Reflecting on the iPhone 5: what were the omissions?

David Phelan stands back from last night's launch hype and ponders the carping

It’s tough being Apple. Sure, you’re the most valuable company in the world, and, yes, nearly all your products sell out, but how annoying must it be when, after every presentation, Twitter is ablaze with people carping about how disappointed they are with the new iPad/iPhone/iPod?

This was the experience last night when there were complaints that it looked too much like last year’s model, or that it wasn’t unexpected enough (though, to be fair, so many roughly-correct images had leaked on to the internet, it was hard to have the element of surprise).

There were grievances that it didn’t feature NFC, the contactless data transfer system familiar to Oyster card users in London and door-entry ID card users around the world.

Ultimately, many users would always have been disappointed with the announced phone, unless perhaps it had an anti-gravitational device built in. Which would be nice.

But Apple’s resolute silence about future products works both ways. The company is mad about confidentiality (it could teach North Korea a thing or two about keeping things secret) but while this means the anticipation can build of its own accord, it means that it’s hard for Apple to steer people away from wrong expectations – like NFC.

Actually, what’s more interesting is that the NFC bandwagon, which really hasn’t taken off, is probably stalled for another year. It first appeared on the Google Nexus S, and the phone came and went without a single mainstream application for it.

BlackBerry has big plans for the technology, Sony, Samsung, HTC and Nokia put it in their flagship handsets, but still there are few practical uses for it so far. Apple’s decision not to include it may have been for space reasons in the thinnest smartphone in the world, or it may be it just didn’t think that NFC is important.

After all, it has PassBook which will work in a similar way to some NFC functions – and it seems likely there will be support from stores with loyalty cards, airlines and ticket sellers to create a digital wallet without the need for NFC.

What were the other omissions? With many smartphones available in lots of colours, maybe Apple could venture into new shades? I’ve personally been pushing for a discreet limited edition midnight blue, but to no avail. Still, the arrival of beautifully colourful iPod touch and nano models opens the way for some iPhone colours. One day.

The iOS still doesn’t have widgets or dynamic tiles. This is true, the app icons don’t change as they do in Android or Windows Phone. Actually, there’s one exception to that – the Calendar app icon changes on a daily basis. Apple’s iOS is older than rival smartphone software, so it could justifiably be looking a bit old. And maybe that will change one year. But one of the reasons people upgrade from one iPhone to another iPhone is that the OS is reassuringly familiar, there isn’t a whole new set-up to learn. Windows Phone is hoping that when Windows 8 launches it will make its distinctive system more appealing. For now, though, iOS with it’s 700,000 apps, has plenty of life left in it.

Last week Nokia launched two phones capable of wireless charging. Apple has no interest in this, though it did change the connector – a move nobody would have been clamouring for and which doubtless made speaker dock manufacturers around the world facepalm at their now-incompatible products. Not all of them, of course. Speakers with AirPlay were okay, as were those with Bluetooth built in, like the excellent Jawbone Big Jambox, for instance.

I mean, this change was going to happen sooner or later and was always going to be an upheaval. But the smaller dock is better and there’s no faffing around getting the cable the right way up any more.

Last year, the tickbox of demands from Apple fans included a better camera, faster processor, better signal strength. Apple delivered all of them but the first reaction to the iPhone 4S was utter disappointment, mostly because the design hadn’t changed and it wasn’t called the iPhone 5. Even so, it went on to sell more handsets than all previous iPhones combined.

Last night’s disappointment was much less pronounced, and when punters get to feel it in their hands, it may turn their uncertainty into desire. Whatever, it’s still likely to be the biggest-selling iPhone yet.

News
peopleActress speaks out against historic sexual assault claims, saying things have 'gone quite far now'

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
tvReview: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
VIDEO
Life & Style
Guests enjoy food and cocktail parings by Chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jimmy Bannos Jr, Daniel Rose and Mindy Segal with mixologists Josh King and Alex Gara at Bounty & Barrel: A Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Dinner Series at Heaven on Seven on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.
news Sprinkle Palcohol 'on almost any dish' for 'an extra kick' firm says...
Arts & Entertainment
Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who lived into adulthood, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre.
arts + ents "Reader, they doodled her".

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Arts & Entertainment
Oxegen in Ireland has been axed as promoters decide it is 'no longer viable'
arts + ents Promoters have axed the event as it is 'no longer viable in current form'
News
The troubled star is set to give fans the biggest insight into her life away from the headlines
people Star made the announcement during the final episode of the programme, entitled Lindsay
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    C# .NET Developer (SQL, Algorithms, Data Algorithms, Artificial

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Develo...

    C# CTRM Commodities Developer (C#, MVC, SQL, ASP.NET, JavaScrip

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# CTRM ...

    Development Manager (PHP, MySQL, Agile, SCRUM)

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Developm...

    Lead Landscape Architect

    Competitive DOE: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green R...

    Day In a Page

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

    The man who could have been champion of the world

    Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
    Didn’t she do well?

    Didn’t she do well?

    Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

    In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
    Before they were famous

    Before they were famous

    Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

    Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

    Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players