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5 things from the iPhone 5 launch that prove Apple’s lost its mojo

We really didn’t want to have to write this article. We wanted the iPhone 5 launch to be great, and for there to be the same magic there always had been. There wasn’t.

Yesterday Mashable asked whether this would be the last great Apple launch. The answer, as it turned out was a resounding no. It was actually the first really bad Apple launch since Steve Jobs died. Here’s why.

1. The leaks

Seriously, the lead up to this launch was leakier than a rusty sieve. If the tech press had wanted to get a jump on the iPhone 5 launch, they could’ve taken the best from all their rumour pieces and whittled it down from there.

As the man behind the now defunct ‘Fake Steve’ blog Dan Lyons noted, Steve Jobs would probably have been furious at the number of leaks prior to the launch: “I imagine Steve is not happy. First of all, he’d be furious about the leaks. Steve liked surprising people”.

Without that sense of mystery, the iPhone 5 launch event was pretty much a non-event.

2. The new iPod Nano

Anyone who’s only seen the official press pics for the new Nano might find this a little odd. It looks pretty cool right?

But take a look at a hands on with it. It’s hideous. That’s without even getting to the round icons. Round icons? How un-Apple is that? One colleague was physically revolted by it. “The longer I look at it, the angrier I get,” he said “I mean I actually feel insulted.”

Still, at least it comes in more colours than black, sorry charcoal grey.

3. The phone itself

Um, it’s a little bit longer. Really Apple? You spent months in court fighting Samsung and portraying yourself as the world’s only truly innovative company and this is the best you can do? A phone that looks like what would happen if phones were capable of inbreeding?

Once again Lyons puts it best:

Now, having had two years to plot and scheme, Apple’s renowned designer Jonathan Ive has replaced the tiny 3.5in (8.9cm) screen with a slightly-less-tiny 4in (10.2cm) screen? Wow. Knock me over with a feather. What do you do with the rest of your time, Jony?

Author and professor at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program Clay Shirky told The Atlantic that the iPhone 5 “is the apotheosis of this device we would call a phone.”

Porsche designers are more daring, and they’ve been making the same car for 50 years.

4. The presentation

Steve Jobs was a great presenter and one who managed to improve with every new launch. Admittedly that’s a tough act to follow. Still, comparisons are inevitable. Jobs drew the audience in, and made them feel as if he was talking to each of them as individuals. Sure the members of the Apple team that presented yesterday tried pretty hard, but you could’ve replaced them with the head of any other tech giant and not noticed the difference.

The low-point however, was the decision to have Tim Cook kick of the presentation by showing off Apple’s new flagship store in Barcelona. We were all watching for the tech, not a lecture on retail architecture.

That’s about as far as you can get from the skydivers, BMXers and abseilers at Google’s Glass demo.

5. Panorama and the death of real innovation

Given the amount of time Apple spent harping on about the joys of Panorama, which um…lets you take panoramic photos, it’s probably best that it neglected to mention that Android users have been able to do so for years now. The same goes for the new iOS 6 feature that lets you send an SMS to tell people you’re busy. I’m pretty sure I was able to do that on a feature phone I had five years ago.

Even if these features were original, they’re not really innovative. Ultimately they’re gimmicks that won’t change the way we look at smartphones. They’re the anti-climax to what, until now, has been one of the most riveting tech stories ever told.

It’s a little bit sad when you think about it. Apple will still do incredibly well. Its products will sell in massive numbers, but unless something very drastic happens they won’t have that sense of magic.

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More
  • Jack

    you have no idea what you are talking about…. what the hell do you want them to do… they have produced the best device possible that makes the most sense. it is lighter and the right size! this device will sell more than ever and apple will continue to make super profits!
    What on g-ds earth do you expect these people to achieve when they release 1 phone every year!

    best overall device on the market!

  • Leigh

    I concur, we are in an evolutionary age for these product cycles and to expect apple to bring out an entirely new device every year is simple unfair. your expectations are too high. who knows who and when something revolutionary will be released but for now apple has brought a great device to market… to suggest that they have lost their mojo is naive of the the real world!

  • APPLE got LAZY

  • The iPhone 5 is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It’s an amazing phone and yes, probably the best consumer handset ever made. The collective groan you hear around the world, is disappointment — people feel it’s time for a revolution, they long for it, they want to experience 2007 and 2010 all over again. They look to Apple to give them that rush, and it didn’t happen yesterday. Yes, the iPhone 5 will be a major success, yes it’s the best phone Apple — or arguably anyone else — has ever made, but when will they wow the crowd again? Let’s see: 2007 (boom), 2010 (boom)… 2013? Bet on it.

  • Guys, the phone is only part of my point. I don’t doubt the merits of the phone internally, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen Apple fans use that defence for a product’s design. This is, after all, a company that built its success on a brilliant sense of design and aesthetic. When the iPhone first came out it was fun. The iPhone 5 just doesn’t. If you want a phone that’ll take you for a joy ride and then grope your happiness sensors, the Lumia 920 is looking like a much better option right now.

    It’s possible that it’s not as good, but it definitely has more mojo.

  • Xand Venturas

    The point about the screen seems moot to me. They have explicitly stated that the screen is designed so that you can easily reach every part of it with you thumb when using it one-handed. It is also now a 16:9 display, making it perfect for watching movies. also, if they were to make it a huge screen like the S3 of the RAZR, they would just be copying the rest of the smartphone industry that is so accustomed to copying them. Have you tried to use a Galaxy one-handed – impossible. By keeping a smaller screen they are doing what they think is right for their phone, not living up to standards set by impractical AMOLEDS on Samsungs and Motorolas.

  • I’m gutted! I was waiting with real anticipation for the launch of iPhone5 thinking that Apple would once again set the boundaries for smart phone, and keep it at the top of everybody’s wish list! I really can’t see what’s exciting about this latest incarnation, which on the surface looks like they’ve done the same thing as when releasing the 4S – minor tweaks and nothing more! Looks like any creativity Apple had died along with Steve Jobs. I’m really disappointed.
    Apple needed to get Flash working on their OS for starters. Secondly, as a customer, I want something that looks dramatic – iPhone5 looks the same (virtually) as the 4 & 4S. I couldn’t care less about a larger screen as I keep my phone in my trouser pocket, I actually want it to be smaller – I have an iPad if I want bigger! But worst of all is the change to the connection cables as now I have to change all of my accessories if I want one! New carkit, new USB chargers (I imagine), new dock, new stereo! Apple have become a modern day Nokia, and my long term love affair with Apple is on the rocks as a result! Apple would’ve been better off putting their money into attempting to bring Steve Jobs back from the dead than release this joke of a phone!

  • ri3on

    Seems to me…..they’re just now catching up with the Droid RAZR….I expected something new and unseen.

  • I must be honest, I think the only thing the got right was the new screen size. I’ve used a variety of Android handsets and the Nexus S’ 4inch screen size really is the sweet spot. Everything, one handed, easily, of course I love my bigger screen now, but Apple fans needn’t worry about the screen size, they’ve chosen the perfect size for you.

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  • So much for taking Samsung to court.Apple might just be losing a bit of that magic around them that made millions overpay for the wonder products.

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  • “Without that sense of mystery, the iPhone 5 launch event was pretty much a non-event.” Well, if your definition of a non-event is one where the manufacturer sells-out its own internal allocation of the initial production run in an hour, and its vendors sell out in around 12 hours, then I’d really like to see what you consider a non-non-event. The fact is that Tim Cook could have stood on stage, put up a photo of the iPhone 5, and just said, “it’s thinner, lighter, faster, and has a slightly bigger screen. Go buy it starting tomorrow,” and the results would have been the same.

  • Tom, I was never in doubt that the iPhone 5 was going to sell brilliantly. It’s doing so for the same reason Toyota sells millions of Corollas every year. It does everything you need to do on the box, isn’t offensive and no one will hate it.

    I was referring specifically to the event itself when I said it was a non-event. Steve Jobs keynotes were magical. Cook’s presentation was more like some of the internet security talks I’ve been to…and fallen asleep during.

    Again, the article was about ‘mojo’ not Apple’s performance as a company. Big numbers are boring, especially when there isn’t a hint of flash, bang and sizzle in sight.

  • Big numbers aren’t boring for the bottom line. I’ll take profit over mojo any day. ;-)

  • Not one positive mention in a very long write – now that The Man has gone on to better things, the world is waiting for this Co. to go down and you seem to be one of the latter. Why so negative?

  • The iPhone 5 is better then any other device. Disappointing article without any real points

  • Pingback: BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins calls the iPhone ‘old’. Yes, really. | memeburn()

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