(Photo courtesy of Apple Inc.)
(Photo courtesy of Apple Inc.)

BY ERIC ROCHELEAU, Guest Writer

With the unveiling of the iPhone 5 on September 12, Apple fans seemed enthused about the company’s latest marvel.

Within the first 24 hours Apple had received over 2 million preorders for the product; more than double the number of preorders from the previous model, the iPhone 4S. But despite this tremendous response, could Apple be falling behind the competition?

Apple began the smartphone revolution, but in many ways appears to be playing catch up. Two of the most significant features of the iPhone 5, a larger screen size and LTE connectivity, have been available on Android smartphones for many months. But if these were the features Apple consumers desperately wanted they could have switched phones months ago, which means there’s something more.

The iPhone 5 has improved upon nearly every aspect of the iPhone 4S, but there seemed to be
something spectacular missing from the latest installment. Nothing appeared to stand out like when Siri or the Retina display was introduced. Meanwhile, other manufacturers are adding exciting new features like wireless charging built into the phone and near field communication (NFC) chips that allow for easier sharing and mobile payments.

But maybe Apple doesn’t need to match every last feature that its competition has. For example Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller pointed out that NFC doesn’t solve a current issue, adding that the new Passbook app (which speculation said would take advantage of NFC technology) “does the kinds of things customers need today.”

iPhones have an established image of simplicity and working exactly how they’re supposed to. When Siri was introduced to the world with the iPhone 4S, people were fascinated. But many have speculated that Siri was released too soon; there were too many problems and things that it couldn’t do. And for many users, Siri fell by the wayside. Comments were even made that Steve Jobs would never have let the unfinished feature be included. iPhone users can only hope that the new version of Siri will bring functional use back to this feature.

In iOS 6, the new operating system that comes along with the iPhone 5, the Maps application is no longer powered by GoogleMaps. Apple’s goal is maintaining control over its main app service offerings to create a better experience for its users.

Unfortunately, stories are rolling in about all of the problems; in addition to the application having general issues with locating correct addresses, roads and bridges have disappeared while some cities and streets have been misplaced. This isn’t an impossible problem for Apple to fix, but building and maintaining a mapping service is no small task. If the issues are not resolved soon, critics may point to Apple’s alienation of Google as a great misstep for the company.

Overall confidence in the company is high, with stock rising over $700 last week to set a new record for Apple. Consumers are ready to get their hands on the new iPhone, which was released last Friday. With a great history of reliable products along with a loyal consumer base, Apple has a lot of good things going for it. Only time will tell us how resilient they are in attempting to overcome the challenges they face.