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iPhone 5 doesn’t have that revolutionary feel

iPhone 5 doesn’t have that revolutionary feel (credit: Annette Ko/) iPhone 5 doesn’t have that revolutionary feel (credit: Annette Ko/)
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Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook recently took the stage in San Francisco, Calif., to announce the tech giant’s latest and greatest in handheld technology. Standing before a crowded room of tech enthusiasts, Cook discussed the release of a variety of new Apple products, including a redesigned iPod Touch, iPod Nano, and a device the world has been anticipating since 2010: the iPhone 5.

Although Cook followed tradition by unveiling the company’s latest smartphone at an annual press conference, he failed to meet the audience’s expectations for a device that stands to change the game of the smartphone world. Despite a variety of improvements over Apple’s earlier iPhone models, the iPhone 5 fails to impress on the same level as previous devices — yes, even the iPhone 4S.

I must admit the iPhone 5’s improvements over the 4S are vast: 4G LTE data speeds, a 4-inch screen, a thinner design, an improved charging port, revamped headphones, and a faster processor, to name a few.

But where is the “wow” factor that usually accompanies an iPhone unveiling? Where’s the new feature that sets the iPhone apart from its competitors and older siblings?

The original iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry. The iPhone 3G made faster speeds mainstream and established the concept of an App Store. The 3GS even introduced an improved camera and beefier processor which, at the time, was enough to impress. The iPhone 4 welcomed FaceTime, a high resolution retina display, and a new hardware design. The 4S came equipped with sassy voice-assistant Siri.

No other phone had these features at the time of its release, effectively setting these iPhone models apart from the competition.

Now the tables have turned. Apple is no longer the leader in innovation, as evidenced from the iPhone 5’s announcement. None of the major features introduced by Apple at the conference are unique to the iPhone 5, and many of the features have already been integrated by other tech companies.

What about 4G LTE speeds? They’ve been around so long — since 2010 — that they have become standard among smartphones.

What about the bigger 4-inch screen? Been there, done that. With phones like the Samsung Galaxy S III, which boasts a 4.8-inch screen, the iPhone 5’s screen doesn’t seem so big.

But what about the new design? Take a look at the iPhone 4 and then ask yourself again how new the design is.

The release of the iPhone 5 is even more disappointing when one considers what could have been included beneath the shiny metal covering.

With all the talk regarding near field communication (NFC), a technology that allows data transferring such as ticket or credit card payments through a smartphone, Apple had the chance to make an established but underdeveloped technology an industry standard.

Not only would the inclusion of an easy-to-use version of NFC have set the iPhone 5 apart from other smartphones, it would have changed the way society handles store purchases.

Let’s face it: Apple is playing catch-up. In a world where it was once the leader, Apple has fallen behind the pack — or at least into the middle of a class of high-end smartphones. The latest iteration of the iPhone serves the sole purpose of adding necessary upgrades to a device that will sell record numbers because of its loyal fanbase and reputation, not because of innovative features.

That said, my preordered iPhone is set to ship soon and you can bet I’m counting down the seconds until it arrives.