MIR’s Inner Circle members comment on the new iPhone 5

What do the industry insiders think of the Apple iPhone 5 launch? Let’s find out! I’m delighted to be able to bring you a series of ‘one sentence evaluations’ from the mobile industry’s senior executives, influencers and fanatics.

As always I’ve just used first names and in some cases I’ve changed those first names to protect anonymity. (At least one person on this list is directly responsible for buying about half a billion dollars worth of new Apple iPhones! Their comment wasn’t entirely positive either.)

By way of background: A few weeks ago I wondered what the readers of my super-private insider newsletter thought of Nokia’s latest Lumia launch. I invited them to send me their one sentence summaries and then collated them into one post. I thought it would be useful to do the same for Apple’s launch, especially now the initial buzz has died down from last week.

So here we go. All comments are entirely unedited and are published in the order they were received.

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Peter: Unexpectedly underwhelming – leadership lost.

Husain: Fantabulous!!

Ben: The Jimmy Kimmel video says it all; emperor’s new clothes.

Paul: I really miss “one more thing”, Apple don’t surprise anymore, but they do deliver.

Dominic: Whereas the iPhone 4 & 4S were years ahead of their peers, the iPhone 5 seems to be a middle-of-the-pack device but due to the legions of iPeople who are smitten by the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone 5 will undoubtedly be an (undeservedly) extremely successful device.

Tony: As usual, Ive nails the industrial design with a smartphone that’s still pocket sized; combat trousers not required (take Note Samsung).

Richard: “Don’t underestimate what’s going on inside …” As for the 9-pin connector, I take it you’ve already seen this:

(I hadn’t seen it Richard… but I LOVE it.)

Antoine: Apple iPhone 5 launch was a case of rubbing the genie and getting a second wish on the last iteration – not so much an answer to the innovation question, but to the market-addressing one. The iPhone 4 while a revolutionary change for Apple in the design, manufacturing, and even selling of the iPhone series, there were issues with the hardware, software, and even the quality of the experience. From shattered glass, to reports of worse battery life, to a resetting of expectations and opportunities with accessories. The iPhone 4 changed a lot for Apple. The 4S was like a moment of refinement, a “me culpa” if you will. It was the right change. One could argue that it borders on the kinds of refinements we used to see more often from MB, BMW, and a few other high-end marques. The iPhone 5 simply addresses the market in the way the 4 and 4S couldn’t. In some respects, one could look at both the 4 and 4S as a beta for the 5 and what should work well. The only real issue for Apple with the i5 is that issue that seems to plague their furthest reaching endeavors… can the quality of the experience match the high bar in perception they continue to market and feed from?

Richard: With iPhone 5 Apple seem to have produced the first mainstream-ready smartphone, where familiarity, massive marketing and hyperbole replace technology as the selling points.

Luke: No no. No no no. So changing the connector keeps finance happy and opens up opportunities for peripheral manufacturers to create some converter widget, but the connector compatibility has turned me off. I was looking forward to the launch but it’s made me more likely to get the Lumia 920 now. Missed opportunity. Cue swift release of iPhone 6 or another ‘bumper’ edition?!

Claudio: My 50 cents: evolutionary, but not revolutionary 😉

Malcolm: Thinner, lighter, faster, a few small changes since last ‘new’ one and more expensive; of course I’ll buy one, pre-order placed.

Gareth: Where was the ground breaking, market shifting (destroying) innovation? I’m amazed that the leaks before hand really did seem to be accurate for the iPhone 4.2. I’d come to the conclusion that the leaks must be for an updated 4S/lesser model and that Apple were going to release more than one new iPhone, but no, what we had read and heard was what we saw. Apple: stop the leaks, spend much much more of that gargantuan pile of money that you have on research and development, and don’t be afraid to release more than one model at once! As many other people have said, yes it will sell very well, but no longer will I consider the iPhone 4.2 to be an ultra high end smartphone, in fact I would go so far as to rank it just about alongside Nokia’s recently announced Lumia 820.

Raymond: After all the leaks, everyone was disappointed that the leaks were, for the first time accurate and nothing new was therefore released as well.

Mark: For the first time since the original iPhone, Apple’s product is not meaningfully ahead of the competition anymore. Apple will still sell more iPhone’s than ever before, and make money hand over fist. But, the kool aid is running out and and in due course, iOS will be the new Symbian. Too big to change.

Bob: I think they should build an accessory that holds your tap-to-pay credit card so they can compete in the NFC game!

Tom: “Now with a new Hat!” (Wikipedia Reference — “…it is just the same doll with a new hat…”)

Ewan: Apple has left behind the geekerati – this is not the phone for the Silicon Valley, ADHD infused, must tweak the phone to within an inch of its life every 25 minute, loading every new hipster-matic-insta-cloud-magi-text-rpg Web 2.0 service. The geeks have Android, and right now everyone else has Android. But that’s about the phone. What about the launch? Too many numbers! Let’s hope that Apple pick up on the user sentiment, because Tim Cook and his team looked to be trying to provoke a spec war with Android (and Samsung) and that’s NOT how Apple will stay relevant. Jobs would have given us emotional experiences on stage, Cook showed us why he can master the spreadsheets of supply.

Giles: A phone that is slammed by the pundits because they could see it coming a mile off, but which the Normob will love. It’s sleek and sexy in what’s important, not what’s technically superior, which has always been the Apple way. Remember the way iPhones couldn’t send MMS at the start?

Johan: It was a predictable, logical, unemotional upgrade of Apples largest cash cow.

Nancy: *What launch? I must have missed it*

Douglas: Looks pretty good, particularly from a design perspective and, all things considered, probably puts Apple back on the top of the smartphone tree.

Patrick: Incremental improvements that will delight millions and millions of consumers and disappoint a handful of tech journalists.

Steve: The end of an era? Not the Apple era, but will all manufacturers just be improving the marginals now, rather than trying something new? Where Apple leads..

Dave: The same phone but longer, Apple seems content to milk it’s cash cow and has been given a license to no longer innovate due to the undying loyalty of it’s customer base.

Jo: I’ve heard it suggested in more than one way that the absence of NFC means only that Apple is not ready with its ecosystem to take advantage of it. Wonder if that means it does actually have NFC, just needs an OS upgrade to turn it on?

Ciaran: Underwhelming but will sell like hotcakes. Gotta love Apple’s marketing execution.

Charles: A great reason to buy Nokia shares

Neil: As a happy iPhone user why would I buy anything else. Windows Phone 8, wake me when it’s out and has apps. Android, Nexus or bust, skins are nasty. RIM hahaha. Nope iPhone 5 in 2012 is more than good enough for me.

Jamie: Expected iterative progression, on very safe ground, with no surprises, partly thanks to all the leaks.

Terry: It’s their sixth attempt, but only once (in 2007) has Apple managed to completely change not only the industry, but also the role of mobile phones in people’s lives. Since the iPhone3G, Apple has played the industry’s game: milk the cash cow.

Laurence: Tim Cook accepts his legacy will be as a wealth creator and not a visionary – so he’s using incremental innovation (and the new plug adapter) to ensure this. Additionally – they don’t want too big a gap between the 5 and the entry-level 4/4S which they will use to conquer emerging markets.

Brian: Doesn’t matter what I think…Normobs bought 2 million in the first hour and their stock topped $700 a share. They own the ecosystem…

Georgina: Given the mobile industry is evolving daily, I felt the Apple iPhone 5 wasn’t innovative enough to make an annual update worthwhile.

Julian: Although the launch lacked big tick drama, the reality is that the iPhone 5 is what the vast majority of existing iPhone owners wanted. Its slightly larger – not to the point where you have to revert to carrying it in a bag or using two hands to operate it. It’s faster, which makes practical all those new features coming on the iOS roadmap. It rocks 4G ability (unlike UK operators). By all accounts it is beautifully detailed. No compromises to battery life and it doesn’t have the ‘easy break’ glass back. For me it’s the iPhone I wanted. I ordered mine the first hour I could and as long as it still fits in my jeans pocket, I will be happy.

Dameon: iPhone 5: The pundits hate it for not being innovative enough, yet millions of consumers have already put down their hard-earned cash for it.

Paul: If you exclude all gimmicks others throwing in, the best iPhone as a phone and smartphone all round by far.

Joe: Apple is no longer leading; it’s playing catch up.

Tobi: So not interested in what apple has to offer. Happy Google services and SGS3 user.

James: A little bit of a let down on what I was hoping to see in regards to OS and UI [User Interface].

Craig: To be fair I think Apple gets a hard time, if Nokia had a presentation for the 920 that was similar to the iPhone 5 one then I think there would have been a much more positive reaction, people expect constant innovation for Apple, which is something that they’re not known to do once they introduce their products, e.g each iPod has had all round minor improvements, not huge steps in evolution.

Ken: I couldn’t care less about the iPhone 5 launch as the device is still so far away from meeting my use cases it is irrelevant.

JP: Very uninspired, just another incremental update.

John: Nano sim and new connector are deal-breakers for me, and I’m not convinced they needed either of them

Nigel: Nano sim might allow operators to maintain premium pricing in the short term, but is this the start of the end for the removable SIM?

Kevin: No big new features because they didn’t need to – the competition isn’t innovating enough

Eddie: Should drive down prices of used iphone 3GS; I might buy one now 😉

DB: None of us who visit a tech blog on a daily basis (or multiple times/day) should have much confidence in our ability to judge a launch’s success outside of the theatrics of the event itself. For that, Apple scored a solid B. The market is the only arbiter of a product’s success and, while time will tell, it appears the 5 is looking like an A student.

Alex: Underwhelming … not sure I want or need to spend £600 on a screen which displays an extra row of icons.

Gordon: A whole lot of something about nothing, I’ll wait for the iPhone 6.

Charlie: A beautiful gift to dev houses like us to re-engage with all our old clients and start talking about upgrading their old apps. Merry Christmas.

John: Evolutionary not revolutionary – unlikely to get anyone fired and I’m sure they’ll sell tons.

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Thank you everyone who took the time to reply to my mail. If you’d like to join the list, do so at

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

4 replies on “MIR’s Inner Circle members comment on the new iPhone 5”

Tim Cook needed more smoke and mirrors…this is not NEW and COOL…it is a standard re-branding of a successful product. The box should have splash banners – New and Improved…Now with 20% more raisins…sadly, they can’t really say Longer Lasting because we’d expect the battery life to be better. Alas…I look forward to my Nokia 920 or maybe the Samsung Ativ. #in

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