2013 has been a huge year in terms of mobile technology. We have seen new flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S 4, HTC One and LG G2 announced – all touting an array of impressive features and specs. However, it’s fair to say Apple has received the most anticipation with its two new iPhones - the 5s and 5c - unveiled at one sole event back in September. But how prominent is this? Because going back a few years, no one would have even guessed that the California-based tech giant could ever offer up more than one iPhone at the same time. But it did happen.
Apple (even back in the early days) has always been known for its stubbornness as a company. Its never really listened to customers, deciding to be unique and not breaking the rules. This has changed, however, since the death of Steve Jobs. It was his personality that reflected on the way Apple used to act. That wasn’t a bad thing back then, because mobile tech wasn’t a way of life like it is today. But nowadays, people want to voice their opinions and get results exerting from them.
Tim Cook, in this respect, has done a lot to sculpt Apple’s latest products around the customer. For example, Jobs was dead against the idea of having a miniature version of the iPad. But then in 2012, two years after the launch of the original iPad, Apple announced the iPad mini. This went against all the odds, and I can assure you that it’s a decision that’s probably had Steve rolling around in his grave ever since. Hats off to Tim, though, because he’s done a great job as CEO so far.
But the dual announcement of the 5s and 5c draws on the fact that people are interested in more than one option when it comes to a product line-up. Look at Samsung, for example, and what it has managed to achieve with the Galaxy range. It spouted from the launch of one handset, and now Samsung is practically a household name. I get the feeling (and while I can guarantee that probably every human being on this planet has heard of the iPhone) that Apple wanted to create a similar ethos to Samsung, while at the same time showing it can take obvious risks.
Risks are, in my opinion, important to the survival of a strong company. And by having more than one particular iPhone, it has done this. It also shows it’s willing to change things and regularly announce new and exciting products, rather than just updating the same model with slight modifications every year. Apple listened to its customers and has so far had a great response.
Looking more at the 5c, though, there are a few important points I should elaborate on. First of all, Apple’s products have always been plain and simple, yet the 5c was announced sporting a plastic chassis plastered with bright colours. This is probably something Apple has done (under the power of Tim Cook) to meet more needs of customers. It also gives people more options.
The second point is that when the 5c was announced, it directly replaced the iPhone 5. Now, this is the first time Apple has ever changed the sequence in the way it launches and discontinues iPhones. If Steve was still alive, then the chances are that we would have only have seen the 5s announced, giving the 5 at least a year’s worth of survival.
Another important point is that it’s not as expensive as the 5s. This means it gives more people the opportunity to save money and own an ‘iPhone’ at the same time. Although if it was cheaper, then it probably would be flying off the shelves, right now, this festive season. But a bargain iPhone wouldn’t be in its best interests, as it’s solely known for producing executive products that sport executive prices. This is what Apple is all about.
The 5s, interestingly, also reflects on how much Apple has changed: it’s listened to customers again by implementing it with TouchID, the fingerprint scanning system exclusive to iOS. If you go back a year or so, the idea of a new iPhone coming with a fingerprint scanner was just as unrealistic as the ‘iWatch’ rumours of today, which can only mean we could will see Apple entering the wearables market relatively soon. It’s also more evidence that backs up my comment on how Apple has started to take slight risks when it comes to new products. I mean, a fingerprint scanner is something a lot of people could easily say is more of a gimmick than a sustainable feature to have.
While I’ve outlined all of the positives, I seriously do think Apple has lost its power streak. It seems that when Jobs was alive and head of the company, it was a powerful corporation that no one would stand up to. But now all you hear in the world of tech is about Apple being in yet another court of law. As well as this, it seems that products are leaking more than ever, which I cannot remember happening as frequent going back a few years. Perhaps it’s to do with the use of digital media, which means by now, Apple should understand and know how to stop rumours and leaks from developing. Maybe it enjoys the hype but chooses not to show its emotions.
Apple's efforts have been solid to date. I’m personally impressed with both the 5c and 5s, along with the new iPad Air and iPad Mini 2. That said, I still expect and want to see more from Apple. Hopefully next year, we’ll see some more cracking products announced from Apple. I think if it wants to continue as a market leader, then it needs to continue to excite.