The Boom and Bust of the iPhone 5
The iPhone 5 is undoubtedly a sales hit. Just consider the news that pre-order sales of the 5 set a new record, matching similar sales of the iPhone 4s over a month in just three days.
However there’s some tarnish to the silver lining around that pristine whiter-than-white cloud.
Although sales and customer support for the iPhone 5 have been tremendous, there have been troubles with out-of-the-box quality, something for which Apple has always prided itself on, as well as with iOS6. ExtremeTech reported, and others seem to confirm, that the case of the 5 is prone to scuffs and scratches. It’s rumored that maybe up to 40% of new iPhones arrive scuffed or scratched before they even reach the buyers’ hands (call it “scuffgate”). The anodized aluminum case of the 5 is apparently very prone to marks, and cases may be mandatory if you want to keep it pristine.
The need for a case for the iPhone 5, or any iPhone for that matter, is baffling to me. Jobs and Apple put so much emphasis on design and form in their products that it seems wasteful and even sad to have to put the object in a cheap plastic box to protect it. If Steve Jobs ever saw an iPhone in an Otterbox I’m sure he threw up, right after cursing violently at the offender for 20 minutes.
Apple apparently has a new wear warranty that one can purchase to cover things like scratches and wear. But a cynic could say that they made the iPhone 5 more wear-prone in order to sell the extended warranty and therefore gain even more money from their kool-aid drinking customers. I’m not a cynic though, fortunately.
Beyond the physical problems with the iPhone, there has been a lot of discontent about iOS6. The majorly goofed Maps and Flyover applications have been the target of most of the venom, so much so that Tim Cook made a formal apology for the problems. Ed Oswald also wrote on ExtremeTech of problems with iMessage, Siri, and Passbook. Commenters also bemoaned iOS6, one noting that things like details didn’t seem to bother Tim Cook.
Hopefully the iOS6 flaws are not signs that Apple is taking the course of Microsoft, who has been well known for releasing tremendously buggy software followed by round after round of service pack updates to try and correct problems, with users consoling themselves with “when Windows (current version +1) comes out all this will be fixed”.
Today marks one year since Jobs’ passing. The impact he made in the fields of entertainment, technology, computing, marketing, and even manufacturing, have been tremendous. On Apple’s site Tim Cook wrote “No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself.” Unfortunately, it seems like some repairs are in order.