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Apple Played It Safe With The iPhone 5 - Analysts Opinion
(10/09/2012 13:18:20)

The iPhone 5 was launched by Apple on the 12th September and sales have taken Apple by storm, resulting in their website running out of stock within just hours of the website opening. Apple has launched what has been regarded as both a fast and aggressive strategic rollout of the phone; aiming to have the phone in one hundred countries by the end of the year.

It appears that both consumers and most phone experts seem happy with what the phone has promised to deliver, but if you look a little bit deeper for some informed analyst opinions, it seems that many believe that the iPhone 5 lacks the all-important ‘Wow factor.’ 

Apple consumers have come to expect great design and market leading innovation but at the moment it seems that the iPhone 5 is struggling to create clear blue water between itself and its major competitors including both Nokia and Samsung. Both of these companies have launched smartphones that have received great reviews from both consumers and experts alike. When analysts have compared the iPhone 5 with the best of its competitors, many believe that Apple have failed to deliver a product that lives up to their reputation as an iconic innovator but instead appears to have played it safe by mealy ‘tweaking’  and evolving the design and performance of its predecessor the iPhone 4S.

Analysts have made a series of comments on the phones design; Shaw Lu an analyst from Sterne Aggee said:

"It's the same phone but sleeker. They arguably could have done more, but - as the saying goes - if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

If you look more closely it looks tom many like Apple may have run out of new ideas, following its successful launch of Siri on the iPhone 4S which allows voice commands and interaction. This was deemed a great feature and one that its competitors sought to copy which resulted in versions including Samsung’s S-Voice.

Given the trend for increasing phone screen sizes it seems that the iPhone 5 falls a long way short of its major rivals; yes the screen is larger screen than the iPhone 4S, but at 4-inches it is still smaller than the Galaxy S3 with its massive 4.8-inch screen, the 4.7-inch screens offered by the HTC One X, the Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx HD and the Droid RAZR HD or the Nokia Lumia with its 4.5-inch screen. The iPhone 5 camera uses a sapphire crystal lens and is 8-megapixels, the same as the Galaxy S3 but less than that offered by Nokia’s PureView technology which uses an 8.7-megapixel camera.

The iPhone 5 has also failed to deliver NFC support beyond its planned Passbook application feature and unlike the Nokia Lumia 920, does not offer the benefit of wireless charging.

Apple has also chosen to stick with just the black and white colour options for the iPhone 5, whereas Samsung launched its S3 phone in a range of four additional colours in a bid to both attract and retain target customers. This is a different strategy to that of their newly launched iPod Touch’s which are now available in a choice of five bright colours.

On the upside, the ‘tweaks’ will still give some great user benefits; the iPhone 5 is 20% lighter than the previous model, in part due to the rear aluminium casing that has replaced the previously used Gorilla Glass, whilst still delivering a larger viewing screen. The camera has the ability to take panoramic shots, which although difficult to take are stunning as well as offering face detection and the ability to take a photo whist recording video, but once again these are features that are not exclusive to the iPhone 5 alone.

In addition to this, some analysts refer to the fact that it’s not just about the hardware; Carolina Milanesi an analyst from Gartner Research suggests that:

"Where they are pushing the envelope, and where they remain the one to beat, is on the experience those features bring to the consumer. While other vendors continue to focus just on the hardware - delivering the speeds and feeds and bigger batteries - Apple focuses on pulling the operating system, the hardware and what you can consume on the hardware."

But even taking Apple’s latest iOS 6 into consideration, it seems highly unlikely that an operating system will help Apple regain some of the market share that has previously been lost to both Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 platforms.

It will be interesting to see how well the iPhone 5 is received by those that have either pre-ordered the phone or are planning on buying it as soon as the stock is available to buy in the UK. Will these analysts observations about the phone being evolutionary in design as opposed to revolutionary be acknowledged by the general public at large or will they just love Apple’s latest phone launch regardless? 

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