15 Sep 3 Problems Facing The iPhone 6
I’d like to make it clear from the off that I’m actually quite an avid Apple user. I have a Macbook Air and an iMac at home. I use an iMac and iPad at work. I like the App Store, I like OS X (particularly the new Yosemite edition) and I like the way their go about their branding, marketing and you can’t beat the reliability of their products.
And yet I love, and wouldn’t change, my HTC One Android phone.
Why? In my opinion, the iPhone has lagged far, far behind Apple’s other hardware sectors, and the iPhone 6 doesn’t look like it’s going to rectify that – or even begin to justify the price tag.
Problem 1 – there’s nothing innovative going on
The much-lauded ‘new’ features of the iPhone are anything but. They might be fantastic for Apple users, but if you’ve bothered to look around the smartphone market over the last few years, you’ll know that there’s nothing new to find here.
If you’ve been eagerly awaiting a bigger screen, these have been found on Android phones for quite some time. Not even the ridiculously enormous Samsung Note, but my HTC One has a bigger (and better resolution) screen than the new iPhone 6, and it’s been on the market for almost 18 months. Even more so, the Nexus 4 released in 2014 has a screen that’s still better than the iPhone 6.
The HTC One has a unibody aluminium chassis comparable in quality with the new iPhones, and it already boasts the Near Field Communication (NFC) with payment facilities. iOS 8 isn’t doing anything Android 4.4 doesn’t.
Google (via Samsung and LG) entered the smart watch arena some months ago, and while the Apple Watch looks like a superior device from the off, it’s not exactly innovative when fitness companies are offering devices like the FitBit which pair to iPhones and Android phones.
Problem 2 – the price
Whilst I have no doubt the iPhone 6 will be a fantastic phone, and a real crowd pleaser, there’s no escaping the fact it’s ludicrously expensive. Given that the cheapest iPhone 6 will retail in the UK at £619, and you can pick up an HTC One M8 (even better than my current phone) for £459, there’s a real difference in price with hardly any difference in quality. Apple might still charge a premium for the logo, but the days when the build quality justified that (as it still does, in my opinion, with the iMac and Macbook) are long gone.
Problem 3 – the competition’s moving faster
If the iPhone 6 is already lagging behind competitors, the next 24 months will see rival manufacturers up the ante. Google Gear will doubtlessly move beyond the Apple Watch in that time, and Android updates will bring rival features that may prove to be more widely adopted. Google Babble (an integration of Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Google Drive and Chat on Google+) could prove hugely useful. Other features including the ability to unlock your phone by virtue of wearing a paired Google Gear device, improved software battery retention, and a rumoured doubling in processor efficiency, could move Android further into the lead (or at least match the iPhone’s software optimisation, depending on your opinion) in the months to come.
I’m not trying to disparage the iPhone. Chances are it will be an absolutely exceptional device, and a fantastic phone to own. Sales are already fantastic. However, when iPhone arrived, it changed the playing field. It hasn’t been able to retain that lead, and all the hype and PR cannot last forever if rival manufacturers continue to innovate, leaving Apple in their wake.
I think when fan designs innovate more than the product itself on a regular basis, then you’re struggling to capture the imagination of those whose creativity leads the field. Some of the mock ups below contain features which would have intrigued me far more than the finished product.
That said, maybe I’m just too hard to please…