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To the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C: 'Meh', I say.

Are the new iPhones the game changers some claim them to be? Cassandra Khaw certainly doesn't think so.

Article by Cassandra Khaw, .

"So, what's the verdict?"

"Eh, it's a phone."

While buzzwords, liberally sprinkled with the occasional usage of the phrase 'game changer' are a-plenty right now, it's hard to find anyone genuinely excited about Apple's latest reveal. Move past the diplomatically phrased articles, the odd shill and the smattering of loyalists and you'll find snarky quips and tired acknowledgment that this revelation is, by and large, really just synonymous with a bill for a new phone. A newer, shinier, more fashionable phone, perhaps, but a phone nonetheless.

To recap for those who don't feel the need to be an omniscient authority on all things technology related, Apple drew the curtains back today on the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C. While the latter is essentially more of the same except with a smaller price tag and more aggressively-colored packaging, the iPhone 5S is supposed to be a beefier enticement. There's a 64-bit A7 chip, the first of its kind in a smartphone, under the hood, a new camera system, a never-before-seen fingerprint scanner and a button chiseled out of sapphire. In theory, this is awesome. Polygons, unlike adipose tissue, never go out of vogue. But is it the game changer that some pundits are excitedly trumpeting it to be?

"I don't think it is," Rami Ismail, one half of indie darling Vlambeer, remarks. "The game was changed long ago by the iPhone as a concept."

Shiny, I ..guess?

News about the latest, slickest iOS game, the one that sends phones rocketing into hyperdrive, generally proliferate like rats. Pixels impress, after all. However, once eyes have adjusted to the analogical glare, what remains is usually of a simpler breed. Last month, the iOS charts were topped by Asphalt 8: Airborne but were quickly followed by Ending, Mikey Hooks, Blackbar and 868-HACK, all games rooted in great ideas and low-fi aesthetics. Though there is no standing stigma against bigger, more involved games, a sort of mental dissonance does exist. Many see iOS games as a diversion, a placeholder, a stopgap for unexpected down time and not as giant time sinks. (Not in a single session, at least.)

"I think it might have something to do with the low entry prices on the App Store - since games cost me a dollar or whatever, I play for 30 minutes, and can then think to myself, 'Well, you've basically already got your money's worth from this game, so continuing onwards isn't entirely necessary.'", Mike Rose, who writes with Pocket Gamer UK, muses. "Compare that to if I grab a PS3 game for £30, and I feel more compelled to check every nook and cranny of a large-scale experience such as that."

"Rymdkapsel, Plants versus Zombies 2 and 868-Hack." Ismail replies, when I ask about the games that currently have their claws in Vlambeer. "Rymdkapsel because it's a slow-burn, strategic game that feels like it would play perfectly on any platform, but it works well on iOS for some reason. Plants versus Zombies 2 because it's so hard to stop playing, a great sequel to a great game, an an extremely impressive and respectful implementation of IAP. 868-Hack is something different. It's a smestorp game, which sort of means that it's sort of impenetrable for anybody without some knowledge or interest in game design, but it's one of the most flawlessly executed game designs we've ever seen."

If razzle-dazzle isn't what is selling games, does that mean there's room for the iPhone 5C to muscle into smartphone territory? Sort of. According to Chinese news outlet Sina Tech, Apple is scheduled to conduct a conference sometime tomorrow in Beijing. It's supposed to be an exclusive affair and many speculate that it'd come packaged with announcement about the new iPhone models, a possibility further cemented by the not-so-gentle nudges from the mega-corporation itself.

"We're not economists, but Apple recommending to localize to Brazilian-Portuguese and Simplified Chinese is a sign. Our gut feeling is that those countries will be increasingly important as they start becoming more globalized. On top of that, it will also mean more developers from there will be able to start making games for global audiences, which should be super interesting." Ismail says.

Purdy colors.

"The appearance of a 'cheap' iPhone is interesting. " Lee Perry from Bitmonster Games says over e-mail. "I hear from many colleagues with apps on both iOS and Android that there's about equal income to be found on both platforms, assuming your game is F2P. For premium apps, it's largely iOS or nothing. So many people have basically been given Android devices, but they're not really up front "spenders" statistically. I'm wondering if cheaper iPhones will mean an influx of more gamers unwilling to pay for premium apps, and hence yet another foothold towards games being largely F2P. I look forward to the day where a simple up front pay model is viable for a game with a team again."

Should they succeed in establishing a stronger hold on the $35-billion dollar market, this would mean an influx of new customers for the platform. But depending on where you stand in regards to the subject matter, this could either be a great thing or reason to produce further apathy. Premium games, supplanted by a growing number of free-to-play titles, are already having difficulty establishing traction with their desired audience. Putting China, which stands rather truculently against anything that is not of the freemium variety, into the mix probably isn't going to help.

What's interesting, though, is how many people see the 5C as the the 'cheap' iPhone when it is, quite simply, cheaper. It's a tad more bang for your buck, a little more desirable if you're not into monochromatic designs but still not all that accessible to the lower-middle class income bracket. Had the iPhone 5C never come to be, the iPhone 5 would now be the one priced at $99 with the iPhone 4S still tranposed to the 'freebie' slot. In other words, it's business as usual. Move along. Nothing to see here, folks. That said, there's certainly nothing wrong with the new products. One might just help bump Apple's declining position in a more favorable direction ever-so-slightly while the other will blur the lines between 'portable console' and telecommunication device even further. However, if your friends start getting super-excited and start waving the words 'game' and 'changer' in an interconnected fashion, you can point them here.

Meh, I say. Meh.

(For an even better explanation, Buzzfeed's got a killer article on the whole matter.)

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Comments 17

  • Avatar for Stealth20k #1 Stealth20k 4 years ago
    you sould like reggie
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  • Avatar for cassandrakhaw #2 cassandrakhaw 4 years ago
    @Stealth20k My body is not ready?
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  • Avatar for baggingspam #3 baggingspam 4 years ago
    Even if the most popular iPhone games are simple, the new Open GL 3.0 and 64 bit architecture will let developers make even more impressive, graphics pushing games like the new Infinity Blade and Asphalt 8 is already one of the most impressive mobile games out there.

    Aren't there any merits to "pushing the limits"?
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  • Avatar for cassandrakhaw #4 cassandrakhaw 4 years ago
    @baggingspam Sure! I suppose I glossed over it in my previous state of 'Meh' but hardware is always and forever being pushed regardless of the platform. I guess, for me, it's largely a case of not being excited over an incremental improvement? Concise answer. *flail*

    Now, if the iPhone 6 was, say, 3D-capable, on the other hand...
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  • Avatar for EuroDarlan #5 EuroDarlan 4 years ago
    Does the 5C come with a cheaper contract or something? That $100 difference is a drop in the bucket compared to the full 2 year price.

    Anyhow, I've been in the iOS camp since I've had a smartphone, but to my tastes the HTC One and a few others just run circles around the 5s and I'll probably be making the switch to Android next year. Shame.
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  • Avatar for cassandrakhaw #6 cassandrakhaw 4 years ago
    @EuroDarlan $99 for a two-year contract, I believe. For a 16GB. Personally, I actually like the iOS over my Android stuff but its rigidity coupled with the fact that if I want to do my job, I'd need to keep buying newer versions, annoys me so much sometimes.
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  • Avatar for JetPilot #7 JetPilot 4 years ago
    I guess it is "meh" if you're one of those die-hards who feels the need to buy the latest model every time it is released.

    From a more average consumer such as myself, I've had my iPhone 4 since it was released on the Verizon network nearly 3 years ago and I'm ready for an upgrade to my device.

    The 5S will be a big upgrade from the 4. And my wife will take the 4 (and I had to twist her arm to do that...she was perfectly happy with her flip phone and iTouch). So it will be a nice improvement for both of us. If I was a iPhone 5 owner though, there's nothing that I see here that would justify the upgrade price.

    And I'll be keeping the 5S for another 3 years or so as well.
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  • Avatar for bunnyhero #8 bunnyhero 4 years ago
    for comparison, how do you feel about the xbox one and ps4? excited? or "meh"?
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  • Avatar for transmet2033 #9 transmet2033 4 years ago
    When I hear budget iphone, i was expecting something that would be far less expensive unlocked. The 5C is still $550 without a contract.
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  • Avatar for Thusian #10 Thusian 4 years ago
    Here's the real issue. Outside of the price how many of the "normies" out there (my term to describe anyone who does not waste as much time as I do reading up on this) are going to be able to perceive a difference between this and their current phone. And if visuals are not what drives them to a game generally speaking than probably not much. The first few generations of iPhone each introduced a feature that was easily understood by the normies. They understood a better camera or a larger screen, but the processor is more powerful, you have to explain why the better processor improves their use and if better games is met with a shrug from those normies you have a problem. And believe me as the graphical leaps in consoles get less distinct you will see the same problem for them too. We have reached a point where most people's computing needs are met by devices not at the cutting edge. As a result compelling them to upgrade is a lot harder and its going to mean a lot of reactions like this until somebody comes out with a new device that turns everything on its head.
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  • Avatar for cassandrakhaw #11 cassandrakhaw 4 years ago
    @Thusian That. Dude. /That/.
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  • Avatar for Stealth20k #12 Stealth20k 4 years ago
    @cassandrakhaw he says meh too lol
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  • Avatar for bunnyhero #13 bunnyhero 4 years ago
    @cassandrakhaw so if i'm reading this correctly, the new consoles are 'meh' to you too? similarly the samsung galaxy s4?

    i'm not disagreeing with you, btw. just trying to separate the linkbait from the logic, so to speak.
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  • Avatar for reza666 #14 reza666 4 years ago
    If Apple only had increased the screen to 4.5 or even 4.8 i would jump on this but as it is this wont be a big enough difference since i have iphone5. Sure its faster and has touch ID and other shizzle but it dont justify a buy for me. I do have an Galaxy S4 and frankly its becoming my favorite phone right now. And considering its going to take another year for a new iphone (hopefully with bigger screen) i think i will not going to go back to iphone since i'm already investing to much into my S4. I really enjoy the bigger screen and Swype keyboard. Its just makes my life so much easier. Typing goes 10 times faster for me. Apple is going to loose more and more people due to their ignorant attitude. People like me who have owned every single iphone have grown and need bigger screen and more from their phones. Like bigger screen and maybe SD card.
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