Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:
“Boring” doesn’t quite encapsulate what’s happening with the iPhone 5, though. The new iPhone is timid. Apple has taken very few — if any — real chances. It’s a safe, pleasant, and sunny 73 degrees on the iPhone.
What he’s referring to in his last sentence there is the Weather app icon on the iPhone—the icon (which has been criticized time and time again for not updating with live weather results) always reads the same thing—sunny and 73.
I understand the point Bohn is making. But he doesn’t realize (or maybe he does, but doesn’t care) that he invalidates his argument right in the middle of making it.
On one hand, he seems to be looking for:
You can count the major UI changes that Apple has made to iOS on one hand
major UI changes. But he then goes on to say:
Because Apple is sticking with its basic UI design, users are missing out in genuinely helpful and innovative ideas that can improve a smartphone experience. Swiping notifications away, widgets and tiles with live information, more intuitive and informative multitasking experiences — are all of these things really so disruptive to the iPhone’s simplicity that they would put off new users?
Swiping away notifications? Live info in app icons? These are major UI changes? (I’m not going to even address the corpo-speak more intuitive and informative multitasking experiences. I don’t even know what the hell that means.) The concrete examples Bohn does give are tiny, nit-picky changes if you ask me, changes that both may very well be protected under patents, at worst, and at best would hardly be noticed and/or cared about by anyone outside of the echo chamber that is the tech press and followers of the tech press (myself included).
So if you accept that notion, what he’s essentially arguing for is change for change’s sake, which, while exciting to a company that makes its living covering the world of technology (and profiting more, arguably, from the missteps, rather than continued excellence), would be an incredibly stupid risk for a company in the position that Apple is in, akin to changing your batting stance in the middle of a 30 game hit streak.
It’s also worth pointing out that the leaks leading up to yesterday’s event are also a big part of the problem—because of their accuracy, there were no surprises. Major changes (like, oh, I don’t know, the first screen size change ever in 5 years of the product) would have been announced—if sites like The Verge (and many, many, many others ((they just aren’t complaining about the the iPhone 5 being boring))) wouldn’t have reported those leaks.