Why Apple’s iPhone 5s & iPhone 5c Are Creative Failures

Well it had to happen eventually, Apple have run out of ideas. Following the release of Apple’s iPhone 5s and new 5c smartphones yesterday, September 10th 2013, it is clear that the Cupertino-based Tech giant has reached its peak when it comes to innovation and can now largely be considered creatively bankrupt.

Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c

First up is Apple’s iPhone 5s, the flagship handset gets the predictable updates such as a faster 64-bit A7 Chip, a faster graphics processor, a better camera, a few new sensors and a controversial fingerprint reader built into the home button. Additionally, Apple have renamed the existing color options (Black and White) to Space Grey and Silver (Puleeeze!!) and also added Gold into the mix, which looks rather underwhelming in my opinion.

The aforementioned fingerprint reader is certainly getting people fired up. It certainly makes for a more convenient and secure means of unlocking your phone and Apple have hinted at the potential of fingerprint authorised payments for online purchases and iTunes downloads, but there are those who see this as another potential intrusion of privacy. Given the recent NSA enquiries and the hyper paranoia regarding surveillance, the idea of willingly handing over ones fingerprints does raise questions as to whether a sufficiently skilled hacker could steal someones identity even more effectively than before. People are even asking the bizarre question as to whether a thief would go so far as to chop off your finger to steal your iPhone?

Besides these updates, the iPhone 5s just doesn’t offer much more than the iPhone 5, particularly when both devices will run iOS 7. I think in many ways iOS 7 is perhaps the single biggest and more overdue upgrade announced at the keynote event, and also the most overlooked. Although the new operating system is mostly just an aesthetic facelift, it puts Apple right back in the mobile OS fight against Google’s Android, which has easily outshone Apple’s offering in terms of design, look and feel and user experience for many years.

Apple’s inability to develop anything truly groundbreaking for the iPhone 5s should not simply be taken as a failing of Tim Cook and co. The smartphone market as a whole has reached saturation point and consumers are expecting another new and innovative product category to change the world again, just like the iPad did in 2010. As a result, everyone is turning their attention to wearable technology products like glasswear and smartwatches. The issue Apple has is that they are about to produce the iWatch (or whatever it’ll be called) in response to similar offerings from Samsung and others, and playing catch up is really not something Steve Jobs ever encouraged. The philosophy of ‘Think Different’ appears to have deserted the organisation. I think this is most visible in the underwhelming iPhone 5c, which while certainly capable, is both cheap looking and uninspired. It’s new colour options are identical to those of Nokia’s existing Lumia series.

Nokia Apple's iPhone 5s

Nokia hit back at Apple following the release of the iPhone 5c

Furthermore, it’s extremely disappointing to see that Apple hasn’t taken such previous innovations as Siri further. Whatever happened to Siri? Introduced on the iPhone 4s, she really hasn’t developed beyond being a basic voice recognition app that no one really uses anymore. It was a nice gimmick initially but with no improvements to AI or additional functionality, Siri has truly faded into obscurity due to general neglect. With the smartwatch phenomenon expected to kick into full swing soon, sophisticated voice input features will be of the utmost importance to users. Will Apple be ready?

The truth is, Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c handsets could have been so much more. The screen size remains the same at just 4-inches and the faster A7 chip inside the 5s will generate no discernible difference to day-to-day usage for most users. There’s also been no improvement to the battery life, which it seriously needed. Storage options remain limited to 64GB at the most with no 128GB model available yet. It would be nice if Apple had have finally given users what they’ve wanted for so long – an actual microSD expansion port. The problem with Apple’s philosophy of simplicity is that it becomes a major limitation as time passes and the competition becomes stronger.

Releasing incrementally updated products and making refinements here and there is fine by me, but Apple really needs to address the iPhone’s glaring feature omissions and failings. The iPhone remains one of the most fragile smartphones on the market, second only to the Nexus 4. If you drop it on the ground from almost any height, you can be almost guaranteed the glass on the display will be shattered or cracked in some way. Is this really acceptable anymore? Apple have focused for years on the build quality of their devices at the expense of build integrity. Their apparent ambivalence to the cries of their users only feeds the aftermarket case manufacturers and display repair companies.

Something tells me that this time, even the most ardent Apple fans will be hard pressed to think of a reason to upgrade from their existing iPhone 5.

That concludes my take on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, I’m looking forward to hearing what you guys have to say in the comments below.

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8 Responses to Why Apple’s iPhone 5s & iPhone 5c Are Creative Failures

  1. Grainne savage says:

    I disagree with these comments as a whole. There are of course parts if this that ring true, but the beauty of Apple and they’re genius is that they allways hold a lot back, I think. When all the other companies have exhausted they’re options to saturation point, just to outdo each other quicker and have nothing left to give that’s when Apple will bring out the big guns (in my opinion). There are of course things that need improvement, ie: I breakable glass front, perfect light camera functions, especially in nightlife environments, and if course Siri that can understand my Irish name but why would Apple GIVE IT UP so easily??? They’re fans are die hard and we are prepared to wait and let it happen at a nice leisurely pace.
    Grainne Savage

  2. Hi Dave, I am a big fan of your work but there are a few points I would like to raise. First I would like to talk about screen. Earlier you metioned that Apple has stopped thinking different and is just competing like all other manufacturers. However you later complain that Apple has not followed these manufacturers in changing screen size to something bigger that 4inches. Next I would like to talk about how fragile the iPhones are. I feel like the 5C is Apple sacrificing build quality for integrity, after all how fragil is plastic really? Obviously the switch to plastic was more for cost rather than build integrity but it does fulfill the requirement you made. I do agree that an upgrade from the is a Hard sell but why are we being so hard on the new iPhones when other manufacturers are putting out some truly disgraceful products? I would love to hear back!

  3. Aaron Linson says:

    As a blind user of mobile devices, I used an iPhone for the past five years. starting with the iPHone 3gs. I was looking at either switching to android or staying with the iPHone. I was torn between what I was familar with and a new OS that I only played with on a nexus 7. I made the switch to android in 2013 of september and I haven’t looked back. I heard what was coming out of the announcements from apple and laughed. I couldn’t even watch the keynote which is a big deal for me because I used to watch every keynote. Apple’s iOS is good for a lot of people but I feel like they are always behind on technology. I will always have n iPad no doubt about it but, I want my phone to be mine. Google Now is a great offering on android and beats siri to the ground. A few years ago I avoided android like the plague because the accessibility for the blind wasn’t there. It’s getting better under jelly bean and works quite well. I switched from an iPhone 4s to a samsung galaxy s4. I love my new phone and I think that Apple needs to do something more with iOS 8 then change the UI of it. That’s another issue I have is they just basically slapped some lipstick on a pig and called it a new OS. To me that’s nothing different.

  4. Justin says:

    Love the videos Dave, just wanted to drop by and see your opinion on the iphone. Maybe you’ll be able to make a video of the new iphone soon too:), i’m sure that there will be lots of searches on youtube about the new iphone, and i think it would just be great to see your opinion of it on youtube :).

  5. Hey Dave

    I agree with you. I was a little disheartened when I saw the iPhone 5S, being one of the S branded iPhones I didn’t expect much of an upgrade and this does seem to follow suit. I surely hope this will be the last of Apple’s increment upgrades. One thing I did notice is that you say Apple is playing catch up with other companies and Steve Jobs disagreed with this idea. I think I remember in the keynote of the release multitasking on the iPhone 3GS I remember Steve saying ‘We aren’t always the first to do it, because we won’t do it until we get it right’ (Or something of the sort). I think this directly relates to Apple. Their phones seems lacking in features boy when the original iPhone came out it didn’t have 3G or bluetooth, but they generally don’t implement anything until they know it works and thats what makes there products work. Don’t get me wrong but I am no fanboy of Apple and I think you make a good point. I just hope they do a bit more to wow us come the next iPhone/device. If they don’t they will likely begin to crash and burn.

  6. Dominic London says:

    I agree that the iPhone 5c is a load of overpriced junk and I think that it would be worth considering if it was free on contract. What really confuses me is that Apple discontinued a 1 year old phone before a 2 year old phone and they also did this with the iPads. I think that someone working in Apple has their head screwed on the wrong way round. The iPhone 5s is understandable to me because they do it every other year, but Apple really failed to impress me for the 3rd year in a row. One more thing… In 2007 we had the iPhone, in 2010 we had the iPad and in 2013 we had a plastic iPhone 5. Yeah, really innovative Tim!

  7. Robert says:

    Hey Dave, I agree, but when the iPhone 4s came out it was not THAT different from iPhone 4. As you note, for every day task it was the same. So they add SIRI to make it more “awesome”. Now they add the fingerprint. With the iPhone 5c it’s just the iPhone 5 without the luxurious features replaced by a cheap plastic. The only thing actually “new” here it’s the availability of 16gb or 32gb previous gen iPhone (now called iPhone 5c).

  8. John K says:

    I disgree with the fragile of the Iphone. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is just as bad. One drop the digitizer/glass will shatter. I broke mine and so did my friend. I switched to HTC One until Samsung up the ante of improving the built quality of their phone.

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