As I write this, Tim Cook is demonstrating the iPhone 5. So far it looks just as bad as the iPhone 4S, but 20% lighter and thinner. Oh yes, it has a new Apple A6 CPU this time around, which is apparently faster and less power-hungry, but it still eats batteries at an alarming rate. Apple claims the battery will last 8 hours in 3G or WiFi mode. The Apple A series processors are, of course, ARM cores to Apple’s specification manufactured by Samsung. I haven’t heard anything about that changing.
As smart phones go, the iPhone is a pretty poor offering. Here’s why:
Apple’s iOS is a right mess. It’s built on left-overs from the NeXT, it’s a pain to develop in (who needs another Object-based version of C when we’ve had C++ for ages, and the system libraries are awkward, to say the least). I wouldn’t say Android is brilliant, but it’s got an excuse. This is supposed to be a premium product, yet the software engineering has lost the plot.
You can’t change the battery. This is shameful. Batteries have a limited life, and by fixing the battery in, Apple is limiting the life of the ‘phone, so you’ll need to buy another one each year. You can’t even carry a spare battery with you to help out when it goes flat.
You can’t upgrade the memory. The basic model is 16Gb, with 32Gb costing $100 more and the 64Gb $100 more than that. Flash memory is cheap and plentiful, and Apple is trying it on. Buy a Smartphone with a memory card slot.
The iPhone 4S was a terrible ‘phone. The sound quality was awful. You could always tell when someone was using one. It remains to be seen whether the iPhone 5 is any better, but given Apple could release such a terrible ‘phone last time, why should anyone give them a second chance?
This is definitely another item for the fanbois; those with an interest in conspicuous consumption. Anyone else needing a Smartphone should look elsewhere.