I think Apple should skip the 5S and jump straight to the 6Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Now that summer is well underway and WWDC 2013 has passed, the next big thing we can expect to see from our friends at Apple is the next generation iPhone, which will presumably be announced sometime in September if they continue to follow the same pattern of more recent years. I think we can safely assume that the iPhone 5 will continue the tradition of being followed by a more updated version of the same phone, but in my opinion I think that Apple should release an iPhone 6 rather than an iPhone 5S.
After seeing Apple's efforts in trying to keep the spark in the marriage between iOS and its consumer base, I couldn't help but think that maybe Apple could one-up themselves by releasing a newly designed iPhone along with it. It's out of the ordinary, yeah, but at the same time I think that if you're going to release a refreshed interface with refreshed specifications, it couldn't hurt to throw a refreshed design in there as well. You know, give people the whole package.
The iPhone 5, in my opinion, didn't really show that big of a difference between it and the iPhone 4S. One of my first articles I ever wrote for PhoneDog was talking about the iPhone 5 and that it was nothing but an iPhone 4S that was a little bit taller and made with a different material. It wasn't nearly as drastic as a change from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4, which is where Apple switched from plastic to glass with metal siding. The size of the screen stayed the same, but the design of the iPhone 4 was definitely a noticeable change. One of the biggest improvements and selling points of the iPhone 4, however, was the introduction of Apple's Retina Display, which is Apple's name for an LCD with a pixel density so high that the human eye wouldn't be able to pick out individual pixels (however, this claim has been scrutinized). Regardless, the resolution was sharp, beautiful, and better than just about everything else available on the market. The transition from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4 was a huge step.
The iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S was about as big of a step as you would expect it to be. The camera was better, the specs were better, and then you had the introduction of Siri, which is Apple's integrated personal assistant. In many ways, I think the step up from the iPhone 4 to the 4S is where we last saw real "innovation" from Apple. From the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5, at least for me, I expected something more and never got it.
It's not that the iPhone 5 didn't have anything to offer that the iPhone 4S didn't. Apple did increase the size of the screen by .5", which kept the device small but made quite a few people who were unsatisfied with the 3.5" screen happy. The iPhone 5 is also the first iPhone that uses LTE, a technology which was already out by the time the iPhone 4S was released. Unfortunately, the iPhone 5 didn't really bring much to the table other than that. The material used to create the phone was changed, but the overall design was entirely too similar to the iPhone 4 and 4S. Place a case over either one and the only way you could tell they were different devices is if you noticed one was a little taller and had an extra row of icons. The iPhone 5 might have been iconic for Apple, but it wasn't iconic to the industry. I think that's what killed the interest in that particular device.
In regards to iOS 7, it is a nice refresher for making iOS look different, but it's still very much iOS-like and only borrows features that we've already seen from other phones. Again, iconic for the iPhone; not for the industry as a whole.
That's why I think Apple should skip over the 5S and just go right to the 6. We already know that iOS 7 isn't really anything we haven't already seen before, but a completely new phone design could be equally as important in renewing interest in my opinion. We can't expect that with the iPhone 5S, if that's the phone they end up releasing. It's probably not going to happen, especially given recent rumors and leaks of images from the iPhone 5S that's supposedly in production, but I have the sinking feeling that I'm going to be just as disappointed in the iPhone 5S as I was in the 5. Actually, that's wrong: I'm going to be watching that event with little to no expectations, that way I won't get disappointed. Even though I made earlier claims that I thought Apple might be pulling our leg with the whole "We just like to keep everything the same," routine, I realize now that those claims were just Hopeful Dreamer Anna getting in the way of Realistic Thinker Anna - they really do like to keep everything the same.
At this point, I mostly just question whether we'll see anything truly new to the industry emerge from Apple in the fall; I highly doubt it.
Now it's your turn readers. What would you rather see from Apple? Do you think that iOS 7 is enough to hold your interest in the next generation iPhone or does it require more? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Images via Fox, Apple