iPhone 5 shares its thoughts about its September 12 debut

If the iPhone 5 were to reflect on the future, it might say, "I know I will go down in history as the best selling phone of all time. I just worry that my successor, iPhone 6, may not have it so easy."

Dan Farber
4 min read

After its greatly anticipated unveiling, and the endless tapping, stroking, pinching and praising at the event, the iPhone 5 retired for the night to its private suite.

Jony Ive stopped by to say he was very pleased with its performance on stage, and ordered iPhone 5 to get some sleep. Tim Cook plugged iPhone 5 in for a power refresh with its new Lightning connector and fondly wiped its screen of the smudges from too much handling during the auspicious event. 

As the room gradually emptied, iPhone 5 thought about Steve Jobs, and how he was missed. The unveiling just wasn't the same without him. The drama  and prestidigitation he brought to the stage were absent. Tim is a great guy and really knows how to run the company, but he can't sell ice to Eskimos. Then again, demand for iPhone 5 is off the charts.

If the iPhone 5 were to reflect on what had been an extraordinary, and exhausting, day, it might offer the following thoughts:

"They seemed to like me, but I was disappointed that the crowd wasn't cheering more enthusiastically. I know there were few surprises -- we don't keep secrets as well anymore --- but I felt the overall reaction was a bit muted.

"I'm taller, slimmer, lighter, faster and no more expensive than my predecessor. What's not to love? I am a far better iPhone than the 4S, and the level of precision engineering, quality and fit and finish are unmatched in the industry. Every iPhone owner and even those on the fence will want me, and if not they are dumb, or even worse, ignorant. 

"I hear the complaints. I admit, they bother me. I should be wider. I should have an even taller screen than 4-inches. But those people just don't get it. Unlike my longer and wider competitors, I can still be operated with one hand, and I am even lighter and thinner. I weigh only 3.95 ounces. Compare that to the 4.7-ounce Samsung Galaxy SIII or the 6.5-ounce Lumia 920. And, I wasn't designed by a bunch of copycat cloners, who think bigger is better. 

"OK, I don't have NFC like many competitors, but I don't need it now. Phil Schiller says that iOS6 Passbook is good enough for me. I do feel bad that my battery life isn't much improved, but what can I do about it? Bottom line, every pixel, byte of code, and piece of brushed aluminum in me is as close to perfection as you can get. As Jony said, 'It took all of our learning, our best thinking, to realize something so simple, so clear and yet so truly extraordinary.'

"Yet, at the same time I don't feel that extraordinary, more evolutionary. Maybe I am an extraordinary evolution. Tim said, 'Only Apple could create such amazing software, hardware, and services and put them together into such a powerful, integrated solution.' I don't want to be a  'powerful, integrated solution.' I prefer to be 'cool,' as Steve used to say.

"I appreciate all the legal efforts to eradicate the copycats and protect my unique features, but some days I do get a bit depressed. While I am close to perfection, I realize that the competition has gotten a lot better and we are overreaching with lawsuits. I know I will be the most popular smartphone by far this holiday season. The company will reap huge financial rewards and I will go down in history as the best selling phone of all time. I just worry that my successor, iPhone 6, may not have it so easy."

A restless, but proud iPhone 5 finally drifts off to sleep, as Jony requested. Overall, iPhone 5 appears to be confident, but is also feeling the pressure. Not just Apple, but the U.S. economy is depending on it to succeed. It could end up adding half a percentage point to the country's gross domestic product growth. 

In the meantime, tens of millions of people are counting down to the Sept. 21 delivery date.