iPhone 5: The biggest thing to happen to iphone since iphone?
As has become the norm for any new Apple release, tech sites, blogs and social networks were rife with rumors and supposed leaks about iPhone 5. In the same month that Microsoft has announced two new Nokia Lumia devices, Motorola has attempted a comeback with three Razr handsets and Samsung’s market share grew despite losing a $1bn patent battle with Apple – everyone was waiting to see if the latest iPhone model could impact the smartphone market all over again. Details
In iPhone 5, Apple has launched a raft of changes, both to the hardware and software (in iOS6 – its latest mobile operating system). Fundamentally, the new iPhone is bigger, taller (128.8mm – 8.6mm taller than 4S) but no wider. It has, for the first time, a bigger 4-inch screen (vs. 3.5-inch on 4S) meaning there’s another row for icons (5 rows rather than 4). In addition, iPhone 5 is lighter (112g compared with iPhone 4S’ 140g weight) and thinner at just 7.6mm (vs 9.3mm on iPhone 4). There’s also a new nano-SIM (smaller than the 4S’ already tiny micro-SIM) and compatibility with LTE or 4G, which means super-fast connectivity and download speeds when 4G hits markets around the world. And iOS6 – now powered by a new A6 processor chip – brings with it a new bespoke Apple mapping software – no longer reliant on Google Maps; Facebook baked into the operating system (much like Twitter in iOS5) and Facetime has been upgraded to work on 3G (and/or 4G) as well as Wi-Fi. Passbook, an app which allows you to collect things like coupons and boarding passes on your handset, is Apple’s play on the mobile wallet – aiming to replace the paper tickets and plastic loyalty cards that currently live in our physical wallets and purses. The major omission was that of NFC or near-field-communication capability. Implications
A change in screen size means developers will need to immediate update their apps (which will in the meantime run with black bars top and bottom) – the extra space and new 16:9 aspect ratio will however provide extra food for thought from a creative point of view. The new A6 processor will mean ‘console’ like gaming and graphics too. The lack of NFC feels like a missed opportunity given that Apple has access to over 400 million unique credit cards in iTunes. Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior VP, has said that Passbook fulfills most of customer’s needs and that it works without any existing merchant payment system. iPhone 5 will almost certainly allow Apple to hold, if not grow, market share in an increasingly aggressive mobile handset market. For brands and advertisers, opportunities present themselves in the form of a larger, retina-enabled screen, in Apple Maps where over 100m business listings have been plugged in and in Passbook where branded digital loyalty cards can be created (Apple use Starbucks and W Hotels as examples). iAd, Apple’s in-app rich media banner product, now has a price tag more affordable to a wider variety of brands (c.£50k vs. a £1m launch price) and coupled with iTunes user data starts to become a very effective means of building brands across iPhone and iPad. Summary
In what might be described as one of the most predictable Apple launches to date (given the amount of leaked information available online), Tim Cook (Apple CEO) and co. still managed to deliver a mouthwateringly enviable product launch that retains all the Apple magic you’d expect – and will without doubt trigger the snaking queues outside Apple stores we’ve become so used to with launches to date.Author James Chandler, Head of Mobile, Mindshare UK