Apple’s conscious choice to remain behind industry standards

Phil Nobile

Twas the night before Apple’s press conference, a moment you couldn’t avoid
Not a smartphone was buzzing, not even a Droid.
Apple fanboys rejoiced, and looked at their old iPhone’s with despair
In hopes that the iPhone 5 soon would be there.

Unfunny spins on classic Christmas tales aside, Christmas came early for many this past week as Apple unveiled their sixth iPhone, the iPhone 5. But with their latest iteration of the most popular smartphone on the market, Apple continues to prove they are hell bent on remaining in a perpetual cycle of catch up that favors profits over innovation.

Let’s start with the goods.

The choice to make minor aesthetic alterations has given Apple one option: trim the fat. The iPhone 5 is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter. Not bad for a one year diet since the launch of the 4S. The phone has also been hitting the books: the brains of the phone are now supported by dual-core Apple A6, which Apple claims is twice as fast and can load web pages in half the time of the 4S.

Shockingly enough, Apple put some effort into making phone calls even better (yes, your iPhone is a phone as well as a Facebook and Twitter machine). Three microphones are now in the device, improving the quality of calls and recordings, as well as built in noise cancelling technology.

Also, Apple has opted for a new charger called Lightning, which gets rid of the almost decade old connector we’ve grown to hate love. While the decision to make the charger reversibly accessible will make drunk charging a breeze, it comes at a price. In order to make those precious accessories and sound systems you’ve accrued over the years work with your new iPhone, a $30 adapter will need to be purchased, or a $40 one with a cord.

In the scheme of things, particularly when you compare the iPhone to the others in its class, a picture is painted that shows Apple as sluggish in the cell phone world. They just now added 4G LTE: a feature that most expected to come with the iPhone 4S but instead were given a “3G hybrid”. Oh, and a feature that has been on Android phones for a couple years.

Even odder was the decision to exclude NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, which is now a staple in the cell phone world. NFC has the potential for a plethora of technological advancements, such as contactless payment, electronic tickets, and interactivity with your surroundings on the basis of having a phone in your pocket. Yes, it could be argued Apple is attempting to make their own version of this through the Passbook app announced to launch with their operating system upgrade to iOS 6, but that comes off more selfish than inventive. Apple had the potential to lead the industry into a new world of connectivity, but instead opted for their own app.

If you look at Apple’s business strategy over the course of iPhone history, this shouldn’t come as a shock. For the benefit of the company, Apple has chosen to take small steps rather than leaps in the smartphone field, implementing industry-standard and innovative technology at a snail’s pace. It’s only a matter of time before this catches up with Apple, with critics predicting damage impending with their latest choices.

Maybe I’m looking at the iPhone 5 wrong. I own the 4S, and have loved it intensely over the past year. It is one sexy device, and gets the job done. It is just not the technologically advancing piece of equipment that I want it to be.

With Apple continuously getting the chance to tee off and take charge, they instead choose good business, and why not? With continuous record sales and stocks at an all-time high, if it ain’t broke, don’t innovate.