Apple iPhone 5Apple shoulders a lot of expectation whenever it unveils a new device. The recent announcement of iPhone 5 was no different. The company's flagship smartphone now has a larger screen, faster processor and graphics, LTE, new reversible connector, and is thinner and lighter than any of its predecessors even with all the improvements. It doesn't come with any novel, game-changing, or jaw-dropping features that we haven't already seen on any other smartphone in the market. The same can be said about iOS 6, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system. It enhances existing native applications like Siri, Camera, FaceTime, Safari, as well as introduces new applications like Passbook and Maps. These improvements are welcomed, but again, not game-changing (unless retailers around the world join the Passbook bandwagon in hordes). In fact, certain iOS 6 features like turn-by-turn navigation are available only to select countries. That is excusable, as it's not a simple task to ensure that the feature will work flawlessly and reliably in all countries. But is there a reason for Apple to support only 14 countries for trivial features like Siri, Twitter and Facebook integration? None that I could think of. Nevertheless, iPhone 5 is still a very decent smartphone that is able to meet the needs of most existing iPhone users, while creating an intriguing device for first-time smartphone buyers and Android users who are curious about Apple's phones. Except that when it comes to Apple, decent spells disappointment. People expect nothing short of earth-shattering features from Apple. The company takes part of the blame for popularizing phrases like "This changes everything again." So when it introduces a device that doesn't amaze the most hard-core Android fan, it sets itself up to be ridiculed. It's unfair, but it doesn't matter, as the iPhone 5 will still fly off the shelves. It's still the best and most beautiful iOS device out there.

Beyond Expectations

The iPhone 5 improves on the iPhone 4S in almost every way possible, yet each new feature is a logical, expected improvement. People want to be surprised by Apple. That's why, when asked what more do they want to see in iPhone 5 (besides NFC), they don't have an answer. That's for Apple to figure out, they say. Apple isn't the only company that releases smartphone iterations with incremental improvements these days. It appears that the industry as a whole hasn't been moving as fast as they used to a few years ago. In a sense, it's similar to the laptop industry, whereby users are looking for replacements with better specifications every two to three years, but nothing out of the ordinary. Besides the old and boring arguments of platform, ecosystem, and hardware choices, the first company that can amaze its customers with novelty features each time it releases a new smartphone will gain the same fame as Apple did in 2007. For example, if Samsung introduces a Galaxy S IV with a battery that can last for an entire week with normal usage, or a touchscreen with tactile sensation, or even a glass-free 3D display, it will be hailed as an innovative company. Then, it will be expected to bring similar innovations each time a new version of its flagship device is introduced. The specification sheet is no longer relevant for the iPhone. Despite being one of the latest smartphones launched, the iPhone 5 doesn't have any definitive edge over competitor devices in terms of specifications. The once-a-year upgrade cycle isn't exactly helping. Instead, Apple is selling the so-called "Apple experience," a blanket term referring to user friendliness of iOS, synergy between Apple devices, robust app ecosystem, and healthy entertainment content via iTunes. The question: Will it sell? I guess yes, but we will see from the sales number after the holiday season.

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