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Apple announces iPhone 5S/5C, stock tanks. What’s going on here?

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Apple iPhone 5 next to the new iPhone 5S

Apple stock tanks after iPhone 5S/5C announcementAs late-night talk show hosts had a field day poking fun at Apple’s lackluster iPhone 52 and iPhone 5C announcement and competitors began tweeting jibes about Apple’s superficial presentation, Apple’s stock began a hearty plummet on heavy volume trading immediately following the announcement of their new flagship devices. And all with good reason. If Apple loses their status as a trendsetter, they will no longer be able to charge a premium for their products.  Was Apple’s announcement really all that bad?  Let’s put it this way: Don’t stand in line for this one.

Apple’s announcement of its two new flagship devices, the iPhone 5S and a more economical iPhone 5C, without a doubt proved disappointing (as evidenced by the trouncing it took on the stock market the following day). Several specs remain noticeably lower than competitors with only the new 64-bit processor producing any sort of excitement for the new smartphone device (we’re specifically referring to the 5S here – who could possibly get excited about the economical 5C model Apple introduced). Even the new gold color option failed to enthuse the normally exuberant Apple fanboys (with the exception of Denny’s who promptly rolled out ads noting that their pancakes were always “golden”).  Oh, and the “new” fingerprint reader – another Apple first?  Nope.  A Reddit user quickly pointed out this list of phones that have fingerprint readers, some going back more than a decade.

Old phones that have fingerprint readers

Apple’s new 64-bit processor is significant though. Android manufacturers are already working on 64-bit variants but Apple beat everyone out of the gate. The 64-bit architecture, although not useful for today’s software, will begin the march toward a unified architecture for both portable and desktop devices – a requirement if we ever hope to see our smartphone devices become our primary computing platforms.  What’s exciting about this architecture is not what it offers us today, but what Apple may announce on down the road.

The rest of the new iPhone 5S features were disappointing. A fingerprint scanner is cool but so was facial recognition a couple of years ago and the “much improved camera” is still 8MB. Let’s face it – 8MB is 8MB and not rolling out a 13MB+ camera was a mistake despite the 5S’s improved aperture and camera software tweaks. And in a day when Android manufacturers are increasing battery life by leaps and bounds, barely matching the battery performance of its predecessor, we have to wonder what the heck Apple was thinking. But what about the new motion coprocessor? Blah. Everyone is already pushing sensor processing to separate cores – nothing new here either.

How do the iPhone 5S specs compare to Android competitors? To begin with, the 5S still has no NFC capability nor support for 801.11 ac Wi-Fi and the rest of the specs don’t get any better. 1135×640 resolution (Galaxy S4: 1920×1080, Xperia Z1: 1920×1080), 326 PPI (Galaxy S4: 441, Xperia Z1: 441, HTC One 469), 8MP camera (Galaxy S4: 13MP, Xperia Z1 20.7MP), 1.2MP front camera (everyone else 2MP), 250 hours battery standby (Galaxy S4: 370, Xperia Z1: 880), puny 4 inch screen (everyone else: 5 inch), and still no MicroSD expansion.  These specs make the top-of-the-line 5S look like a has-been and the 5C is magnitudes worse.

I could explain all this away and say “don’t worry, the smartphone market has just reached maturity” but then again, Moto X rolled out several eye-opening enhancements just two weeks ago (albeit on a device that not many people care about).  That Tim Cooke’s best idea so far has been a gold colored iPhone is sad.  My advice for Apple fans: Don’t. Stand. In. Line.