A day before the iPhone 4S announcement, I finally gave my own prediction on what would be released. I was expecting to be disappointed, and I’m sad to say, I was right. (Check here if you don’t believe me.) But, let’s be realistic, what was the difference between the iPhone 5 that was rumored and the 4S which was eventually launched? I say, not a huge deal.
Now, before I begin, let me start by saying that I was all up for having a redesigned form factor. In fact, I’ve hated the iPhone 4’s sharp corners and flat back ever since it was launched. So please don’t misunderstand this post as being a fanboy trying to make the iPhone 4S look better than it is. I’m not, I’m just looking realistically at the rumored iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S.
The leaked cases pointed to a larger device which was thinner, wider and had a 4″ display. A boxful of cases allegedly arrived at an AT&T store sometime last week showing the same changes in design. Obviously, the 4″ display is what would have caused the device to change dimensions. The new shape design was supposedly to cancel out the effects of “antennagate” symptoms. The external appearance is the only thing stopping people from believing it’s a smartphone that can take on the SuperUltraAndroid monsters. Surely it’s the overall user experience that really matters and not just how big it is?
iPhone 5 was rumored to have the same A5 processor, the same 8MP camera and be a “world phone”, compatible with both GSM and CDMA networks. So, it seems now – in people’s minds – that a larger display means a better device. To me, this is ludicrous logic. However great it would have been for gamers and users who consume large quantities of visual media, for the average Joe the 3.5″ Retina display is perfectly fine. With a pixel density of around 330ppi, it’s still the sharpest display out there.
Think, if you will, of other markets. Take a PC/Mac for example, is it better if it has a larger display? No. Is a TV better if it’s bigger? No. Why? Because “better” is a subjective term. I don’t need a handset with a 4″+ display, just like I don’t need a 3D-equipped 40″ LED TV. Apple knows its market, and it knows the iPhone 4S will sell. The problem with us tech-heads is that we got so excited by all the fantastic and amazing rumors about the iPhone 5 that we almost forgot who we’re dealing with. Apple does what it wants to do, and isn’t afraid of sticking with the same form factor. It’s us that have become entangled in the “bigger is better” mindset.
There were other rumors floating around about LTE, 12MP sensor etc. The problem with those was that there were no credible sources or leaks to back them up. Months ago Sony’s chief confirmed it was in talks to have its 8MP cameras in the next iPhone. LTE was also never an option in my mind. Globally it’s still a very young technology, and it would undoubtedly cause any device to become a little bit chunky. “Too many design compromises” meant Apple would never entertain LTE, not this year.
The iPhone 4S, in my mind, proves a lot of people wrong. Apple is not intimidated by its competition. The designers won’t create a 4″ behemoth just because Sammy and HTC do. If the iPhone 5 had been released as expected, with it’s 4″ display and new design, it would not have performed any better than the iPhone 4S. It would give the same overall experience, it would just look different. So, what I’m saying is: if you’re disappointed about the 4S (and I was), you’re essentially saying that having a different form factor makes a device better.
I don’t mind admitting it. I am disappointed, and I wanted a new form factor. But at the same time, I don’t think the 4S is as much of a let down as think it is. It’s essentially the rumored iPhone 5 in an iPhone 4 body. It can’t be that bad can it? Maybe I’m just in denial, but to me, my argument is logical. What do you think? Is the disappointment with the 4S just a reaction to having the same form factor? Are you just bored with the look and feel of the iPhone 4?
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