/gpu combo, and more importantly to the huge app ecosystem that makes use of standard gizmos inside it, and ties it all together. Plus the media ecosystem. Plus the third-party peripheral ecosystem.

>It's trivial for the phone to be better than 5+ year old tech. But that's a completely irrelevant comparison.

Yes, completely irrelevant, since it's also better than any 1 month old tech, or the previous iPhone itself.

What's the competition? Some Android phone that will be left without an update to the next Android version and which has the subpar Android app ecosystem and subpar construction/design? Or the Lumia that doesn't even have an OS out of beta yet and is "due to arrive later this year"?

You made a big mistake: It's now some 700,000+ apps! :)

, = . (and vice-versa) in some European countries. So he meant 500k + apps.

I wouldn't call NFC an irrelevant feature.

>> Since we will be using all of the above for the next 20 years...

As if Apple had invented all of those things. They didn't. Far, far from it.

As if anyone except history books and nerds care who DID invent them.

What matters is who made them popular and got them in our collective hands en masse.

That's when the revolution starts, when people start buying them so you have improvements and cheaper price due to economies of scale, and you also get an ecosystem of apps, etc.

Tablets pre-iPad might as well have been non-existing. Same for smartphones pre iPhone. I had several (Nokia, Sony Erricson etc. After the iPhone you couldn't stand this crap for a moment).

I also had 2-3 mp3 players pre iPod. Including some bizarro Sony's own format players. Not even close to what we expect post-iPod.

Apple created the modern smartphone; they did definitely not invent all the necessary technologies but they were absolutely the first ones to come up with a package that people actually loved and bought. Before that, such a package did definitely NOT exist. Together with the "Apps" and AppStore, that is a market that Apple created.

And they did the same with the tablet, they created a market that did not exist before - from existing technologies.

Sorry, but many, many people actually loved and bought other smartphones before Apple.

Apple stands on the shoulders of giants like Nokia, Palm and Blackberry (aka Crackberry).

I know. That's why I said: the modern smartphone. I have used a couple of those you mentioned and they just weren't the same. I doubt they even remotely pushed the kind of crazy numbers Apple and Androids are seeing each year now.

Yes, but that's also why I said that they didn't "create" the modern smartphone. Everything that they "created" already existed before they came along.

There's no doubt that they packaged things very nicely and have been very successful, but it's not as if they created this market out of thin air. They surely did not invent the general concept that they've been so successful implementing.

The market for smartphones you see now? Teens, kids, moms and everyone else? Yes, they created that. And they created the package, granted out of existing technologies but the package does matter.

I imagine the use of 'biggest' is meant to highlight the size increase explicitly, versus your typical hyperbolic marketing.

The problem is that it draws attention to the fact that other than literally a size change, there is not terribly much that makes this an unusually "big" update.

I guess. They can't all be the 'biggest' though. And the subtlety is in fact the play on typical marketing-speak, which, as evidenced by the parent comment here -- and many others -- is typically ingested wholesale by the consuming public.

I imagine AAPL are not worried about turning off the hyper-literal critics amongst the crowd.

Good lord, what am I doing debating/discussing a marketing headline... Anyway.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't mean to fault them for not changing much; sometimes there simply isn't a lot that should be changed. I just think it wasn't a particularly bright wording.

It's the combination of software and hardware that makes the iPhone, don't just look at the spec.

Yes! I was hoping for wireless induction charging.

Law of diminishing returns?

really !! NFC..who care about that. No body uses it even with existing phones. future of payment is going to be without plastic cards , NFC etc. Check square's new feature of paying it wifi

The only reason nobody uses NFC is because the iPhone doesn't have it. Seriously the entire payments industry is ready to deploy something but they are all holding back waiting to see what Apple will do in case they zig and Apple zags. I guarantee that if Apple had announced NFC today the entire payments industry would be different in 12 months time. As it is, the internecine warfare in the payments industry will just continue.

Can you help me understand why NFC matters? It is not like using my credit-cards or ATM-cards or just plain-old-cash didn't work just fine and comfortable and reliable enough...? I honestly don't understand it, especially from the "payment industry"'s point of view - why would they care? It is just costs to them and they wouldn't be able to replace existing payment terminals either because people will still use cards or just cash.

> It is not like using my credit-cards or ATM-cards or just plain-old-cash didn't work just fine and comfortable and reliable enough...?

From an industry point of view, I think it makes small transactions extremely secure - with the secure element in the NFC chip, tapping it to the payment terminal provides complete physical proof of the presence of the card. That's way better than even having a sales person sight the card or magnetic stripe etc. which be easily forged.

Once the transactions themselves are very secure there's no longer a need for things like signatures or PINs or other layers of security. That means you as a consumer can just walk into a store, take some things, tap your card / phone and leave. It's a bit hard to describe, but once you've done this you realize (at least I did) how much anxiety the barrier of payment at the end was detracting from your shopping experience. It's not rational, but my personal experience is that there's a strong level of anxiety about being challenged as to your identity and this removes it and makes the whole experience really easy and pleasant.

I can see the experience benefit but what you described, there is a HUGE problem: if anyone steals your phone then they too can just place it there and tap on it. I doubt everyone locks their phone and there is nothing verifying that it is actually the real owner tapping. That's exactly why CCs and ATMs require you to have your card AND a PIN or at least require a signature.

I use it for everything from my morning beverage to putting gas in the car. If it isn't important to you then that's cool but don't assume your opinion extends to all of us.

Care to embellish? What are you using, and where are you located geographically?

Plus, "simply a taller screen and newer processor", really? New screen, new processor, new innards, new machining and construction, new connector, new iOS, new camera, improved battery life AND lighter.

NFC and wireless charging? Who promised you that? And who delivers those at the moment?

You might want to see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk

Name for me one brand new feature. This is a product update, this isn't deserving of a new version number, and it certainly isn't "the biggest thing to happen to the iphone since iphone".

This isn't to say it's a bad device, just infinite hype for zero payoff.

Most cellphone makers will come up with a new product name or number because someone sneezed at the factory, and you're complaining that Apple went from 4 to 5 in two years merely because they improved every single aspect of the phone? Gee. Tough crowd.

Let's compare this to the changes in Samsung Galaxy S3 compared to the S2:

- Slightly larger screen - Faster CPU - Improved camera - Added LTE - Faster Wifi - Added NFC - Added a couple of sensors - Better battery life - Heavier

Not a whole lot different from the iPhone changelist, and I bet it's not a whole lot different from any other phone maker's changelist between generations either.

Let's compare the time-frame.

Last time the iPhone had such a changelist was in june 2010. The S2 came out 12 months prior to the S3.

When you only release one phone every 24 months people are right to expect more.

That, or you could compare the S2 with S3 against the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S...

But Samsung didn't deliver any magic in the S3 - and what could Apple have delivered as a super-duper-WOW feature? I cannot think of any technologies out there that they haven't squeezed in there yet and I don't think "wireless charging" is anything to really care about, novelty and "OMG!" factor aside. Adding NFC would have also been just catching up and personally, I cannot see the benefit from NFC and it looks like Apple can't either.

So what is left then? What COULD they have added to floor people? Nuclear reactor? Drones? I cannot think of anything.

Why does every new phone have to be a fucking revolution? It's a better phone than the last one. If you're not impressed, don't buy one.

  > Why does every new phone have to be a fucking revolution?
I completely agree.

But Apple has a habit of making it seem like everything they do is revolutionary. It's very good marketing.

  > Apple reinvents the phone [1]

  > This changes everything. Again.

  > The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone

  > A magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price

  > Resolutionary
Again, I agree with you. But what I'm getting at is that Apple's brand of marketing creates a lot of hype and I'm sure they like it that way.

[1] http://web.archive.org/web/20070113215301/http://apple.com

Dear Mister Obvious,

Every marketing team ever has created hype. Ever.

Right. And when Apple creates hype, people for some reason buy into it. In droves.

I don't understand why so many people blame Apple for this.

  > people for some reason buy into it
It's not just "some" reason. They have one of the best marketing departments in the world who do an excellent job.

  > I don't understand why so many people blame Apple for this.
I'm blaming Apple for doing a damn good job of marketing their products.

What I don't get is why the comments of "meh" are getting attacked with so much vitriol.

Did you see the live keynote? At the end and thoughout it, they kept saying how revolutionary it is.

It's not about phones. People want to be distracted from everyday life. "Revolutionary" tech releases satisfy that need, especially for a slice of society which is both intellectual and a bit manic-depressive. It's sad, but for a lot of these people, new phones/tech are the only real things they have to show off/feel excited about/have strong opinions on/argue about/dream about. It's fundamentally about fantasy, and the reaction you see today is what happens when reality fails to satisfy that fantasy.

> Name for me one brand new feature.


That's just an implementation detail of an improvement of an existing feature.

Then wireless charging and NFC could be counted as mere improvements (of existing features, i.e. cable charging and scanning barcodes) too!

Well, to be fair, NFC is capable of two way communication where scanning a barcode is one way communication. You are comparing galaxies to apples ;)

As an android (GS3) user I would have liked the iPhone to get NFC (and NFC based mobile payments) for the simple reason that the more phones capable of NFC payments the more merchants are likely to support it which benefits all of us (or at least all of us interested in paying for things with our phones).

The same argument would hold true for wireless charging, but it would probably be unlikely for Apple to adopt the emerging "Qi" wireless charging standard and instead roll it's own.

You could use the front facing camera and display a barcode on the iPhone screen. Voila NFC.

I know I'm going to take down votes for this, but for 90% of the population NFC is a solution in search of a problem. For most people cash, credit, or debit work just fine. NFC isn't a 10X better payment solution. Most people have to carry something on them to carry cards, drivers licenses, etc in which they will place their payment card. Instead of fiddling with your wallet, now you're fiddling with your phone.

NFC is as silly as using bump for payments.

> For most people cash, credit, or debit work just fine.

Phones worked just fine for most people in 2006. Phones' screens were just fine in 2009...

Paypass and Paywave are a considerable improvement over chip and PIN or singing a slip of paper. Faster, less fumbling. Necessary, no; an improvement, yes.

Ok... lets rehash...

The iPhone was a 10X improvement over what was out there, if you upgraded your whole phone experience got better.

Retina was a 4X improvement (4X as many pixels) after looking at retina the 3GS looked ugly, if you upgraded your entire phone experience got better.

Now lets take a look at what happens if you get an NFC phone, you still have to take your wallet, and then you have to ask everyone whether their payment system supports NFC. 95% of the time you're going to be taking out your wallet. It's not a 10X improvement therefore adoption will be slow.

And it still doesn't work when the power is out unlike cash. I'm actually starting to go away from any payment system that isn't cash, because cash is universally accepted, even the Olympics takes cash.

If NFC was on par with the aforementioned features it would be in the new phone.

> you have to ask everyone whether their payment system supports NFC.

Have you ever used Paypass? The readers are pretty conspicuous, large pad above the chip card reader, no need to ask just like you don't need to ask if someone takes cards when you see the reader.

> And it still doesn't work when the power is out unlike cash.

Sure, and phones don't work when the cellular network is down, unlike shouting. But the last time I was unable to pay with a card because power or network were down was in 2010 and that's the only instance I can actually remember since, like, 2005.

Let's not get into the parts where POSes will probably go down too if power goes out...

You know, after reading your post I have to agree that yes, NFC being vulnerable to the same problems as it's alternatives makes it 10X better.

I'm sure any day now Apple will come out with NFC in the iPhone 5S as they realize they've missed out on a huge opportunity.

Please pay no attention to the ticketing app of which they will probably take a 30% cut. NFC is where the money's at which is why people have stopped buying iPhones and are instead only buying phones with NFC.

I just tossed my wallet, 4S, debit/credit cards, and cash into the garbage, now I just carry around my Galaxy Nexus looking for someone who wants to me to beam them bitcoins. I'm looking forward to walking 5 KM to get to a grocery store to buy food now that I can't drive (my drivers license just got revoked because the police won't accept a picture of it) and theres no where to sell me food in < 5KM (they don't support NFC).

NFC really does change everything, it's a whole new way of living.

Your reactions are amusingly similar to reactions people had to touchscreen phones before the touchscreens became good. Yes, of course, take away my keyboard, I'll just type my BBMs on shitty glass! Those damn touchscreens, a solution in search of a problem.

As a point of interest I can buy food with NFC within a 12 minute walk, and I don't even have an NFC phone.

Yes, you've hit the nail on the head, my reactions to NFC before it became good is the same reaction I had to touchscreens before they became good.

The reason why the iPhone was revolutionary wasn't because it had a touch screen it was because it didn't suck. When NFC stops sucking I'll stop saying it sucks.

I thought bump was awesome too, then I realized how inconvenient it was. I could hand you a business card, or I could fiddle with my phone, show you how to download the app, etc. NFC is bump with out the bumping. It's still too fiddly.

The iPaq, Newtown, Palm Pilot, and the Android G1 were solutions in search of a problem just like the current incantation of NFC is.

> When NFC stops sucking I'll stop saying it sucks.

Have you used a mainstream credit card NFC payment system such as Paypass or Paywave? What did you think sucked about it?

Have you used a mobile device NFC payment system such as Google Wallet? What did you think sucked about it?

Fair enough, but there are at least some point of sale systems that have NFC already, I have yet to see a system that is set up to display a barcode for the phone to read and then read a barcode on the phone (without moving the phone).

I think Apple is betting heavily on PassBook, which I think is superior to NFC, but would eventually fail if it's not an open standard (and even if it was open, Google and others would never use it because not using it would hurt Apple more). Maybe they should've integrated PassBook with NFC...

I think their decision to go with PassBook will backfire (like Thunderbolt did - It's even more niche than Mac itself!) and they'll add NFC in iPhone 6 like they added USB3 support.

That said, I'm not in a market that either of these technologies are likely to be used in the foreseeable future (5-10 years), so I personally don't care one way or another :) NFC/PassBook catching on just make me more jealous!

I don't think they are betting heavily against NFC or that passbook is superior to NFC. I think Apple sees more profit potential in leveraging Apple IDs for payment and they are cautiously hoping it will take off faster then NFC but won't hesitate to swap NFC chips in if that starts to see widespread adoption.

> Well, to be fair, NFC is capable of two way communication where scanning a barcode is one way communication.

OK, then NFC is just a slightly improved Wifi+Bonjour.

Exactly. I was really looking forward to p2p payments over NFC phones.

That kind of thinking would have said that the WWW was just a slight improvement over gopher back in the 90's.

I'm not sure what you mean. 3.5G to LTE is a simple improvement along a one-dimensional axis - bandwidth. Maybe two metrics, if you want to account for the latency improvement. There are no such straightforward metrics for comparing Gopher and WWW. So no, that kind of thinking does not arrive at WWW being a slight improvement over Gopher.

That's not to say incremental improvements to existing features, such as LTE, can't be reason enough to sell a device (note that wasn't the question, though). As others have pointed out, though, Edge to 3G felt like a more significant step than 3G to LTE, though, just as 56k to 1 Mbit DSL felt like a more significant step than 1 MBit to 16 Mbit or 16 Mbit to 50 Mbit.

I think people complaining about the tag line are missing out on the obvious pun.

it certainly isn't "the biggest thing to happen to the iphone since iphone"

If you look at the changes between previous models it really is. Just about every single component has been upgraded. There have never been this many changes at once in an iPhone. The 3GS->4 upgrade comes close but when you get into the sort of second tier of features the 4S->5 list is quite a bit longer. If you're judging it by significance of the upgrades that may be a little different. I think the 3GS->4 still wins out there. On the raw numbers though the 4S->5 simply has more changes.

I'm not aware of any phone shipping this month that's a true Cortex A15 device. There are a lot of Krait phones, but that's a half step away.

>Name for me one brand new feature.

Navigation App

Third party apps exist and it's in no way a new feature. Next thing you know you'll call Angry Birds a new feature if they ship it with the phone.

This isn't deserving of a new version number? Tell me, how many Samsung Android devices are there?

"infinite hype"? Where? They announced an event, the day came, they announced the product. A slogan like that on the product announcement/product page, does not amount to "infinite hype".

If you want to see "infinite hype", check the Microsoft Courier and other hypeware, in which videos were made, the press touted it for months, it was announced to be "the future" and nothing came of it.

"Zero payoff"? Really? It's an amazing device to upgrade to, after your 2-year contract ends, even if it doesn't have magic unicorn powers. It's the best iPhone YET made, period, I don't think someone can argue against that (and no, it's not a guarantee with any product update to be better than the last one).

Your response amounts to the proverbial: "No wireless, less space than a Nomad. Lame".

>Name for me one brand new feature

"Brand new" is used here to preempt any mention of the tons of incremental improvements?

Faster, slimmer, lighter and longer lasting - yes, these are really good updates in a small piece of equipment that iPhone 5 is, there's no denying that.

But what really irks me is the way Apple marketing team is hyping it up - "This is the best <insert iDevice> we have ever made!", "This is revolutionary!", "This will change everything you were doing before!"... A slathering of these so often during the entire event and then on with their advertisements makes me cringe and shake my head with disappointment. This iPhone and the iPod[x] are pretty much an iteration and minor upgrade, not what the actual 'revolutionary' things were - iTouch, iPhone, iPad, retina display, etc.

I don't expect 'revolutionary' every year or any time, I just expect some sincerity announcing.

It's almost like the keynote was specifically made to market a product or something...

"This is revolutionary!"

Did they say this?

Yeah you're right, they should get up on stage in front of the worlds media and say "It's an OK iPhone. You know, not great great, but pretty good... pffffft, we really could do better but hey ho, here's the new iPhone".

Are you an idiot?

And it is the best iPhone they've ever made. And the iPhone is arguably the best phone out there, so they sort of have a fair bit of credibility when they say that stuff.

Please try to refrain from ad hominem attacks. It doesn't help in any way to prove your point.

no, because it clearly does help to articulate my point.


"When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. E.g. "That is an idiotic thing to say; 1 + 1 is 2, not 3" can be shortened to "1 + 1 is 2, not 3."


I would like to ask your criteria for deciding the best phone.

A few years ago, yes the iPhone was the best in specs and had the most innovative and unique features. I don't think it holds true any more.

"arguably the best phone"- I left room in there for other peoples opinions.

But as to why I think it's the best phone? The Eco system, it looks good and it's works seamlessly with all my other stuff.

A better question is maybe: Will it be the best in 10 months?

How is that a better question? Do you need one NOW, or in 10 months? In 10 months we'll be waiting for the iPhone 6 anyway...

Since they only release once a year, this one doesn't only have to hold its own against the competition right now, but also against whatever the others put out in 10 months.

Yeah, some people will always wait for the next iPhone. But for others, who have a more "neutral" point of view, this iPhone might look very bad in 10 months.

But that's the same for all phones.

True, but if you look at it like Apple vs Android, the Android camp has many releases a year. So if you're a consumer and you're buying a smartphone in 10 months, your choice is between the "outdated" iPhone or one of the latest Android phones.


1) Construction (machining, materials, fitting them inside the case, industrial design). Unparalleled.

2) Screen. Top notch (high dpi, improved saturation).

3) Camera. One of the best in the business. Tons of apps for it, even photo books and indie movies videos done with it.

4) Apps ecosystem. Unparalleled in number and quality.

5) OS. Mature, not laggy, full featured, designed with far more coherence than Android and far more functionality in mind than just modernist design compared to Metro.

6) OS Upgrades. You do not even get any with most Android phones. And don't happen to the new Windows mobile os version.

7) Peripherals ecosystem: from health tracking devices, to tripods, to MIDI, unparalleled.

8) No carrier branded bullshit (apps, look etc): priceless.

9) Support ecosystem: Applestores etc. Top notch.

10) Resale value: high.

I don't follow this stuff closely, but isn't that what they said when they announced the 3gs and the 4s ? There isn't anything really new in the phone they announced today, so it's more like a 4ss than a 5.

Unless they're going the linux kernel route and changing their version numbering ;)

>It's the best iPhone YET made, period.

I think what is pissing most people off is that up until iphone 4 (not 4s), the iphone was arguably the best smart phone around. 4s and 5 have been improvements to the iphone but have not added anything over its competitors. Most of the competitors can do what the iphone 5 does and more (such as NFC and / or wireless charging).

Bottom line: There is no reason to stick with the iphone 5 other than "I am stuck in the eco system", or "I love apple" or "It is good enough". The "better than the others" argument doesn't fly anymore.

And NFC/wireless charging automatically makes them better than the iPhone 5?

I said they do more, and most top of the line phones from other manufacturers have them. Even if it does not make the other phones better, lacking those features only makes it worse.

Open, let's not forget open. So yeah, marginally.

what about that 90% of 3rd party apps have a much higher quality on iOS ? (Disclaimer: i own an android device)

Every previous iPhone had a new feature that was a pretty BFD. This is the first without.

The S variants certainly didn’t – and this adds more than every S variant ever did.

Looking at the construction, the 3G was never something to write home about. The technology forced Apple's hand and they had to make that plastic monster. Acceptable, not great. Like the 5, the 3G improved every aspect of its predecessor and it added 3G.

The 5 is just like the 3G – only that this time around the construction is at least on par or better (likely, looking at first hand ons, still, only speculation at this point) than that of the predecessor. It’s also, quite obviously, less fragile. So Apple has done much more on the construction front, but the jump from 3G to LTE is also arguably not as important than the jump from Edge to 3G.

Looking at the specs and comparing them with other phones you get the same picture you always got. It’s a wash. Those kinds of comparisons never mattered.

In conclusion: no 3GS to 4 jump, but certainly a 1 to 3G jump.

Also a familiar sight since the 3G, geeks are disappointed, the phone sells faster than Apple can make it.

This phone is no surprise. It’s Apple doing what they have always done.

Funny, I seem to recall that the disillusioned techie reaction to the 4S was that it was also a non-update. Same shell. Modest internal updates and the only feature of note (Siri) was panned as an app that Apple bought that merely caught it up to other phones that already had voice control.

One problem with the 4S was the rumors of an iPhone 5 with a tapered design. (If you Googled for iPhone it would autocomplete "iPhone 5" — I guess bad rumors are now self-reinforcing.) At least this time the rumors were accurate and people can't complain that they were expecting more.

Larger screen is a "new feature" since we are talking about hardware. LTE would be a new feature as well. Not having a big piece of glass on the back seems like a new feature too (my iPhone 4S has had a cracked back for a couple of months). I know this may seem silly, but a new dock connector that is symmetrical and is easier to plug in without looking is a new feature as well. Also, something about a panorama camera, but I wouldn't call that a BFD)


What was the the big feature of the iPhone 3GS?

It was the first I bought but key features it hit included tethering, stereo bluetooth support, compass (and maybe improved GPS) and performance.

The 5 seems like a solid step. I don't see the need to upgrade every year but if you compare back to the 4 rather than the 4S the performance should be a massive jump. Support for 5GHz wifi could mean a real speed boost too and the bigger screen should be nice.

The S really was the feature. Besides the performance bump for everything (e.g. loading web pages twice as fast) it let you run a class of apps you simply couldn't only earlier iphones (e.g. unreal engine).

Other then that copy and paste and enough memory to keep more then 2 tabs open in safari were what I remember.

For me it was that my original iPhone contract was finally up and I could get 3G. Is that the one with gyroscope? -- Jobs playing Jenga during the keynote?

When 3GS was released, it was an evolution of a 3G that was still at light years from competitors.

> Name for me one brand new feature

I don't understand all the negative reactions - name one brand new and truly "wowing" feature the new Galaxy brought to the table? Pretty much all modern smartphones are at the technological cutting-edge and I cannot think of much they could possible squeeze into those things. You already have all sorts of sensors and pretty much all connectivity options you could possibly want and it can do frakking 3D games in the palm of your hand too and play music and videos and etc.

NFC could be interesting but I am happy enough with paying with my CCs or directly playing with my ATM card in a LOT of stores here in Europe. I don't see what paying-over-NFC could do for me. And wireless charging? Sounds incredible and very "sexy" for the average user but really, very "meh" for me. You still going to have to plug something in somewhere... I could not care less.

I can understand people feel a little disappointed but really, what was everyone expecting??? ALL current smartphones were just relatively small updates to existing models. Everyone is doing the "xx% slimmer/lighter/longer/bigger" increments and has been for some time now. There was no "paradigm shift" in ANY one of them. What were people hoping Apple would do... add a nuclear reactor or some drones or what?

>Every previous iPhone had a new feature that was a pretty BFD. This is the first without.

Larger screen. It's a BFD for some people, for they have been tearing their hearts out at forums for ages how Android has that and the iPhone doesn't.

And 3G -> 3GS didn't bring anything to the table. Or 4 to 4S for that matter, considering that Siri was already available as an app.

NFC and wireless charging? Who promised you that?

Sorry, false dilemma and totally disingenuous. Just because no one promised it doesn't mean that one couldn't hope for it or be disappointed at its absence. Similarly, having big deal features like those are reasonable expectations for comparison to the original Iphone for "bigness" which I interpret as "important new features that will change how most people use phones in a radical way".

It would in fact be a really big deal if Apple included those - NFC is a fantastic idea that the Iphone could really launch into big-time use. It would in fact be a really big deal if they had wireless charging. Both those would more or less require all the other phones did it too, drastically changing the landscape for a lot of things.

>Sorry, false dilemma and totally disingenuous. Just because no one promised it doesn't mean that one couldn't hope for it or be disappointed at its absence. Similarly, having big deal features like those are reasonable expectations for comparison to the original Iphone for "bigness" which I interpret as "important new features that will change how most people use phones in a radical way".

And I'm disappointed that Apple isn't giving everyone a pony. They never promised it, but I'm disappointed that it's not there. I was going to call mine Bob.

I fail to see how being disappointed when features that were never promised aren't delivered is valid disappointment. Apple never promised it because they aren't doing it for this device. It could be coming in the future, or it might not. If, for example, Apple had made official statements about including NFC or wireless charging(not the "rumors" that seem to be the replacement for actual journalism in tech), then disappointment would be warranted. But Apple hasn't done that at all. Would it be nice if they included it? Sure. But they didn't.

This happens just about every time a new piece of tech is announced by everyone, and, quite frankly, it's getting annoying. People complaining about how Samsung isn't doing retina-style displays on their midrange tablets. Or complaining that Nokia is making Windows phones. Or that Apple hasn't included everything that everyone has ever wanted in a phone. With a cherry on top.

There are valid complaints about the new phone and news today: I'm skeptical of the reported battery life, considering all the new tech in the device, and that they made it that much smaller. Or that the majority of the iOS6 features won't be available to the pre-4S iPhones. Or that iTunes is still going to be a resource hog. Or that there's a new connector.

So you think it is stupid of people to want manufacturers to make good technology. Got it. In the mean time, I am going to go ahead and keep hoping that tech gets better, and that manufacturers put good things in new devices - because you know what, they are my dollars, and I get to say what I want in a device before I spend them.

You know what is equally tiring, companies saying "you want existing tech in the products we build? Too bad, you will take what we give you and like it", instead of you know, building things people want to spend money on.

No, I don't think it's stupid of people to expect that manufacturers make good technology. As a matter of fact, I expect manufacturers to make good products. I expect manufacturers to produce what they promise to produce. I don't expect companies to deliver on things they don't talk about, though. If they produce something new, that's great!

What I think is stupid is people(mostly tech "journalists") that go "I'm disappointed that this device doesn't have this thing that isn't on the spec sheet and was never announced by the company that makes it as a feature". That's the rough equivalent of being disappointed that you don't get everything you wanted for Christmas as a kid. It's silly.

It's not stupid. When people are vested in an ecosystem, they want devices in that ecosystem to be able to satisfy their specific use cases. This is why I wanted a waterproof iPhone: I play a lot of water sports, and it would be awesome to not have to rely on a second device to take photos/videos. So, as a dedicated Apple user, I started imagining how I would use such a device. When it didn't come, I was disappointed.

Seriously, it's appalling that you are having trouble understanding this, and are strawmanning it down to "wanting a pony."

Do you have any idea how hard it is to waterproof electronics? Not only do you need to keep water out of the device, but you also need to make sure that it can't collect anywhere and corrode away parts. There's a reason that hardened waterproof electronics are the way they are: big and heavy.

On the weekends, I go fly fishing. Full waders and everything. And I take my phone with me. In a plastic sandwich bag, which has kept the phone completely dry even after I accidentally submerged my bag. I could invest in a case if my phone spent more time in the water, but I don't feel the need to.

So yes, I understand your entire point, and yes, it IS pretty much down to wanting a pony.

>>Do you have any idea how hard it is to waterproof electronics?

It is hard, but Apple has $117 billion in cash. They could make an elegant and waterproof smartphone if they wanted.

Yes, and if a significantly large portion of the market was clamoring for a waterproof smartphone, Apple probably would make one.

I believe it was Steve Jobs who said that people don't know what they want until you give it to them.

A waterproof iPhone is definitely the equivalent of a unicorn that shits Skittles.

If you seriously thought that was even a miniscule possibility with the iPhone 5, then you are in for a lot of disappointment.

A MacBook that fits in a manila envelope? Ha ha unicorns and rainbows!

You are raging about some random person on the internet being disappointed that reasonable (and existing in other phone) features not being available in the new IPhone, not about some tech journalist. Scope matters.

Further, you are comparing someone who hoped to see NFC and wireless recharge in his phone to a kid not getting everything he wanted. It could very well be that the kid asked for a dog, got an ant farm was disappointed. You're the father shouting "it's a pet dammit" when sure, it is, but missed the point that the features really wanted aren't fulfilled by the ants.

Apple hired Benjamin Vigier a few years ago. Their mobile payment solution is Passbook which is currently not NFC based.

Samsung Galaxy S3, of course. And has for about four months now. NFC, wireless charging, quadcore processor, and a 4.8" screen all in a lighter, thinner package than the iPhone 5. EDIT I meant iPhone 4

The S3 weighs 4.7oz and is 8.6mm thick.

The iPhone 5 is 3.9oz and is 7.6mm thick.

The iPhone 5 is around 18% lighter and 12% thinner than the S3.

I often see people fumble with the S3, especially one-handed, so I'm not sure the size is a good thing.

Honestly, as an adult male (with adult male sized hands), a difference of 1 oz and 1mm seems insignificant to me. I suspect those measures are well within the variations caused by different cases. I suppose it could make a difference when the thing is in your pocket all day, but I'm not even sure about that.

The iP5 is clearly thinner and lighter, but does it matter? I don't know, not really to me. Maybe to women and kids.

Sorry. I should have been clearer. The length and width were the fumbling points I noticed. Not the weight or thickness.

Sure when you look at the mm and g it seems ridiculous but 20% lighter, 33% slimmer and stronger hardware and battery? I don't think this is SO insignificant in terms of miniaturization. They are already extremely thin and light, then managed to reduce if yet again by a fifth and a third. And the variations for their parts are below tenth of 1mm.

I definitely fumble my Galaxy Nexus on a regular basis. I can't quite accept I am unable to reach the top of the phone from my normal bottom grip so I stretch and stretch and try to balance it on my palm.

My wife, who has tiny hands and zero hand-eye coordination, operates the S3 without a problem.

I think confirmation bias may be affecting your anecdotal evidence.

It's only my observations of the few people I have seen interact with the S3. I haven't seen anyone operate it successfully or elegantly with one hand. Often I see people set it down on a surface and use it like a small tablet. Just observation. I have only seen a few people actually using the device.

Its not lighter. The galaxy s3, is also bulkier.


Depends on your definition of bulky. Considering it has a larger screen and all the other features mentioned, your argument is invalid. The GIIS has a larger, wider screen, three times the battery, and a microSD slot weighs only .7 oz more and will be getting jelly bean soon...dude, you're rationalizing. It's sad. I know, it hurts. But you have to grow up and realize that Apple is not a God. You can leave the cult. Dear Leader is dead.

> Considering it has a larger screen and all the other features mentioned, your argument is invalid.

I'm not going to "leave the cult" if you're going to use the exact same kind of logic. From an objective (i.e. comparing sizes and weights) standpoint, the Galaxy is bulkier. From a "features important to wahsd / unit area" standpoint, it's much more space efficient. Neither of those points make his argument invalid.

New processor, new internals, new OS, new camera are all just expected upgrades at this point. Where's the innovation? That's what I'm expecting.

What about the reversible cable connector? When was the last time you had a cable that didn't require looking at the cable before plugging it in? I know it's not really an innovation, but I don't understand why all cables can only have one way of going in -- when you plug in your usb cable, it's not obvious that it's upside down. Nobody looks at their audio cable when they plug in earphones; why can't normal computer cables be like this?

It does take a little more circuitry to detect orientation, but it seems like it would be worth it for a connector that gets used a lot.

Yes... But the micro USB cable is interchangable between many devices. There is always one somewhere when you forgot yours.

Making it something completely new and unstandard and charge 30$ for an adaptor to everything up to your car that supported the old connector does not seem to be that much of an improvement. I see a lot of trouble in adopting the new iPhone and not many gains other than its faster lighter and lasts longer.

I think everyone understands the reasoning behind preferring micro usb, but why can't engineers consider users when designing a new connector? I feel like Apple is probably the only company who would go that extra mile to make cables user friendly -- I just don't see other companies making an effort to make cables friendlier to users. It's probably why Apple chose to design a connector themselves instead of choosing a universal standard.

Since forever, audio jack cables (I'm 25).

Digital cables, then?

Optical SPDIF

It does take a little more circuitry to detect orientation

Which increases the price of small peripherals by a considerable amount.

> Where's the innovation?

Where was the innovation in the S2, S3 or the Nokia 920? And no, nfc nor wireless-charging don't really floor me. These are pretty small.

> new connector

How is "new connector" a good thing? It's still not USB.

Looks like iPhone is playing catchup. How times change!

No more putting in the connector upside down

>How is "new connector" a good thing? It's still not USB.

Well, it's smaller enabling the phone to be thinner, more durable design, can go in either side up, and it's faster.

>Looks like iPhone is playing catchup. How times change!

Catchup to what? Phones with USB chargers?

Phones with larger screens, widescreen, higher resolution (1280x720 is common now), NFC, and LTE. Like last year's Galaxy Nexus and the HTC One X and Galaxy S 3 that have been out for months.

The Nokia 920 announced last week has all of that too, plus wireless charging, and a genuine leap forward in camera technology for phones.

Apple is under no obligation to match anyone feature for feature, but for people who follow phones of various types, it seems bizarre and somewhat frustrating the way new iPhones get vastly outsized publicity for devices that are increasingly becoming trailing indicators of where the mobile industry is going.

A large screen is not always a feature. You can type on an iPhone screen with one thumb, I couldn't comfortably manage that on my old Evo 4G. The DPI is the same as last year's iPhone, basically identical with the Lumia 920 due out later this year (330 vs 332).

yet the dpi on iPhone gets touted like its the greatest one made ever!

It almost was at the time, I think only 2 phones had been produced with higher DPI before, and the iPhone blew them away on color gamut, viewing angles, etc.

increasingly becoming trailing indicators of where the mobile industry is going

They are however very good implementations of where the industry currently is.

Name a feature the iPhone has, that say a Samsung S3 doesn't have.

There are several the S3 has that aren't there on an iPhone.

There are many. The easiest answer is being able to run iOS apps -- which for many overrides almost anything else. Another is deep integration with Macs and AppleTV -- that solves real problems for me that (for example) wireless charging does not -- it's better, but not along a vector I care about (i.e. would make a decision on or pay for).

Even just counting hardware, a giant battery and a much better processor enable a lot of use cases. Does the S3 have three mics, equivalent WIFI speed, as good a camera?

Cmon man, besides the fact that it's thinner, lighter, sturdier, has a higher density screen, a better screen technology, better graphics performance, better phone quality, a better camera, better media ecosystem, better apps, and will get timely & regular OS updates for several years what else have the Cupertinians done for us lately?

A list of barely perceptible (and some unproven) differences won't help Apple as the market share steadily trends away from them.

I like to keep it simple. Larger screen, faster processor, expandable storage, Flash, Google Navigation, freedom to from Apple's draconian grip...take my money Samsung!

It's no wonder Apple is suing. They know they're playing catch-up.

They are getting all of the profit share (and actually increasing market share slightly). In the long term, if you take all the profits, others can't compete unless they do so asymmetrically (make profit some other way). No one has shown that they are doing this yet -- Google and Amazon have plays, but I don't see how Samsung can do this -- they need to make profit from the phone, and they don't make enough to compete long-term.

Sorry.. Flash? I think the market pretty much gave its opinion on that one.

I hate Apple (as a company) with the passion of 10,000 suns, but I gotta agree, I hate flash even more.

The value judgement on Flash wasn't the point. The point is that I can do what I want to regardless of someone else's value judgement.

And I'm far from alone. Over a half million people downloaded it from Google's app store and I'm sure that just as many have put it onto their phone without going through the store. - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.adobe.flas...

You're comparing brands and not features here.

1) iOS apps vs. Android apps is subjective

2) My Android has seamless integration to my Samsung TV and home media as well as laptop and PC via OSS apps and software. Again, we're debating branding at this point whether you want to say your AppleTV is better than my media solution, subjective.

Objectively your points about speed and camera are true though. I'm wont deny its a quick phone but I have to agree with others saying it didn't bring anything innovative or new.

"iOS apps vs. Android apps is subjective"

True but saying The Dark Knight is better then Clooney Batman is also a subjective judgement. Despite being a subjective judgement, if an overwhelming number of reasonable people agree with something you can comfortably assert it.

"didn't bring anything innovative or new"

Well console quality graphics will certainly be new if they deliver on this.

Wideband audio + beamforming promises superior telephone performance which the iphone has always been sort of meh at. I'm only aware of one phone each that brings either of those (latest evo has HD audio and HTC one has beamforming) and none that have both

> if an overwhelming number of reasonable people agree with something you can comfortably assert it

So you're saying even if the majority is wrong, they're always right?

"majority" =/= "overwhelming number"

"always right" =/= "comfortably assert"

Nice demonstration of how to construct a straw man though.

It's the same principle and you're using it to suppport your subjective claims as fact.

Being able to run an app I want is a feature of my phone.

It's all subjective. Even if you have an objective, measurable difference (processor speed), that only matters if I value the difference (subjective) -- which I don't. The iPhone 4S is fast enough for me -- I can't make use of an improvement in speed.

I can make use of new iOS apps (and do on almost a daily basis). If there were apps I wanted that needed the iPhone 5 to run, that might persuade me. If a Samsung phone could run iOS apps, then I would choose based on price (probably).

If you don't agree, then of course, the iPhone isn't interesting. It's just a glass box with components without the apps. I wouldn't even have a smart phone at all without the App Store.

I'm not sure about real-life speeds, but the iPhone's 802.11n is the bare-minimum 1 antenna, 1 channel version. Even my 3-year old laptop has a 300 Mbps chip built in.

Features are a quantitative measure, until we invent some qualitative measures, these comparisons are worthless.


> NFC and wireless charging? Who promised you that? And who delivers those at the moment?

I believe the new Lumia 920 by Nokia has both NFC and wireless charging. Not that those alone make one better than the other but just pointing out that they do exist.

Didn't some of the old webOS devices have wireless charging as well?

c /some/all/

All the webOS devices had wireless charging (although with the earlier ones you had to buy a replacement back cover)

But no NFC

Everybody delivers NFC in their high-end handsets now.


Why are people clamouring for NFC? What are people doing with it that I don't know about! Is there some magical dimension I'm not privy to where NFC is everywhere?

Check out Nokia's accessories for Lumia 920. All of them pair with NFC and some of them even charge the phone. Without cables or connectors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4zx2xy6VjE

That's great. But um... I can't use NFC anywhere, and I sometimes like to use my phone when it's plugged into the charger.

So that's not such a great set of features for me. In fact, it's actually worse.

Yes, the magical dimension is short way forward along the 't' axis. There are a whole bunch of big NFC programmes being lined up in various countries, many backed by multiple mobile networks. In the US Isis is looking interesting and in the UK there is Project Oscar. France has Cityzi.

NFC is set to permeate many aspects of our lives, including payments, access control, transportation ticketing. It also enables some neat new marketing possibilities.

Right now the industry is solving the much talked about 'chicken and egg' situation by getting NFC handsets out there. High end phones shipping without NFC are now a rarity (which is why I'm disappointed tonight) and things are getting into position for the technology being revealed with a splash and folks finding that their existing handsets already have the right hardware that allows them to be part of the big new thing.

In short, you should be looking for NFC in your next handset not because it will be useful today or tomorrow, but because you'll be wanting it during the 18-24 month lifetime of the phone.

There is no guarantee that what's being put in phones today is going to be necessary or compatible with what ends up "winning" mobile payments. Notably last month a group of major retailers (walmart/target/711/sears/best buy...) announced they are going to push what sounds like a non-chip solution.

The MCX solution doesn't yet sound like anything and I believe it is simply a gun that is being brought along in case there is a fight over merchant fees.

There is a huge amount of work going on all over the world on putting NFC into place. It's not very visible yet, but it is happening. Notably, hardware is being quietly rolled out on both the user and merchant side. It's always possible something else might 'win' in the end, but I'd say it is increasingly unlikely...

How do I pay for something with NFC when I'm actually on the phone? And how do I pay for something if I don't have my phone. Or if my phone is out of charge. Genuine questions by the way.

If anything, it makes more sense to have NFC in a card. I'm not sure how convenient it is to have a method of payment that can run out of battery.

NFC, as it was originally envisioned, was supposed to allow for use even when the phone was without power just as the cards today are without power. In traditional RFID technology, from which NFC was derived, there was a powered transceiver (aka reader) and non-powered transponder (aka card). The promise of NFC was to be able to have a transceiver and transponder in one, where the power is derived from the inductive coupling of the antennae. You can see this by reviewing the ISO documents for ISO 14443 (RFID) and ISO 18092/ 21481 (NFC).

"David Lindberg, Executive General Manager at Commonweath Bank, shared his vision of what the future may look like and the very probably demise of ‘cash’. Already more than 50% of transactions at 7-Elevens use contactless payment methods. Only three years ago, less than one percent of financial transactions were done via a mobile phone, yet this month in Australia there will be more financial transactions completed via mobile phone than on the internet." https://innovation.govspace.gov.au/2012/09/12/an-optimistic-...

Neither credit card nor ATM-cards managed to get rid of cash. Honest question: why should NFC-paying and what does it have to offer more when compared to just using your CC or ATM card?


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