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do tricks such as dynamic tone mapping that you don’t see even on high-end DSLRs. My iPhone 5 is already my default camera, and to me the iSight improvements are the single biggest reason I might want to upgrade to a 5S.
—With its new A7 chip, the iPhone 5S is the first handheld device with a 64-bit processor. That’s partly about enabling faster graphics processing, which makes room for things like the new slo-mo feature. But it also future-proofs the device and means that developers can more easily write applications that will work on both iOS devices and Macs (which are already 64-bit).
Incremental improvements? Yes, but meaningful ones that should help to influence the only two groups that matter: 1) New smartphone buyers who are trying to decide between Android, Windows, and iOS, who’ll see that Apple is still on the bleeding edge in most hardware and software areas, and 2) iPhone 4 and 4S owners whose wireless contracts prevented them from upgrading to the iPhone 5, and who needed a good reason to stick with Apple.
And when, exactly, did we start expecting anything more than that? Why all the garment-rending when Apple fails to deliver something “drool-worthy”?
Apple, like NASA, is the victim of its own successes. Most companies would feel lucky to have introduced just one category-defining innovation before they fade from history. Apple has come up with five—the Apple II, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. Just because the last two came more or less back-to-back in 2007 and 2010 doesn’t mean Apple will ever be able to pull off something like that again. As I argued back in June, it’s bad math to expect even one more world-changing advance from the company, especially now that it’s operating without its powerful, mercurial, maverick founder.
Apple is still the world’s best product-design company, and its lineage of premium phones, tablets, and computers will continue for many years. Let’s be glad that they’re so competent, meticulous, and user-centric, and that they’re headquartered here in America. Let’s stop acting as if they owe us something. And let’s remember that the gadgets in our pockets are already way better than anything from Dick Tracy, James Bond, or Star Trek. I call that amazing, and it should make everybody happy.
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