iPhone 5 mock up next to iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S

Inevitable

Good design is inevitable. It's determined. It's relentless. Each iteration builds on the one before, becoming better and better each time. The work of Jonathan Ive, Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, is a near-perfect example of this. So is the iPhone 5.

Ive said as much in an interview with the Telegraph back in May:

“We try to develop products that seem somehow inevitable. That leave you with the sense that that’s the only possible solution that makes sense,” he explains. “Our products are tools and we don’t want design to get in the way. We’re trying to bring simplicity and clarity, we’re trying to order the products.

“I think subconsciously people are remarkably discerning. I think that they can sense care.”

You can not like the iPhone 5 design as a matter of personal taste. You can wish it were otherwise, or that Apple had chosen to go in a different direction. If you're "disappointed" in the iPhone 5 however, if you think it's too similar to previous iPhones, if you think Apple isn't innovating "any more", you're wrong. I'm not a "fanboy" and you're not a "troll" or a "hater". You're just wrong.

Back in 2005 Apple had a phone prototype called Purple. It was a flat, rounded rectangle with a big screen on the front and a metal plate on the back. It was, perhaps, their platonic ideal. Their form phone. And they couldn't make it. Not back then. They lacked the mobile engineering experience of an established player like Nokia, and they lacked the technologies and manufacturing processeses they themselves would later develop.

So Ive and Apple were forced to do what all great designers do. They were forced to compromise. And we got the original iPhone with its bloated sides and a big plastic band breaking its aluminium back. For the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, the metal back was removed completely, and plastic, bloated as the sides, took its place.

With the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, Ive and Apple were finally able to engineer their Purple phone. Flat. Solid. Stainless steel. But glass on the back and still not metal, and with an exposed antenna array that took a generation to get right.

Now we have the iPhone 5. Another step closer to Purple, the stainless steel sides are replaced by aluminium and the metal plate on the back has finally returned, albeit not completely. Another set of compromises demanded they keep radio-friendly glass on the top and bottom, and Apple's choice in a wider screen has forced them to abandon their golden ratio.

Jony Ive has many times said his goal is nothing less than making a better product. Phil Schiller said as much yesterday as well -- they started with the idea of an iPhone that was 20% or more thinner and lighter than an iPhone 4S without sacrificing any battery life, camera optics, or screen quality. And they did it while improving all of those things, and adding a faster radio as well.

Lost amongst the angst and howls of those for whom design is an appearance thing -- for whom ever more giant, creaky, plastic phones that are gray one year and blue the next, that are thin on one end and humped on the other, that sacrifice pixel quality for size, and consistency and cohesiveness for feature creep, are innovation -- is the leap forward Ive and Apple are taking here.

The leap from iPhone 4S to iPhone 5 is no less significant or impressive than the leap from the original MacBook Pro to the Unibody. In both cases, the end result bore familiarity of form, but was lightyears ahead in terms of process and results.

The iPhone 5 is an almost entirely new, entirely redesigned phone. Watch this video, particularly the part at the end about how the iPhone 5 is produced.

That Ive and Apple could do this and still make it look so similar is a testament to their talent and the integrity of their vision.

Jony Ive and Apple have made a better phone. It's profoundly thinner, lighter, and stronger, with a faster radio, better battery life and camera optics, and more screen than ever before.

They've made a better iPhone.

They had to. It was inevitable.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 104 comments. Add yours.

guitarman85 says:

Well said Rene.Coming from an android (Samsung fascinate) to iphone with this device. I agree 100% about design philosophy. It's not about changing it for the sake of changing it anymore, we need only the inevitable changes that Mr. Ive speaks of.

Urban22 says:

I think people want change with hopes that it'll greatly improve their experience I mean back in 2006 if there wasn't change we wouldn't have made any progress but we had change and now look at where we are today. I think the issue is that no one has a vision about where to go from this point onwards and we just seem to keep improving on the ideas of 2007.

StuartV says:

"Profoundly thinner"? How about slightly thinner? And still not even the second thinnest smartphone on the market.

Dismissing the rapid advancement of the Android platform - a bullet train compared to Apple's steam engine - as "feature creep"?

Such a shame those grapes are too high for you to reach...

And I love how the original iPhone was "bloated", the iPhone 3 was also "bloated", the iPhone 4 took a whole generation to get its antennas right, and yet, each one, at the time, was a perfectly engineered, cohesive design experience.

I suspect that a year from now your editorial citing all the flaws in the iPhone 5 and why the new iPhone 5S - or 6, or whatever it's called - is such a huge advancement over the iPhone 5 will be a more accurate summation of the iPhone 5.

JGltno says:

I'm mean dude seriously how much thinner do you want a phone to get? Still till this day android based phones will never produce the quality of an iPhone. A 7yr prototype and finally we are getting closer and closer to what they were trying to do from the beginning. Androids. Well. Simply. Not that many in the world care what new feutures android brings. Cause only 2 percent of android phones will be bought when it's new feutures are released.

++ for apple.

StuartV says:

I don't want them to get any thinner. I would rather have a 10mm phone with enough battery to last for 2 or 3 days. But that wasn't my point. My point was that Apple's press release said the iPhone 5 is the thinnest smartphone ever, which is blatantly false. (the first part of the PR said thinnest iPhone ever, which is true, but later down in it it said thinnest smartphone) And when I see a person (or a company) tell one lie, I automatically am suspicious of everything else they say. Especially the subjective stuff that they know can't really be proven one way or the other.

You broadly categorized a whole bunch of phone manufacturers into one group when you said android based phones will never produce the quality of an iPhone. On what criteria are you basing that statement? As far as I can tell, unless the criteria is "has an apple-shaped logo on it", there are a lot of phones that run Android that are equal in quality to any iPhone. My phone can do everything an iPhone 5 can do, and it can do several things an iPhone 5 cannot do, has a bigger screen, has 80GB of storage on board, does not require me to connect it to a charger when the battery runs down (because I can just put another battery in it), runs 1 to 2 days on a charge (with all features turned on, all the time), does not get hot when I do charge it, does not have any proprietary connectors on it, is world capable, has 4G LTE (I've measured 40Mbps downloads), will let me talk on the phone and surf the Web at the same time whether I'm on 3G or 4G, and can handle a drop way better than an iPhone 4 or 4S. And it even came with a very high quality earbud headset. Which one is higher quality?

And you and I obviously have different definitions of what "many" means. Samsung has sold 20 million Galaxy Note phones. They've already sold 20 million Galaxy S III phones and it's only been out a few months. Android phones are outselling iOS phones by a huge margin and have vastly many more in use in the world, today. I think even Samsung alone is selling more Android smartphones that Apple is selling iPhones. Any way you want to slice it, it qualifies as more than "many in the world" that are not just using Android but scurrying to buy the latest and greatest when they come out - as evidenced by Note (an actual phone with ACTUAL innovation) and GSIII sales.

JGltno says:

I agree with most of what you said. Except 1 thing. Apparently you didn't see the key note. Maybe you should cause I quote "it's the thinnest "iPhone" yet" they NEVER said its the thinnest smart phone out their. Get your facts straight. In other words your first paragraph mumbling about trust... It's irrelevant

StuartV says:

Hilarious. You can't read, either! I didn't say anything about the keynote. I said Apple's Press Release (which was quoted in an article yesterday, right here on iMore).

Here's a link for you, straight from the source:

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/09/12Apple-Introduces-iPhone-5.html

"iPhone 5 is the thinnest smartphone in the world..."

Get YOUR facts straight.

Or keep your head buried in the Apple (brown) sand. Whatever you like.

Avenged110 says:

In any case, what phone is thinner? I don't recall recent devices being less than 7.6, not to say that there aren't...

Avenged110 says:

Ok. Just checkin. I'd still argue the fact that only most of the phone is that thin, not the actual phone itself, but that's another argument...

StuartV says:

And there's the Oppo at 6.65mm.

http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/25/2973605/oppo-worlds-thinnest-smartphon...

But, you might argue that the Oppo isn't released, so it doesn't count. And I might argue that the iPhone isn't release, either. But, it doesn't matter. Because besides the RAZR and the Oppo, there's also the Ascend P1 S at 6.68mm.

http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/...

Avenged110 says:

Alright. That's fine. Good to know.

holcomb273 says:

the hump on the phones make their claims false. any logical person would agree that on sep 21, the iphone 5 will be the thinnest smartphone because it has no hump

StuartV says:

"will be"

So you're agreeing that Apple's press release is blatantly false. You're just saying you think it will become true soon.

holcomb273 says:

yeah, i would have to agree with you. but in their case, the phone exists just not available to the public just yet. its definitely something that should be clarified

Jenna Jameson says:

Somebody took a douche pill today.

Adil Aziz says:

You have a great point about hardware design, but the disappointment (on my part) has nothing to do with the hardware, we see great apps like YouTube (Googles new version), google+, Flipboard, Sparrow etc.. all add new design paradigms based simple gestures where as Apple is sticking to it's guns which is not bad but stale and even more stale on a larger screen. Sure it's taller but so what? I'll open twitter and just scroll down to see one more tweet, emails? Hah i'll just scroll down again. There is no design advantage that's added by having the larger screen, it's just a larger screen for the sake of having a larger screen. That is not to say that there can be no advantages (there are) Apple just is too reluctant to do anything with it. So we get an extra row of icons, an extra row of emails, and something essentially does nothing to push the bar.

rebelgorilla says:

Surely you didn't watch the keynote where Apple showed that developers can create dramatically different app layouts with the large screen?

rebelgorilla says:

Yes? :-| Ever heard of getting new milk from the same cow?

Adil Aziz says:

Mate they didn't introduce any dramatic different layouts, they stretched it .5" inch

rebelgorilla says:

I think you don't understand the difference between a larger screen and a larger app lay out. Seriously, no offense, but you're sounding dumb now. Please go watch the keynote.

CrzyP says:

I like it the looks of the 5 a lot. It is an evolution not a revolution. I'm a huge VW fan, and they do the same with they Golf model line. Anyway I love the 5 but I wont be getting it, unless I win it in the iMore giveaway. Stock software for stock software, my 4S can do everything the 5 can do with the exception of some camera features. I'll wait until next fall to upgrade. When do the iPhone 5S rumors start?

squirble says:

Exactly. I'll be waiting for the 5S model right along with you. The new lightning connector is the main reason I am waiting. If I were to upgrade now, I wouldn't be able to connect it to my car radio. For all of you that do use your iPhone in your car, you may want to wait until a compatible plug is released.

JGltno says:

Apparently you didn't see the keynote. Their is one already.

squirble says:

You wouldn't happen to be talking about the lightning to 30 pin adapter? The same one that says "Video and iPod Out are not supported"?
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD823ZM/A/lightning-to-30-pin-adapter?...

No I didn't watch the keynote. I'd rather read the technical data and see exactly what I would be buying and determine if it is worth it. No video or ipod out support from the adapter if enough for me to not buy the 5 until pioneer comes out with their adapter.

So I will say again. For those that have 30 pin connectors in your car, you may want to think again about buying the iPhone 5 if you use it for audio in your car.

CORYK333 says:

Apparently you don't know your "their"(s) from your "there"(s). If you're gonna come off as a pretentious douche, at least make sure your shit is on point. (and that's not even mentioning that your reply was wrong....oops, nevermind!!!)

iSRS says:

Looks like they just did (if they hadn't already) with you calling it the iPhone 5S! Surely Apple won't call the 7th iPhone, with iOS 7, the iPhone 5S!!!

;)

(Sorry, had to get to that in there).

jlake02 says:

Great editorial. Personally I was very disappointed at first, but now that I've had some time to consider things I agree with you completely.

I think the mock prototypes on YouTube got me excited and expanded my ideas for what the iPhone could be. Additionally, I was disappointed by the lack of some type of e-pay (NFC, etc) system and I'm not really convinced the battery is large enough.

However, I do really like this product and will be up late tonight in order to purchase it.

Keep up the great work Rene!

justcurious#WN says:

Very thoughtful piece. Why is it that it seems like Rene is the only Mobile Nations/SPE editor that isn't a shoot-from-the-hip fanboy?

pussypounder says:

Because he is. He's quick to condescend to other phones and platforms constantly. It's not a knock. Most writers, performers ect... play to their audience. In fact he has a whole paragraph in this article doing this very thing.

"Lost amongst the angst and howls of those for whom design is an appearance thing -- for whom ever more giant, creaky, plastic phones that are gray one year and blue the next, that are thin on one end and humped on the other, that sacrifice pixel quality for size, and consistency and cohesiveness for feature creep, are innovation -- is the leap forward Ive and Apple are taking here."

While he is stating facts, the tone is still condescending. I think the new iPhone is unbelievably good looking, but I'm sure on the other hand there are those that share Rene's sentiments on plastic but with glass and steel or aluminum.

But if you truly believe that Rene isn't a "shoot from the hip fanboy," then you're just as deluded as the Samsung nuts that feel their cheap plastic crap is superior in design to the iPhone. ; )

Rene Ritchie says:

I'm not condescending towards other platforms, just bad phone manufacturing. Nokia and HTC make great phones. Samsung still misses the mark on plastics for me.

And I typically shoot from the 3-point, arms locked position, thanks :)

ddot196 says:

Samsung misses the mark on plastics yet Apple makes a phone with a glass body or an antenna built into the rim of a phone? They've all got their flaws but it just seems you refuse to acknowledge any of Apple's doings.

Rob White says:

That is in fact the best shooting position to assume when it hits the fan!

And I still thin k you're a fair guy overall ;-)

Runswithscissors#IM says:

It's a phone. Nothing more, nothing less. It's an appliance, a tool to help us get more done throughout the day.

AmericanJoe12 says:

It feels as if you have your tongue stuck too deep in Apple's butt.
Telling people they are wrong because they have an opinion different than yours is down right vain.
You're an idiot.

Jeromegotevo4g says:

You missed the point dumbass.....ah oh well. Good read, I look forward to my iPhone 5 which is like a well made BMW or Ferrari, not a Cheap imitation. BOOM!

Urban22 says:

Why would anyone buy a cheap imitation of something they don't like?

lungho says:

That's a question best asked on androidcentral.

Bracing for the wave of hate coming my way.......3...2...1.........

Urban22 says:

Why would it be best asked there?

JGltno says:

Because android central is all about their android phones that get released and become obsolete every 2 weeks lol.

Urban22 says:

I'm lost, how do they become obsolete in 2 weeks? What advances that quickly that they are rendered obsolete in 2 weeks?

rebelgorilla says:

It's funny when once in a while you come across insolent faggots whose parents taught them zero manners.

Former iPhone User says:

There are no excuses anymore Rene. It doesn't take a year to make marginal improvements. That's not my main problem with ios, my main problem is that it's been 5 years and we are still looking at a grid of static icons. ios 6 is just now catching up to Gingerbread smh. Later apple I'm off to Mountain View.

Rene Ritchie says:

This is a major improvement, hardwire wise.

I didn't address software here.

Former iPhone User says:

Major improvement??! I Lmao what's so "major" about the hardware? If you meant the insides hardware I would say that's to be expected but the phone looks like a taller iPhone 4 with a new color scheme. Nothing more nothing less. There is nothing major about that phone. When the iPhone 4 came out, that's what a major improvement hardware wise. Apple is too busy trying to slow down the competition instead of truly innovating.

J_MAC29 says:

Rene, I've read a couple of posts of yours since the rumors started of the iPhone 5 and that the leaks were pretty much 99.9% what we were getting. And in the posts I think back that maybe at least 2 or 3 other times you keep referring to this "Project Purple." Apples almost dream design for the iPhone that they had back in 2005. And you say this has been a goal of their to reach this design that they felt was the best. And that's fine. Apple wanted to do what it had to to reach this goal and come close, if not dead on, to what they dreamt a phone should look like...back in 2005.

I think the problem a lot of people are having Rene is that...this isn't 2005 any more. And now with this iteration of the the iPhone family, really they can't get any closer to that "Purple" than what will be in the hands of millions come the 21st of this month. So people are probably hoping that Apple feels its achieved it's goal, yet we'll still see the same device come next year with a iPhone 5S (I know, way ahead of myself), but hopefully we'll get something new and different.

Other manufactures have achieved this. The new nokia phones look great. The new Samasung phones look really cool. They're different. It's not something that each company was hoping to achieve over 5 years ago. Apple says it wants to make a better phone and not a new phone just for the sake of a new phone. We as Apple fans appreciate that. We appreciate that we don't have 5.3 inch screens sticking out of our pocket looking like were smuggling a Gremlin or something. But as Apple fans we'd love to see them step out of their Apple 2005 box, and give us new design that wasn't thought up almost 7 years ago. They've achieved "Purple"...now how about we move on to a new color?

Carioca32 says:

Excellent point, I was wondering the same thing.

J_MAC29 says:

Personally I would hope for the benefit for the customer. I mean I know Apple is very well known for the whole "You (the consumer) don't know what you want. But we (apple) know." That's worked well before but to me, and possibly a few others, it's not entirely the case any more. The customer would like something different. This is roughly the same design as the iPhone 4 just stretched out a bit with some aluminum. To the consumer it looks like they've spent 6 generations tweaking the same thing till it was what Apple wanted. I guess you can say it was worth it cause they pretty much got there. And I get the whole "Purple" was the goal. I can accept that. I just hope that this is the last time we see them trying to make this same design "better" and go on make something totally different...move on from Purple.

JGltno says:

Most top notch designs take years to conceive and not a couple weeks in your backyard. Maybe you should try coming up with your own phone and try making it and see how long that takes you...

J_MAC29 says:

There's no need to get mean about it, I'm well aware it takes quite a bit of time to go from idea to concept to actual device. I'm not saying it takes a couple whisks of a magic wand and poof you have a phone. What I'm saying is that Apple looked to have spent from 2005 to present working to make the "Purple" concept into a reality. That's quite a long time to focus mainly on one design goal. To me, and possibly to a few others, it's too much time. That time spent trying to make a 7 year old design concept into a reality might have been better spent coming up with something really different and new. And for all we know they very well could have other designs out there and their fixing the kinks, we don't know. But Rene was pointing out that this "Project Purple" device was kind of seen as the ultimate goal to achieve. Well as far as some may be concerned, to us they achieved the goal. We have a flat, glass, multi touch slab with a back thats 95% metal/aluminum, almost identical to what that rough concept looks like. It's time to move on.

rebelgorilla says:

That's not a real iPhone 5 in the picture now, is it?

afolgueira says:

Rene you sound worry about apple, this phone does nothing to move the needle if you have 4s
There is no need to upgrade. All the stuff that was presented is one year or more behind android. The gs3 is selling well and people are taking notice it is a whole new game and apple is playing catch up. IOS is old needs a refresh badly. Anyways millions will be sold but for how long can apple keep this ?

Rowanova says:

People want the large screen smart phones. They've been widely available and popular for a few years already. They are sold in mass quantities around the world. Poll after poll (on non-Apple/iOS sites) show people overwhelmingly loving the large screen sizes. So Apple's answer is this half-a*#@d tall(er) and skinny screen size?! It's a little larger, barely, and still the smallest screen on any newer middle to high end smart phone currently on the market.

For a world class tech corporation it's unbelievable that Apple can't seem to figure out how to listen to its customers. And it seems they can't figure out how to make a screen the size that people all over the world want most.

Way to iterate. Is it inevitable Apple will fail like this next year too?

Former iPhone User says:

iPhone 5S will finally have NFC to use with apple smart tags lol. Oh and a bigger battery and a new chip to finally catch up to Tegra 3.

JGltno says:

If apple listened to all of their customers. Don't you think we would have another android?

iSRS says:

Polls on tech sites don't capture, at least, 80% of the population. What "people want" will be determined by their purchases. I don't anticipate this new iPhone 5 will disappoint in that department. People will vote with their wallets. They aren't sheep, lemmings, fanboys, etc. They are customers choosing what they like best. Simple as that.

As for your screen argument, What is your point? Apple has made it clear one average sized hand use is the target. I have average to large hands, and can not hit, with my thumb, the full surface of the Galaxy SIII. What Apple did is to mirror the aspect ratio of some of the newer phones out there (see chart below) - 16x9 - while presenting the greates ppi. See below. So I ask, what is your issue? If you don't like what you see here...

Phone Size Resolution DPI Aspect Ratio
Droid RAZR MAXX 4.3" 540x960 256 ppi 16x9
Droid RAZR M 4.3" 540x960 256 ppi 16x9
Droid RAZR HD 4.7" HD (Not specific) ??? 16x9 (Assumed)
Droid RAZR MAXX HD 4.7" HD (Not specific) ??? 16x9 (Assumed)
Samsung Galaxy Note 5.3" 800x1280 285 ppi 3x2?
Samsung Galaxy SIII 4.8" 720x1280 306 ppi 16x9
Apple iPhone 5 4.0" 1136x640 326 ppi 16x9

Rob White says:

You left one out...

HTC Rezound 4.3" 1280 x 720 HD 342 ppi. That is still the best available at retail presently.

And isn't the iPhone 5 the same as the 4/4S at 326ppi? You wrote 329. It's all in the details.

iSRS says:

Thanks. Fixed the typo.

As far as the Rezound, to be honest, hadn't even thought of LG or HTC. Or Windows phone. I am not trying to say the iPhone 5 is the best phone out there (it is for me, others have different needs). My point was to say the iPhone 5 has an ugly/skinny screen, when it is the same exact shape as nearly all the phones I listed, and I assume the Rezound, too.

Rob White says:

I wasn't arguing with your opinion so don't misunderstand. Just an observation that Apple's rhetoric is not what it once was. The competition isn't outpacing them in sales due to competing with each other whereas Apple is the sole proprietor of the iPhone. But watching some of those announcements & hearing the usual catch phrases; the thinnest ever, the best screen ever, fastest graphics, fastest data, WiFi, etc etc etc... It just isn't true for Apple any longer. To Apple fans it won't matter. But it doesn't make another's choice of Android or Windows Phone or BlackBerry any less relevant.

That's just my personal observation of Apple selling the 'Reality Distortion Field' of Steve Jobs. To pretend the competition hadn't implemented all of this already, & arguably much more, is just denial on Apple's part. And in my view they seem petty for doing it.

Trodecke says:

Yes, the iPhone 5 is a technological marvel. That Apple's engineers, and their partner's engineers, could provide more with less is noteworthy. Not taking anything away from them, some of this is simply advances in technology itself. As manufacturing processes get smaller, 32nm and smaller still, then components based on that manufacturing process will become smaller and more power efficient. However, that's not where I'm disappointed with the iPhone 5.

My disappointment with the iPhone 5 (and the 4s before it) is in the form factor. The form factor has stayed essentially the same and is, for all intents and purposes, the form factor that someone(s) concluded was the perfect form factor 7 or more years ago. Admittedly, quite a few people agree that the form factor is indeed good as evidenced by the popularity of the iPhone. And that Apple was able to decrease the volume of the phone while simultaneously improving it's capabilities, again, is a technological marvel; one worthy of the attention they've received and will no doubt continue to receive. However, my preferences lean more towards larger is usually better. I fully admit that I'm not in the majority on this but it's still my point of view. There's a reason I eschewed the smaller and more portable MBP and Airs and went with a 27" iMac. Before that, my Windows based PC had a single 25" monitor and not multiple 17 or even 19 inch monitors. I prefer big, beautiful displays that let the content I'm consuming shine through.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I really like (and totally get) the "It just works" aspect of the iPhone but can't help wanting Apple to provide it in a bigger package.

This is totally and completely unfair but the best analogy I can make is the old saying, you can't polish a piece of semi-solid waste. The iPhone never has been and never will be a piece of semi-solid waste but remember what happened to Palm and their Treo line of gadgets/phones. Palm new they'd hit the right form factor and knew it all the way until they almost stopped being a company. Yes, technological innovation is still innovation and is still notable but the standard user doesn't see technological innovation.

chris.lenderman says:

I can understand your disappointment, as you seem to be someone who likes a gigantic screen, and Apple didn't deliver. I like big screens too...on my television, computer monitor, movie theaters, etc...but not on something meant to be portable. If Apple had increased the size of the screen (well, phone to be exact) much more, I would have been disappointed.

So what is Apple to do? Unless they further fragment their display offerings, they're going to disappoint one set of customers either way.

Trodecke says:

Agreed, they're not going to please everyone all the time. And from the total sales figures, they've done an excellent job of pleasing enough people enough to have them continue to buy iPhones.

Personally, I was a Palm Pre person, even with it's relatively tiny 3.2" screen. My employer decided they only wanted to support iPhones and Blackberries (which is strange since I'm one of the folks that has to support them) so I went the iPhone route.

Rene Ritchie says:

Wow, that Aventador sure is iterative and boring. Why not make it look like a boat. Or a chicken. Fail. ;)

Trodecke says:

I'm not following you. I'm not saying Apple should change their simple yet elegant design for me. I'm just saying I wish they would. :)

mtcowdog says:

I think the IP5 is an amazing piece of technology. I don't know that anyone else could have packed so much into such a small package.

That said, I'm not sure I will upgrade my IP4 to the IP5, as I had planned. For my wife, the IP5 is her next phone, period. It is the perfect upgrade phone for what she wants. Me, hmmm. Apple didn't grab me as much as I hoped they would. And I think it is more iOS6 than the IP5 hardware. In Apple's defense, I'm not really even sure what I'm looking for. I guess I want to assess the landscape more. I am happy using my IP4 for now while I wait to see what comes from new Nexus devices (several?) and even WP8. The smartphone market is now mature enough that a great refined product is just another product, a reality that has pros and cons.

dh96 says:

You claim to not be a 'fanboy' yet run a website dedicated to everything apple. I honestly should have stopped reading there, but I continued. The reason apple is getting so much flack is because they are not taking risks anymore. They choose to play it safe and milk their fanbase. The only people that don't see it are in fact, 'fanboys'. Don't get me wrong, they did it very well. A lot of people won't switch to android because they are too invested in the iphone regime (apps they paid for, ease of comfort, etc). Don't get it twisted though, nothing they have done here with the iphone 5 is innovating or shocking. They switched their business model from aggressive to passive, simply because they can afford it, and people will buy it because they built a name for themselves by being on the forefront of the phone technology. They are getting flack because they have stopped taking risks, which is what we all know and love apple for.

igrar#IM says:

Still crap, will keep my 4s and upgrade to iPhone 6 only (not even iPhone 5s). The specs of iPhone 5 might be good but I buy apple products not for specs but for design and pleasure to use them. iPhone 5 insults my eyes !!!

jubbbird says:

So what we're saying here is that Apple yet again deserve credit, for something, but it's just not something that consumers care about.

Ok, so credit where it's due. But if iP5 sales aren't good, it's because Apple decided to prioritise on things that weren't important to the people. If that turns out to be the case, I'd argue they should have seen that coming and headed in a different direction. If it happens and they DID see it coming and chose NOT to head in a different direction, perhaps we can all speculate on what their long term vision really is, and how much of the market they intend to keep.

clintwinstead says:

Wow, did Apple make out the check to iMore or to you personally?

_Haitian_ says:

As a techie, I'm very disappointed with the new device. There just isn't that "wow" factor to it. It will be my daily driver as the lawyers here in the office want it and I'll gladly give it its fair share of good use and give an educated response afterwards. I welcome the bigger screen to my iPhone 4s.

I am very disappointed that there is no NFC or wireless charging or super-sensitive touchscreen or colour (real colours) options or image stabilization and a couple of other subjects that I just won't mention as to not upset diehard fans.

Do the people at Apple know what they are doing? Of course they do! They have teams that only concentrate in one subject and they are very good at what they do.

But this is Apple people. They started this whole touch screen trend revolution and I expected for them to do it this time around after another very disappointing iPhone 4s. Did the iPhone 5 need wireless charging and NFC. No, but it sure would have been nice if they had put it on there as to be on par with the one that surprised me the most for this crazy month of tech toys released, the Lumia 920. I'd love to get home and just tap it to my JBL speakers with NFC and keep the music going while it's charging. Wouldn't you?

This is the first time that I see the iPhone not leading the pact with innovation. It's downright embarrassing. It's a glorified bigger and thinner iPhone 4s with the usual faster processor and better battery life (those ones go to all devices without say. It's a must).

I guess the subject for this article is spot on Rene. It is "Inevitable" that Apple couldn't lead the innovation for the next generation smartphones forever.

There is just no innovation at all on this device. None. You can argue all you won't, it's just not there.

ninjajmon says:

In terms of features, yes its better than the last and they place the components in a smaller casing which is awesome for iOS users but it is still playing catch up to its competitors. Iphone is not the slimmest phone, it doesn't have the longest battery, it just doesn't have anything new. Its unrealistic to think that any company will not improve their products in this super competitve market. As to the design of the phone and ui, thats subjective.

tbaptista says:

Will someone just please tell me what the iPhone 5 can do that my 4s can't. I know it does things better but what can it do that my 4s can't....

FlopTech says:

Here are some things the 5 does that the 4S can't:

1. LTE connectivity
2. 5 GHz 802.11n
3. Five rows of icons
4. Camera can take still photos while shooting video

Is that enough for you? No? Well remember that most 4S owners are still in the middle of their contracts and aren't about to upgrade anyway. But for iPhone 4 owners who are off-contract, the 5 is an enormous improvement.

tbaptista says:

Thanks now I know that an upgrade is not needed.
1. LTE not available in my market (this is an upgrade, faster data than 4s)
2. How fast does a phone WiFi really need to be? I get speeds at work on wifi at 50mb down and 6mb up. (this is an upgrade faster WiFi data than 4s)
3. Extra icons (on the fence about the screen) (this is something the 4s can not do)
3. That is pretty cool but are we sure this won't be available to 4s?

This is how they pertain to me. I am sure other people have their own tastes.

Mac58 says:

Wow. And to think Android came out with most of this back in 2010....and one of them in 2011..

Jenna Jameson says:

Rene:

$1M question, as I cannot get a straight answer from AT&T.........if I have a unlimited data plan on my 4, can I roll it over?

Need help before pre-order. Thanks.

woscoe1503 says:

yes they will allow you to keep your unlimited data

JGltno says:

No. AT&T clearly stated they will not roll over unlimited plans anymore in preparation to their new plans. Who cares about unlimited anyways... You get throttled.

nyc_rock says:

Renee, you are 100% fanboy. Admit it, you will be much happier in life.

The design is fine. Its the screen that I find a disappointment. I'm sorry, but after all of these years, nobody has released a screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Apple didn't just stumble upon it as a "Wow" moment. Its ugly, its adds no functionality. Its like Apple didn't really want to make the screen bigger and threw this bone out to its user base. How do I know? I guarantee you that no other MFG will be using this just because Apple did.*

*Not a guarantee

Jet300 says:

Samsung Galaxy Nexus has a 16:9 screen, as do the other 1280x720P Android phones I believe. I don't see how his doesn't add functionality. Do you not own an HDTV at home? They are all 16:9 displays. As is the HD content displayed on them.

Gregz0r says:

The iPhone 5 is the smartphone equivalent to the Porsche 911. To the untrained eye, the latest model looks like one from years ago, but the differences, when taken as a whole, are immense.

JGltno says:

I dont understand why people are bitching and complaining so much. If you don't like the phone simply jump the ship or keep the one you have. It's stupid to come to an iPhone blog and bitch about your phone that can do things better then the iPhone 5. Get the f**k over it. No one cares about the bitching it's just annoying.

woscoe1503 says:

well said. if this phone hadn't been leaked as much (got to the point where i was waiting for the box to leak) people would have gotten a more "wow" moment.

Camfella says:

You need to honestly ask yourself why you're "annoyed" by the opinion/criticism of others.

Jet300 says:

Wow. That's a very impressive defense of Apple's design decisions by Rene.

However, the one thing that always comes to mind when people start spouting off about Apple's "inevitable, simple, and clear" design is that fact that the majority of iPhones I see in the wild are in some sort of hard case. In fact, it seems a large majority of those in cases are in some sort of Otterbox. Such a lightweight, simplistic, perfect example of design and execution is hidden by an ugly plastic box that make the device look more like a industrial tool (albeit sometimes in pink or teal tool) rather than an iconic high tech smartphone. Oh the irony!

Oh, and good luck to everyone out there with that shiny new black iPhone 5. That black anodized ring around the phone is sure to look like crap in short order. Get used to seeing lots of scratches exposing the aluminum underneath .... Better get your Otterbox orders in now!

stuntmonkey says:

The only thing about the 16:9 screen is that it gets further away from the golden ratio (3:2 was not phi, mind you). I think that if the 5 had been built to the 4s proportions, it would have been absolutely sublime as a piece of consumer design.

xandrex#IM says:

People complain about the form factor, but I think that will pass. I think we'd have seen a lot less complaining if iOS 6 offered something a bit different looking. The hardcore people want Android, except made by Apple. I, for one, don't mind the static grid, but I can see why some would be annoyed.

But I know a lot of my friends who don't obsess over smartphones will get the iPhone because they like it. It's comfortable, it's easy to switch from an old iPhone to a new one. They have all the apps they need. Why would they switch? As one of my friends said, "When my eligibility came up, I used to fret for weeks over phones and look around...now I just know I'm getting the new iPhone." Call that being a sheep, but I don't see it that way (can you be an iSheep if you aren't tech savvy?)...I see it as Apple having delivered what they want and people sticking with it.

mlawrnce says:

Rene you have gone well beyond "fanboy" and into what sports fans call biased sportscasters = "homer". I especially like your demeaning way of proclaiming someone who disagrees with your (not so humble) opinion "just wrong". You don't need to take the blinders off totally, just perhaps widen their view

RealNeal says:

Very well said, Rene. The iPhone 5 is a work of art inside and out...

ddot196 says:

"If you're disappointed in the iPhone 5 design, if you think it's too similar to previous iPhones, if you think Apple isn't innovating "any more", you're wrong. I'm not a "fanboy" and you're not a "troll" or a "hater". You're just wrong."

What a terrible statement. They haven't innovated. It is the same exact rehashed design from 2 years back. It took them what 4 years or so to get past 3.6 inches of screen? Technology grows at an exponential rate. The iphone hasn't moved at all. It has crawled forward. It's terrible how people will buy anything Apple puts out. And you are a fanboy. You're too blind to admit it. I've been reading this site since it was tipb back when I got my first iPhone 3g. I've enjoyed it and still do so I can keep up with my apple news but I can almost pick out the articles you've written just by looking at the title and first few lines. It almost always involves bashing of android products or praising Apple for how "innovative" they are. Oh and the iPhone 4s to 5 is lightyears ahead? Give me a break.

mlawrnce says:

ddot196 - Could not have said it any better!! Especially the line about knowing Rene wrote an article by just reading the first few lines (or sometimes just the title). I too enjoy this site and will continue to do so but sometimes Rene you're just a bit much with your adoration of Apple.

Camfella says:

Rene saying he's not a Fanboy is like an insane person claiming he's not crazy! And how can someone's OPINION that the new iPhone is similar to the iphone4 be "wrong"?

BlackberryUserForLife88 says:

Apple's iPhone 5 copied the SHAPE of the Samsung SIII's screen! Lets sue!!!!!!!!!

Mac58 says:

Im going to bookmark this page.
So whenever Apple changes their design of the iPhone I cal tell you "No, Rene you're wrong."
Seriously? I have read lots of your stuff but to say anyone who disagrees with Apples design is wrong is ludicrous. Pardon me but I just get agitated when people cant admits the faults of Apple. I guess Blackberry had a project Orange as well and thats why they never changed their product design.. O wait.. that was until Android and Apple moved in and too over market share and then they had to adapt. Well now Android is doing the same thing to Apple. I honestly think Apple has not changed their design drastically because their are waaaay to many other phone designs out there and they could easily infringe on someone elses design and then get sued like they have done to other OEM's. But thats just my 2 cent.. to conclude I have 5 more words
No Rene. You. Are. Wrong!

jzgut9110024 says:

I was somewhat disappointed. I was hoping for a taller and wider phone. I would guess that I use my iphone 95% of the time to, 1. watch netflix, 2. play games, 3. Read stories on websites. How are all these other phones able to do it with 4.3" and larger screens but we cant do it on the iphone because of the aspect ratio?

badMojo69 says:

I love phones I love them so much I play full price for them, but I have never owned an iPhone.
I do own two iPads and was hoping to get the i5 but the screen is just too small.

It's a nice upgrade if you're in an lte area.

I will get the Nokia 920 but I hate the fact they made the screen larger.

paleh0rse says:

"They've made a SLIGHTLY better iPhone."

There, FTFY...

Marky253 says:

I have an iPhone 4, and the new iPhone 5 is not enough for me to upgrade!!
Ear buds, Bose makes killer ones! Ear buds r not enough! I was expecting something more and was very disappointed. I am due for an upgrade, I think I am going to wait till Nokia 920 hits Verizon to make a wise and radical upgrade! Android is totally out I just can deal with os platform that's slow and not be upgraded. So I have windows or apple? iPhone is just not cutting anymore, iOS is outdated and with this update I hope I will be able to paste an attachment right from the email and not take the extra step of getting out of my email and then copy and paste to the email.
I really expected more & was just disappointed, but the nano & iPod was cool. I was actually more inspired with the Nokia Windows phone annocement.........

NoTrollsAllowed says:

You really hit it on the head, Rene. I can't think of any part of the iPhone that wasn't improved on from the 4S, and many changes were profound.

As much as I want to upgrade, I'm not eligible for an upgrade until next year at this time having gotten the 4S when it was unveiled. I'll have to take comfort that I will be able to take advantage of the vast majority (if not all) of the improvements to come in iOS 6; it will sort of be like getting a new phone, just not new hardware. Even if the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5S is only as much of an improvement over the iPhone 5, I look forward to the larger screen, more powerful processors when it comes to speed, and longer talk and standby times.