When Apple announced the iPhone 5 on September 12 before its developers and the media, you would have thought that the hottest thing since slice bread had come to earth. The pomp and circumstance of the event was simply astounding, and Apple was at its best. The iPhone 5 was the prized object everyone had been waiting for, and Apple made sure to give the iPhone 5 great attention on the projection screen so that its developers and journalists could “ooohhh” and “aaahhh” over the iPhone 5’s slender design. The iPhone 5 was projected to sell somewhere between 6-10 million iPhones according to Piper Jaffray and other financial analysts and looked to be everything and more the smartphone world could ever want.
Despite the iPhone 5’s debut, however, the iPhone has experienced nothing but dark days ever since. The first attacks on the iPhone 5 were from customers (and even tech writers!) who had damaged iPhones straight from the unwrapping. Cracked screens, dents, scratches on the aluminum metal back (placed there easily by car or house keys), and other damages to iPhones were the surprise of many who unwrapped their iPhones for the first time. To make matters worse, many of the damages incurred on iPhones were located under the protective film that Apple places on its iPhones at the factory. This suggests that the workers themselves committed the errors – or, that the errors were all too easy to commit because of the soft materials used to build the iPhone 5. Can you imagine the anger of so many iPhone customers, many of whom waited in line for the iPhone 5? If that had been me, I would be angry, too. Other customers were angry about how quickly the Apple stores across the country ran out of available iPhone supply. It is good when demand for the iPhone is great; however, where was the supply? Why did Apple stores have so few iPhones? If you ordered online, the response was even worse: UPS issued a response less than three days after the first pre-order day, telling iPhone customers that they would have to wait 3-4 weeks if they decided to pre-order. At this point, the iPhone 5 was soon to debut in stores, so they did not need to pre-order the iPhone 5 any longer.
Cracks, dents, paint smears and scratches, and other “oops” moments with the iPhone 5 were followed by defective software. That’s right: iOS6 fared no better than the iPhone 5 in its performance. I received the iOS6 update (as did all Apple customers) on September 19, 2012, and sat in my apartment looking at my iPad 3 screen while anticipating all that I would experience in the new operating system. I was told that Siri would come to the iPad (I was so excited!), as well as Apple’s new 3D mapping system provided by Apple’s partnership with maps manufacturer TomTom. If you watched Scott Forstall’s presentation, you were impressed with the new map’s “Flyover” function. Unfortunately, “Flyover” was nothing more than a “conover” (con over) method by which Apple sold its shabby maps. The moment iOS6 was released, customers who updated to the new OS reported that streets, buildings, and even cities were missing on the new maps application. Scott Forstall gave developers and journalists a tour of “Big Ben” in London when he presented the 3D maps application, but he did not tell the crowd that the only landmarks he could show off in 3D were the few that Apple had perfected within the year’s time the company spent working on the product. In other words, do not expect your neighborhood government building to look as nice in 3D as Big Ben does on-screen!
Apple’s 3D maps application was so abhorred by both the tech media and iPhone owners that many started to clamor for the return of Google Maps. CNET and other tech sites offered videos that would help iPhone users get Google’s map app back on their desktop screens, and Apple CEO Tim Cook offered a letter of apology for the company’s 3D maps fiasco. In his letter, Tim Cook admits the following about Apple’s maps feature:
“We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.”
He is right about the work it would take to create a new version of Maps; the problem, however, is that creating such a groundbreaking Maps application takes longer than a year or two; Google, in contrast, has been working on its maps app for the last eight years! The question becomes, “Why did Apple release its 3D Maps app so fast?” Dan Farber of CNET writes his response to Cook’s apology:
“What’s missing from Cook’s letter is any explanation as to why Apple would knowingly publish a beta product that frustrates customers and causes the company to send out a note to customers like the one below. The Apple CEO could have added something like, ‘We would have preferred to spend more time making Maps incredibly great, but we couldn’t reach an agreement with Google to provide voice navigation for the Apple iOS app as it does on Android. We felt it was an important enough feature to end our agreement with Google and accelerate the deployment of our iOS 6 Maps app’” (Dan Farber, “Cook’s ‘Mapology’ doesn’t explain premature Maps launch.” CNET. September 28, 2012; bold font mine).
This is the question that Tim Cook did not answer. Why? Apple did not answer this question because the company wanted to issue the 3D Maps app. It did not care that the problems existed; Apple featured the application in order to send a message to Google that “we don’t need you, we’re capable of creating our own Maps app for our customers.” Unfortunately, the same company that wanted to go on its own had to come crawling back to its competitors this week when Tim Cook told Apple customers:
“While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app” (Dan Farber quoting Tim Cook’s letter of apology at Apple.com regarding the 3D Maps fiasco).
More interesting than the apology itself is the fact that Apple did not link users to Google and Nokia sites, despite the mention of Google and Nokia in his advice statement. Apple still sounded stubborn in its response: “use MapQuest, Bing, or Waze, but do not use the maps of our competitors.” Sore losers fall hard, eh?
As for Siri, she was a welcome guest to iOS6, but, as many reported with the iPhone 4S, Siri is still not smart enough. She still misses words at times, and cannot aptly calculate expressions you make at times. I asked her to pull up reviews on the new FIFA 13 soccer game; her response? She processed my question “Pull up reviews on FIFA 13” as “Feafel 13” and conceded that she could not find any, but she would pull up some on the Internet. In addition, I told Siri that I was tired, had a long day, and was headed to bed. Siri’s response? “I hope you don’t do something dangerous” (paraphrase; “dangerous” was a word she used in her response, however). Many iPhone 4S customers reported that Siri misunderstands most of what humans ask or say and often gets information wrong as well. The iOS6 update to Siri would make Siri smarter than she had been in the iPhone 4S; she would now know sports scores, the times and dates of games, as well as movies and movie reviews. She is a bit humorous in this new update, as she provides funny synopses of movies and seems to have a bias towards science fiction and Disney in her movie selection. In her review of the movie, “Inception,” Siri provides the most humorous review of them all:
“‘Inception is about dreaming about dreaming about dreaming about dreaming about something or other. I fell asleep’” (Laura June, “Siri’s Strange Movie Reviews: It’s Tough Being a Robot,” http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/3/3449916/siris-strange-movie-reviews-its-tough-being-a-robot).
Where Siri charms in humor, however, she fumbles in service. Jay Yarow of Business Insider reports that Siri disappointed on his iPhone 5. He asked Siri about the weather in New York two weeks ago and she gave him the weather for “New York, Texas”. According to Yarow, she can provide his exact address in Brooklyn, New York, and knows that he lives in New York state; at the same time, she cannot provide the weather for Brooklyn but instead gives the weather for a city in Texas (far away from New York). In another episode, Yarow asks Siri about the current top team in the National Baseball League; instead of providing a team, she provides the current rankings of teams. Siri did the same thing with me; I am a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate and asked Siri about the names of the current men’s basketball team players; her response? “These are the standings for the National Collegiate Athletic Association” and provided team rankings. While Siri has more knowledge than before, she is still not “man’s best friend”.
Apple’s 3D maps and Siri are not the only problems in iOS6; there are others:
- Bunched App Store display
- Absent YouTube App
- Constant Alerts
- Buggy Calendar
The App Store display now looks bunched and crowded when you click on an app to read its description or to purchase it. The pictures themselves take up so much of the page that you cannot see but one game photo at a time. You have to swipe from left to right to view each photo, and you have no way of knowing when you arrive at the end of the photos because you cannot see them all simultaneously. It would be nice if more photos were provided and game photos sized down a notch.
The YouTube app, once present in iOS5, is no longer a welcome guest in iOS6. Apple removed the YouTube app in order to rid itself of a legal enemy. Apple not only removed Google’s YouTube app; it even went so far as to remove the Google Maps application from iOS6, taking away two features that even iPhone 5 lovers crave (good maps and YouTube video viewing). Constant alerts fly at you often, and remain on your icon list even after the time for an event or reminder has passed. That can be good for those who are prone to forgetfulness, but it may be considered annoying by some individuals. The iPhone 5 calendar is somewhat buggy and can even push scroll down the webpage on its own. There is no “iPhone 5 ghost” lurking around, but Casper may want to own the new iPhone, too!
Fonts and colors, iSight camera, and battery life constitute other criticisms customers have made about iOS6, as well as WiFi connectivity issues. There are things to love about the iPhone 5, such as Passbook (which stores all your cards, tickets, and passes), as well as an improved iSight camera and its panorama mode that allows you to take photos and view the environment around people and landmarks in the photos. The camera snaps pictures constantly in real time when you take the photo so that you can see so much more than just the focus or emphasis of the picture itself.
“…we recommend that you angle the camera away from the bright light source when taking pictures. The purple flare in the image provided is considered normal behavior for the iPhone 5’s camera” (Jesus Diaz, “Apple Acknowledges iPhone 5 Camera Problem, Says You’re Holding It Wrong.” Gizmodo. October 3, 2012; bold font mine).
Here is what Van Gastel was told before Apple acknowledged the purple haze:
“I was told that it shouldn’t happen and that it is strange. My call was escalated to a senior support individual who again said it was odd and shouldn’t happen. I sent her some pics of the issue and she in turn sent them to the engineering team” (Jesus Diaz quoting Matt Van Gastel, “Apple Acknowledges iPhone 5 Camera Problem”).
At first, the problem was “strange”; then, after the engineering team took a look at it, the response was “This is normal for the iPhone 5,” without any reason as to why the purple haze was a normal feature of portraits on the camera. According to Stan Schroeder of Mashable, the purple haze in pictures on the iPhone 5 is not typical to iPhones as a whole. The iPhone 4S, for example, does not have a purple haze on its pictures – leading some to think that the sapphire glass lens on the iPhone 5’s iSight camera is to blame for the purple haze. I agree that this is likely the case, seeing that the purple haze occurs only in photos and not other normal webpage operations; at the same time, however, there is no excuse for a purple haze occurrence in photos. If the purple haze is normal, why is it that Apple’s team did not know this would happen before the iPhone 5 was produced and shipped? Why is it that a sapphire lens covering was added to the iPhone 5 camera without any detection of a purple haze in photos? Did Apple not test its iSight camera before the iPhone 5 release? The same can be said for Apple’s 3D map errors and Siri integration into iOS6. It seems as though Apple cares more about quantity than quality.
What else can go wrong with the iPhone 5? Hopefully, there will be no new disasters or troubles with the iPhone 5. However, at this point, some may begin to think that Apple’s newest flagship phone is not worth the aluminum metal backing, iSight camera, HD FaceTime camera, iOS6, lightning connector cable, and LCD screen customers pay for.
If you want to know more about the Internet and data troubles with the iPhone 5, check out http://iunlock4s.com/ and http://ijailbreak3gs.com/ for more information. In the meantime, jailbreak your iPhone 4S to discover your iPhone 4S’s potential.