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 IPHONE FEATURE

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.

NFC

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.

Thunderbolt

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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