The iPhone 5 fulfilled many of the expectations laid out by gadget geeks and technology analysts ahead of its Wednesday unveiling but offered few surprises to give Apple shares -- already near record highs -- another major kick.
"There is not a wow factor because everything you saw today is evolutionary. I do think they did enough to satisfy," said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of wealth management company Destination Wealth Management.
Other industry analysts speculated about what else was in Apple's product pipeline ahead of the crucial year-end holiday season, especially since the company stayed mum about an oft-rumored TV device or a smaller iPad.
Strengths -- The iPhone 5 may not look all that different from previous generations, but it still has an iconic look and (what appears to be) top-notch construction. The glass and metallic materials used give it a high-class, sophisticated look that puts many of today's smartphone designs to shame.
Weaknesses -- Apple releases one phone per year, while its competitors release hundreds. Apple takes the one-size-fits-all approach, where the competition prefers wide-ranging choice (varying screen sizes, keyboards, etc.). The iPhone 5's screen may still be too small for some. The iPhone 5 is locked down. Apple's competitors are generally open. Android's home screens, for example, offer far more customization thanks to resizable widgets and moveable app shortcuts.
Threats -- In a word, Samsung. Samsung is gunning for Apple, and it's obvious. The Galaxy S III has already replaced the iPhone 4S as the best-selling phone in the U.S. Samsung believes it will sell 30 million of them before the end of the year. The Galaxy Note II is due to arrive before the holidays, with a massive, 5.5-inch display that puts the iPhone 5's 4-incher to shame. Further, the number of features and capabilities Samsung has been putting into its devices is astounding. The Galaxy Note 2, in particular, has more camera options than some digital SLRs I've used. Sure, the end results matter more than the tools used to achieve them, but no one can scoff at Samsung's results nor its tools.