The iPhone 5 Isn't The iPhone For The Masses

Now that we know exactly what's in the iPhone 5, we can say this out loud: it isn't the iPhone for the masses like the iPhone 4 was. It's not the phone you're going to whip out at parties and wow the room with, nor is it the one you can give to your parents and blow them away with all the new shiny tech. So who is it for?

Here's what the spec sheet will likely say when it goes on sale in telco stores around the country: 4G speeds, 8 megapixel camera, larger screen, fast processor. Bar the screen and the networking, that's pretty much what the last price tag said, which isn't going to have people throwing money at Apple Stores.

When you run down the changes in the actual hardware, though, it's far more impressive. The iPhone 5 is much thinner, much lighter and holds a shrunk-down A6 Cortex processor, the same 8-megapixel camera optics from the 4S (with some shiny improvements, a bigger battery, a 4G/LTE antenna and a bigger screen. It does all this while maintaining an 8-hour battery life during 4G browsing, and a 225-hour standby time.

Looking at the hardware in detail and understanding it makes it an impressive phone, but when you do a brief overview of the headline features, it's boring and same-ish.

The iPhone 5 then is the phone for the engineers.

The tinkerers. The gadget faithful. The ones who know just how hard it is to squeeze that much into such a small amount of space. The ones who love seeing the nerd porn that is the iPhone 5 with its back cover off.

Truth be told, the engineers is who Apple needs to win back. They've been busy all this time tinkering with their Android handsets. Now with this nifty new piece of hardware might they start taking notice.

Check out the official video to see this engineering porn in action.

More: The iPhone 5 - Everything You Need To Know



    i know... but I will still get one.. Selling my 3GS and iPhone 4 on ebay now..

      You'll have to hurry up then. I checked eBay for how much my iPhone 4 would sell for. Apple sells for $450. eBay average: $400 and down to $340.
      Put mine up last an offer of 430. Not bad ay?

    Something doesn't stack up here with the specs of the battery.... how can it be a "bigger" or "better" battery, when you compare it to the iPhone 4 in terms of standby time? What it says to me is that whilst my phone is idly sitting there (as it does for a good percentage of the day) it's going to chew through that standby time much faster than my current iPhone 4 is.

      Well, you're obviously not scaling the specs that the i5 actually runs at. the 4 is incomparable when it comes to the hardware in the i5. I could understand your reasoning with a 4S but a 4... come on, appreciate whats been accomplished and acknowledge the fact that it is a quality phone.

      To be fair, they are comparing the specs to the iPhone 4S which has a standby time of 200 hours. They somehow improved wifi usage from 9 to 10 hours going from the 4S to the 5.
      Regardless of that, talktime and browsing time on the 5 is much better than the 4 anyway (8hrs/8hrs compared to 7/6)

    200+ hours on standby?
    what sorcery is that?

    my 4 barely hold a charge for 48 hours on standby

      If you have no sim card in it so it isn't searching for network, no programs running at all and ensure the screen is turned off the entire time....

      You might get half what they claim.....

        Funny, I did that with my old 3GS, damn thing was in standby for like 2 month, probably even more.

          I call bullshit on that. 2 months is 1440 hours.

          My old iPhone 3 without a registered sim card lasted slightly over a week. About 9 days. 216 hours

            Why Gus? Why ?

      My Dad went overseas and left his iphone 4 on his kitchen table, it had 35% battery left on it after a week of standby.

    I think the best standby life I ever got was the Nokia 3310 at close to 100 hours. I'm lucky to get 48 on my 4s. 225 maybe if you didnt touch it and had airplane mode on the entire time.
    I want real world numbers dammit

      That is a real world standby number though. you just never have the phone on standby long enough to appreciate it though :P

    " isn’t going to have people throwing money at Apple Stores"

    Yes, it will. People love to throw money at apple, apple could sell a cardboard box and people would be lining up for days to be the 'first'...

      adding to what you said, people are more so getting their cards out to Swype it on that thing the Apple store employees have for payment.

    Can't easily tinker with it if its a locked walled garden.

      gee um.. jailbreak your phone dumbass


        umm..void ur warranty ya tool

          umm... restore your back up jacktool

            Pffff.... see below (DeeGee's comment)

    I disagree that it is for the engineers.
    I am an engineer and thats why I like the flexibility of running custom roms etc on my android phone.
    Engineers may see it and be impressed that Apple did well, but because we cant play with it ourselves we might not want to buy it.
    I think its for people into the asthetics. It looks cool, its slimmer, its newest and most powerful.

      As an engineer I totally agree.

        as a frog, I eat flies

      As an engineer myself, I write code all day long and have zero patience for messing around 'tinkering' with custom ROMs and jailbreaking after hours. In fact, even the mere mention of these words makes me feel slightly ill. I propose that its the failed engineers that love the jailbreaking and what not because it gives them a sense that they are still involved in hardcore geekery.

    "Truth be told, the engineers is who Apple needs to win back. They’ve been busy all this time tinkering with their Android handsets. Now with this nifty new piece of hardware might they start taking notice."

    What Android "engineer" is going to leave their Android handset which allows the tinkering to buy an iPhone which doesn't allow any form of customisation?

    Those people are lost forever.

      Those people aren't worth the money that excluding them makes...

        (not a criticism! Just a justification which might appease anyone wondering the same.)

    After "years" of bagging Android for being techy you now state that the iphone needs to be the same???

    try selling that to shareholders...
    Tim Cook: "behold the new iphone 5, it's not for the masses, but infact, it's for the phone engineers and tinkerers and the gadget faithful who love seeing the nerd porn that is the iPhone 5 with its back cover off."

    what rubbish....

    it's the same thing... but taller!

    what Apple should really do is start to segment their current market share and develop iphones for different minded customers, ages groups etc etc...

      Real products sell, not vapourwear. Apple talk the talk and walk the walk. The same thing? Your hatred is that blinding? If Apple products didn't deliver, nobody would buy them, period. You may call people sheep, but if they hated the product they wouldn't return. As much as you'd like to think its rubbish, 10 million sales in 2 weeks will prove you totally wrong. Five years in the smart phone market and not one failure. At record stock prices I think the shareholders are more than happy buddy. No amount of fandroid hatred towards Apple will halt the success of this or any other well designed product. Only a puerile mind believes the dumb anti Apple rants. Just leave people be and let them buy what they want and stop pushing your fandroid inferiority complex on an Apple headline. I'm sure you're happy with your fragment POS, so let other do the same. Ok.

        ("Dont be a fanboy....blah're just a biased fanboy...blah blah...")
        ..." your fragment POS, so let other do the same. Ok."

          I run an Android myself, but I can see that iOS is a perfectly well designed OS. While I think that the HOXL suits my needs more, it's just a matter of preference. Please avoid hating on the Android users though.

    Sorry I don't see how this phone is for the tinkerers. For that people will still stick with Android. Maybe the gamers, or media freaks.

    Luke, you are a good editor but I completely disagree with this article. The iPhone 5 is for the people who like the iPhone. It is the biggest and best iPhone available.

    I honestly think Apple care very little about bullet point spec comparisons with their competition. They care about creating an ecosystem that people don't want to leave, and then bringing out a flagship phone for that ecosystem once a year.

    They list the specs to say "Don't buy an old iPhone! The new one is better!"

    Apple is selling a package, and sure the hardware needs to be competitive, but Apple never compete on hardware online. I think that is a uniquely Apple position to be fighting from. Samsung can't make Android the hero because 90% of their Android is the same as everybody else's Android.

      +1 I completely agree with your point of view

        "because 90% of their Android is the same as everybody else’s Android."
        A recent court case just said otherwise though D:

        But yes you are spot on - theyre not into the spec / feature rat race.

      So, Apple are the EA Games of the tech world.......same product year in, year out, just a little better each year

        I would say EA are the Apple of Video games. Apple have been doing it for longer...

    I agree that Apple needs to win over the engineer crowd again. And with this new phone - They very well could do that. It's impressive mechanically. Problem is, like you said, it's too same-y.

    The mass market that's going to give Apple the kind of financial pull they want from this release, isn't filled with engineers. It's filled with regular, every day people. People who have no idea what a significant improvement this new processor is over the 4S's A5. Most of them won't notice the speed increase or what kind of load it can handle, because they won't be throwing much at the phone at all. They won't be able to see the clarity difference in the phone's photographs due to it's revamped camera module because the last one's already sufficed (in your average users' eyes) and the new output isn't a big enough improvement for the regular Joe to notice. The phone is thinner, yes, but unless that was pointed out to you on a spec sheet, could you really tell the difference by looking at it with the naked eye? Or feel the difference while it was being used?

    The average consumer is what makes Apple as profitable as they are. I know this phone will sell like crazy - It will most likely outsell every iPhone before it. Now that's a great thing for Apple, but we as tech-heads suffer a bit. The tech world wants something more. If Apple knows their product is going to sell (and you can be damn sure they do) with minimal upgrades to the framework of their poster child device, what's prompting them to REALLY bring something new to the market again?

    Apple consumers aren't demanding enough innovation anymore. They've become so accustom to expect it that when it doesn't happen (2 devices consecutively, now) they're none-the-wiser. They overlook what is truly innovative to the market versus just what's innovative in comparison to their previous devices.

    I think Apple could use a kick to the wallet so they bring something a little better than this to the table, next year.

    But that's just my opinion.

      Bringing out a device with a much faster processor that 10's of millions of users (that are willing to pay for apps) will purchase is all the excitement I need as a developer and engineer :)

        So from that stand point, it's good enough. Millions of users mean a giant outlet for engineer's and developers. A faster processor means more stability and bigger loads that can be managed. That's all well and fine. But some part of you has to agree that a faster processor should be standard by now.

        NOT a "feature"

          I think when we are in the part of the curve thats '2x' faster its still a feature.

    The concept of someone "whipping out their phone at a party to wow the room" says a fair bit about how detached gizmodo is from reality..

      that made me laugh
      i can imagine the kind of smug d-bag who would do that

    I disagree with this. Engineers will continue to use Android due to its open and customisable nature, and will continue to steer clear of iOS devices. I can't see a compelling reason why they would want to dabble with this, I really can't.

      I think there needs to be a very strong distinction here between 'tinkerer' and 'gadget lovers' and engineers.

        +1 to many people called them selves geeks when there not, wow you like gadgets that in no way makes you a geek.

          Sorry - is there a certification that we have to get from a geek-governing body somewhere?

        I am all three ;) but i see your point, and agree with Michael on this. Apple would never gain me as a customer, I love to tinker with my phone, I love to customise every possible aspect and play with custom roms to get it running the best it possibly can and I am not overly fussed if a game or app is not available on android that is all the rage on android; I would say I am the type of person Apple would need to woo to expand their market share and that's hardly likely to happen.

      I whip out something else at parties to wow the bishes... my Mensa card ;).

    Never trust an engineer who uses an iPhone.

      My Dad is an Engineer who uses an iPhone.....
      Next time I see him: ಠ_ಠ

    Well Luke, I get what you are saying and I think it is reasonably accurate. That said, I also believe that it doesn't matter, that none of the Applytes who will line up around the block to get one really care whether or not it is any good, they just want to be first with the latest and they will delude themselves into believing it is everything they wanted it to be, whether it is or not.

    The other question you need to ask is how much better does it need to be? No-one else has exactly laid 'em in the aisles with their latest phones - Galaxy S3, Lumia 920, RAZR HD, OneXL, etc. are all just incrementally better than the models they usurp at the top of their manufacturer's spec sheets. The other thing here, too, is that I think the vast majority of us are, for the most part, happy with the phones we have today. If someone came out with a phone that was twice as fast, with twice the ppi, twice the memory and double everything else, it wouldn't tempt me to upgrade because I don't feel that my current phone is lacking in any area. I suppose that is why a lot of users put such emphasis on the number of apps available, because the phones themselves are all well up to our expectations.

    I think we are at a point now where we are all just waiting for the next big thing. For me, I think it will be flexible screens but maybe there is other stuff out there that is almost ready to lead the next revolution, who knows? Meanwhile, I think these incremental updates are what we are going to get from most vendors. In the near term, Windows 8 is going to make the PC market much more interesting, I think.

      Hahah- when you said PPI i thought it was Price Per Inch. That would be an interesting metric.

      I think you'll find the Lumia 920 is more than just an incremental update from the 900. WP7 > WP8, Single Core > Dual Core, Normal Res Screen > High Res Screen that also works with gloves, keys, pretty much anything, Normal Camera (dunno specifics) > Pureview Camera with remarkable OIS (questionable how remarkable, need to see reviews), No Wireless Charging > Wireless Charging. I don't know if the 900 had NFC, but the 920 does. There's no cyan 920 though >:(
      Sure, Nokia may have been playing catch up with the 920, but they seem to have surpassed their competitors in certain aspects, whereas the new iPhone is still a little bit behind.
      Also, thinness does not necessarily equal greatness. It's about how it feels in your hand. I like to be able to hold my phone without fear of dropping it.

        You are saying this to MotorMouth, grand ruler of microsoft fans. i'm sure they are well aware of the 920's features.

        I agree with MotorMouth though, what should we expect? the next big thing is probably in the works, but non of the tech is really mature enough yet. two thing's i'd love to see in the next iphone are full waterproofiness a la the motorola razr somethingorother and nfc. neither ground breaking features, but nfc would jumpstart the nfc industry in a way that only apple could.

    I'm going to sell my family to buy one

      I wish I had a family :(
      ........Then I could sell them for cool gear! :D

    Interesting point - but i dont think engineers or even tinkerers are what theyre after in this release. It just happened to be a lacklustre upgrade in terms of "WOW" factors and Pazzazzz or whatever.
    But it doesnt mean that theyre going after the tech literate/enthusiast crowd - from what i can tell they seem to go after the juiciest parts of the market. The big spenders and what not. And engineers and gamers alike - are probably one of the worst kinds of customer ever. We - yes 'we' - b**** and moan about almost everything. Nothing is ever enough (DAMN STRAIGHT). We preach and believe in things which goes against 'sane' business practice/sense. And truth be told - we're kind of a penny pincher as well.
    So why in the name of seven gods and the old gods of the old men would they even think of us as a 'primary' target if ever :D We are - terrible people.

    Damn iPhone 5 wife and I are arguing already about when she can buy one

    I think not. People said the same thing or worse about the 4S, but it sold like hotcakes. Let's revisit your opinion at the end of September to see how many squillion they've sold. Neckbeards are not often seen on iPhone users, and engineers are the least likely to realise that it's not about the specs. If you accept it's about usability, Apple's success is very easy to accept.

      Engineers are probably the most pragmatic people I know; more likely to realise that phone choice is not just about specs and less-than-useful features (Siri, S-Voice, Eye tracking etc.)

    Nothing wrong with this phone at all! Especially when compared to the fragile and crappy 4 and 4s. If this was released last year I probably would of upgraded my 3Gs, but I sure as hell wasn't doing it for the last two phones.

      You make a comment about fragility, and I had a concern about this phone in that it's thinner, and combines the touch and display modules into one: could this mean a far more expensive repair, should one of these things break?

    I wonder without the push for nfc payments from Apple if Google will actually make Google wallet available for Australia. Sick of being second best in this country with increased cost of technology cause of our location and lack of technology adaption I.e no businesses listings for siri in Australia, no Google wallet, lack of visa pay pass/ MasterCard pay wave tellers.

    The unclosed parentheses is killing me...

      are*. Sorry, it was killing me. ;)

    Spec bumps? They're not even trying now. Can anyone really say that the 4 or 4S were too thick or not fast enough? Or that the camera was crap? Do something amazing or don't release a new phone.

Join the discussion!