If you haven't heard the buzz behind the newest tech toy, you've probably been hiding under a rock.
Apple's iPhone 5 was announced on Sept.12, and released on Friday. The presales alone have topped two million. People waited for hours outside their preferred electronic store Thursday night to get their hands on the newest gadget.
And yet, the 5 is not really that different than the 4s. A company that prided itself, and built itself, on the capability to innovate the way we think about technology, has failed to innovate its most anticipated device.
On its website, the iPhone 5 is described as "brilliant" and "the first of its kind."
Of course, that is exactly what I would expect from a company boasting their own product.
And, I'll admit, the 5 is the first of its kind. But not in the ways that they say it is.
The original iPhone completely changed the way we viewed our cell phones. It was one of the first phones that operated completely through a touch-screen -- no stylus or buttons.
The iPhone 3GS gave us video capabilities and voice control.
The iPhone 4 gave us "FaceTime," which allowed us to communicate face-to-face with our other iPhone-carrying friends.
The iPhone 4S gave us "Siri," sparking yet another level of innovation and technological genius.
The iPhone 5 is .37 inches longer, with a screen that is a half-inch larger than its most recent model. The resolution is 176 pixels longer, though no wider. It uses LTE and has a smaller SIM card. It gives two extra hours for 3G browsing, one extra hour for Wi-Fi browsing and 25 extra hours on standby.
Everything else about this phone is exactly the same as the 4S
Those who rush to upgrade their iOs device gush over the speed, the precision, the elegance of the newer model. But I'm not impressed.
I expect that the newest-released phone will be faster than the previous model.
I expect that the screen graphics will be more refined.
I expect that the battery will last longer (certainly longer than the single extra hour that the iPhone 5 gives).
Okay, and it's bigger. Although, only by a half inch.
These are not innovations. These are products of technological development.
Innovation is bringing something completely new to the table. Development is bettering something that already exists.
I will give the new phone elegance. As the website says: "Look at iPhone 5 and you can't help but notice the exquisite chamfer (bevelled edge) surrounding the display. A crystalline diamond cuts this beveled edge. It's what gives iPhone 5 its distinctive lines."
Further down the page: "Although the surface of the iSight camera is as clear as glass, it's not made of glass. It's actually sapphire crystal, whose hardness is second only to diamond on the scale of transparent materials. That means the surface of the lens is far less likely to scratch."
Let's break this down. Apple is a company considered to fall on the liberal end of our American politics. They support creativity and technological innovation over wealth and money. Their former CEO, Steve Jobs, took home a salary of only $1 a year (not counting his five million shares, but regardless). And yet, they have given us neither creativity nor technological innovation. Instead, in a time when economic prosperity is consistently three inches out of our grasp and wealth and money is the single-most debated issue between our presidential candidates, the best that this little phone can offer is that its camera is protected by a sapphire and its edges are beveled by diamonds.