Okay, so let’s break it down, the new iPhone 5 doesn’t have all the latest
and greatest features that many people would have liked or expected. The thing is, Apple has proven in the past that they make good decisions about why they do and don’t adopt certain technologies. Like Blu-Ray, which is all but useless now with companies actually streaming 1080p movies and how about Flash on mobile, we all know how that turned out. Then there is LTE, people criticized Apple last year for not putting LTE into the iPhone 4S, they chose not to because the chips were to big, used to much power and LTE wasn’t widespread enough to merit the troubles of including it. Did they miss out? No, they didn’t. A year ago AT&T’s LTE was barely off the ground, Verizon didn’t have the coverage it enjoys now and Sprint didn’t even have an LTE market, but this year they have finally joined the party by launching LTE in several major cities. Add to that, that there are now new, smaller chips; in fact, Apple was able to combine two chips into one to save space on the iPhone 5. But I digress; let’s look at some of the features people have said the iPhone 5 is missing and why it doesn’t matter.
The big one, why is there no NFC in the iPhone 5. This is an easy one, because it’s virtually the same answer to the question about LTE. Right now, NFC technology hasn’t taken off, Google has tried repeated to get Google Wallet off the ground and yet it continues to fail. Carriers are fighting over which company they’ll support when it comes to mobile payments and to top it off, NFC can be a battery hog. Sure, NFC can do other things like transfer songs, music or other data, but so can Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct—ever used Bump, that app was way before NFC was used in mobile phones and basically allowed you to share files the same way, by bumping to phones together, sound familiar?
The point is NFC is not ready for prime time. It’s great that the Galaxy S III has it, but unless you know another person, or persons, with a Galaxy S III, all those “S-Beam” features are worthless. If there were one company that could make NFC a standard, it would be Apple, simply because whatever they introduce seems to becomes so common that other OEMs and retailers just say okay, we’ll do it too or go along with it. Look at the Front-facing camera, prior to the iPhone 4, what other mass-market smartphone had one? Now they all have one, at this point if a smartphone doesn’t, it almost feels weird. Apple decided it didn’t need NFC to utilize its new Passbook app, it can function with scanning, QR codes and most likely some type of Bluetooth connectivity down the road. Does this mean Apple will never use NFC, of course not, when the technology can be improved to use less battery, then we may see Apple finally adopt the format, until then, don’t hold your breath. In the meantime, enjoy using Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth you won’t a thing.
SD Card Support
Let’s face it, we’re moving past the digital age straight into the “Cloud Era.” Companies like Dropbox, Box, Google (ie. Google Drive), SugarSync, Microsoft (ie. SkyDrive) and of course Apple, are all offer some type of cloud based storage service. With cloud storage and companies like Spotify and Netflix we need less and less physical storage. We even have the option to stream movies we have stored on our home computers right to our phones. The need to expand your physical storage on your smartphone is quickly evaporating and with services like iCloud, you can edit a document at home, save it to the cloud and then pick up right where you left off on your iPhone. Photos takes with your iPhone can automatically be backed up to iCloud’s Photo Stream, after which you can delete them from your device, freeing up space.
It seems to me the only ones complaining about the lack of removable storage are those who want to jailbreak or root their phones. For the average person (who makes up majority of smartphones buyers) this is a non-issue and hasn’t been since the iPhone first launched in 2007. Some Android devices like the HTC One X have no SD Card support; even Google’s own Nexus brand devices like the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and the new Nexus 7 don’t support SD cards. Again this is a grievance that seems to only bother modders and the blogging community, not the average consumer.
No MicroUSB support
This issue continues to come up and today Rainer Brockerhoff (Via The Loop) really put this into perspective. Basically a microUSB connector has only 5 pins: +5V, Ground, 2 digital data pins, and a sense pin, that means that only syncing and charging would work, not the rest of the dock connector functions, on top of that it’s so small that it wouldn’t fit the 2A pin that is needed to charge the iPad. On top of that microUSB cords are tiny and break or wiggle to easily. The new Lightening connecter is strong and supports faster transfer rates, works on both the iPad and iPhone and the best part, it’s reversible, so you never have to look at the port to figure out which way it goes in when you’re about to charge it. I’m not going to even go into the argument that Apple screwed people over by making a new connector, fact is, the 30-pin connecter has been around for a decade, times and technology change get over it.
No Wireless Charging
I’ve seen this brought up on the web since Nokia announced the feature would be included with the Lumia 920. Fact is this technology is pointless… at least right now. You still have to have a box or plate that plugs into the wall in order to place your phone down. When you travel, you need to bring with you an extra accessory that takes up more room than a simple cable. I don’t know about most of you, but plugging and unplugging my phones takes about one second, how much time do we really have to save that justifies needing wireless charging? If having wireless charging means having a phone that is almost twice the thickness of the iPhone 5’s 7.6mm frame, I’ll pass, I think can spare one second out of my day, two if I need to unplug it. The technology is to new; it’s not refined enough to be considered a “must have” feature, if it requires me to give up desk or table space (for the charger), makes my device thicker and ultimately heavier and does nothing that my cable charger can’t do, like if it was 2x faster, it’s not needed, it’s a luxury that Nokia decided to include which offers no real value.
No HDMI out
I guess this is good if you’re on Android, but if you’re an iPhone user, chances are you’re already embedded deeply in their ecosystem or you will be soon. So rather than pony up $50-60 on a nice HDMI cable, iPhone users can simply purchase an Apple TV ($99) that has the added benefit of Airplay which basically eliminates the need for HDMI out, you can easily connect to your Apple TV via Wi-Fi and watch your videos with ease, essentially cutting the cord.
This is really the most pointless argument that I’ve seen people complain about. Apple is all about minimalism, if it can be done, they’ll get rid of useless, redundant or dead technology as soon as they can, hence Airplay. That fact also reiterates my point about wireless charging, if it can be done and still provide the same benefits or more, then I firmly believe Apple would be all over it. But as it stands, they’re not willing to sacrifice the look and feel of their device to add a novelty accessory.
In the end there are a few other items of non-importance that some may claim Apple needed, like widgets, but the point is, these claims come from bloggers and those hardcore “tech” geeks who are constantly wanting more, more, more. There are some people that can never be satisfied, they bitch and complain when something isn’t out yet or is taking forever and the day after it’s in their hand, they’re already looking over the hill to see what’s next. My point is that Apple has made an amazing improvement over the iPhone 4S, updating the camera, processor, display, antennas, audio, and wireless frequency and radios, not to mention that beautifully crafted exterior. The missing items above will not hinder 90% of people’s experience and for those who say it doesn’t look different enough, it doesn’t have to be night and day every year. Look at cars like BMW and Porsche, who for the better part of two to three decades, have designed their cars to evolve, improving performance, handling while giving their vehicles exterior the slightest makeover, keeping the same headlights, grill or spoiler so that their brand is cemented in the minds of their customers, when you see those “angel eye” headlights, you know it’s a “Beamer”, when you see those teardrop headlights or “whale tail” spoiler, you know it’s a Porsche. When you see that metal band and Apple logo and shape, you know it’s an iPhone. Apple has created more than just a phone with the iPhone, it has created a lifestyle, one that defies age, language and sex, it’s powerful and yet, easy to use. Does it have widgets, live wallpapers, face unlock or Android beam, no, it doesn’t, but apparently a phone that is on track to sell 5.5 million in a week, doesn’t have too.