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Missing in action: what features has Apple forgotten on the iPhone 5?

Less is more?
Product: iPhone 5 | Publisher: Apple
iPhone 5 iPhone, thumbnail 1
For some, Apple's iPhone 5 just doesn't cut the mustard.

Sure, it's got a larger screen, a faster processor, and a new eight-pin "Lightning" port, but it's still missing several features that have been made popular on Android- and Windows Phone-powered blowers over the past couple of months and years.

Even Apple's all-new (and extremely colourful) iPod touch boasts a feature that is glaringly absent from the latest iteration of the iPhone - that handy "loop" wrist strap.

So, we've come up with a handful of features that are conspicuous by their absence on iPhone 5. Some of them are hardware-related and others are software-based, but they're all features we'd love to have seen in the Cupertino company's new smartphone.

Let us know in the comments below if there's anything else you think is 'missing' from Apple's sixth-generation iPhone.


Over the past few months, mobile phone manufacturers have been baking NFC (or Near Field Communication) into more and more smartphones, including Samsung's Galaxy S III.

This tech allows you to make mobile payments with your phone, or send a photo by knocking your gadget against somebody else's.

NFC has yet to fully take off, which is probably why Apple still hasn't added the technology to its iPhone. In truth, until The Big A gets on board the contactless payment train, NFC will probably remain a niche item. Certainly in the West.

In the short term, the Cupertino-based company has instead decided to launch a Passbook application in iOS 6. Apple SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller believes that "Passbook does the kinds of things customers need today."

Inductive charging

Plugging a cable into our phone to charge it isn't exactly a massive chore, but we'd still love to be able to slap our iPhone down on our computer desk and walk away without having to fiddle with tangled leads and multiple chargers.

Unfortunately, we can't, because Apple's iPhone 5 doesn't support wireless charging.

Apple has a reason, of course. "Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated," Schiller said. To be fair, he has a point.

128GB of storage

The App Store is now chock-full of enormous apps and games like GarageBand, Bastion, and Real Racing 2, which all tip the scales at well over 1GB.

It's time Apple increased the iPhone's in-built storage capacity so that we don't have to delete photos of our granny every time we have the urge to top-up the iPhone's Music app with a few new tracks.

New UI

We love the iPhone's functional UI. Well, we did when it was introduced alongside the original iPhone in 2007. Now, however, it looks rather stale, especially when you compare it to Microsoft's Windows Phone OS.

What do we want in the next version of iOS? Well, Live Tile-esque icons would be nice. We'd also love to see bulletins pop up on the BBC News app icon, and watch the Instagram icon update itself as our buddies share photographs, for example.

Better social integration

If you've used a Nokia Lumia 900 or another Windows Phone-powered blower, you'll already know just how well social networks are integrated into Microsoft's mobile operating system.

Basically, you can view all of your social networks in a single unified feed; update your Facebook status and simultaneously post a message to Twitter and LinkedIn; and 'Like' and respond to comments without ever opening an app.

iOS's social integration doesn't come close.


Apple's new Lightning connector may look a lot better than the old 30-pin variant found on the iPhone 4S and its predecessors, but the technology powering it is still USB 2.0.

The reason? Well, according to one particularly knowledgeable Ars Technica reader, the flash memory used in most smartphones, including the iPhone, isn't fast enough to gain any benefit from USB 3.0.

Still, Apple's Thunderbolt I/O technology is a lot faster, and it would speed up the process of transferring music to your iPhone if you're a Mac user. Find a way, Apple, please.

iPod touch loop

One of the greatest new features of Apple's all-new iPod touch is that aforementioned iPod touch loop - a little strap that secures the gadget to your wrist when you're snapping photos or pretending it's a lightsaber.

I don't know about you, but I often feel like my iPhone 4S is going to take a tumble when I'm doing my best Ansel Adams impersonation or taking some shots from extreme angles. It just needs a safety loop, too.

Reviewer photo
Anthony Usher 18 September 2012
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Aug 2012
Post count:
RockinIt | 13:37 - 7 October 2012
I think NFC will definitely come to the next iPhone 5S/6, whatever Apple call it, Passbook needs it. Apart from that, the iPhone 5 is a rock solid smartphone.

I don't like the idea of Apple ignoring standards again, with yet another propriety connector, as the article states, there's no real benefit in terms of data transfer speeds as it's still the same as USB 2.0. The EU should open a can of whoop ass and enforce a micro USB standard on Apple, at least in the EU, it's inexcusable for Apple to go down this path again. If data transfer speeds had improved, then I'd understand, as in that case Apple were offering a better technology, but it's not the case here
Apr 2011
Post count:
Promiceus | 15:19 - 5 October 2012
Win Phone social integration is not that great actually. Can you re-post something? Nope. Differences between liking a post and a picture in the post? Not there. Geo-tagging lack as well as other little things that make integration deep. It would be correct to say integration is low level - yes. Adress book etc. is low level. But system often messes messages and SMS and stuff like that. Hopefully Win Phone 8 will be better system, but at the moment having both 4S with iOS 6 and win phone 7 optimus from LG I cannot say WP beats iOS. Both have minor pros and cons and both lack control and flexibility of a normal web-page...

And if we call iPad onboard, iOS seriosly wins coz iPad version of facebook quiet rocks the show and in many ways is better than standard browser experience.

Other complains: will agree on a 128 gig version, but frankly, having a load of games I only felt uncomfort when on vacation and photos go in like a machine gun - I had to download and delete most photos/vids every day in the evening. That's it - not that hard to do actually.
Dec 2008
Post count:
klouud | 03:43 - 19 September 2012
the UI thing is an iOS gripe, not an iPhone 5 gripe.
The iPhone 5 is pretty much everything that we have been wanting. I would prefer better battery life and 128GB storage max - but everything is spot on. The other stuff you listed is irrelevant IMO.

iOS 6.0 should have included UI themeing options and more customization to include quick toggles, customizable notification center as well as task switcher.

Nov 2011
Post count:
Lonely Tylenol | 20:38 - 18 September 2012
Honestly, the only feature on this list that I'm really hurting for is the storage; with apps growing the way that they have, I just don't have the space for half the things I want. ("The Bard's Tale", the "biggest game on iOS", is now the fourth biggest game on my phone!) Beyond that, inductive charging sounds very convenient, and would be another step toward a truly mobile device, but isn't a must-have.

Just goes to show that even the big things the phone companies are missing right now are, for the most part, relatively minor convenience items. (Well, to me, at least.)