It's finally here. An iPhone with 4G LTE. Great new video and still photo features. Turn-by-turn directions. Bigger and thinner. Better performance. And the corners are still round (take that, Samsung!). All of which amounts to a big "meh" for the legions of Android superphone users and even for those who have opted for inexpensive Android devices.
- Also check out CNET's live coverage of the announcement.
Don't get me wrong. This isn't anti-Apple FUD. My iPad rocks, I'm lusting after a new Retina MacBook Pro (my current MBP is getting a bit long in the tooth), and, given the choice, I'd have an iMac in my bedroom instead of a TV. Apple is going to sell a bajillion of these new iPhones and it's a solid upgrade, especially for anyone who has been riding out a contract on an iPhone 3 or 4. I guarantee my oldest son will be first in line to trade in his iPhone 4 the minute they go on sale, as will countless Apple faithful.
But, unlike the iPad, which has major advantages over 10" Android tablets because of its huge app ecosystem, Retina Display, and aggressive pricing, there is nothing announced today that will make the Android users who have driven Google's mobile OS to market dominance run out, break their contracts, and switch to an iPhone. As CNET's Scott Stein puts it,
Here's the question: which is the killer feature? It feels like the iPhone 5 is more of an overall refinement and re-engineering, as well as offering speed boosts across the board (4G, A6)
One thing that might give Google pause? The iPhone 4 is now free with a contract, meaning that Android OEMs will need to work harder for the low end of the market. However, there are plenty of great free Android phones, too.
Does Google need to keep pushing the envelope on Android? Improving performance? Improving the user experience? Sort out fragmentation issues and start strongarming OEMs and carriers to push updates faster? Get displays that can match the iPhone's Retina display? Keep driving down prices so it can still compete on both price and features? Keep building out its app and entertainment offerings? Keep advancing its own ecosystem around Google Apps, Google Voice, NFC/Wallet, etc.?
Sure it does, but we knew that. So does Google.
What we also know is that the new iPhone is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Google has a few months to breathe and introduce its own new revolutionary features in Android and prepare for the next big innovation from Apple.