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iPhone 5 anticlimax only highlights the industry's errant sense of entitlement, says iQU's Fraser MacInnes

Craft is more important than innovation

iPhone 5 anticlimax only highlights the industry's errant sense of entitlement, says iQU's Fraser MacInnes
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Fraser MacInnes is a mobile games industry professional who cut his teeth writing for Pocket Gamer. He's now working at iQU, a behavioural knowledge company working in the games sector.

The iPhone 5 is not innovative.

But, wait – don't go frothing into a crestfallen Apple backlash quite yet. Innovation is not everything. GASP!

Expectations for the iPhone 5 were predictably bananas. The haul of leaks that preceded its official unveiling basically laid out the final device before Apple was able to disrobe it to an expectant and hungry tech press.

Which makes it all the more surprising that so many people have reacted negatively to Apple's stubborn failure to include a fold-out helicopter pad in this generation's handset.

The larger screen, new dock connector, faster guts and thinner profile make it a solid, safe upgrade that lacks the drama of the iPhone 4's glassy, thin, shiny splash onto the market two years ago.

We demand the future!

There's no need to point out that the iPhone 5 is an incremental advance, as much as there is a need to point out that the widespread chat about its perceived lack of innovative, differentiating features says something about this industry's increasingly entitled attitude.

We demand the future, we want it yesterday and anything less is a harbinger of imminent doom for any company whose latest hardware launch doesn't look like it belongs on the Starship Enterprise.

Though perhaps not the most creditable source of information, Twitter has given rise to such vertiginously naïve comments as, "The iPhone 5 is an open goal for Nokia".

Don't get me wrong, my next primary handset will very probably be one of those delicious candy yellow – and dare I say it, innovative – new Lumias, but since when did innovation become the be all and end all of technology?

Craft before innovation…

Innovation can get in the way of good design and ultimately, I've always felt that craft is more important.

It's hard to say the following without coming across as a detestable Apple automaton, but those chaps in California really are masters of their craft – that craft being, great consumer electronics.

When Woody Allen or Martin Scorsese release a new film, they are not harangued for failing to release it in stereoscopic 3D and smellovision – they are lauded for their attention to detail, their deft scene composition, snappy pacing and keen ear for dialogue – or, craft as some like to call it.

The point remains, what could possibly have slaked the public's insatiable lust for iPhone 5 upgrade trinkets in the face of such febrile expectations? A built-in projector? A glasses-free 3D screen? Or even something less drastic, like Near Field Communication, or wireless charging?

It's all about the screen…

I'll take that 4-inch screen over any more 'innovative' features that didn't make the cut, any day.

By bringing the iPhone's screen in-line with those of its competitors, Apple has ironed out another wrinkle in cross-platform development for developers and given gamers an even nicer window on which to ogle, swipe and grin at the latest titles.

Indeed, I've found my iPhone gaming time has significantly decreased since the launch of the iPad – a larger phone screen seems like a sensible antidote to that.

The iPhone 5 represents a reassuring focus on the very thing that we all use the most – the screen. That may not seem terribly innovative, but it's arguably where the biggest benefit for users can be wrought, which – as far as identifying and responding to consumer need goes - underlines Apple's finely honed craft.

For us gamers, that should be plenty to be pleased about. Still not sure about those Cyclops robot cobra earbuds though…

You can follow Fraser's industry commentary on his blog, or else grab bite-size rants via Twitter.