A picture of the iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
This was not what Apple had anticipated. The bitter-sweet reviews for the iOS6, the attention given to the initial hiccups and even quips that a lot of the new apps were "unfinished" while a major and new feature like Passbook was looked upon as a missed opportunity.
But alas, on the day of their newest release, it really does not feel like a big of a deal compared to previous releases. After all the build up to the iPhone 5 release, there really does not seem to be much excitement outside of the Apple fan base (I, for one, find it more exciting that the iPhone 4 is now free with a plan, even if it is just the 8GB version). The iPhone 5 brought about an evolution rather than a revolution many were anticipating considering Apple's history of innovation and Samsung upping the ante with the GS3 and Note 2.
iOS 6, the new operating system, is already being linked to mishaps including WiFi malfunction and the unimpressive map app that may already be irking people back at Apple headquarters.
Samsung has been hot on their tail with the release of the Samsung Galaxy S3 which while having "Cheaper plastic"(as Apple fans would argue) has a larger screen, NFC and has had 4G LTE for months now. Throw in the fact that the Galaxy Note 2 is already around the corner and is progressing to make as much news as the iPhone 5. It would not be difficult to envision a world with Samsung as the top dog and Apple as the follower (Samsung fans would have you believe this is already the case).
Apple was synonymous with revolution when they threw the iPod, iPad and iPhone into the spotlight and altered a number of industries. But does the iPhone 5 launch mean the old dog may not be able to learn new tricks? Moreover, it begs the question if this has anything to do with Steve Jobs and his passing away.
The Galaxy S3 had been in the public eye for months prior to the iPhone 5's announcement and Apple knew about its opponent's next big move and new features. They were in line to have the last laugh as in past years when they would leave Samsung and other competition speechless. In fact, they would leave the entire world dumbfounded. But this year, they didn't. Not even close.
Apple apologists will surely point to the Internet as the source of all the 'blunders', but this was not a major problem under the guidance of Steve Jobs. No one saw the innovations of past creations through internet leaks because Jobs would not allow it. And people would not fail Jobs. But Apple's new leadership seems to have lost that front from within the industry and the leaks may just be one of the reasons why fanfare surrounding Apple's newest product isn't perceivingly as heated as in the past (although sales, ironically, have reached unprecedented levels reportedly).
Another setback surrounding Apple's iPhone 5 was the September 12 presentation carried out to announce the phone. The invitations to the suspicious conference created a ton of hype, but on unveiling day the flow of the presentation was somewhat anti-climactic as the big news (the iPhone) was revealed first when it should've been revealed last. People were there to learn about the new iPhone, but management at Apple HQ envisioned it differently and had attendees sit in their seat an extra hour to learn about the colorful but not captivating new iPod. By the end of the conference, people may have found a small surprise with Panorama - the picture function that allows users to take landscape pictures require lots of space - but other than that, Apple revealed nothing new as in nothing new that was unexpected for the iPhone 5: larger screen - expected, Passbook - expected, new Lightning connector - expected, A6 chip - expected, new ear-buds - expected, and the list continues.
Days after, reviews started surfacing on the iOS 6 and the problems were not only heightened, but new ones were revealed. Would Passbook change the world as Apple quipped? According to Forbes and Slash Gear the app is not even ready for full functioning. They called it "half-baked" and "not ready for prime-time." Apple users complained about receiving errors when connecting to iTunes. Does that sound like the polish that Apple has been known for?
The new Apple Maps being better than Google Maps was another line Apple gave a jab at. "They are just getting started" was Apple's defense when the reviews started attacking the system's unfinished nature. "Why is Apple releasing Products that are 'just getting started'?" is a question I would immediately throw out. Would Steve Jobs be okay with an unfinished iPod? Or an unfinished iPhone or iPad? Sure the first iPad lacked Flash but was a fully functional item, but it was the first of its class. Since it was a revolution minor gaffes could be pardoned based on the idea that anything occurs on uncharted territory. Smartphones, however, have been around for some years now and it is Apple's craft. Apple should keep itself at the top of their game but now I do start to buy the idea that the more success you reap, the less innovative you become (Microsoft anyone?). With maps or Passbook, why send out an unfinished an app system when you know it'll irk your consumers?
Apple should've made sure its maps app was at least as good as Google's or even better, but since it apparently isn't, according to this writer, it gives the impression Apple was in a hurry to simply get things out there...which begs the question: was Apple rushing to launch the iPhone 5? If so, why?
Perhaps, it senses it is losing the race of speed to a swift Samsung? Or perhaps, it was Apple's attempt to loudly proclaim that it is still at the top of the game and thus make people believe their products are still the best? Or maybe Apple simply has a deadline to meet in terms of releasing a new smartphone every year and this year they simply did what they were supposed to do? There is no or little question another company will be able to match what Apple has done in creating such cult of a company that may drive people to purchase products in the millions during the first 24 hours or prompt people to wait in line for more than a week, but after the events, presentations and the launch, it seems that the tide for Apple is switching its course.