The news came yesterday that the next generation of the
) iPhone will come in gold. Not real gold, mind you, or even
vermeil or gold plate like cheap costume jewelry. That's gold
color, in addition to the now-classic silver and slate.
Because this is Apple, it won't be just any gold color. It won't be
a vulgar shade of gold like, well, real gold. It will be
a more subtle shade
, more like "champagne colored," according to TechCrunch.
In which case, it could probably be more accurately described as
"platinum colored" than gold.
The fact that this news has been leaked to TechCrunch and other
popular tech sites probably tells you all you need to know about
the coming product that is expected to be called the Apple iPhone
It might also tell you more than you wanted to know about the state
of the smartphone industry in 2013.
That is, it's out of ideas, out of energy, and out of gas. It's
reduced to putting lipstick on that pig... or gold color on that
Unless -- and this is a long shot -- the new iPhone also has a
fingerprint recognition feature, as has been rumored but is by no
means certain. The combination of that new capability and a
gold-colored case really would be extremely attractive and, as
TechCrunch points out, it also would create an irresistible
The gold iPhone, if it happens, is not the only
less-than-earth-shattering recent advance in smartphone design.
Here are a few more from other smartphone makers. They may not be
category-killers, but their oddball status may move some units.
The Personalized Motorola Moto X:
The first device to be developed entirely under the guidance of
) since it bought Motorola will come with an appealing perk:
the Moto Maker site
Available initially for
) customers only, Moto Maker will permit the buyer to personalize
the appearance of the device. The choices are all cosmetic tweaks,
but at least they go well beyond the usual black or gray, with
options for the colors of the case, accents, buttons, and
accessories. Users also will be able to enter a "signature," or
custom message that will appear on the device and at startup.
Initial choices for the device shell include a frankly hideous fake
wood grain that is reminiscent of an old microwave.
Still, Moto Maker may have real appeal to some consumers. Moto
Director John Renaldi told DigitalTrends.com
that the concept is known as "the Ikea effect." That is, if a buyer
is able to customize a product, "[their] affinity for that product
goes through the roof."
It also serves as a reminder that
the Moto X is built in the USA
, a choice which made the production process fast and flexible
enough for Moto Maker to work.
The device and the site are expected to be available as early as
Friday, although some sources say that some features of Moto Maker
may not be ready by the launch date.
The Monster Samsung Galaxy Mega:
Korean electronics maker
(OTCMKTS:SSNLF) announced Monday that it is bringing its
monster-sized Samsung Galaxy Mega smartphone to the US.
It's basically a Galaxy S4 with a screen that is swollen to 6.3
inches, definitely qualifying it for the hybrid name "phablet."
This phone is bigger than the
) Kindle e-reader, at six inches, and not much smaller than the
ASUS Nexus tablet, at seven inches.
Samsung may be on to something here. Smartphones have been getting
larger as they've gotten lighter and slimmer. Voice calling
increasingly is the last and least important function of a phone.
It may be smart to maximize the usability of all of those other
functions, like texting, searching for information, messaging,
watching videos, and viewing images.
On the other hand, Samsung is not the only company out there
) has produced the (slightly) larger Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
(NOK) is reportedly working on a jumbo model for release later this
The Nokia Lumia 1020's Super Camera:
The headline number is a stupefying but essentially meaningless
number: 41. That's how many megapixels the camera in the Nokia
Lumia 1020 has.
For comparison, the current best-selling digital camera on Amazon
is a Sony Cyber-Shot model that has 18.2 megapixels.
Camera-savvy reviewers who have tested the Nokia Lumia 1020 say its
camera has more than just that headline number to brag about; it
also has a high-quality sensor and a real flash.
In any case, its specs add up to pictures that are far better than
the usual smartphone images, even in poor lighting conditions,
as some sample
pictures in the
New York Times
So, in this case at least, a smartphone maker might have sprung a
real innovation on the public.
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