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Hyperbole fatigue: Is the iPhone 5 really 14% more magical?

Hyperbole fatigue: Is the iPhone 5 really 14% more magical?
Every year Apple’s events split the tech community. Some people love them, others not so much. By and large it seems to have to do with one’s preconceived notion of Apple more than what they actually do. But this year hyperbole fatigue may finally be setting in.

There have always been nay-sayers - last year after the iPhone 4S was announced many pundits were disappointed that there wasn’t a redesigned iPhone 5. But any predictions of doom and gloom for sales were quickly set aside when Apple shattered previous sales records with “their most magical iPhone yet”. Anyone predicting less than stellar sales for the iPhone 5 is just as likely to be wrong, and for those who love the current iPhone the new one will surely will be the best phone on the market. And yet, watching the event unfold this year felt incredibly anticlimactic – the device was slathered in superlatives yet it felt oddly…ordinary.

Perhaps part of this is due to the unprecedented number of leaks we’ve seen from the iPhone 5 – the basics of the phone were correctly outlined back in January, and we’ve been seeing parts and mock-ups of the device for months. So in that sense the iPhone 5 design was bound to not be surprising, but it seems like the issue may be deeper. The device really does carry on the same design notes as the previous couple of years, and the vast majority of the presentation was spent explaining that the device was incrementally better: It’s 18% thinner! 20% lighter! The screen is 44% more saturated!

Of course the iPhone 4S was already a top-notch piece of kit, and improving on it is certainly nice, but the reality of what was presented doesn’t quite mesh up with the sky-high praise that executives were lavishing on it. Below are a few examples:

"This is unlike anything we or anyone else in our industry has made before." - Phil Schiller

"I don't think the level of invention has been matched by anything we've ever done." - Bob Mansfield

"This is the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since the iPhone." - Tim Cook

Hyperbole fatigue: Is the iPhone 5 really 14  more magical?
Really? A phone that’s almost identical in appearance to the last two models with an extra 8% or so more screen real-estate and a faster CPU is the biggest thing to happen since the original iPhone? Panoramic imaging, LTE, and a faster CPU are unlike anything else done in the mobile industry? We’re sure that Apple’s implementations of these technologies will be top notch, but there doesn’t seem to be any game-changers here on par with the industrial design and high resolution display of the iPhone 4, or even the promise of Siri in the iPhone 4S. The new handset will surely be excellent, but it just doesn’t seem to have the same wow factor as those on stage suggested.

Apple-bashers will say this sort of thing the company has been doing for years, but there may be a new dynamic at work – it may well be the reality of maturing mobile computing technology. Faster processors are nice, but without new use cases it’s similar to buying a new PC – it’s faster, but it still does most of the same things your previous computer did. The iPhone 5 has a redesigned camera, but a lot of that engineering seems to have been to allow them to shrink it into a smaller device. The images will probably be objectively better, but the camera on the iPhone 4S was already superb.

In other words, like in any other maturing technology it may be that the low-hanging fruit have mostly been picked already, and many of the upgrades we’ll be seeing in the future will be more incremental than ground-breaking. And if that’s the case it will probably affect the all phone makers, not just Apple. But if so Apple may need to tone down the arm-waving just a hair; it’s ok to claim you make the best products (and many users would happily agree with Apple), but if you claim every year that you’ve made the biggest jump forward yet and fail to deliver, eventually even the most ardent of supporters will tire of the disconnect.

After all, if something is already “magical” what does it mean to be 14% more magical?

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posted on 12 Sep 2012, 16:27 34

1. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


AAAAAAA apple is goin under and windows 8 and android will continue to rise......thats jus what i see right now......

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 16:47 29

6. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4595; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


Why iPhone 5 looks like Goophone ? :)

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 21:03 11

18. moroninc (Posts: 162; Member since: 14 Jul 2012)


LMAO it does look like a Goophone!! i see Lau-soot coming from China.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 16:59 7

8. metalpoet (unregistered)


WTF!!! Apple you suck, looks like this company will sink soon! i hope! At least blackberry had some intereasting specs to them and Android continues to think outside the box and give carriers and manufacturers the freedom to basically do what the hell they want with them!

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 22:34 5

21. ScottSchneider (Posts: 277; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)


This must be the Best Article I have read here for a long time... It simply says Apple is All Bark and No Bite... Nice one... Good Going PA... Hats off to Scott... :)

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 19:53 4

15. Jelly_Bean (Posts: 109; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)


Apple:-----f**k Off

posted on 14 Sep 2012, 09:49

42. dr_fajardo12 (Posts: 107; Member since: 26 Aug 2012)


U r the best writter here SCOTT H. Damn!!

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 16:27 16

2. ekia007 (Posts: 61; Member since: 27 Feb 2012)


I agree with the author.
"This is unlike anything we or anyone else in our industry has made before." - Phil Schiller

"I don't think the level of invention has been matched by anything we've ever done." - Bob Mansfield

What are Phil Schiller and Bob Mansfield talking about? Every industry make better product than your iPhone 5. It doesn't impress me at all.

Hey Bob Mansfield, you call this invention? same design with taller screen?

sigh... I want to say Apple is out of innovation.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 16:50 7

7. gwuhua1984 (Posts: 1237; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)


I disagreed with Phil's quote, but agreed with Bob. Cause it's true that Apple's previous products can't match this.

Really... no innovation at all. The only Apple device that impressed me at the time of introduction was the iPhone 4. Ever since then, everything else is just boring... Luckily Apple has a large loyalty fan base otherwise they would of been out of the game already.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 21:02 1

17. jshan (Posts: 148; Member since: 25 Dec 2011)


Hey u **** ... Don't you know that what they making ??? They aren't making mobile phones or smartphones... They are making just iPhone .... So how could it should be change like cheap plastic Samsung or other copied devices .?? they are just bout to make improvements on their only product that call "an iPhone " hope u will understand at least now.

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 00:55 1

31. wumberpeb (Posts: 406; Member since: 14 Mar 2011)


Whaaaaaat?

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 22:41 2

22. jroc74 (Posts: 3959; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Just about every feature and spec has already been done. These 2 guys....need to step out of the Reality Distortion Field.....asap. Even if you do work for Apple.....try to live in reality.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 23:52 2

28. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


"I don't think the level of invention has been matched by anything we've ever done." - Bob Mansfield

yes, of course, they have not been inventing at all, so when they finally "invented" a bigger screen, that will not be matched by anything they've done before..

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 16:30 16

4. d_striders (Posts: 7; Member since: 06 Aug 2012)


Its more like a Iphone 4s 2. And considering the specs, i think this time it's late in the game.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 16:34 12

5. melvineus (Posts: 17; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)


An outdated specs

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 16:59 13

9. zackh121556 (Posts: 98; Member since: 01 Feb 2012)


Buy Android...enough said!

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 23:41 3

27. ChiX017 (Posts: 308; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


Noooooo, buy Lumia 920 buh if can't afford that level of Innovation, get an Android or Lumia 610 or a Blackberry or Meego(aka Jolla) or Bada.

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 00:01 1

29. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


agreed, for Innovation in technology, that Lumia is great, but if you care more about horsepower and what you can do with your phone, Android is your bet..

I want that kind of innovation level to be implemented in android, not only raw power like quad cores and stuff, but like the design, camera, and other stuff.. However, i am not going to get the Lumia YET, because i feel that WP is still too restricted for my liking..

Waiting eagerly for Jolla..

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 17:19 4

11. speckledapple (Posts: 877; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)


There are some valid points in this piece. My wife is an avid iPhone user and the 4S didn't impress her much. The new one seems like something she will upgrade to but she did mention that it really didn't change that much. In reality maybe that is a good thing for developers. Maybe that is even better for consumers. However, on tech blogs and the rest of the mobile world where many of us are constantly talking about the fringes of mobile technology, its not ground breaking at all.

Will it still sell? Oh yes. But I do not think it will convince more people to abandon the other major OS, android, for it. With that said, the tech is starting to reach it point where thin is great but its no longer a selling point. Camera tech is still evolving. Screen tech is starting to reach it point (our eyes simply cannot tell the difference). The internals will get smaller and more powerful but thats expected.

Overall, it might be a few years before we can really expect to see something dramatically different from Apple or anyone else for that matter. There is little to blow our minds.

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 04:57 2

35. adamross55 (Posts: 14; Member since: 23 Apr 2012)


I totally agree with @speckledapple. What exactly is Apple (or any manufacturer) going to do thats soooo groundbreaking and new? Nobody has really came out with anything that absolutely WOWS us. I think the last time was probably back when the Motorola Atrix & Galaxy S II came out because they had awesome specs. I dont remember this many people HATING on Samsung when they came out with the galaxy s3 though. Whats so special about it? Nothing really. It has a fast processor, 2gb ram, lte, samoled screen, etc. All of those things are purely evolutionary. None really revolutionary. Personally I dont even like the design of that device but thats purely my opinion, and TouchWiz just bogs it down and makes everything slower. But others may love it.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 18:46 3

12. arsenaljimenez (Posts: 137; Member since: 03 May 2012)


Can it be? Apple trolls coming to their senses??

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 19:49 2

14. devildlm1 (Posts: 68; Member since: 12 Sep 2012)


All of the "new" features shown were just incremental upgrades that were necessary and obvious. I do agree that apple did set the "siri standard" last year although voice search had been used prior to it. Other than that, there is literally nothing that has a wow factor; especially when compared to the iPhone 5's existing top competitors.

Can someone please tell me what actual features set the iPhone 5 apart from its competitors?

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 20:35 1

16. adamross55 (Posts: 14; Member since: 23 Apr 2012)


You all can say what you want but Apple will be laughing alllll the way to the bank. From a business standpoint, this thing is gonna sell. It's gonna outsell every single smartphone on the market today. Whether you like it or not, Apple is gonna be making loads and loads of cash off this thing.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 21:14

20. Cha7520 (Posts: 200; Member since: 31 Oct 2010)


LOL....you must be on meth!

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 22:49 1

24. adamross55 (Posts: 14; Member since: 23 Apr 2012)


Well all that meth im taking must be making me pretty damn smart. I guess you didnt read the article about how Apple's stock rose $9.20 today. Looks like I was right...

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 16:06 1

39. BSTManCMc (Posts: 16; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)


I hate apple and everything they do, but you sir are 100% right, they sell last years tech at this years price to keep that vault overflowing. As a business no one can fault apple for being the best at business.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 22:44

23. jroc74 (Posts: 3959; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I dont think any one is denying that. Its an iDevice....its destined to sell like hotcakes.

But it isnt game changing in the least. Like a couple of their execs are claiming.

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 21:07 2

19. ncv144 (Posts: 126; Member since: 04 May 2012)


why didn't they just name it iPhone 4gs or 4sXL?

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 22:53 2

25. Jillxz (Posts: 130; Member since: 04 Jun 2012)


Quote [ "You all can say what you want but Apple will be laughing alllll the way to the bank. From a business standpoint, this thing is gonna sell. It's gonna outsell every single smartphone on the market today. Whether you like it or not, Apple is gonna be making loads and loads of cash off this thing."]

Maybe. But one day , Android will do to the iPhone what Microsoft did to the PC's . Apple is so very fearful of this very thing happening all over again. That's why they are suing Android manufacturers . They want to cripple Andrroid . But Apple's day will come and maybe sooner than anyone might think. Android is the way most are going. Seling fast.

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 04:50 1

34. adamross55 (Posts: 14; Member since: 23 Apr 2012)


"Maybe. But one day , Android will do to the iPhone what Microsoft did to the PC's . Apple is so very fearful of this very thing happening all over again. That's why they are suing Android manufacturers . They want to cripple Andrroid . But Apple's day will come and maybe sooner than anyone might think. Android is the way most are going. Seling fast."

Maybe. Google uses a completely different approach than Apple does. Anybody that wants android can have it. This is good and bad because you get decent devices like the GSIII, Droid Razr's, and One series. You also get a ton of cheap s**tty phones that are barely worth the price of the box they came in. Average consumers dont really know which devices are solid performers because the smartphone market is always changing. Personally I own an HTC one x and I dont like it. Ive owned quite a few android devices and iphones and i see the good and bad things that each platform has to offer. I made a personal vow to never buy another android device ever again unless its a Nexus. I mean come on, Jelly Bean is already out and only 16% of phones have ICS. Nobody wants to be stuck with outdated software...

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 10:17

37. Jillxz (Posts: 130; Member since: 04 Jun 2012)


I do agree with you

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 16:08 1

40. BSTManCMc (Posts: 16; Member since: 28 Jul 2012)


Wow you are so on point again, seriously. You must get a lot of thumbs down because most people with clear honest positions get red raped. You sir are a boss!

posted on 14 Sep 2012, 23:17 1

43. adamross55 (Posts: 14; Member since: 23 Apr 2012)


Haha! Thank you. I actually do get quite a few thumbs down. I just tell it like I see it, regardless of anybody's 2 cent opinion. I dont see how somebody thats nerdy enough to look at phonearena and post comments on the articles can be so close minded when it comes to smartphones. I can make a positive comment about every single platform out there. Android, iOS, Blackberry, WindowsPhone, etc. Doesn't mean its my absolute favorite, just means every platform has its user base. Smartphones are not one size fits all.

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 10:44

38. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 4595; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)


"You all can say what you want but Apple will be laughing alllll the way to the bank."

Apple will be laughing from customers but not from me because I'm not gonna be one of them. HA! HA! HA! :D

posted on 12 Sep 2012, 23:28 2

26. networkdood (Posts: 5505; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


'"This is unlike anything we or anyone else in our industry has made before." - Phil Schiller

I guess Phil does not get out much.

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 00:12

30. jshan (Posts: 148; Member since: 25 Dec 2011)


Apple is the best ! That all !!!!! Samsung sucks. Hate Samsung cheap products!

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 02:08

32. JunkCreek (Posts: 379; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


what about HTC, Huawei, Sony, ASUS, Lenovo, ect? are they cheap either? don't b blind of the light. I don't because I'm using ProjectGlass...

:p Xp

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 03:57

33. jshan (Posts: 148; Member since: 25 Dec 2011)


Which device that are ya using ? Don't be on it ! Just try to c the reality. Apple innovate all the quality on smartphones.so aren't others copying there innovations ?? C th real bro... That smoothness and quality!! Then do divide the best from the worst ...

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 05:47 2

36. SGSatlantis (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)


Very good article Scott, not bashing just gently putting Apple down.

posted on 13 Sep 2012, 16:26

41. hfacuba (Posts: 5; Member since: 13 Sep 2012)


All this was known, because Apple wants is to keep all users as slaves, giving them bread crumbs, to continue taking away your money. Within 6 months will get the iphone 5s with two or three little things new, after will follow the iPhone 6, but maybe something new that will be incompatible with previous iphones,again, to sell power adapters so. want to get your freedom?. Switch to an open OS like Android

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