The iPhone 5: Apple’s Reality Distortion Field

In an age of conspicuous consumption, planned obsolescence, and tribal fanboyism, it should come as no surprise that the launch of the iPhone 5 was accompanied by a hyperbolic media blitz. This year, however, Apple has gone too far—CEO Tim Cook stated that the new iPhone is the world’s thinnest and lightest smartphone when it is not.

While it’s not uncommon for companies to announce that their products are “new and improved” or “revolutionary,” as those are subjective evaluations, the statements, “we are the lightest” and “we are the thinnest” can be objectively evaluated and fact-checked.

In this case, Apple’s claim to thinness and lightness are absolutely false. The new iPhone measures 7.6 mm in thickness. The HuaweiP1 Ascend measures just 6.7mm, the ZTE Athena measures 6.2mm, and the Oppo Finderis 6.65mm. While this may be splitting hairs, the reality distortion field emanating from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California and from other tech companies simply has to stop.

The lightest phone in the world is the Sony Xperia SX SO-05D which weighs just 95 grams as opposed to the iPhone 5’s 112 grams. While the amounts are almost negligible, it is still factually inaccurate to say that the iPhone 5 is the thinnest or lightest smartphone on the market.

Compounding this is Apple’s new proprietary charger, the Lightning. Companies used to change adapters all the time; we all remember the days when every phone had its own charger. Well, Apple wants to go back to those days despite the rest of the industry signaling that microUSB is the way to go.

One could make the argument that this is a necessary change, as the 30-pin plug is ungainly. However, this new “feature” requires a $30 proprietary adapter if one wants to use any of the docks, speakers, or other idevice accessories pre-iPhone 5.

Exacerbating this is that the Lightning to 30-pin adapter does not allow video out through the adapter, so if you buy a new iPhone 5, know that some of your old accessories will not work, even with this $30 adapter.

Full disclosure: This writer does not use smartphones; I own a feature phone. The phone wars are really an example of how far our culture has fallen and how screwy our patent system is.

By William Tatum