“Yes, tens of millions of iPhones will surely sell in the coming quarters anyway. But what is the next truly big thing, Apple? Literally and metaphorically, iPhone 5 is not it.”
——Forbes’ Mark Rogowsky
Have Apple’s Rivals Caught Up Since the Introduction of the iPhone 4 Two Years Ago?
Immediately after Apple chief Tim Cook ran through the features of the iPhone 5 yesterday in San Francisco, the critics began taking shots at the latest iteration of the game changing smartphone in the geek-speak equivalent of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

“When the iPhone 4 debuted in June 2010, it was the phone to own,” wrote CNET’s Roger Cheng in his thoughtful overview. “The Android phenomenon hadn't taken over yet, and Samsung Electronics was still finding its way. Established handset vendors Nokia and Research In Motion, meanwhile, were at the beginning of their quickly accelerating declines. The momentum was behind Apple and CEO Steve Jobs.
“Following a lengthier-than-expected upgrade cycle to the incrementally better iPhone 4S, and now the iPhone 5, things have changed. Android is pervasive, and Samsung now has a significant lead in the smartphone business with a franchise, the Galaxy S, that generates nearly as much buzz as the iPhone. Motorola is a part of Google. Nokia and RIM, meanwhile, are re-arming themselves with brand-new mobile platforms and are ready to fight to reverse their fortunes. And Tim Cook now has the reins of Apple.
“Most importantly,” Cheng asserts, “the iPhone is no longer leaps and bounds better than the competition and the obvious choice for consumers. Instead, rivals have caught up. The iPhone 5's main features -- a larger display, access to 4G LTE, and an improved camera -- can already be found on Android smartphones. For the first time, Apple can no longer stand apart from its smartphone competitors as a clear leader; it's right there in the middle of the fray."
Cheng’s CNET colleague Scott Stein asked, “Which is the killer feature?”

Headlining his critique “iPhone Haters are "Right", Nothing to See Here,” Forbes blogger and iPhone owner Mark Rogowsky quoted Yogi Berra’s immortal line, “It’s like deja vu all over again,” before expressing his profound disappointment at the absence of true innovations in the latest model.

“Those open mouths are not agape with awe; they are the collective yawns of the Android community and, dare we say it, the small band of Windows Phone users,” Rogowsky wrote. “The truth is, not one of these features is revolutionary and they’ve all been available since 2011 on phones from some combination of Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, and HTC. In fact, one can take it a step further: Apple’s specs are actually unimpressive compared to many of those phones…

“Apple has a formula that has made it the most valuable company on earth and made the iPhone the most profitable single product on the planet,” he acknowledged. “But a serious question went unanswered with today’s introduction and will loom over Apple looking ahead: Are these incremental updates and one-model-a-year launches really enough? The original iPhone was absolutely a revolution and changed not just the phone market, but arguably the world, making the connected internet mobile and richer far quicker than many could have imagined. The overall iTunes/App Store ecosystem helps Apple deliver a seamless experience that is—for many of us—a bit more pleasurable than what Google has delivered with Android. The Apple apologists will tell you that is what matters, the device is secondary. But they sang a different tune in 2007 when the iPhone was new. And it’s very hard to find a Samsung Galaxy S3 owner who isn’t as passionate about their phone…

“Yes, tens of millions of iPhones will surely sell in the coming quarters anyway. But what is the next truly big thing, Apple? Literally and metaphorically, iPhone 5 is not it.”

And, in a story titled “Is Apple's iPhone 5 Boring?” the Wall Street Journal’s Jessica Vascellaro ran through a litany of features the new iPhone lacks. Here’s her list:

Digital Payments: Some new Android phones, including the Galaxy Nexus, and coming Windows Phones have a near-field communication, or NFC, chip that powers digital-wallet services. They allow users to pay for goods at certain retailers by tapping their phones. The new iPhone still lacks NFC and has taken only small steps toward payments with a new digital-coupon and loyalty-card service called Passbook.

Touch to Share: Most new Android phones, including Samsung’s Galaxy S III, can share media by touching the devices together (again thanks to NFC). The phones can share photos, videos, contacts and Web pages this way, as well as information between apps. The iPhone can't (although there are third-party iPhone apps that enable some similar features).

Dynamic Home Screens: The iPhone is sticking to a home screen of static icons that people must tap to load. Lots of Android phones offer more customizable modules that push information that is otherwise buried in apps.

These Android widgets let consumers see content like weather or Facebook updates on their home screen. Rather than see an icon for their email application, say, people can see their actual emails. Windows Phones, including one expected from Nokia later this year, offer home-screen tiles that provide something similar. (The iPhone does push some notifications—like Facebook updates—to the unlock screen, which is a first step.)

Face Unlock: Many new Android phones use facial recognition to allow people to gain access to their phone just by looking at it. IPhone users are still swiping screens with their fingers to unlock their devices.

Even Bigger Screens: While larger than the last iPhone, the iPhone 5's four-inch screen is smaller than some phones on the market, such as the Galaxy S III, which is 4.8 inches. Indeed, phones with screens as big as 5 inches are hitting the market.

Wireless Charging: Nokia's new phone running the Windows Phone 8 operating system can be charged without a cord. All you have to do is place the device on a pad that supports a wireless charging standard called Qi. The iPhone 5 has a new charger that is much smaller, but it still has a cord.

The competition is fierce. (7/7a)
A "Moon" shot. (7/6a)
Fingers crossed for indie venues to return. (7/6a)
Latifah, Lauryn, Missy, Lil Kim, more. (7/7a)
Juiced with a big D2C initiative. (7/7a)
Would you like some Swiss cheese with your nachos?
Oh, sorry--we were just singing to ourselves.
Family is everything.
Are they coming for Kanye? Yes.

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