Oct 042011

I think the dissection of everything Apple prior to their product announcements has finally bitten them a little. Leading up to today’s announcement, people (present company included) got wrapped up in case designs, mock-ups and, most egregiously, extrapolations of the iPhone 4’s current feature set – and we projected these fantasies onto a phantom device that became known as the iPhone 5.

In addition to all this iPhone cosplay, a second device emerged: the “iPhone 4S”. It was hypothesized that the 4S would attack the low-end market, would share some traits of current iPhone 4, but would also be “enhanced” – something I dismissed as ridiculous. The 4S was viewed as sort of like the 3GS – a phone that in retrospect got a bad rap – mostly because it looked the same. Even though it was markedly faster and had a better camera than the 3G, because it didn’t look different, it didn’t represent a significant improvement over the iPhone 3G.

Now that the announcement is over, we know that the 4S is it. There is no iPhone 5. But why am I getting such a whiff of disappointment? Let’s think about what the iPhone 4S turned out to be from a hardware perspective:

  • A5 processor
  • 8MP camera
  • Intelligent switching antennae
  • Siri intelligent personal assistant

Now what isn’t it?

  • A wider, (maybe) higher-ppi screen
  • A new case design

So what was the iPhone 5, really? It was an over-piling of the least plausible, least corroborated rumors about the 4S piled onto some mythical device. So why all the hate (AAPL is down 3.75% as of 3:00 EST)? Because we bought into 2 things: a device called the 4S that would be a “bargain device” – a fucking ridiculous premise to begin with – and the fact that Apple “had” to do something radical over and above it – whatever that something radical was. What we got was a cheaper iPhone 4 to chip at the low-end market (which I, and a lot of other people, called) and almost all of the predicted device improvements included in the new 4S (and at least one no one called – the smart antennae).

I expect the hate to flow into the comment sections of Gizmodo and Engadget articles on the 4S like the Dark Side through Anakin. I may have spent some time in the fantasyland of the iPhone 5 as well, but I have no one but my irrational self to blame for it.

Oct 042011

It’s an hour before the iPhone event being held on the Apple Campus, so I thought I’d throw up a few predictions, none of which will be shocking to anyone – except for some people making stupid predictions:

iPhone 5 and/or iPhone 4S

I see 2 scenarios playing out. Either there will be 2 discrete products announced – a new iPhone and a minimally-repackaged (if at all repackaged) iPhone4, or an augmented iPhone 4, which for the sake of web convention I’ll call the 4S. If there are two, there will have to be ample differentiation between them. I have a hard time believing Apple will release a new model specifically to address the low-end market unless it is the previous-gen model. In other words, I don’t expect to see a markedly improved iPhone 4 in addition to the iPhone 5.

Of all that I’ve heard the iPhone 5 could have, I think the most likely major hardware features will include the iPad’s A5 processor, a better camera and a slightly larger display, edge-to-edge. I also think the integrated voice assistant we’ve been hearing so much about is also probable. Things I don’t think it will have: an NFC chip and a vastly redesigned chassis aka the “teardrop” design.

If only one phone is released a la the improved iPhone 4 model, I think it will be disappointing. I expect there to be 2 models.

I’ve also heard rumblings about Steve Jobs being there. I’m not going to say it won’t happen, but I’ll tell you why I think it’s a bad idea. This is Tim Cook’s ship now. Any time given to Steve Jobs is going to make this about Steve Jobs, which I would argue it shouldn’t be. Despite retarded proclamations of pundits everywhere, Apple’s always been about the products.

So strap yourself into your favorite Liveblog and let the newness of Apple’s kit wash over you.

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