Media Blogged

Why the iPhone 5C and 5S are not a radical leap forward

Apple's "next-generation" of iPhones, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S, are technically compelling but not the great leap forward were were waiting for, says Matthew Knight, head of innovation at Carat.

Apple's iPhone 5C and 5S presented by CEO Tim Cook
Apple's iPhone 5C and 5S presented by CEO Tim Cook

Apple announcements used to be a surprise but this year pretty much every single industry leak or prediction was announced. Colours of the devices, improved camera technology, and TouchID (the new fingerprint security technology) have all been spot on.

"We believe technology is at its most powerful when it simply disappears," is something I completely buy into, and from an intuitive design perspective, Apple is still leading the charge.

TouchID, for example, offers more than just a way of unlocking your phone. It acts as a passphrase, and can be used to pay for iTunes purchases. This is only the start of what we’ll see from biometric authentication over the coming years but, in light of recent controversy around government snooping, I don’t think this is a technology which will be too invisible.

However, Apple launches over the years have lost their interest for me. From standout innovation leaps forward in smartphone technology, product design and interaction design, devices now feel like iterative steps, which don’t have clear and obvious consumer benefits.

Yes, a 64bit architecture on the iPhone 5S is technically compelling, and will establish Apple as a solid gaming platform (and what does 64bit do for battery life, and don’t you want to play on larger screens?, ask Samsung), and the new dedicated chip to handle motion sensors is interesting and sensible, but I’d argue that the option of having colours is more compelling for many more mainstream consumers.

Much of the new technology in the Apple devices is playing catch-up to other competitor phones too, especially around the camera technology (in terms of pixel size, shooting modes, HD and high-speed video, smart shooting).

I’m still waiting to see what the radical leap forward that Apple have lined up. We were waiting for a watch, but many other players got there already. We are waiting for a radical step with Apple TV, but we still haven’t seen that and tech like Chromecast is getting into that space. Whilst Apple are still shipping reliable, premium and solid quality devices, they’ve become an iterative business.

Matthew Knight is head of innovation at Aegis Media's Carat.

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