iPhone 5 officially unveiled: Just what Apple needed

iPhone 5 officially unveiled: Just what Apple needed

Summary: The hoopla has died down from the iPhone 5 event, including the band Foo Fighter packing up its gear. The new phone is an evolution of the most successful smartphone in history which is just right for Apple.

TOPICS: iPhone, Apple
iPhone 5

I can hear the pundits tapping furiously on MacBook keys already. The new iPhone is not a radical improvement. The iPhone 5 is more of the same. Apple missed the boat with the small changes in the iPhone. Those are valid observations but had Apple radically changed the iPhone it would have bordered on irresponsibility in this writer's opinion.

More: Apple's iPhone 5 upgrade cycle secured with global LTE, 4G support Apple announces iPhone 5: What you need to know | The Apple iPhone 5: Now or later? | iPhone fantasies, Android phones realities | What could go wrong with the iPhone 5 launchTech leaders vacillate on iPhone 5, with growing anticipation of Windows 8 | Samsung vs. Apple: Are LTE patents the next battleground? | All ZDNet iPhone coverage | All CNET iPhone coverage | Techmeme | Apple statement

To recap, the primary change in the iPhone 5 over previous models is the screen size. At 4-inches the phone is taller than the iPhone 4S but Apple chose to keep the iPhone 5 the same width. The logic behind that choice is to keep the new iPhone as comfortable to hold in the hand, and that's a good thing. I have used a number of other smartphones with big screens and some of them border on the unusable due to being too wide to hold comfortably for very long even with my big hands. Width is an important criteria for comfort.

The iPhone 5 is faster, more powerful than previous models which is expected. It will be powered by iOS 6, itself an iterative upgrade on the iPhone OS. 

While many will no doubt proclaim the iPhone 5 to be a miss due to the lack of radical change, I say look at it logically. The last time a product as successful as the iPhone got a radical change it was a total disaster. Remember New Coke?

Topics: iPhone, Apple

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • They used to say the same to Nokia...

    and motorola...
  • The bigger screen on the iPhone is an utter disaster

    "The logic behind that choice is to keep the new iPhone as comfortable to hold in the hand"

    No, the argument was never about comfort, it was about coverage. Other phones were completely unusable because you couldn't reach portions of the screen with your thumb.

    Every single time Apple makes a change towards something that even 1 day earlier was a showstopper for every single other device, we are suddenly told that "nah, that was never important, it was always about ____"

    So now it is to be width that is important? Overnight, thumb coverage is no longer important?

    • No way anyone can use the iPhone with one hand!

      I have yet to see an iPhone user operate the iPhone with one hand. All of them are holding it with one hand with the other furiously busy zooming and panning all the time, because the display is so tiny (480x320 addressable dots, slightly more than CGA of 1981) that it can show only a small fraction of any web page.

      PS: If you need a phone for just SMS and dialing phone numbers, you don't need a smartphone.
      • No, only a small fraction of any email longer than a tweet!

        kingkong88, I'm a university professor teaching a large course that uses IT tools, e.g., server-served and graded homework assignments, etc. To students who have never used the software before (virtually all of them when they start the course), it's an uphill battle to get them acclimated to it. I write detailed "announcements" on Blackboard that I also email to them. I know from experience that anything longer than a tweet will not be read carefully. They say they read the email, but to me this means that they opened it on their smartphone (many have iPhones), but they can't and don't read a detailed, not-short email, and from talking to them I surmise that they rarely open it again on a real computer with a real monitor screen that allows them to see the whole email at once, not through a tiny window that requires hand swipes this way and that. I tell you this is a real problem, it's now part of the culture, and it's no good for higher education.

        The Prof
        • Your Point

          As a Gen Y person who uses all sorts of technology I disagree. I personally can't stand long emails. On a computer or otherwise. Besides in my journalism major they have always said to write in short concise sentences.

          I am a person that happens to read a lot of long emails. Personally, I could see why people get impatient with it. When the average person has so much stuff to do, you kind of lose interest in long emails. There is nothing that can't be said in a shorter more reasonable way.

          Look at any good webpage. They are short, concise, and in English. There is nothing I can't stand more then reading a long email on something extremely technical.
          • Mozart

            If you haven't already tried,would it be possible to reformat your technical instructions to suit your students (customers) preferred interface, the smartphone?

            As these are rigid technical instructions, they are already as short & concise as possible, in order to prevent ambiguity.
            So aren't you in danger of telling Mozart "too many notes!"
            Brevity is the soul of wit, but length is often required to convey depth of understanding, and does not imply lazy writing.
            The real danger with this trend, is best shown by politians offering sound bites in place of policies.
        • Email

          It didn't take me long to learn that no one recognizes more than one topic in an email (regardless of age). The solution is to send a new email for each new topic.
    • The bigger screen on the iPhone is perfect!

      Oh Toddy! Your twisted logic is truly tiring. IT WAS ABOUT BOTH COMFORT AND COVERAGE! Not to mention keeping existing apps and app developers happy. Thumb coverage WAS important to Alan F., the author of that article, but he doesn't work for Apple.

      They didn't make it wider (for comfort), they made it taller (for coverage).

      16:9 - think about why that is!
  • iPhone5 is not Doomed...

    but I am disappointed.

    Sure the iPhone 5 will sell. Heck, they could have released the iPhone 4SX with LTE, updated wifi, and the new dock connector, but without the bigger screen, and it would have sold like hotcakes.

    But even those of us that don't use iPhones have looked to Apple to help drive innovation in the mobile tech segment. I was hoping to get a little more from this press party.
    • Back to Back

      Incremental upgrades.

      Not what long term investors should be looking for.
      Laurel cruising........
  • Now it makes sense...

    Now I see why they sued Samsung... The iPhone 5 looks just like what Samsung had out for the past year now.
    James Ellis
  • What a complete Turkey

    Well in this writers opinion the 5 stinks - how can you defend such a very average product - yes Nokia played it safe towards the end of their years of dominance - enough said. To leave out NFC is an act of complete lunacy - this is the number one merging technology for a whole raft of uses, payment obviously being the big one. No wireless charging, a Google maps mess-up and that senseless new screen size, large enough to be a pain but not big enough to be much more useful - simply terrible. I'm sure some will know doubt queue around the block for one but those customers would buy a different kind of turkey if it was called an iTurkey :)
    • The problem is no visible upgrade

      Same phone. Still chunky and heavy. Glad to see they finally got 16:9, but what did they do with a bigger screen - extended their grid of dead icons to another row. Sure the screen may be a little more colorful, the camera a little better and it finally supports some networks in other countries, but differentiate from the models that came before it - not much.

      Apple needs to do something about its old and outdated UI, it makes every new iPhone look older than it actually is. Time to forget about improvements in hardware and tackle that UI.
      • Did you check out the network support?


        if you want global 3G/4G - buy the GSM version
        If you want global LTE - buy the CDMA version

        Sounds like the original i4 antenna guy has a new job.....
  • You can only compare it

    with the iPhone 4S, that's just it. Don't bother comparing it with the Nokia Lumia 920 or SG3 because the iPhone is just outdated. Bigger screen? LOL
    a hobbit
    • Ditto

      This 5 is a worthless upgrade. The Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 are already better than this weak attempt by Apple. If you ask me this is the 2nd flop in a row for Apple. The 4 -4s was weak and now the 4s to 5 is just as bad. Sorry Apple but the boat has set sale and you obviously didn't jump on board. Nokia is a joke when compared to sales of other smart phones but that's about to change. The Lumia 920 is by far the best Smart Phone for the Holiday Season.
      • Joined at the hip

        It hardly seems fair. Several handset makers besides Nokia allegedly have Windows Phone 8 handsets on the way. Samsung has even announced one. And yet you, who have not posted a single note on ZDNet in over a year in which you were not riding Microsoft's horse, offer up a plug for Nokia. I'm not saying that's unusual. It isn't; most of Microsoft's horseback preachers are doing the same thing. But it is weird.
        Robert Hahn
        • No Different

          People who prefer the Nokia presentation of a WP OS are not different than the Samsung or Motorola fans who favor a single carrier over others who offer the same version of Android. Nokia does have a number of unique offerings (both hardware and software) that allow it to stand out from the others
          Burger Meister
        • EDIT: But then again I'm pretty paranoid.

          I tend to over-analyze everything.
          It's possible I could even be an Apple shill.
          Robert Ha‬‮nh
  • What did the pundits say about the iPhone 4S?

    Pretty much the same we are hearing about the iPhone 5 now:

    "What is Apple thinking", "a yarnfest", "antiquated", . Yet the iPhone 4S with its smaller 3.5" screen became the fastest selling iPhone yet, and the best selling phone in the US. Apple is now offering a larger 4" phone that's already proven solid at the same price as their previous best selling iPhone 4S. It doesn't take a genius to figure how well this new phone will sell.