It's no longer enough for Apple to rehash existing technology and claim it as its own.
With the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, Apple changed the mobile landscape forever.
Until that point, only geeks got really excited about handsets, and showing off ringtones was the extent to which most people bragged about their mobiles. But then came the iPhone with its lovely screen and decent camera and pinch-to-zoom and apps and all those things, and suddenly, the phone in your pocket was as important as the cleanliness of your fingernails. The iPhone made mobile sexy.
Over the years, other platforms like Windows and Android have caught up with the features offered by iOS, worked on design and learnt to market themselves a bit better, to the point where Android is now the dominant platform and the place where the real innovation is happening.
In fact, it can be argued that very little real innovation has come out of Cupertino for some time, what we have seen instead is the repackaging of existing technology followed by claims of revolution, but that's not going to fly any longer.
Consumers are increasingly knowledgable about emerging technologies and mobile industry goings-on. In September 2012, far fewer people would lose their fucking minds over ancient video chat services being put in a new box and called FaceTime.
However, one thing Apple is still able to do very well is take relatively niche features and push them into the public consciousness. This is the hope for NFC. If the iPhone 5 does include NFC, then it may be the watershed moment for mobile payments; legitimising the idea, giving consumers the confidence to use their smartphones to pay for goods and services and forcing other firms to up their game.
Increasingly, this seems to be what Apple is for. It is the cool older brother, who sees its younger sibling learning to play guitar, so buys a nicer, shinier guitar and shows all its friends how it can play the riff to Seven Nation Army, pushing the little brother to build his own double-necked Flying V guitar and figure out how to play Stairway... left-handed.
But like parents viewing all this from afar, we've become wise to Apple's tactics and are waiting for the firm to once again stand out and give us something new.
In a world where one can run a business from a budget Android handset and the Samsung Galaxy S III is the smartphone turning heads, the iPhone 5 has to do something truly special and be genuinely revolutionary if it is to repeat the success of its predecessors.
Sure, it'll sell a shitload of units between now and Easter and make an obscene amount of money, but it's what happens afterwards that will give us an indication as to whether Apple can still cut it.
Ultimately, the real hook for the iPhone 5 may be Passbook. A bigger screen and slimmer body has been done before. What Apple needs to do is capitalise on the public's trust, while it still has it - before the perceived bullying tactics damage its reputation irreparably. If people are going to let anyone look after their ID, store cards and boarding passes, it'll be Apple, and it'll be Passbook.
Will Passbook be different enough from existing services to restore Apple's reputation as an innovator? Will the iPhone 5 have any technological breakthroughs that can put it head and shoulders above the competition.
We'll know in a few short hours.