Why I’m not getting too excited about the (new) iPhone 5

So we’re just hours away from the biggest product announcement of the year. Make no mistake, whatever Apple announces this evening will be talked about and scrutinised for the next several weeks. It will sell in enormous number that will put every other device firmly in the shade. We all know how much money Apple makes, and a massive 60% of that profit comes just from the iPhone.
That said, I’m keeping my expectations firmly on the ground. I still remember the general disappointment that followed last year’s announcement of the iPhone 4S. I’ve no doubt we’ll see a great product tomorrow. I just don’t think it will be an exciting one. Apple have found an extremely successful formula and it doesn’t seem like they’ll stray from it very much.
All the leaks and rumours build a picture of an iPhone 4S with an aluminium back, an elongated screen and a mild spec bump. There’s likely to be an A5X SOC inside but without the crazy graphics power, as it simply isn’t needed and is a massive battery killer. There’ll also likely be an improved camera, but given how good the current one is we’ll have to wait and see how much better they’ve made it. So, very solid hardware and an odds on best seller, but just nothing that really rocks the boat. Will 4S customers be dying to upgrade? Perhaps, but it doesn’t seem like the jump from the 3GS to the 4.
To be honest, I’m not even sure what else Apple could do. Smartphones have developed so quickly and become so powerful that it feels like we’re already reaching a point of maturity. The iPhone 4S is already more than powerful enough, with an amazing display, best in class camera and solid battery life. It’s difficult to make a massive leap forward when the bar is already so high. I’d actually be more excited about a new Nexus because the hardware has so much more room for improvement. The screen on my Galaxy Nexus is average, the camera is lacklustre and the battery life appalling. Apple’s hardware is already just so much better.
And barring the odd feature, we’ve already seen most of what iOS 6 has to offer. Again, iOS is already a very good mobile platform. I use it every day and appreciate it’s features, stability, performance and ecosystem. Apple hav e been working away over the last six years to slowly add missing features and polish everything to a spotless shine. But while iOS 6 seems like a decent update, from what’s been revealed so far it looks more like a point release than a massive jump forward.
I’m not trying to rain on Apple’s parade. I’ve no doubt that whatever is announced tomorrow will more than match up to the competition. I just can’t see it being exciting in the same way that the new iPad (3) was or the Nexus 7. The retina display on the iPad and the brilliance of the Nexus 7 despite its low price really made them standout products in my mind.
Still, I’d love to be proved wrong and be pleasantly surprised. Either way, the wait is nearly over.