INDUSTRY EXPERTS have expressed early optimism for Apple's Iphone 5 following its launch in San Francisco this evening, saying the firm has done enough to fight off its rivals.
Unveiled to much fanfare, the Iphone 5 is everything the rumours said it would be, featuring a 4in screen, Apple's A6 processor, an improved Isight camera and support for 4G LTE connections. However, Apple also announced a number of small tweaks to the Iphone, including an enhanced Facetime camera, a smaller dock connector and three microphones for better call quality.
It's these small changes that will be key to the Iphone's success, opined Gartner analyst Carolina Milansi, saying that it highlights Apple's expertise compared to rivals.
She said, "Apple remains the only vendor that through incremental improvements delivers a considerably richer experience. One plus one sometimes can be three."
She added that the Iphone's built-in Facebook integration also shows off Apple's lead in the social arena, despite its lack of widgets and social applications.
"It's hard to deny that Apple is an enabler of social through the deep integration of Twitter and Facebook into IOS," she said.
Andy Castonguay, principal analyst at Informa is just as optimistic, saying that while the device offers just what we expected, it's certainly enough to win over customers.
"[It] looks like Apple has delivered a new Iphone that offers few surprises but promises significantly better user experience as a result of faster LTE connectivity, processor speeds and better display," he said.
"Apple laid out a comprehensive set of international markets for the Iphone's first wave of distribution, with a second group of 20 countries will receive the new Iphones starting September 28th."
He added that the new Iphone camera will fight off competition from Nokia, which last week unveiled its debut Pureview Windows Phone device, saying, "The new optics, photographic capabilities and mapping functionality also add to the importance of those elements for the competitive landscape, especially in light of recent announcements from Nokia, Samsung and Microsoft."
Michael Gartenberg, also an analyst at Gartner, agreed with his colleague, saying that Apple has picked up on crucial improvements its rivals have missed. He said, "It's all about the whole experience and the ecosystem. This is the part competitors keep missing over and over."
Ovum analyst Matthew Howett focused on the device's support for 4G LTE technology, but rather than praising Apple for incorporating it, applauded EE for its early rollout.
He said, "By supporting LTE using the frequencies that EE are deploying their 4G network over, EE will effectively have an initial monopoly on sales of the Iphone 5 since customers will only fully benefit from its capabilities if they take it though EE."
"The question will of course be how many non-EE customers will make the switch. Many will already be in contract with their existing provider, however with more than two years since the last major release (the Iphone 4), there could be a good number of people in the market for a new mobile provider."
However, Howett added that EE can expect a challenge from its rival operators, who might suffer due to their lack of LTE support.
"For Vodafone and O2, who have spoken out against EE's early 4G launch, this could well be what they were waiting for before launching a legal challenge to Ofcom's decision," he said.
"The regulator must be fairly confident of its position and has said [it] will be ready to defend it." µ
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