The iPhone 5: What’s Missing

Not much new or unexpected in the latest guaranteed winner from Big Red, but what’s still missing might be notable. On the other hand, maybe it’s time at last to think more about Layer 7 and less about toys.

I didn't write a specific analysis of the iPhone 5 announcement partially because everyone else did, and partially because there really wasn't anything there that was notably new and unexpected. You can read my column on how innovation is slowing here, but, suffice it to say for now that Apple will sell zillions of these because it's a great upgrade for people whose two-year carrier contracts are up. And the iPhone installed base is now huge. For the record, I will almost certainly trade in my Galaxy S I for one of these, but I will also get a Galaxy S III just to be on the safe side. And shared data plans, after all, demand sharing.

But I did find an interesting piece at Yahoo Finance, of all places (Yahoo remains a terrible service provider, but an excellent source of information thanks to new partnerships with the likes of CNBC), that discusses some of the obvious features missing from the iPhone 5. I don't agree with everything listed, but a few - NFC, USB (as opposed to the proprietary Lightning that replaces the larger proprietary connector) and perhaps something like Swype - most people can agree would be nice. I think some form of removable storage and a removable battery would be big plusses, but disposal of a removable battery is an environmental concern, and the cloud is now the place to store and share your stuff, not a local SD card (assuming one's data plan is sufficient, of course; don't get me started again on this one, I'm warning you...). Of course, what one wants is usually going to be a function of what one needs. A 128 GB model might be great if you really need to carry a lot of movies with you, but then there's that battery-life issue again...

Anyway, the days of radical innovation in handsets may be over, and, if you click the first link above, you can see why I think that's a good thing. It's time, I believe, to focus more on applications, accessing and managing information, and getting our jobs done and our lives organized and productive, and less on cool new gadgets - the reasons (beyond self-actualization, of course) that we presumably buy these gadgets in the first place.

BTW, I've taken to calling Apple "Big Red" as a play on the nickname for IBM, "Big Blue". I'll stop that now. Not all apples are red, after all.

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