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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Front-Office Developer (C#, .NET, Java, AI)

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-Office D...

    C# Software Engineer (ASP.NET, C#, CSS, Java Script, JQuery)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits, Training & Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# S...

    Systems Administrator (SharePoint) - Central London - £36,500

    £35000 - £36500 per annum: Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator (SharePoint) -...

    Derivatives Risk Commodities Business Analyst /Market Risk

    £600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Derivatives Risk Commodities Business A...

    Day In a Page

    Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

    The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
    Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

    Stolen youth

    Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
    Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

    Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

    He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

    Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
    Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

    Made by Versace, designed by her children

    Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
    Anyone for pulled chicken?

    Pulling chicks

    Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
    9 best steam generator irons

    9 best steam generator irons

    To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
    England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

    New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
    ‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

    ‘We knew he was something special’

    Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York