Saturday, September 15, 2012

iPhone 5 - Would Steve love this?

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Hands On - Features, Price, Release Date - CNET Reviews

As the first major, new release of the iPhone, version 5 has already ignited the question, "What would Steve think?"  Tim Cook, Apple CEO, certainly does not possess the pizazz or charisma of Jobs, but that's okay.  He's a straight-forward and shrewd businessman whose keynote at the iPhone 5 introduction is right on a par for most of Corporate America: bold enough to impress but not aggressive to draw criticism.  He laid it up vs. going for the ace.

So what are the major upgrades?  The simple list is as follows:

  • 4G LTE
  • 4 in. screen delivering a 16:9 aspect ratio
  • Retina Display
  • 225 hours of standby! 8 hours of talktime!
  • 22% lighter
  • Metal back replaces glass design from version 4
  • A6 chip that will rival Samsung Galaxy phone speed
  • 8 megapixel camera
  • iOS6 with new Apple maps
  • Louder speakers and noise cancelling microphones
It's a fairly long list and perhaps worth the long wait after the somewhat anticlimatic release of the iPhone 4S, which actually kept me from buying an iPhone.  Is the list an iterative upgrade or leap forward in smartphone design?

Pundits on Wall Street and various analyst organizes have channeled Steve Jobs, declaring the iPhone 5 as another "insanely great product" from Apple.  Most have targeted its end of year 2013 share price to hit an "insanely great" 900 points!  Bloomberg West editors and reporters were practically drooling over it throughout their broadcast.  Wall Street loves it.  The press adores it.  How about the everyday man?

As expected Apple acolytes have continued to rave about it.  There are the purists who are not so enamored. Various bloggers have noted the removal of Google Maps and a pre-installed Youtube app actually degrades iPhone's productivity.  Apple, who claims to know what customers need before they know, now knows what has been tried and true is now obsolete.  So, is this really just another fulfillment of Steve's dying wish to go "thermonuclear" on Google and make their existence strictly an Android play.

From the perspective of product management, this would be viewed as a negative play because it does not echo the voice of the customer, who quite frankly has embedded Google applications into their productivity DNA.  If Apple intends to compete against Google by building Apple native apps, I think I can see this going something like their war against Microsoft Office's market share of 90%+.  

Apple zealots will stay but will Samsung's very competitive Android devices may be the real victor because of its ultra-clean integration with Google apps?  Only time and lawsuits will tell.

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