The just announced iPhone 5S, and its cheaper counterpart the iPhone 5C, failed to wow most tech critics when it was revealed in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday. Just as the iPhone 4S wasn't much more than an iPhone 4 with a few minor upgrades, the same can be said of the new iPhone 5S. It's basically an iPhone 5 with a few minor upgrades, according to CNET on Sept. 10. The newest iPhone disappoints in several key ways.
First, the screen size remains the same. The screen size is only a half-inch taller than an iPhone 4S, not much of a selling point, and not in the same league as the Galaxy S4.
Second, the new A7 chip with 64-bit architecture does represent a faster processor, but at this point do we care? A faster processor may help run certain games and apps, but it also consumes more battery power.
Without a better battery, the largely unneeded by most users faster processor becomes something of an albatross. A bigger, better battery most customers could utilize.
Third, Apple still doesn't offer the 128GB option. As most users continue to accumulate growing libraries of apps, games, music, movies and more, the added storage would be helpful.
Finally, while the new iPhone has an improved camera, it's being seen as merely catching up to what some of its competitors already have in some of their smartphones.
Apple's big reveal Tuesday ended up essentially a big marketing show. No big surprises out of the tech giant this time around, probably because the news leaks were spot-on.
If you were expecting to be awed at Tuesday's event, you went home disappointed. No mention from the company about any wearable devices or televisions yet.
"...but let's not kid ourselves: Elvis has left the building and the magic's gone out of the smartphone business", wrote CNET's Charles Cooper.
The bottom line is the new iPhone 5S offers little in innovation. Yes the fingerprint scanner is one exception, but it has yet to definitively prove itself faster and more reliable than the old passcode system.
It's possible the smartphone industry has just reached that point where all we can expect are minor innovations and upgrades. Maybe gone are the days of the "wow" factor.
As tech writer Rick Broida put it, Apple's latest release represents, "perhaps the least exciting and most disappointing iPhone update yet".