As I left Tim Cook’s keynote on Wednesday and headed for the demo room to play with the iPhone 5, I did not expect any huge surprises. But I did encounter a couple of small, pleasant ones.
The phone felt — and I know this sounds ridiculous — almost weightless at its 112 grams (20 percent less than an iPhone 4S). When I mentioned this to the Apple employee at the demo table, she said that more than one person had asked if it was a mock-up of the actual device — a plastic shell with no actual electronics inside.
When I mentioned my reaction to Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller a few minutes later, he got an excited, I’m-so-glad-you-said-that-I-know-what-you-mean look on his face. He said he’d thought about including more data about its weight in his presentation, but decided there was no point. You can show how much thinner something is, but there’s little point in trying to describe a lighter weight.
“We decided to just let people find it out for themselves,” he told me.
I also thought the new design was ingenious — not because it was so striking, but so subtle. The device measures longer than the iPhone 4S, giving you room for an extra fifth row of app icons on the home page screen, yet the smartphone overall doesn’t feel bulkier.
Neither of these characteristics are reasons alone to run out and buy the phone, but it certainly shows the care Apple puts into design — again.