The iPhone 5, and yes, it really is the “iPhone 5” is just about what we expected, in name and features, based on the rumors and leaks. Before today’s event, however, it’s been like the story of the blind men describing an elephant. But when we see the product, in its totality, the iPhone 5 is so much more.
Perhaps what’s most exciting about an Apple media event like today’s is not a list of features, taken in isolation, but rather Apple’s wholistic approach in the presentation. The event is really more like a fairy tale story in which we’re introduced to the characters (features) one by one, and then they’re woven into an adventure story in which they interact with each other.
iPhone 5 Image Credit: Apple
For example, a faster processor enables a more refined Siri. Siri is then used to interface to OpenTable. The final goal is dinner reservations with success, and each component supports a desired human goal. A larger display leads to more and better information displayed. Each piece of the hardware fits together like a jigsaw puzzle in order to create a pleasing picture.
That’s probably why the iPhone doesn’t have NFC, although I have heard of a company that may provide that in add-on hardware. The mobile payments industry is still in its infancy, and there’s little opportunity to integrate, exploit, and celebrate this hardware technology. Yet.
But that’s not all. This integrated functionality is wrapped in a device that’s like a giant jewel and is a pleasure to hold in the hand. In fact, the jewel-like design includes a camera lens protected by sapphire. If the joy of all the things this new smartphone delivers isn’t enough, the eagerness with which we hold it in our hand seals the deal.
One September 11, John Kirk pointed out that this integration puzzles some pundits. They look for missing features that would seem odd in the auto industry. For example, no one criticizes a Ferrari for having an undersize trunk. The Ferrari is an integrated whole for one purpose, and no one misses the point of having one.
Apple’s presentation on the iPhone 5 is marketing in its most brilliant form. If you subscribe to the smartphone experience, Apple presents a compelling vision of what can be done with the device. Apple’s insightful design is intended to do one thing: make sure millions of people, perhaps a hundred million, will sign up for that kind of experience. A missing feature or two, things that don’t yet integrate smoothly, won’t even be noticed.
With Apple, as always, the whole is more than the sum of the parts. The experience and utility is more than the sum of the features. One feels that it's a fabulous technology adventure that one wants to be a part of. We play the part of technology heroes in a fairy tale of Apple's making. And ours.