iOS 7 shows just how close the smartphone race has become

Illustration of new operating systems on the iPhone and iPad. • Yolanda Granados/Telescope

Illustration of new operating systems on the iPhone and iPad. • Yolanda Granados/Telescope

In mid-September Apple unveiled its new operating software, iOS 7, along with two new versions of the iPhone, the 5s and the less expensive 5c, to mixed reviews.

This was the first major release under the new leadership at Apple. It is also the first response to the highly-touted Samsung Galaxy S4, which seems to have single handedly evened the battlefield between iOS and Android. So what exactly was Apple’s response?
They played it safe.
But in making such a safe play, they may have also just misstepped.

It was form over functionality, affordability and raw power that took center stage for iOS 7 and the new 5c & 5s phones, respectively. Yes, Apple has always been known for its beautifully crafted products, but its better known for its out-of-this-world features. These two areas have seemed to switch places under the new leadership.

Take a close look and you can start to see some changes emerge between the Apple founded by Steve Jobs and Apple in its current state lead by Tim Cook. A major debut of technology from Apple used to garner a near magical aura, with consumers wondering just what features will be next.

One of the top features for the 5s was the fingerprint scanner dubbed TouchID. This allows users to replace their Apple ID login and pass code with their fingerprint, which is read through the home button.

While this saves the user from having to remember a password, it seems a tad underdeveloped. With such an amazing built-in technology, why not expand and do something worthwhile. It’s nearly insulting to iPhone users, that Apple thinks they need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on this technology because your not smart enough to remember an eight-digit password.

The performance has achieved a dizzying level with the A7 and M7 coprocessor, literally. The Huffington Post reported that some users were getting motion sickness and vertigo due to the 3D effects and fast-paced zooming between screens.

Apple in its current state, is more concerned and focused on market share with its low cost positioning of the iPhone ’5c’ at $99 and playing catch-up with a Control Center that rivals what Android users already had, rather than innovation.

The only thing that stayed the course was the crisp, clean and simple look of iOS 7. Apple’s more seemingly desperate look can be attributed to one key statistic reported by the Pew Research Center. As of May 2013, 28 percent of cell owners have an Android while only 25 percent own an iPhone.

I’ll pause for this to sink it to iPhone users, and wait while Android users finish chuckling.

It’s nowhere near the end of iPhones. The seeming mediocrity of the new tech from Apple highlights just how high they have set the bar and what their potential is.

It is even possible that they are posturing and setting up something big for next year. But with the rise of Android it will be a much more competitive market, which is good for us consumers. It means that prices could lower as features and performance continue to increase.

It’s now up to Apple’s new leadership to answer the question, can they regain that magical aura and continue to push the boundaries beyond consumer expectations? If things stay on track, we could possibly answer that question with the release of the iPhone 6 next year.

 

Author: Kyle Rosa

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