At long last, the iPhone 5 is here, and now the dissection begins.
Of course, whether it truly lives up to expectations won't matter to millions of people with older iPhones (and other smartphones) who've been waiting to upgrade to the next iPhone no matter what. But for those who have an iPhone 4 or 4S and are on the fence about upgrading, here's a look at some key features Apple left out of this model that may find their way into the next iPhone (let's call it the iPhone 5S for now).
No radical new design: Yes, the iPhone 5 is taller than the iPhone 4/4S and slimmer (18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter), but it basically looks like an elongated iPhone 4. All that talk last year of a teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 turns out to be a fantasy (at least for now). And yes, the screen's larger (4 inches diagonally), but a lot of people wanted Apple to go wider and taller -- not just taller.
No NFC: Leading up to the release of what turned out to be the iPhone 4S, rumor had it that Apple may have been working on integrating NFC (near-field communication) technology into the next iPhone (it's available in some Android models such as the Samsung Galaxy S3). This is sort of a bar code replacement technology that enables your iPhone to act as a payment device (e-wallet) or even a car key.
The newly announced iOS 6 Passbook feature, which lets users store and quickly access electronic versions of all their tickets, boarding passes, and merchant cards in one place, may indicate that NFC will be added to the next iPhone.
No higher-capacity memory model: People were happy that the iPhone 4S came in a 64GB version. But not everyone was satisfied. Now some folks want a 128GB version. Like the 4S, the iPhone 5 stops at 64GB.
No big leap in battery life: We know. We're asking a lot for a phone with a faster processor (the A6) and graphics chip to improve on battery life, but the fact is, some people were hoping Apple could really make a statement with much better battery life than Android competitors. While we won't pass final judgement until we run our own battery tests, the battery life of the 5 appears to be only slightly better than iPhone 4S'.
No biometric security: It's hardly a must-have upgrade, but it would be cool to swipe with your finger -- instead of entering a password -- to unlock your phone. It could also be combined with NFC for making mobile payments. Allegedly, Apple has filed some patents related to this feature, but it hasn't made it into a product yet.
No built-in inductive charging: Right now, if you want to charge your phone's battery using inductive "wireless" charging, you have to buy a separate charging sleeve (case) and charging mat for your device.
Companies like Powermat and Energizer make inductive charging products for a variety of smartphones. However, if you could do away with the sleeve and have the inductive-charging chip built into the phone, you'd only have to buy a mat (and you could use whatever case you wanted to use).
Qi (pronounced chee), a new standard for inductive charging as established by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), is pushing to get manufacturers to integrate Qi chips into their devices, and we've been waiting for Qi-enabled smartphones to hit the market (the
Nokia Lumia 920has wireless charging). No such luck with the iPhone 5, but at some point in the future we think the iPhone will get some sort of inductive-charging chip integrated into it.
Will any of these omissions prevent Apple from selling a gazillion iPhone 5s? No. But we still thought we should take a moment to point them out.
If you think there are some iPhone 5 feature omissions we missed in this little roundup, please add them to the comment section below. Needless to say, if you're an Android fan, you can probably tick off a few (Micro-HDMI out, anyone?).