Friday, September 14, 2012

Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai

Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Mumbai

iPhone 5: Critics not impressed with Apple's new model

iPhone 5: Critics not impressed with Apple's new model
NEW DELHI: So Apple has announced the new iPhone, the taller, uber-sleek iPhone 5 with a faster processor. As has come to be a given, there was a great deal of speculation and anticipation prior to the event. Plenty of those who got a chance to use the iPhone 5 seem to have been touched by a bit of the famed Apple magic. So nothing has changed really. Or has it?

For years, Apple events were the fountainheads of disruptions that shaped the industry. Rivals scrambled to catch up. The touch screen, the retina display, Siri, a form factor that kept getting better, the iTunes store, the app store with more and better apps than any other platform.

But tech gurus around the world are saying something else now: that Apple's innovative disruptor status, guaranteed after every iPhone launch, is being challenged.

Full Coverage on Apple's new iPhone

"Although the 4S sold wonderfully for Apple and brought some interesting additions, few would argue against the suggestion that it opened the door for competitors," Patrick Goss wrote in Tech Radar. "Is the iPhone 5 going to sell like hot cakes? Of course. Will it send shock waves shuddering through the tech world and turn competitors back to their drawing boards? No."

Samsung enjoys a 32.6% share of the global smartphone market, up from 17% last year, according to research firm IDC. The Galaxy S3 alone has sold 20 million units in under three months. Apple's smartphone market share slipped from 18.8% last year to 16.9%.

After years of struggling to put out a credible competitor, Nokia last week unveiled the Lumia 920, a device with wireless charging, NFC (near-field communication) capabilities and a camera that was assessed by some tech watchers as even superior to rivals' offerings.

That was the sentiment - the iPhone 5 not having features some of its competitors have - that informed Jessica Vascellaro's review in the Wall Street Journal, asking whether the new iPhone 5 is "boring". She added that "few heralded the new device as a great leap forward. What's more, the iPhone 5 doesn't have several features that are becoming standard across other smartphones, such as ways to pay with your phone or bigger screens".

Some well-known tech gurus have other complaints. David Pogue in the New York Times made a point about the new Lightning connector on the new Apple devices, including the iPhone 5. "I'll grudgingly admit the Lightning connector is a great design...Still, think of all those charging cables, docks, chargers, car adapters, hotel-room alarm clocks, speakers and accessories - hundreds of millions of gadgets that will no longer fit the iPhone."

"There is nothing here that leaves the Galaxy S3, the HTC One X or the Nokia Lumia 920 looking dated or out of touch," Shane Richmond wrote in London's The Telegraph.

iPhone 5: Why no NFC?

iPhone 5: Why no NFC?

Slow adoption of NFC in U.S. means Apple was wise to wait, some experts say

Computerworld - Apple didn't include near field communication technology in the iPhone 5, a decision that one NFC backer said the company might come to regret.
But several mobile payment experts said Apple probably made a good choice for now, given the slow rollout of NFC, especially in the U.S.
Only 2% of merchants globally are equipped with NFC reader terminals; that's not nearly enough to merit Apple's attention, said Rick Oglesby, an analyst at Aite Group. "Apple would need something really global to make it work," he said.
Apple's critics included a U.K.-based communications marketing company called Proxama. "NFC is going to progress at a pace without Apple," said Miles Quitmann, managing director of Proxama, in a statement. "This could be Apple's loss."
Quitmann said many credit card companies and smartphone vendors have committed to NFC, spending millions of dollars on developing the technology. Proxama is working with Device Fidelity on an NFC battery sleeve that will allow an iPhone 5 to interact with NFC marketing tags embedded in posters and product packaging.
Instead of adding NFC to the iPhone, Apple decided to promote its Passbook mobile payment software, which runs on the new iPhone's iOS 6 mobile operating system.
Passbook relies on transmitting payment data via bar codes on the iPhone 5's 4-in. display, according to a video of Apple's iPhone launch (this information comes at around the 45-minute mark of the video).
"Passbook is the best way to collect all your passes in one place," said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS software. He showed how an airline boarding pass, a Starbucks card, a football ticket and other forms of money-backed "passes" can be presented in bar code format to make a transaction.
Starbucks has been successfully using a similar bar-code scanning concept with its Starbucks card for more than a year, since it already had the optical bar-code scanners installed at pay stations in its stores. Starbucks officials said they wanted to get a mobile payments system up and running without having to wait for NFC chips to be widely deployed in smartphones.
NFC payment systems require special software or special payment terminals for communicating with NFC chips in smartphones, and some merchants have balked at adopting those technologies.
Explaining why the iPhone 5 does not include NFC, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller told AllThingsD that "Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today."
Google Wallet, a mobile payment system that was launched a year ago, relies on NFC and can be used in several Android phones. Some Android phones, such as the Galaxy S III, only use the NFC chip to make quick data transfers between phones.
Isis, a consortium made up of wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, is planning to launch a mobile payment system based on NFC in Salt Lake City and Austin later this year. Isis defends NFC as the most scalable and secure of mobile payment approaches.
In addition to Oglesby, other analysts said Apple made the right choice not to include NFC in the iPhone 5, with one noting that the hardware would have taken up internal space when Apple was trying to make its thinnest and lightest iPhone to date.
"In a move to increase functionality in the device, clearly LTE was the first priority and more important than NFC right now," said Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates. "NFC does take up space and resources in the phone, so they would have had to perhaps make the device somewhat thicker or have had less space for battery. Even though NFC is only a chip, it also requires an antenna that could interfere with others in a highly compact device."
Gold said there's no compelling reason for Apple to provide NFC at this time. "NFC has taken off very slowly and will likely take at least a couple more years to catch on," he added.
Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner, added that "consumers are not jumping up and down to get NFC right now." Noting that many Americans still write checks -- a payment method that predates credit cards -- she said, "You wonder how ready consumers are for mobile payments."
"There's no real pressure right now for delivering NFC," Milanesi added. "The ecosystem is far from ready from a payment perspective. This doesn't mean Apple is not interested in NFC. They will do it when they can take advantage of it and deliver a differentiated solution to users."