TOYMAKER TO THE WELL-HEELED Apple's Iphone 5 is not about to sweep all competition before it, I believe.
Sure, when Apple launched the first Iphone back in mid-2007 it was a real game changer in a somewhat sleepy mobile phone market that was mostly dominated by Nokia, and it brought the smartphone that had been pioneered by Research in Motion with its business focused Blackberry handsets into general use by ordinary consumers.
Indeed, the first few Iphones were innovative and quickly became truly iconic products. But that was a long time ago.
In the intervening years Apple has updated its original Iphone four times with the Iphone 3G, Iphone 3GS, Iphone 4 and finally the Iphone 4S last year. Each new Iphone model delivered faster processors, more memory and data storage, and new features like GPS, voice control, digital compass, gyroscope, noise suppression, better cameras and the Siri digitial assistant, all backed by Apple's Itunes monopoly. People lined up to buy all these new Iphone models because they were obviously faster and more capable smartphones.
That's not so much the case with Apple's latest Iphone model, the Iphone 5 that it launched with great fanfare at an event in San Francisco just the other day.
With this sixth generation Iphone 5, the fact is that Apple's innovation has run out. Yes, it has a new and slightly faster A6 processor chip and an incrementally larger 4in screen compared to the Iphone 4S A5 chip and 3.5in display, plus a nano SIM and a smaller 'lightning' dock connector - both of which will tick off loyal fanbois who've invested in the older Iphone technology - and don't forget the new earpods, but these are all merely marginal improvements.
The Iphone 5 simply isn't that much better than the prior Iphone 4S to motivate mobile punters to ditch that slightly older model and buy this latest one. Unless of course they're Apple fanatics with far more money than sense.
Furthermore, have I mentioned that the Iphone 5 is quite expensive, at £529 for the least expensive model? That's more than $850 in American dollars, which is more than enough to buy a desktop PC, or even a laptop. It might be just me, but I think that anyone has to be daft to spend that much hard earned cash on a mere mobile phone.
Will Apple sell millions of Iphone 5 devices? Most likely it will. But unlike in 2007 or even 2010, it has strong competition in the smartphone market now, so it won't be able to dominate like it did earlier, and will have to share the high-end smartphone market with other vendors such as Samsung and HTC. Even Microsoft's Nokia handsets might take some market share from the Iphone 5. And if that happens, we'll know that Apple is really in trouble. µ