iPhone 5 has been around for a good few months now, and whatever your opinion about the new iPhone and Apple as a company might be, you have to admit that it is one of the most powerful, capable and aesthetically-pleasing smartphones in the market right now.
As promised, Apple gave the iPhone 5 a much-needed hardware upgrade, upgrading the screen to 4 inches of retina display goodness, adding a much powerful processor, as well as cramming even more memory into the device.
On paper, it improved upon almost every single aspect of its predecessor, the iPhone 4S, and should’ve hence bagged all customer satisfaction polls easily, something that the 4S and the iPhone 4 managed to do without even breaking a sweat.
As it turns out though, it didn’t. In fact, it lost out to its competitors by a rather (and worryingly) large margin, ending up on 5th place on a customer satisfaction poll conducted by a research firm by the name of On Device Research.
According to said poll, which was conducted earlier this year, the iPhone ranks 5th in device satisfaction in many countries, such as the US. This research was based on a poll, which asked 320,000 smartphone and tablet users in 6 countries about (yes, you probably guessed it) how satisfied they were with their devices.
The iPhone 5 ranked 5th in the survey conducted in the US (and second in the UK, behind the HTC One X), and if that wasn’t as worrying in itself – especially for a company whose previous phones have topped such polls with relative ease and a company which prides itself in customer satisfaction – it ended behind 4 Android-powered phones.
Motorola’s Atrix HD (running the Android 4 ICS) topped the poll, with other Android devices like the Moto Droid Razr M, HTC Rezound 4G, Samsung’s uber-famous (and rather brilliant) smartphone-tablet hybrid the Note 2 all beating Apple’s iPhone 5.
Sarah Quinn, On Device Research’s head of marketing had this to say about the iPhone’s slump: “Although Apple created one of the most revolutionary devices of the past decade, other manufactures have caught up, with some Android powered devices now commanding higher levels of user satisfaction.”
Which in my opinion is pretty spot-on. The fact of the matter is that the iPhone has revolutionized the smartphone (and the tablet) industry once and for all, and has been one of the best, most-innovative, most user-friendly devices out there. But the likes of HTC, Motorola, and in particular Samsung have caught up in terms of hardware, and as many Android Jelly Bean users will tell you, Android is in many ways better than Apple’s iOS.
For instance I think Google’s Voice Search, aka. the Android-alternative to Siri and the personal assistant on Android-powered phones, beats Siri in many aspects, and is actually much better than Apple’s offering!
You can download the full report, or read it on the company’s website (linked above).
The question though, is that is this the whole story, or is there more to it?
Personally, I think there are many different factors that have contributed to the fall in the iPhone’s superiority. Yes, the simple fact that competitors have caught-on is very true. Android’s latest iteration, the Jelly Bean, is a powerful OS and looks stunning as well; it beats the iOS – Apple’s propriety smartphone and tablet OS – on many fronts. In addition, smartphone manufacturers such as those mentioned in this post are beating Apple on the hardware front by adding more cores to their processors, more memory and whatnot.
This has leveled the playing-field, which was being absolutely dominated by Apple ever since the first iPhone saw the light of day.
Steve Jobs’s demise has I feel played a role here. The loss of the man who took Apple to unprecedented heights has been well and truly felt by Apple. Doubts still remain over whether new CEO Tim Cook really was (and is) the right man to take the reins of what is now the biggest company in the world. Perhaps someone else would’ve been more suited to succeed Steve Jobs as CEO?
Furthermore, while the iPhone 5 was a great device on paper, was it really any better than its predecessor? Yes, it came with a bigger screen, but upgrading the screen was more of a necessity rather than an innovation; the iPhone with its 3.5” screen couldn’t simply compete any more with larger devices being offered by the likes of Samsung and co, and the upgrade was hence the need of the hour in order for it to stay competitive. The fact is that the iPhone 5 wasn’t really much of an ‘upgrade’ over the old 4S, was it. It offered nothing new as a phone, and even iOS 6 – with its ‘200 new features’ and whatnot failed to impress, offering nothing that wasn’t already being offered by its competitors (*cough*Android*cough*).
And then we had the whole Apple Maps fiasco! I’m confident that one day, Apple Maps will be the undisputed king in its category/niche, and once it is improved (and it does need to be improved a LOT!) it will be one of the best web mapping apps out there. However the simple fact is that Apple Maps was named one of the Top 10 Fails of 2012 by CNN, and that Tim Cook had to apologize about how woeful the app actually is probably tells you everything that you need to know about it!
Where do you think Apple fell short with the iPhone 5? If you’re an iPhone 5 user, how satisfied are you with your device? Do you agree with the results of the poll? Do you think Apple needs to do something innovative and out-of-the-box with its next iPhone, and if you do, what would be your suggestions? Have your say and leave a comment in the comments section below.