Apple's killer move? Not the iPhone 5

Sure, it's amazing, but don't overlook what the company just decided to do with the iPhone 4.

By Kim Peterson Sep 12, 2012 3:57PM
Credit: 2012 Apple Inc
Caption: Apple iPhone 5Apple (AAPL) announced a new iPhone 5 Wednesday that seemed a tad underwhelming. Oh sure, it has a bigger screen and is 18% thinner and 20% lighter than its predecessor -- very nice improvements.

But overall, the new device seems like more of a refinement than a revolution. Don't get me wrong -- Apple's refinements alone are better than what most companies can do at all -- but I feel a tiny bit let down after years of jaw-dropping debuts from the company. Perhaps investors felt the same way: Apple's share price has largely been flat all day.

Another reason for the letdown is that the rumor mill was pretty much spot on. Nearly everything that was announced was already leaked and thoroughly dissected by the technorati. These are the days when you really miss Steve Jobs, because no matter what Apple came out with, Jobs would have convinced us it was the coolest must-have device of the century.

Instead, what CEO Tim Cook rolled out was beautiful and high quality -- but really not much different from what's already out there (or what will be coming soon). Check this comparison chart from Mashable. The iPhone 5 is a lot lighter than some of its competitors, but its camera is the same and its battery life doesn't hold up.

Consumers now have several feature-rich, elite smartphones to choose from. The iPhone leads the pack in app choices and in cachet, but for the first time, the gap is closing or may have already closed.

Which leads me to believe that the bigger announcement Wednesday -- the killer move on Apple's part -- was to make the iPhone 4 free with a contract. You can quibble all day about whether the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S III is better. But the iPhone 4 is still a great phone, and has just become unequivocally the best free phone out there.

So Google (GOOG) and Samsung should be celebrating a tiny bit Wednesday because Apple didn't mop them up with the iPhone 5. But Android makers competing for the lower end of the market should be crying, because the game has just been significantly changed.

"I'm glad the iPhone 5 is going on sale JUST so the iPhone 4 can go down to a price that I'll be willing to pay," wrote one Twitter user. Apple is betting others will feel the same.

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Sep 12, 2012 5:04PM
Forgive me for not falling out of my chair with excitement.   
Sep 12, 2012 5:07PM

First your comparisons are cherrying picking the categories. Why did you leave out the screen size, 4", which is smaller than any of the competition. Why did you not give the real 8.7mp Pureview camera specifications for the Nokia Lumia 920? Why did you not mention that the iPhone 5 does not have NFC for data sync'ng and Wallet functions that the competitors have? Why didn't you mention the operating systems of each phone? Windows Phone 8 is about 2-3 years ahead of Android or iOS or are you really proud of that 5th row of amazing icons.


Why do you think only Apple will have free with contract pricing? Becasu of theri $100b profits made off of Chinese child labor? No, I think Nokia and Samsung can match that if AT&T and Verizon are serious about 3 ecosystems.


Apple's got some serious competition and I wouldn't wait to be the last to look for an exit if "fire" is yelled in that crowded teather full of bulls.

Sep 12, 2012 6:09PM
Not sure this firecracker will have enough bang this time around.  Nice equipment -- Apple products are always well made. Anyone who buys an iPhone 5 will most likely be happy with it.  However, this time there is much more choice and, dare I say it... some competitors actually have better features and better looking designs.  The iPhone 5 looks like an iPhone 4 stretched out.   It seems Apple just aren't leading the pack anymore, just catching up.  iPhone 5 release may well end up a bit like the Facebook IPO.  Lots of people were excited and the first day seemed to start out ok, but then....  
Sep 12, 2012 8:49PM
I know that I will not upgrade to the 5 for sure now. I googled the lumia 920 that some of you mentioned and it looks to be far and away the better choice. Nothing wrong with my iphone, it's just getting boring.
Sep 12, 2012 7:55PM
iphone 5 is for iphone 4 users.  Most people who switched over to Andriod would probably never go back to iphone.  I'm just saying.
Sep 12, 2012 5:42PM
Yawn, the iPhone has been a inferior product for the last 3 versions. Honestly there is nothing here in the new 5 that is industry shatering. The free 4 and $99 dollar 4S is the biggest news and then you still have a boat anchor for a phone. I promise if you hold out for the Lumia 920 you will be glad you did. At least do yourself a favor, wait till the Lumia 920 is available and give it a look before dropping your hard earned dollars. This is another Apple ploy to scam folks with apple sause for brains out of their hard earned dollars.
Sep 18, 2012 7:06AM

I happen to be a phone tester for a wireless carrier. I have been an IPhone users myself for the past several years, starting with the 2g only phone. I have tested several dozen different phones, even when the first Windows Mobile Phone came out (and boy was that ever a terrible series of phones) and lately I have been testing some very cool Android phones that are coming for Christmas.

Most of my peers and friends use and love the IPhone. I happen to really like the phone as well. It is rock solid, very rare that I have to reboot the device (maybe every 2-3 months just to rule out an issue) a I leave it on all the time and most importantly the apps are very well built and complete. I can't say that about the Android market. Yea, I might be the exception as I need specific apps to work in an enterprise environment, but my point is that they work and are not half **** built like I am finding in the case of the Android market. The bad about the IPhone? Well the battery life does suck, but I fixed that with a Mophie case with battery built in. Makes the phone bigger, but I like that! I can't stand the IPhone naked. I slips out of my hand without it being in the case. I don't get all of you people out there that want smaller phones. That's just stupid! Smaller = less battery performance and less space for antenna efficiency. Remember how well the old Motorola Brick phone worked? Why you might wonder? It had a real antenna! Yes, a 1/2 wave dipole, not some coiled piece of wire shoved somewhere in the phone where most of your face, hands or mouth is already attenuating the signal. And to think you people with the drop call complaints! You just don't get it. I say bring back the brick! LOL Yea, that will never happen. The smaller phones have forced the carriers to make up for the huge RF performance losses by building more towers to compensate for the pathetic effective radiated power your little phones that could have been bought in a bubble gum machine as far as I am concerned.

Ok, enough of that rant! but it felt good cause most of you never knew that fact, and now you do.

Back to the subject of IPhone.. I do have some friends that have been pushing me big time to make the switch to Android, but I keep telling them that Android is just not there yet. But the latest device (sorry can't tell you anything about it as I am under an NDA) is likely going to be the game changer for me. I still say the IPhone is still the leader in stability, and the apps are the best, but the gap is getting closer and even though I will be missing some of the apps I need that work 100% on the iPhone, and maybe 50% on android, the screen, the features, and well let’s just say the cleaver new ideas I have seen in this new phone I am testing is causing me to perhaps rethink the possibility of moving to Android. Sure, it still has lots of bugs, and I find myself rebooting at least once a day, but I am certain as the bugs get worked out it will be one of the finest phones. I will likely have to carry both the IPhone and this android phone around for a while until some of the necessary apps I need to function on the Android gets worked out, but the point is that the gap is getting closer and I believe that more people are likely to jump over eventually.

Finally, I believe that there are two kinds of users out there. One that want stability and functionality with ease (business minded type) that lean towards the IPhone and those that are just looking for a phone with cool features, one that you can play, hack, do all kinds of things, not concerned about stability and patiently waiting for refinements to be made to the android. I am both which makes it difficult for me to jump so quickly.

Sep 13, 2012 9:01PM

You know, I could make the argument that it was underwhelming; in fact, I HAVE made it in my sleep. You don't need to be awake to make it, after-all. However, I'm used to seeing articles like this about most excellent hardware and releases, whether they be from Apple, Asus or Microsoft. To say this is an underwhelming announcement, however, shows almost a complete ignorance of the product itself, and screams that you didn't even watch the keynote. Watch the keynote (and make sure you attend next time), or stop talking, because you're just making a fool of yourself for educated non-authoritarian/herd people to laugh at.

btw, couldn't help but laugh @ 'the camera is the same'. Hurrr, the megapixels are the same durrr, it must be the same camera hurrr. Hilarious.


And to the derp below me whom I just noticed, I like the Lumia 920, I like WP7. I think it's a clean and unique interface, something which MS should be praised for doing, and not just being an iSlut and ripping off iOS' interface. But to say the Lumia 920 is a "better choice" than the iPhone 5, by any streatch of the imagination in terms of capability or any other medium other than looks (looks of course are subjective, so whatever), I have to ask in all fairness: wtf are you smoking? Whatever it is, it's good s**t, and I want some. I'll make sure I sit down and secure myself before taking it, because boy, if someone can make a comment like that, it's potent as f**k.

Sep 13, 2012 9:06PM

I also think it's rather telling of a community who don't just ignore, but down-vote an innocent comment like "Love Apple products". Tells of the balance of haters to fanboys on here; me, I like Apple products, I like Microsoft products, hell, I even like Samsung products (I own an S3 and 46" TV). But to have two thirds of people voting on it to down-vote such an innocent comment like that? Well, the community that hangs around this forum has pretty much lost all objective respect.


btw, I don't hang around these forums; I just by happenstance discovered this page, and gave in to the urge to respond to a few ignorant trolls.

Sep 12, 2012 7:34PM
What the Heck? that is OFF THE HOOK
Sep 12, 2012 4:32PM
I can't justify the prize of this new iphone.  I like the design but not  the phone inselft, But if you really want it and have the money. go for it nothing or no one can tell you what to buy
Sep 12, 2012 6:16PM
Love Apple products.........................................
Sep 12, 2012 5:10PM
You really think because the numbers aren't any "higher" that the phone doesn't have much to offer?  The user interface, operating system, and siri alone are reasons enough to get the iphone 5.  When you buy an iphone, you don't have to go back to the store 8 times to fix your defective piece of crap.
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