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The New iPhones : A post-hangover analysis

Yes, there was such a negative backlash on the net yesterday after Apple’s latest product announcements, centered on the new iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. But that could be anything from (a) disappointment more on the lack of event pomp and pizzazz rather than against the products themselves, (b) the usual grumblings of the “You sir are no Steve Jobs” crowd, or (c) genuine disappointment over the products.

So I wanted to figure out if there really were grounds for genuine disappointment over the new phones. To do that, I needed a clearer head. So I slept on it.

Let’s start with the iPhone 5c

Well, there really isn’t much to say about the iPhone 5c because it’s just the iPhone 5, but now made slightly cheaper and in bright plastic.


You really can’t be disappointed with the plastic per se because (a) it was inevitable and we knew it was coming thanks to so many leaks, (b) it’s been done before and few complained — remember the iPhone 3GS?– and (c) it’s what makes the phone more affordable.

What you can be disappointed in would be the color choices. Apparently, Apple went for the tweener crowd this time, with ever so slightly muted colors. It’s like Apple aping Lumia — only girlier. There, I said it. These are girly colors. You can’t expect even a young businessman to buy this phone and be taken seriously. So Apple has just managed to isolate a huge bulk of the population from the 5c.

If only Apple also offered the 5c in a more corporate color, like black or gray, I wouldn’t be griping. But with its current color palette? It appears that Apple has decided to primarily latch on to the Miley Cyrus crowd.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my only complaint about the iPhone 5c.

Oh, and I’m supposed to also snark about the higher-than-expected price? Nah, this is Apple we’re talking about. They ain’t going too low, so their SRP is more or less where I expected it to land.

Things, however, may get a tad more complicated with…

…the iPhone 5s

Since the iPhone 5s is a genuine upgrade device, people do have a right (sort of) to have certain expectations about it. Then again, it’s an “s” (that’s a lower-case S, which will now be the new convention for iPhone names moving forward), so it’s not supposed to be the major, major revamp that people are hoping for.


I suspect that much of the net disappointment comes more from the loooong wait more than anything else. If the 5s came out early this year, people probably would be fine with the device. But coming out this late in the year “and this is all you have to show for it?” seems to be what’s driving the disappointment.

We’ve probably been spoiled by the way-too-rapid churn of products over at Samsung. Hey, this is Apple that we’re talking about here. Things are more deliberate and methodical.

Let’s be clear here. The iPhone 5s is an amazing device, and it is perhaps the most technologically sophisticated smartphone in the market today. That A7 chip is a 64-bit processor, dammit, and that’s gonna make this phone so lightning-fast that it could make older iPhones seem to plod along by comparison.

And hello. Touch ID. It’s not your usual thumbprint security scanner. It cannot be hacked because your code is stored directly in the processor. Your phone can no longer be stolen from you. Now is that a feature or what?

And that camera! Larger pixels, burst mode, tempered LED. This could arguably be the best cameraphone. Ever.

The one thing going against the iPhone 5s, however, is that much of its innovations are “under the hood.” And the fact is that most potential buyers out there are techno-illiterates who won’t give a hoot about processors and co-processors. Instead, they are more concerned about these burning questions:

  • Does it look different enough from the previous iPhone model?
  • Will it make me look like a successful executive?
  • Does it have a bigger screen?

One out of three. Yes, you’ll look like a damn successful executive if you get the iPhone 5s. And chances are, you’re gonna get the gold colored one because that comes closest to making the 5s stand out from last year’s iPhone.

And you may laugh about it now but, mind you, Apple is such a trendsetter that a couple of months down the road, gold will be the new “in” color.

(Well, actually, it’s not so much the shiny gold as it is more of a subtle gold-copper blend.)

If you are techno-literate enough, however, the iPhone 5s should not disappoint. In fact, the more techno-literate you are, the more you will appreciate the iPhone 5s and what it stands for. And what it stands for is right there on its tagline: Forward thinking.

  • The 64-bit processor cannot be appreciated right now, but two years down the line everyone will want to go 64-bit. Why? Because it’s the only way your phone can get over 4GB of thinking memory, and this will be essential for a future range of far-more-sophisticated multi-tasking software that we cannot even yet fathom because we’re still stuck in our 32-bit phone paradigms.
  • The Touch ID fingerprint sensor is more than just a security device. Built into its innards is the potential for an iWallet strategy that Apple could be rolling out next year or the year after. It could possibly revolutionize the way we shop and the way we pay for things.

In other words, yes, the iPhone 5s is currently the most sophisticated, technologically advanced smartphone that can be had today. Except that its sophistication can’t really be appreciated because the rest of the puzzle pieces will only start coming in a year or so from now.

In which case the typical response would be “So I’ll just wait for the iPhone 6 then.” Which, yes, is a perfectly valid response. But it won’t diminish from the sophistication of the iPhone 5s for now.

(Incidentally, I bet the next phone won’t be the iPhone 6, but rather the iPhone 6s. I have a feeling it will be -s and -c from here on.)

So what’s the biggest disappointment from yesterday’s announcements?

The iPhone 5c cases. No really, have you seen them? They look like gogo-era-wannabe’s. Plus they make the phone say “hon”. Seriously?










Art is a long-time editor for a number of technology publications. He is a Palanca-winning writer (he got lucky) whose day job is to try to be as serious as possible while being a management consultant and lecturer. His favorite noodles: chapchae.

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    • DarkHalf|

      Great article, Art! Everything is spot-on, especially on the fugly cases, hahaha. I’ve been reading silly comments from other sites from non-techie users and really want to just shut them up for their ignorance. Your article lays out all the facts that people should be seeing with these new iPhones.

    • Thanks! I’m not an iPhone user myself, but I’m striving to be as agnostic-objective as possible. Way too many “fanbois” already in this world. :)


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