Sunday, 16 September 2012

iPhone 5 vs Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy Slll: Why Apple is still the king despite late entry

iPhone 5 vs Nokia Lumia 920 vs Samsung Galaxy Slll: Why Apple is still the king despite late entry

Clean Media Correspondent

Washingoton DC, Sept 16 (CMC) In 2016, phonemakers will ship a billion smartphones, according to research firm NPD DisplaySearch. That will be one smartphone for nearly every sixth person on the planet. The pot of gold at the end of that particular rainbow is pretty gigantic, and it is little wonder that vicious battles are being fought in courtrooms and markets around the world. It is into this ultimate war for tech dominance that the iPhone 5 has been delivered. 

True to form, Apple delivered yet another competent iteration of its money-spinning device. But the 'reality distortion field' mastered by the late Steve Jobs is starting to wear off. Look closer (in a manner of speaking, of course), and what we have is a device physically sleeker than its predecessor, but not all that different fundamentally.

While it is true that smartphones have matured as a product category and we are mostly going to see incremental changes as opposed to defining innovations ( touchscreen, apps, retina display, Siri, etc.), there is something more at work here.

If the iPhone 5 has failed to elicit the glowing universal admiration the product line is used to, it is because it has been born into a world with more competent rivals than any of its predecessors. It has in fact been shaped by competition perhaps more than any other Apple device. In other words, after years of leading and shaping the industry, Apple is playing catch up in the handsets category, the arc of its domination appearing to plateau.

The larger screen is a direct response to the success of Samsung's Android phones with large screens. Jobs believed that 3.5 inch (diagonally) was the optimum size for a smartphone. Samsung's flagship Galaxy 3 smartphone sports a 4.8-inch screen. It sold 20 million units in three months of launch. Now iPhone has a 4-inch screen, and a 16:9 aspect ratio.

If there is one decision that was forced on Apple, this is it. Apple has always stuck with compatible aspect ratios and resolutions on its iPhones and iPads for a reason — the vast array of apps in its appstore should work seamlessly across devices and iterations. For the first time, some 700,000 apps made for iOS will appear letterboxed (with black bars at the edges) on Apple's latest device, not an experience the company is known to tolerate.

Apple's decision to do away with Google Maps as standard maps solution in iOS and opt for a proprietary solution is in parts driven by its worsening rivalry with Google. But it is also born out of a desire to take control of the maps experience. Nokia, for instance, has been getting attention for its maps and offline navigation suite, thanks to its $8.1-billion acquisition of Navteq.

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