The iPhone 5 Event, Some Random Thoughts and Opinions

Apple events are always interesting and fascinating to me. I must first say a big thank you to the great people who take part in the Maccessibility Round Table for inviting me to take part in their live streaming of today’s event. I had a lot of fun, and it made the event that much more entertaining and enjoyable for me. Thanks again to Josh and the gang for asking me to be involved.

I’m not going to necessarily cover all of the items from the keynote today as you can find details in several places and I sum things up in the
News section of the site

To me, obviously, though, the introduction of the iPhone 5 was the most highly anticipated part of the presentation. The sad part is, by now, there really wasn’t much left as far a secrets or surprises go, and I have found it amusing how some have lamented about the lack of this or that in regard to what Apple had to say about the new iPhone. It’s all been pretty much discussed in rumors as it was, and there were even leaked pictures of the device floating around. Thus, what could Apple possibly do that would be a surprise to the world?

The a6 processor and the fact that it’s lighter and thinner were some of the aspects of the iPhone 5 that interested me. The addition of the device supporting Dual-band 802.11n wireless connectivity and having LTE were nice additions too. The new 8MP camera, I hope, might lead to improvements in OCR applications for the blind, but the improved graphics with the 4 inch Retina display is more “eye candy” for the sighted consumer than anything that got me excited.

As when the iPhone 4S was released, whether the new model is for you is purely an individual choice. If you are at the point where you can upgrade your existing phone, I’d strongly recommend it. If you have a phone and are locked into a contract, it’s probably not worth the extra purchase. I might end up buying one because of the fact I train people on the iPhone and a large share of my clients are iDevice users, but that is strictly a personal situation. Basically, if you don’t need to upgrade, there probably isn’t anything that compelling about the iPhone 5 that would cause you to unnecessarily make such a purchase.I think the iPod upgrades were quite interesting and exciting as well. In fact, the new Nano really got my attention and might be something I will also purchase. I don’t need an iPod Touch for my daily use, though I think that with it now having specifications that equal that of the iPhone 4S, including SIRI, it makes it a great device that I’d highly recommend. I guess if you have enough sight to appreciate all the new colors of the iPods, that is an aspect that will probably be of interest to you.

What I am going to find the most interesting is the reactions or fallout from the event. It is always fascinating to read and hear all of the various reactions to Apple events. Yes, there are going to be the “10 reasons” why you shouldn’t or should buy an iPhone 5. There will be the countless articles and blog posts talking about what the iPhone 5 should have included and what is great about what it does include. You are going to hear the same old talk about how Apple missed the Mark with this event, how they are losing steam since the death of Steve Jobs, and how there is little innovation in their products. Of course, you will also find a lot of material that extols the virtues of the iPhone 5 and insists that Apple is continuing well on their way towards world domination.

I have a friend who once summed up my feelings about Apple and product development best. He said that Apple doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but, instead, simply creates a far better wheel. It’s interesting how some claim Apple plays “catch up” to their competition at these events, yet they always just take greater leaps ahead of all of their competitors. Maybe, this or that device already had some feature the iPhone 5 has or iOS 6 contains, but Apple plainly makes those features better than they have been done, and, more importantly, does it in a way that appeals and resonates with the average consumer. Android may have features ahead of Apple, but Apple always does it better and easier for the consumer. Also, there is one iPhone model a year, and that model can be upgraded to the latest iOS version (the 3GS will be able to run iOS6), which is contrary to the serious fracturing we are seeing with Android and the 5 or 6 active versions of Android and the countless models of phones that can’t be upgraded to Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, or whatever morsel Google has named their products after these days.

Speaking of iOS, the September 19 release is something I am very excited about, and am glad to know is coming for sure. There wasn’t anything new and exciting that we haven’t already heard about from the WWDC keynote as far as what was talked about in today’s keynote, but, at least, we now have a date on which we can all grab it. I am looking forward to the new Maps application and what improvements and additions that there will be to SIRI. It’s going to be fun discovering all the new features and learning to use them all. Of course, I expect the usual assortment of griping and complaining as well, so that will be the typical range of personalized outrage and reporting bugs as monumental “failures” by Apple. Just subscribe to the different email lists that discuss the blind using iOS devices and you will understand exactly what I mean.

Lastly, I do have to comment on a remark I have read voiced on a few lists about iOS 6 and the iPhone. Why do blind people expect Apple to talk about VoiceOver additions or improvements in their keynotes? Can you explain that to me. I’m sorry folks, but as harsh as this might sound, we are a very small segment of users out there. Granted that the blind have really taken to the iDevices and Apple should be commended for their accessibility strides and the out of the box experience we get. Nevertheless, I’m sorry to say this, but our little world of VoiceOver is not going to make top billing when features are being discussed to a mainstream audience. You might not want to accept that reality, but a reality is what it happens to be.

So, it’s going to be a fun and entertaining next few weeks, folks. Enjoy the ride and if you are going to buy the new iPhone 5, have fun with it and get your friends and family good and jealous. Also, be nice to the poor Android users and don’t torture them too much when their phone can’t be upgraded to the latest flavor of Android six months after they are conned into buying it by some representative in their phone store who is seeking a commission, as just happened to a friend of mine.

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2 Responses to The iPhone 5 Event, Some Random Thoughts and Opinions

  1. Teresa says:

    The situation with Apple including a decent screen-reader in the operating system presents a dichotomy, I think. Since Voiceover is part of the OS, we want to know about updates to it as they come along. However, it is meant to work seamlessly (or nearly so) with the OS, so little special attention needs to be devoted to it. Hmmm, a cut-and-dry solution doesn’t work so well in this instance. Personally, I would like to have a specific place to go (such as your site and others) to get new info on VO, but I am not one of the complainers about Apple’s lack of coverage of it.

    • John says:

      There is actually information on iOS 6 and accessibility. Apple might not talk about it in the keynote, but it is in the material on their website. So, with any update to the iDevices or the Mac, there is always information presented on their accessibility pages or somewhere in the information about the update. I might even have the link presented in one of my recent posts.

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