I swore that I would give this year’s iteration of iPhone a miss, having bought iPhone 4 and then 4S barely a year later. It helped that in the run up to the announcement this morning, much of the information was already known. The longer form factor, the new 8-pin connector, the tapered finish on the back – it was old news by the time I started to follow the live report on Engadget. Yet afterwards the old feeling came back: I really wanted iPhone 5. The biggest thing – perhaps the only thing – is LTE. Actually, two things: LTE and battery life. The statement made by Phil Schiller (a likable, personable presence in Apple’s presentation lineup, definitely a welcome contrast to the perpetually-smirking Scott Forstall, who is a more natural showman) that this year’s iPhone had a longer battery life than 4S and yet would still support LTE is the most striking news here. Most people will overlook that fact and continue to complain that Apple couldn’t be arsed about changing the looks (only the most beautiful industrial design in recent times) and that there was nothing surprising (billions of people digging into what Apple might announce can do that to ye), but this alone puts Apple, a late starter in the LTE business, ahead of the competition. Having been relatively sanguine about iPhone 5, I am now back in the acquisition mode. Big time.
There was, however, a genuine disappointment from the event, which was that the existing iPod nano had been killed off to make way for what by all intents and purposes is a smaller iPod touch without the apps support. The form factor of the old nano, with the way it could act as a watch with the right accessory, made it a rather fancy, forward-thinking device in a way that was most un-Apple like, yet still very interesting at the same time. My hope was that the company would continue iPod nano on the same path, and make it into something approaching a wearable device: an official endorsement of a specialized wristband, support for health-related functions and apps, and even integration with iPhone/iPad so that messages, music and emails could be displayed or notified through the nano. As it turns out, all that hope was in vain, because the new nano is a fairly boring incremental improvement over the earlier generations of nanos, and more importantly won’t look very good on your wrist.