March 11, 2013
Applesauce: All Things Apple – March 11, 2013
It’s been a slow week out there for Apple news. The majority of what we heard this week is utter speculation, rumors and the like. Apple in talks with Ferrari. Swatch’s CEO says an Apple watch won’t be all it’s cracked up to be. The iPhone 5S may come in August. Looks like Andy Ihnatko picked a hell of a week to announce that he switched to Android.
There is a seemingly interesting storm a’brewing in the smartphone rumor mills these days.
Rene Ritchie of iMore.com, a guy who knows his stuff, said this week that Apple will ship an iPhone 5S this August. He also mentioned a new iPad and iPad mini slated for April, but let’s focus on the iPhone right now.
The 5S, just like every other “S” to go before it, will have the same design, new processor and better camera and….that’s about it. Separately, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will make use of one of their recent acquisitions to implement a wacky fingerprint scanner in the home button.
Sounds a little too much like an Android commercial for Verizon, if you ask me. Point is, the “S” models have so far suited. They keep in line with the two-year contracts of American digital living. It doesn’t matter at which point you entered into the iPhone game, in two years, you’re going to have a much better phone than the one in your pocket. The distance between an iPhone 4 and 4S might not be vast, but the distance between a 3GS and a 4S certainly is.
At the risk of discrediting the “S” releases, (because they really are significant updates in their own rites) an iPhone 5S might be all the room Android and Samsung needs to overtake Apple.
At this point, an iPhone 5S with A7 processor and, for giggles, a 13-megapixel camera would be a fine phone. This would be especially so if the A7 happened to be a quad-core processor. It would be beautiful, solidly built, and run a rock-steady OS.
Yet, compared to some of the other Android super phones which have been or will be released, (I’m looking at you, HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S IV) an iPhone 5S could get lost in the noise. It’s now a tradition to bash the new iPhone before it ever ships; but barring a surprise, the iPhone 5S could be worthy of such dismissal.
Ritchie believes Apple has another trick up their sleeve, however; iOS 7.
Last week I stepped back into the safety and warmth of a stock iPhone experience, leaving the Jailbreaking world behind me. I had grown tired of the multiple and daily resets and restarts just to make my phone operational. When my Phone icon mysteriously disappeared and the phone tried to send every text message as an iMessage, I gave up and came back home.
But I certainly miss some of the tweaks I had set up. From Auxo to Zephyr, my iPhone 5 suddenly felt like a smarter device, something that worked more fluidly, just as I always wanted.
I always thought those who called the double home button application switcher behavior “antiquated” were a bit spoiled. Now I know exactly what they mean. Pressing the home button twice feels like I’m trying to multitask with a rotary phone.
iOS has come under a fair amount of criticism over the past two years for being an outdated operating system. It’s solid and fairly capable, but at times it doesn’t feel like it’s matured with the rest of modern technology. In 2007, and even 2010, we praised iOS by saying “Everything is only a few taps away!” These days, a few taps is about two taps too many. Drilling down into apps can be a tedious chore, and having to do any sort of work between two apps is often frustrating.
Here’s the point:
As stated before, an iPhone 5S won’t be a slouch. Hell, even the iPhone 4S is still a great phone.
But nothing will make the iPhone 5S feel like “just another S release” like a slightly improved iOS.
Ritchie isn’t generous with specifics about what iOS 7 may hold. He suggests a stronger push towards the cloud, a way to bring data and controls to the front, and even tighter device to device integration.
‘iOS 6 was prep work, a way for Apple to get Google off their platform, fully outsource social, and better approach China,” writes Ritchie at iMore.com.
“It prepared Apple for the future, but it didn’t take them there. Likewise, iOS 5 introduced iCloud and Siri, but to this day Apple’s online services are still unreliable, with the potential of tomorrow but mired in the problems of yesterday.”
Ritchie isn’t claiming to have any inside knowledge about the next iteration of iOS, but he’s a smart man, and I have to agree with him.
There’s nothing inherently flawed about releasing phones on a tick tock schedule, but the clock is running out on Apple. Android and Samsung have caught up (Andy Ihnatko thinks they’ve surpassed Apple) and this is not the year to release a simple upgrade.
And even another S phone
There could be more than one S phone to launch this year.
This time next week, we’ll have an even better picture of the Samsung Galaxy S IV. Interestingly enough, it looks like Samsung might also be taking Apple’s tick-tock approach, focusing more on software with this iteration rather than producing mind blowing hardware.
Let me rephrase that.
Two Samsung employees, one named and one unnamed, have said the next Galaxy will be all about software. The rumor mill, on the other hand, is expecting the second coming, replete with an even larger screen, quad-core processor, and a 13-megapixel screen.
The New York Times ran a story last weekend about a new piece of technology said to ship with the next Galaxy called Smart Scroll.
Smart Scroll uses the front camera on the Galaxy S IV to stare deep into your soul and follow your eyes. When you reach the end of what you’re reading on the screen, it will scroll to the next section. If that’s not creepy, I’m not entirely sure I understand the proper definition of the word.
This could be only one of Sammy’s software improvements.
But let’s take a step back…
According to these two Samsung employees who spoke with Chen, the hardware isn’t where the party will be.
It’s the software.
Samsung could release an “S” phone with little to no hardware changes and some internal software tweaks.
I think I’ve heard of other companies doing that before.
The “S” name is purely coincidental, I’m sure.
Yet it is interesting to see how companies take different pages from Apple’s book. Samsung is a huge competitor. If they decide to work on an S model, tick-tock time frame, then perhaps the technological world isn’t moving as quickly as those who claim Apple has lost its ability to innovate are saying.
Image Credit: Photos.com