iPhone 5: What we didn't get

The new iPhone 5 is here, with a 4-inch screen and 4G -- but what cool stuff is missing?

The new iPhone 5 is here, bringing with it a new 4-inch 16:9 screen, iOS 6 and 4G speed -- but what are we missing out on?

Considering how closely guarded Apple devices are before they're launched, we actually saw quite a lot of the iPhone 5 before today's announcement. But what cool stuff did we hear rumours about -- and what cool stuff is common on other phones -- that we didn't get? Read on...

Quad-core processor

A quad-core processor is practically the standard for high-end phones: the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S3, to name the most popular, go four-core-to-the-floor. But it's hard to cram 4G and four-core in one phone -- the LTE version of the One X is trimmed to dual-core, as is the S3 in the US, although not here -- so it seems Apple has plumped for another dual-core chip.

Widgets

The bigger screen on the iPhone 5 means an extra row of icons, but they still just sit there, refusing to move or do anything, like a teenager on Sunday.

Android and Windows Phone both feature home screens that light up with extra information and fun animations without even having to open the app, but if you want to know anything more than how many new emails you have on your iPhone, you have to tap the app.

Colours

The iPhone has always come in classy black or white. What does it take to get a bit of colour around here? The new iPod touch has a selection of hues for the first time, and more and more phones are starting to appear in different colours. In fact, fun, luminous colours are one of the chief selling points of the Nokia Lumia range .

Wireless charging

Speaking of which, the new  Nokia Lumia 920  and  Lumia 820  are the first major phones to suck up battery juice without a cable thanks to the magic of wireless charging. With features like AirPlay we know Apple is moving away from wires -- and it would mean you wouldn't have to worry about the size of your dock connector, which is an issue now that Apple has shrunk the connector and left all current docks and cables obsolete.  

3D

Glasses-free 3D has popped up on the  LG Optimus 3D , the  Nintendo 3DS  and others -- but it's far from being a crowd-pleaser. No surprise this is one fad Apple has left well alone. 

Fingerprint reader

In CSI, they can get fingerprints off a gnat's eyelash. In real life, fingerprints are much harder to make use of -- but many laptops use fingerprint readers to unlock them, while Android phones can be unlocked by scanning your face, so why not come up with some kind of extra security? But the iPhone sticks to a boring old-fashioned PIN. 

No buttons

The iPhone was one of the first to do away with physical buttons, but since then other devices have taken the idea and run with it: the Amazon Kindle Fire doesn't even have volume buttons. As the iPhone screen grows bigger, we wondered if we'd see the bezel shrink to balance that out. But the home button, it seems, is here to stay.

NFC payments

The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the first phone to let you pay for things by waving it at the till , so we'd like to see the iPhone do the same. But no: not only is the iPhone hard on your wallet, it requires you to keep carrying your wallet.

NFC tags

NFC can also be used to set an Android phone to different settings just by tapping it on a tag. For example, Samsung TecTiles stuck on business cards automatically download contact details to the phone, while Sony Smart Tags can change all the settings on your phone depending on where you are.

iPad sharing

The ill-fated HP TouchPad turned out to be a disaster, but it did have one feature we loved: the ability to share stuff with the Pre phone by simply waving them at each other. We'd love something similar between the iPhone and iPad, as an NFC bonus for Apple acolytes who collect different bits of Apple kit.

Transparent

Now we know this one is just a pipe-dream -- and not terribly practical, at that -- but we're still a little bit in love with this  see-through concept design

Curved back

The iPhone's flat back is unpopular with some, preferring the curved shape of the iPhone 3G and 3GS or the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S3, which nestle in the palm like a softly sleeping kitten.

Waterproof

You'd think that the option to protect your new £500 smart phone would be a no-brainer, but waterproofing and drop-proofing only seems to show up on mid-range Android phones like the JCB Toughphone.

One more thing

We did have a good idea of what the iPhone 5 would like, and how it would be different to previous models. We even knew what the new earbuds and new Lightning dock would be called. It seems then that the biggest thing missing from the launch was the element of surprise.

Is the iPhone 5 missing the good stuff, or is it practically perfect in every way? What do you think the iPhone is missing most? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Tags:
Phones
About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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