Frankly, the news is grim. Apple has chosen profit margins over building solid products that "just work". Apple has always had this odd notion that "good products" and "expensive products" go hand in hand. This is largely true when products are new; when infrastructure and supply chains barely exist. But once "consumerization" of a product occurs, trade offs have to be made, different levels of products have to be aimed at different groups. Apple seems unable to make reasonable trade offs, or live with reasonable profit margins.
But you say... Apple launched TWO phones. (Wow, 2 -- with the same "perfect" size of screen... I bet Samsung's scared.)
Well, the "lesser" iPhone 5C costs $733 in China and $549 in the US (without contract). It has a gross profit margin of around 40%, compared with Apple's GPM of 35.6% last quarter. The iPhone 5C is simply a ploy to continue Apple's absurd profit margins, and we've already seen what that does:
The iPhone 5S
Now, if Apple wants to become the Ferrari of smartphones, fine by me. But as that would mean significantly fewer potential buyers, Apple shareholders would indeed not like that. Sure enough, after the launch event, Apple's stock has dropped significantly and its outlook has been downgraded by a number of investment analysts.
My problem with the iPhone 5S is they are not even doing a good job making a "Ferrari" phone:
Here's some overviews of the problems with the iPhone 5S:
Five disappointing things about the iPhone 5S - CNET Reviews
Google Laughs at the New iPhones - TheStreet
The Joy of Tech comic... Reaction to Apple's MehPhones
Now let's consider the "innovative" features of the iPhone 5S, one by one:
The 64-bit processor in a phone at this point is so silly, I considered putting this Apple Insider article defending 64-bit usage in my Strange, Possibly Humorous News. 64-bits becomes important only when you need to have more that 4Gb of memory. As the iPhone 5 had only 1Gb of memory (one assumes the iPhone 5S will have 2Gb), the only significant effect that the 64-bit chip will have is to waste a great deal of that extra 1Gb.
In fact the "2x" speed up that Apple is bragging about is likely from adding two more cores (to make the phone quad-core). As most high end Android phones are already quad-core, you may hear much laughter when this is confirmed. (Apple is annoying in that they never really tell you what's inside their phones... one has to wait until they are released and various engineers around the world tear them apart and report back.) If this is confirmed, then Apple's new processor will in fact be significantly slower than what is in many high-end Android phones. Apple routinely does this sort of misdirection in their launch events.
Well, it's old news. It doesn't really catch up with the current Android (and a new version of Android launches next month). I believe that when this is inflicted on users on September 18th, there will be much screaming. User's are used to upgrading to a new iOS release as soon as it's available. This new release changes (often gratuitously) "everything" and most reviewers do not believe it changes things in a positive way. To understand the screaming level, imagine if Microsoft launched Windows 8 by sending out a Windows Update that pretty much every user installed as it released. Now realize that most members of the mainstream press are iPhone users and will upgrade as soon as it comes in. Am I amiss in thinking one should wear hearing protection on launch day? Another comparison... this will make the Apple Maps fiasco look small. Google will be unable to bail them out of this new mess, like they did with Maps.
iOS 7 is also putting a strain on developers (one survey showed most were making new app versions be iOS 7 only, meaning older customers may have lost support and that Apple made it difficult to maintain support for earlier OS versions). One developer is in full rebellion:
Ah, the finger print sensor. It really is pretty much the old technology from laptops. It will fail big, even Apple is hedging about its quality:
Apple Insider refers to the problems as those of "cutting-edge" technology, but the system doesn't seem to be much better than when it was used on laptops in 2007.
The amount of traffic on this particular "feature" is huge... much of it serious:
Oh, but the crazies are there as well:
The finger print sensor seem also to be causing production problems:
M7 Motion Processor
This is basically a batter saver. Allows monitoring of certain sensor with less power, much like the special processors for the always on speech recognition in the Moto X. It's not a bad thing, but alas, as the iPhone 5S does not increase battery life (something the iPhone needs badly)... it is an essential thing as battery life would have decreased otherwise. A specialized processor like this is not a new idea. In fact, most mobile ARM SoCs have specialized processors for things like video playback.
Again, it's not a bad thing, but it's the sort of thing you would expect on any higher-end smartphone.
Think Volvo, not Ferarri. Here's a good review of the camera:
I'm sorry, but this set of new things simply doesn't constitute "innovation" and certainly does not justify Apple's premium pricing. I'm far from alone on this (these stories are all AFTER the iPhone 5S launch):
Apple's innovation problem is real
Why Apple needs to innovate faster
Apple is no longer an innovative company, says the man who helped Steve Jobs design the Mac
To add insult to injury, it appears that Apple's days of protected pricing has ended:
There is little reason to believe that coming iPad and laptop announcements will prove any more innovative or wise (with respect to pricing and positioning). So expect Apple's market share to continue to drop. It's the 1990s all over again, except this time Steve Jobs isn't available for a come back.