Apple iPhone 5 bigger, lacks 'wow'

2012-09-13 07:25

San Francisco - Apple's new iPhone goes on sale on Friday with a bigger screen and 4G wireless technology, as the company seeks to safeguard its edge over rivals like Samsung Electronics and Google.

The iPhone 5 fulfilled many of the expectations laid out by gadget geeks and technology analysts ahead of its unveiling but offered few surprises to give Apple shares - already near record highs - another major kick.

"There is not a wow factor because everything you saw today is evolutionary. I do think they did enough to satisfy," said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of wealth management company Destination Wealth Management.

Other industry analysts speculated about what else was in Apple's product pipeline ahead of the crucial year-end holiday season, especially since the company stayed mum about an oft-rumoured TV device or a smaller iPad.

The consumer electronics giant that in 2010 popularised tablet computing with the iPad has given no hints on whether it plans a smaller version to match cheaper tablets from the likes of Google or


"We would really like to see the iPad Mini in the product offering for the all-important holiday quarter. They still have time," said Channing Smith, co-manager of the Capital Advisors Growth Fund. "As soon as we see that, we will have more conviction about the stock heading into the final quarter."

The latest iPhone comes as Apple faces competition beyond current key competitors Samsung and Google. Late entrant Microsoft is now trying to push its Windows Phone 8 operating system as an alternative to Apple and Android, the most-used smartphone operating system in the world.

Analysts have forecast sales of 10 million to 12 million of the new iPhones in this month alone.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook kicked off the event in San Francisco's Yerba Buena Centre but it was marketing chief Phil Schiller who introduced the iPhone 5 and took the audience through the new phone's features.

The iPhone 5 sports a 10cm "retina" display, can surf a high-speed 4G LTE wireless network, and is 20% lighter than the previous iPhone 4S.

It ships on 21 September in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Britain. It will hit 100 countries by year's end in the fastest international rollout for an iPhone so far.

The stakes are high with the iPhone, Apple's marquee product, accounting for nearly half its revenue. The California company has sold more than 243 million iPhones since 2007, when the device ushered in the current applications ecosystem model.

Battery endurance

But Samsung now leads the smartphone market with a 32.6% share followed by Apple with 17%, according to market research firm IDC. Both saw shipments rise compared to a year ago, with Samsung riding its flagship Galaxy SIII phone.

Available for pre-order on Friday starting from $199 with a data plan, the iPhone 5 comes with Apple's newest "A6" processor, which executives said runs twice as fast as the previous generation. It will pack three microphones - enhancing built-in voice assistant Siri - and an 8 megapixel camera that can take panoramic views.

One popular enhancement was improved battery endurance - the iPhone 5 can support eight hours of 4G web browsing, the company said.

While Apple played catch-up on many of the new phone's features - Samsung and Google's Motorola already have larger and 4G-ready phones - analysts say the device's attraction is the way its software and hardware work in tandem.

"Where they are pushing the envelope, and where they remain the one to beat, is on the experience those features bring to the consumer," said Carolina Milanesi, Gartner Research analyst.

"While other vendors continue to focus just on the hardware - delivering the speeds and feeds and bigger batteries - Apple focuses on pulling the operating system, the hardware and what you can consume on the hardware."

Cook began the event by giving updated metrics on the company's products and then quickly gave up the stage for Schiller to introduce the iPhone 5.


The team then moved on to a new line-up of iPods, a redesigned iTunes store and ended with a surprise performance by rock band Foo Fighters. Apple executives in the front row could be seen rocking their heads to Times Like These and other hits.

For the iPhone 5, Apple has done away with the connectors used on previous devices and replaced them with a smaller and more efficient "Lightning" connector.

With the iPhone, it is shipping new "EarPods" audio phones, designed after digitally scanning hundreds of ears. Shares in Skullcandy, which specialises in stylised earphones, fell 4.5%.

Beyond hardware, Apple telegraphed many of the software changes to expect in iPhone 5 when it debuted iOS 6, its latest mobile operating system, in June.

Upgrades to the software include voice navigation for driving, a feature already available on many Android smartphones, as well as "Passbook" for storing electronic boarding passes, sports tickets and gift cards.

Siri has been improved. In an onstage demonstration, Siri was able to answer questions about the result of a recent pro football game and recite a list of movies playing around town, along with ratings.

Earlier, Cook told the audience that its apps store now has more than 700 000 on tap - the industry's largest library.

"When you look at each of these, they are incredible industry-leading innovations by themselves. But what sets them apart, and what places Apple way out in front of the competition, is how they work so well together," Cook said toward the end of the two-hour presentation.

  • smahlaba - 2012-09-13 07:42

    \Dont buy Apple dont buy!\

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-09-13 09:39

      Such a shame its not really giving competition a run for its money. All that hype for nothing as the article clearly states. We the consumers and techies like myself are the biggest losers at the end of the day. It would have been nice to see some real stiff competition.

      renny.meere - 2012-09-13 20:56

      Two words Bo - Ring!

  • beylie - 2012-09-13 07:48

    I actually feel sorry for the Apple fans. I would have wanted more. If the product was more innovative and less "catch-up" it would have forced Android / Microsoft to work harder to keep their part of the market share. It's really nice looking though.

      lydonmcg - 2012-09-13 09:06

      It's a great looking phone and something I'd definitely have gotten if I didn't already have the 4S, but I do. I'm also due for an upgrade so I may very well venture into Windows Phone 8 territory, which has been tickling my fancy as of late.

  • kenneth.kgosi - 2012-09-13 07:54

    Tech slaves rush in shame... Steve Job's shoes are hard to fill...

  • jacogvandyk - 2012-09-13 07:54

    Not a significant improvement on the 4S. Less RAM than Galaxy S3, no option to expand storage with micro SD, shorter battery life than the S3, voice guided navigation...that's was on the S2 already. Underwhelming...

      jacogvandyk - 2012-09-14 01:36

      LOL...gettng dislikes for stating the facts. Typical fanboys...

  • adrian.tyler - 2012-09-13 07:55

    Overhyped much. I'm glad the S3 has prevailed stronger. Yet fan boys are still gonna go pay more for a device with less capabilities!

      lydonmcg - 2012-09-13 09:07

      Judging by your myriad comments on any iPhone article, you should be the last person to accuse people of being a fan boy...

      adrian.tyler - 2012-09-13 09:22

      Yeah, I'm an open source fan boy. I have to admit it. I like freedom.

      salee.sithwell - 2012-09-13 11:33

      Most open source fan-boys do not even contribute to the development of the soft and firmware they use. They are just as bad as everyone else.

  • thethird.wors - 2012-09-13 07:57

    i. don't. care.

  • asdhasgd - 2012-09-13 07:59 Galaxy S3 is still better. SORRY APPLE XD

  • asdhasgd - 2012-09-13 08:02

    iPhone 5: No card slot Galaxy S3: CARD SLOT iphone 5: 1.2GHz Dual processor Galaxy S3: 1.4GHz QUAD core processor iphone 5: Screen size 4" Galaxy S3: Screen size 4.8" SERIOUSLY? There's no competetion :/ WTF would you want the iPhone now???

      rlong1952 - 2012-09-13 08:10

      Because of the quality of the phone and the software, think that about sums it up for me.

      ned.kelly.792 - 2012-09-13 08:17

      S3: NFC i5: Nope S3: Indestructible i5: Nope S3: Google Maps i5: Apple Maps (Sorry SA, no coverage) S3: USB COnnector, generic i5: Irratating new dock connector (Bang goes all my accessories) etc etc Cant believe i waited for this before upgrading, hello S3!

      2coolnick - 2012-09-13 08:18

      Opinionater, it is just your opinion bro. What makes you think a bigger screen makes a phone better? You gotta be man...bigger better wtf. The Ghz is not available for the Iphone yet, I checked the apple website and to be honest, I am glad no Apple can take an SD card. Save your apple device from all the nasty bugs and virusses out there. But then the S3 is not really samsung,is it. It is actually a google phone. Samsung has never and will never have the technology to create there own successfull operating system. Look at the older samsung phones which ran on Samsungs own software. It was a nightmare and disgrace to samsung. Please compare apples with apples.

      percy.vanzyl.1 - 2012-09-13 08:21

      How is the 4.8" screen a positive? The S3 is way too big. And with Apple everything works well together and it's a pleasure to use.

      stuart.steedman - 2012-09-13 08:25

      Unrivaled build quality, and the best mobile operating system that Just Works.

      wesleywt - 2012-09-13 08:46

      No coolnick. Android is a linux operating system.

      sean.efstratiou - 2012-09-13 08:55

      The A6 is a Quad Core processor btw

      chadwick.torlage - 2012-09-13 09:01

      Are you telling me that you are backing a company that focuses on hardware when there is a visible global shift to cloud storage and wireless connectivity?\r\nYou support a company that was found guilty of openly stealing ideas and designs.\r\nEverything your Samsung is is thanks to Apple's technology. Besides 5 weeks from now samsung will release another new phone and your R4000 galaxy S3 will be out dated.

      theO rAcLe - 2012-09-13 09:24

      Once you have used an iphone you will not go back to any other phone, that sums it up for everyone.

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-09-13 09:41

      Loyalty to Steve Jobs will make the iPhone fanboys rush for the iPhone despite these facts. don't waste your time.

      salee.sithwell - 2012-09-13 11:37

      Opinionater, who needs a card slot, really? Cloud storage works perfectly fine. I can't believe people still use card slots. So dinosaur... How much screen size do you need, really? IMAX size? Seriously?

      andynct - 2012-09-13 16:53

      @sean.efstratiou The A6 processor inside Apple's iPhone 5 mobile phone is a dual-core Cortex-A15 design manufactured for Apple by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd

      renny.meere - 2012-09-13 21:04

      For me its the problem of moving over all my stuff to the S3, no more itunes,aaaarhh! I'm due for a upgrade and not sure what to do. I had a Samsung Omnia once & promised myself never to get a Samsung again but played with the S3 and loved the features & screen....

  • christo.boshoff1 - 2012-09-13 08:06

    Spec by spec the Lumia blows the iPhone out the door, at least on paper! Should be an interesting fight! Google iPhone 5 vs Lumia 920 compare for yourself!

      stuart.steedman - 2012-09-13 08:25

      Lumia runs Windows. That's your argument blown out the water

  • John Peter Steyn - 2012-09-13 08:41

    The iPhone has a much better build quality than the cheap plastic of the samsung

      raymond.buis.3 - 2012-09-13 08:55

      That's funny. The iphone uses some Samsung parts.

      raymond.buis.3 - 2012-09-13 08:57

      That's funny. The iphone uses some Samsung parts.

      gerhard.nel - 2012-09-13 14:59

      Dear John i dare you drop each of them from shoulder hight onto the floor and see which one will survive. Hint: it won't be the one with the so called "better build quality'

  • chris.shield - 2012-09-13 08:52

    Do I still need to use itunes to upload music? Can I bluetooth audio video files to my friend? Sorry Apple you might have caught me once, next upgrade I'm going Samsung...

  • PeterJJhb - 2012-09-13 08:56

    I find it amazing that SA peeps are actually excited about iphone. It's over priced, half of the stuff they offer not avail for SA. In short.... Stop being sheep guys. Galaxy S3 outperforms and looks better than iphone and u can actually use all features in SA. And after that court case tantrum Apple threw cause they bullies of industry. I personally dislike Apple. But each to his own. BTW... Typed this message using my voice on Samsung S3.

      thabomoya - 2012-09-13 11:06

      Speech recognition? That's great. Apple being a bully, totally agree.

  • dostomolefe - 2012-09-13 09:12

    S3 sold who cares ...and the lawsuit aint gonna slow it down ..

  • TshilidziPhuravhathu - 2012-09-13 09:23

    I guess Mr Jobs took his creativity with him.... Now Mr sales man bring me that S3 and show me where to sign in the mean time.

  • siyanda.dube.1 - 2012-09-13 09:33

    even the nokia lumia 920 is way better then this apple crap , apple could you please do some designing.

  • Cherholdt - 2012-09-13 09:36

    Apple is not all about the hardware its about how the hardware and the phone complement each other. No other company will ever come close to this. You can download an apple app and the same android app and the apple app will still be the better app and perfomr better. I hav had many friends telling me how wonderfull their android phones are untill they try the ipohne. Just an example setting up syncing with my windows laptop and iphone was a breeze. My father bought the Samsung S3 and we are still struggling to have all his calender dates synced with his phone. It doe not matter how great the hardware is if the software is not there to back it up is is uselless. Thanks apple we are proud iphone owners and cant wait for th iphone 5 to arrive.

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-09-13 10:02

      Me too. Have been using Apple products for the last 25 years and will never, ever change. Apple just works and all those haters should just stop hating, get over their jealousy and use one ..... only then will they understand what they're missing out on. Now go ahead with the thumbs down because I honestly do not care. I love Apple, always have and always will.

      gerhard.nel - 2012-09-13 15:03

      Tell your father to try Kies Air. It is already on his Galaxy S3. Syncing done.

  • Pulverturm - 2012-09-13 09:54

    I know someone who has a Galaxy S3 and an iPhone 4s and he still prefers his iPhone and says it has a better battery life...

  • ppeace.maker.7 - 2012-09-13 10:24

    Guys you can debate the specs all you want. I actually expected a bit of WOW form the new Apple i5 launch but didnt get it. Android offers so much more customizabity than apple. The entire experience is something else and we havent even seen Jellybean yet. Ive had all smartphones from back in the day but im Loving my Samsung and Android phone the most!

  • karel.botha.18 - 2012-09-13 10:29

    Glad i got the s3 months ago. personally the s3 still looks the better phone for me!

  • ditantane.kganakga - 2012-09-13 10:41

  • ethanhawk385 - 2012-09-13 11:14

    Can anyone out there please tell me how to buy music in South Africa from the itunes store legally before I buy a iphone ????????

      Tony Lapson - 2012-09-13 11:20

      Credit card details attached to user account. Then download Freely and cry about the bill later.

      pereira.artur - 2012-09-13 11:22

      apparently, full iTunes will be launched in South Africa soon, but you could always have a US iTunes account and then you can download what ever you want

      ethanhawk385 - 2012-09-13 11:28

      Tony, tried it they don't sell music to South Africa.

      bashin.monyela - 2012-09-13 15:32

      Very strange because, some S.A rappers have their music up for download on itunes

      Tony Lapson - 2012-09-13 17:28

      You can create an American account by changing the country under Settings>AppStore.

  • justin.coetzee.5 - 2012-09-13 11:32

    LTE anyone? Samsung are going to have a field-day suing Apple over this.

  • luke.gray.549668 - 2012-09-13 11:33

    I wonder if Apple's ethos of design & innovation has been buried with Steve?

  • bashin.monyela - 2012-09-13 15:35

    S3 all ma'fuggin day, iphone can choke on som'

  • capsloc - 2012-09-13 17:54

    This is going to give the Lumia 920 a great run to grow WP8's market share. If you compare side by side what the iPhone 5 and the Lumia 920 have, 920 is the winner. Now we just have to wait and see the full features of WP8 in MS' event coming up that will fully showcase the new OS.

  • tatsee - 2012-09-13 22:37

    Cmon Lumia,go for it,this is your last chance to come back!

  • leaproach.thekeeper - 2012-09-14 06:42

    I have an iPhone4 and it is one befookte machine. The upgrade must be AWESOME.

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