Congratulations everyone reading this, you’ve seen Apple Corporation hit its peak.
The release of the iPhone 5 is a revelation of a different sort: it marks the point at which Apple is no longer innovating, but merely extending.
It also puts to rest questions around its litigiousness with Samsung, the flagship handset of which makes Apple’s phone look rather pedestrian.
The iPhone 5 can be summed up as ‘faster, bigger’ (but far from ‘fastest, biggest’). ‘Better’ is conspicuous in its absence because, well, it isn’t.
What’s faster is the processor, an A6 at 1.2GHz (versus the A5 at 800MHz in the 4S). What’s bigger is the screen (6.7 inches square, versus the 4S’ 5.7 inch), which permits an extra row of icons. For ‘fastest, biggest’, look to…yes, you guessed it, Samsung.
Then there is the ‘Lightning’ connector, which so far appears to offer little advantage beyond the possibility of earning Apple an absurd margin, with adapters apparently available at $29 a pop – and which also evidently delivers absolutely no discernible advantage over an industry-standard micro-USB connector.
That’s not innovation. And these flubs are not the sort of things the Jobsian Apple was known for, either.
What’s not better is iOS 6 and the now-famous Apple maps debacle. The removal of arch-rival Google’s YouTube app wasn’t such a hot idea either….and quality control seems to be taking a knock all-round, with a number of problems in iOS 6 (and indeed, iOS6 looks, feels and behaves like…well, iOS5.)
Little wonder Samsung, the target of several lawsuits, says "Apple continues to resort to litigation over market competition in an effort to limit consumer choice."
More than that, for all the hype and fanfare, the sales figures for the iPhone 5 are missing forecasts and Apple is running into problems meeting demand; it has sold over 5 million of the handsets since its September 19 release.
Why is that a problem? Because as it scrambles to sort out production problems, some of Apple’s fans will be tempted to try more available options – which also happen to offer a lot more personalisation and better features than its offering.
Meanwhile, Samsung has sold over 20 million Galaxy S3s since its May 29 introduction; in addition, over 10 million Galaxy Note ‘phablets’, comparable with the iPhone 5, have found happy new owners.
It was a long way to the top for Apple, but now it’s got there, there’s only one way from here.
*Disclosure : The author has used and owned an iPhone 4S, a BlackBerry Bold 9700 and a Samsung Galaxy Note.