Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Tech Talk

Smartphone fashion statements

9/18/2013

With Apple’s announcement of two new iPhones, it’s safe to assume tech writers everywhere are losing their minds while whispering tear-soaked thank-yous to the ghost of Steve Jobs, right? Well, not this one. While there were a few intriguing updates to the latest iteration of Apple’s wonder product, I personally met the unveiling of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s with an audible yawn.

See, there are three certainties in life: death, taxes and commoditization. If you’re born, you will one day die; if you make a buck, Uncle Sam is gonna take his cut; and if you revolutionize an industry, eventually the industry will catch up with you, and all you’ll have left to do is battle over the price. Apple was once the unquestionable king, but those days are long gone.

While smartphone manufacturers continue to cram more and more pixels onto their screens, upgrade cameras, speed up processors and balloon storage space, none of that really matters, because average customers can’t tell the difference. If your phone works fast, can hold your entire music catalogue as well as a thousand pictures, bleeding-edge specifications are cool, but not necessary. While the Samsungs 4’s eye-tracking feature and the Windows Lumia 1020 super camera are cool, neither is something that is going to make customers come running, cash in hand.

That being said, the new iPhones will have one exclusive feature that will be heavily used, a fingerprint scanner that can be used for phone access and e-purchase confirmation. Anyone who has fallen victim to phone theft will love that feature, and parents who lend their phone to their kids can rest easy about expensive in-app purchases. Still, it’s not something that will make me camp out for the iPhone release.

So, if they can’t sell consumers on features, what can they sell us on? Fashion. Like the Motorola Moto X, which comes in 18 color options, Apple has broken into the technicolor cell phone world with the iPhone 5s’ silver, “space gray” and gold options. The thought being: If you don’t care about what makes the phone run, you most likely care about how it looks. CV

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Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @ResponsiblyWild.                 

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