Yesterday was iPhone day, the day where Apple does what they do best. It was the day Apple would widen the lead and put all others to rest. After all, that was what life was like chasing Apple; just when you though you caught up, out comes an announcement date and all of a sudden they’re gone again.

Much to everyone’s surprise none of this happened. It was all so strange, where did it go wrong? Apple lovers had their alarms set and had already made time for am extra long lunch so they could get it all in. Apple haters started the bashing as early as the night before. The balance was indeed strong. Then came the event.

It was an epic April fools joke in October. People all around the world were made to sit through multiple "blah blah black sheep" points in a keynote before the main attraction took the stage. And then it almost happened. Apple almost took us all for fools, they announced an iPhone 4S (s for suckah.) we didn’t/couldn’t let that happen, so we sat through the announcement some more thinking which 3rd world country would have to deal with this iYesteryear phone. And then, just like that. No magic trick with iPhone 5’s falling from the sky with some Jay-z and Kanye rapping over Steve jobs saying "one more thing…" It was over, it was time to get back to work. It didn’t "almost" happen, it DID happen. Apple took us all for fools.

This iPhone 4S was what they had to offer, it was the hand they had to deal. But hold on, could you be upset? Could you really? You knew this behavior well, you’ve seen this scum bag behavior in the past. And even though i joke when i say "seems as if Apple has forgotten how to count, 5 comes after 4, not S," the joke is on me. Apple can count, and really well. Ya see, after 3GS comes 4GS. Oh my, the joke is on us all. If history has taught us nothing, it did at least teach us people will line up for iAnything no matter how "blah" it is.

But this time it’s different. There has been a shift in the force for sometime now. Although Apple is the rightful owner of the number one spot, Android owns that claim. And so, the fruit company will never stop at mindshare alone, sales has got to be dominated. Also added to the equation is the up and coming threat known as Windows Phone. It doesn’t sell like android neither does it have the mind share of Apple, so how could it be a threat?

With the introduction of the mango update, people couldn’t help but pay attention. For the first time since Apple’s rule, someone else is saying "this is how it should be done." Pound for pound, Windows Phone has Apple ‘s new iOS up against the wall. User experience, functionality and even hardware.

Apple’s iOS has been rocking long and strong, but many grow tired of its user interface. Even so, Apple has always been able to mask it as familiarity and use it as a selling point. Just when people figured out it wasn’t, and they were tired of it, Apple did what they do best. Brand new hardware. Something new and flashy to draw the masses back in. This brilliance worked in the past, but like I said, things are different now.

The current available hardware cycle vicious, phones like Samsung Galaxy S II and HTC’s Titan demands respect and damn near all of your money. The iPhone that was announced yesterday needed to be able to compete with devices on most if not all levels. Apple needed to leave the "incremental" hardware at home and knock it out the box, but they didn’t; and now the door is wide open.

But how? Why? Well, to me the answer is simple. Steve Jobs is no longer. I’ve been paying close attention to the fruit company ever since Steve’s illness was made public. The man who micromanaged and entire company was no longer that, he had to let go. He had to allow his company to be an entity on its own. I’ve been noticing a change in the way Apple goes about their happenings. Secrets where being leaked a lot sooner than they used to be, rumors were becoming dead accurate, quality control issues came about, on and on the list goes. But amazingly, the numbers were still through the roof, the iPhone could do no wrong. With the coming of iOS 5, it was plain as day to see, Steve had let go. We say things in iOS 5 we would never see under Steve’s rule. Things like the “stolen” android notification curtain are up for debate, but what’s important to understand is the behavior behind this. Apple went out and bought this thing, much like they bought Siri. Steve would never have done this, he had too much pride to allow something to be perceived as such, much less actually go out and do it. Welcome to the Tim Cook era.

With Apple’s lack of aggression right now, comes great advantage for Microsoft and their momentum push for Windows Phone. Apple’s disappoint will lead to the iCultured individual to peep his/her head out just to see what else is around. Despite what you’ve heard about Android, it is no where close to being a replacement for any iDevice. The few who dare to venture out, will find great refuge in Windows Phone. This is where Windows Phone will have its chance. As a techie, I could sing you a Windows Phone song a million times, but to a consumer it’s all a foreign language. If Windows Phone could find its way into the hands of a few iCultured individuals, the effect could be great. iPeople only relate to iPeople. I cannot tell them how great Windows Phone is, but a casual text from a fellow iFriend saying “hey, this Windows Phones is pretty good after all…” will cause ripples.

The scale of things seems to be a bit off balance. Apple is fighting to catch up to their own Steve jobs, which (at least for now) is slowing them down. Microsoft took the time out to come from the ground up and is quickly gaining speed. Does this mean the iPhone 4S will not sell? No. Does this mean Apple will lost share? No. It simply means Apple has done what no one else could, slow Apple down. And it’s much to Microsoft’s benefit; let’s see how they take advantage of this lucky break!

 

 

originally posted at LifeStylesDefined.com

30 COMMENTS

  1. Quote from the above story: “Ya see, after 3GS comes 4GS. Oh my, the joke is on us all. If history has taught us nothing, it did at least teach us people will line up for iAnything no matter how “blah” it is.”

    Don’t forgot the true irony of the “numbering” day: 3GS does in fact come after 4GS, but both come after IIGS. Which, if you recall back in the computer dark ages (1980’s), when Apple anounced they would no longer support the IIGS, Apple market share went from 25% or so world wide, to less than 10% and languished there for years. Then Jobs came back and got Apple’s act together using the mobile and pad market. I fear that this 4GS versus 5 marketing stumble will send a good company into the wilderness again. But never fear, Microsoft will pick up the pieces just like last time.

  2. I have to admit, I was disapointed for all the ifans out there. I was looking forward to a game changer, not a hardware catch-up.
    I don’t think the ifans wanted a larger screen though. Which is what I expected.
    As far as Windows Phone is concerned, they still are not offering a device I would even consider. Getting bored with this slab form factor.
    Come on Sony and release that “Tablet P” so I can see if it is any good and I can clear my head of device lust and start thinking clearly again.
    Peace

  3. I work in graphic/web design and am the only PC in a room full of Macs (both literally & figuratively). The sweetest part of yesterday’s iFail was, watching the 5 iPhone users that sit within 10 feet of me. Desperately refreshing the liveblog, they all had the same look of confusion when all was said & done.

    From another office I overheard one person asking “Well, what do I do now? I was so looking forward to a new iPhone.”

    My boss, who uses her company Blackberry & hates her Driod Eris, (but uses iMac, iPad at home) asked me if she should wait or “give in” for the 4S.

    It was funny in a sad sort of way.

  4. This is a brilliant move by Apple. They have discovered that they can no longer compete with a once per year update. So they hold off on the iPhone 5 which will be announced after Christmas and released in early 2012. Let’s get real folks. Does your Galaxy S2 get 21 or even 14mbps? On any network? Mine does not. If I get 4 or 5 I am lucky. And how much of the USA is actually 4G enabled so far? It is pretty spotty. So for now, the difference in speed is not a big deal.
    You now get a great camera, a great processor, and a GUI that I can hand my wife and not have to answer “How do I…”. And to top it off, they claim to have done for the AUI (Audio User Interface) what they have done for the GUI (Graphical User Interface). Think about it… If the iPhone Siri is to an audio interface what the iPhone GUI was to a graphical interface, they will have hit a another home run. Sure it will be copied, but Apple is a step ahead of the game there.

    The only true disappointment is the screen size. And even that is debatable. It still has a better display than many of the newer Android phones from a pixel/clarity standpoint. It is just not as large as the latest phones.

    I do not even own the iPhone and never have, so don’t start calling me a fan-boy. I am just an IT professional who designs/develops GUIs for a living. And I recognize ingenuity when I see it. When the crowd gets over this lack of “iPhone 5” thing and gets their hands on the new OS and phone, and sees the speed, and the seamless integration of computer, tablet, phone and web, they will sell like mad. (By the way – the new Droid commercials are all about the fact that files on your PC show up on your phone, so that must be a big deal to all market researchers, not just Apple.) Then, after the holiday sales (I suspect about Jan. 31 – so the Christmas phones can’t be returned) they will hit us with the iPhone 5 which will be a big hardware upgrade, but not much on the software side. Then they will alternate every 6 months between hardware and game changing software feature updates. I am going to buy more Apple stock!

    Oh – and one more thing. Did you notice that Verizon sales of the iPhone are not that great and ATT sales have not slacked off as predicted? Where are all the folks jumping from ATT to Verizon? There aren’t any. And the same thing will happen with Sprint. Until the iPhone supports the new 4G/LTE on CDMA phones, you can not use the web while on a call. So all those apps that update behind the scenes? They come to a screeching halt. No email, stocks, IM, navigation maps, web, etc. Makes the phone kind of impotent. Or almost like a plain old phone again. No one is going to jump to an allegedly better network, if you can’t connect to the network while talking.

  5. I’ve said it on other articles and I’ll say it again here. This is nothing more than apple reminding us all that they are indeed master turd polishers.
    The iphone is, and has been for a LONG time now lacking. Where it “wins” is public opion ALONE. It’s specs, abilities, UI etc are all “meh” and “so-so” AT BEST. But few are willing to admit it… as if they belong to a cult or some crazy shit.

    I’m not gonna act shocked by any of this… I haven’t been impressed with the iphone yet, so this is petty much par for the course as fa as I’m concerned.

  6. Its only an open door if MS chooses to walk through it. So far we’ve seen no evidence of any new marketing push for WP7, the Titan has started being offered for sale with nary a whisper of an ad campaign to support it.

    Doesnt really matter if Mango makes your breakfast and drives you to work, if no one knows what it can do its pointless, kind of like how Siri is now being heralded as the next best thing when Microsoft had Voice Command all those years ago but did not promote it or develop it further.

    And to be honest, after being “told” to wait for Mango and seeing the continued inactivity from Microsoft, I highly doubt they are capable of taking advantage of any perceived opportunity here.

  7. I for one was disappointed in the whole even. I thought Tim from the live blogging on several websites was ho-hum. I think it was engadget who said he was not as enthusiastic as Steve Jobs, So my first comment is, if Steve was on stage, would it have made a difference?

    Second, Apple had almost 16 moths to make these changes. Frankly to come out on stage and even give time to the greeting card app is insulting! To launch iOS5 with iCloud on the iPhone 4 is a mistake. Siri and iCloud with a slight notifications tweak was just enough to give this not so innovative anymore OS another year reprieve. But it needed to be sold on a newly designed device. The iPhone 4S and the 4 do not have the speration in my opinion to allow Apple to compete with Google on the multi cost pointed marketplace. The camera is not enough to make me buy the iPhone 4S. The processor is not either. I have NO problem with the A4 and no one I know does either. If you look at the specs, Samsung is making a device with a 4.3 inch screen at 4.9 long where the iPhone is 4.5 with a 3.5. I cannot understand with the absence of the LTE Chip why a larger screen was not incorporated in 16 months into the new iPhone. How hard would it have been to add a larger screen and a new back cover. Those two things with what they already have in the 4S was plenty enough upgrades to call it the iPhone 5. I think Apple left the door wide open and failed to execute. In my opinion, they spent way too much time on Steve Jobs, and hiding the crap they released yesterday. As readers I ask you this, how does it feel to have the TONS of leaks and rumors floating around that were not even close to being true? Sprint getting and exclusive iPhone 5 for 2 months WTF is that???

  8. @efjay:

    Sadly, I have to agree. Ramon is right that this is a perfect opportunity for Microsoft. But I haven’t seen a Windows Phone ad in print or on tv in 6 months, not a single one. The new phones are about to release, and guess what, no marketing up to this point. Samsung hasn’t even announced or show off their phones. They simply appeared as if out of thin air.

    I might also add that Windows Phone is lagging on specs as well, because Microsoft won’t get up off it’s sorry ass. Windows Phone, as great as it is, is still stuck on shitty WVGA resolutions. No dual core support, and still the same amount of RAM. You would expect new phones to at least have qHD screen resolutions, 1GB of RAM, and dual core support. For what it’s worth, I don’t care if Windows Phone needs high end specs. A lot of consumers want it, and when you’re a day lat and a dollar short, you have to do everything to even the playing field.

    Mango is a fantastic update and Windows Phone is a great OS. But it means nothing with Microsoft’s failure to act. They want to know why Zune failed? Non-existent marketing and it was limited to the U.S. and UK. The same can be said of Windows Phone and it’s features.

  9. @Joe Green: Joe,

    The only thing we agree on here is that Apple is brilliant. Brilliant at marketing the same stuff in the same package to the same people.

    The AUI as implemented in Siri is gimmicky at best. (Which will probably sell to the iFaithful). But in reality, people don’t want their phones to talk back. They want to control the device with voice, not have it read back the results. Heck in the numerous UAT sessions I’ve done, they really don’t want to dictate entire emails or document texts via voice. When given a choice most prefer it for (in this order) navigation, dictating short texts, voice dialing, search. And they tend to get uncomfortable when a “creepy robot voice” reads search results back to them.

    SIri will never be to AUI what iOS was GUI. It’s a gimmick. A “Hey look what my phone can do!” feature to show off at parties, that will be seldom used except where I indicated above.

    Also Apple’s only revolutionary contribution to the phone GUI was the smoothness in the transition from state to state. The “icon grid” as a program launcher was around way before the iPhone. (As an IT pro/GUI designer/developer. you should know that.)

    The truth here is that yesterday’s event was an enormous letdown. The hardware was an incremental upgrade and iOS 5 is not much more. Most of the added features on display yesterday were “borrowed” from WP and Android. The hokey UI they slapped on “Find My Friends” looks like the menu from an early 90’s DOS game. (Will Apple ever get tired of the “bonded leather” look?)

    Yes, the camera is nice. But with HTC now using backlit CCDs and f2.2 lenses (I never thought I’d be praising HTC cameras), and Nokia about to release 8-16MP cameras with Zeiss optics, that too will be run-of-the-mill before year’s end.

    I do agree though that Apple will release the iPhone 5 early next year to get a “double upgrade” from their loyalists, but they are now playing catch-up, or at best, working harder than ever to keep the status quo.

    Lastly, if Apple goes to your 6 month schedule for “hardware and game changing software features”, they should have started yesterday, as the only game I saw changing was the dominate players in the smartphone space.

  10. “Apple went out and bought this thing, much like they bought Siri. Steve would never have done this”

    What ? OSX is based on Mach 3, it is just a changed Linux. Safari is based on Webkit, not Apple invention, too.

    OSX Dashboard is the Apple version of Konfabulator, they did not even changed the design of it.

    And Apple Design ? All based on Braun devices of the 50´s….

    In the Apple universe it is all fake, I have lots of more examples, just let me know :)

  11. @RobbCab

    I agree with much of what you said. A few points… I don’t think the point of Siri will be the fact that it talks back, but that I can say give commands that are no longer commands and it will understand them. Let me explain….
    What I feel Apple did for the GUI is not the icons. In GUI design (and OS design) there is a tradeoff between how much power you give the user, and how foolproof it is. Microsoft always gave you tremendous power (I could edit the registry with a mortscript on the fly…), but it took real dedication to live through the mistakes you made with that power. I made the mistake of recommending a Touch Pro to a friend, and it cost me tens of hours of “tech support” to get him configured, and then to fix what he broke. I finally talked him into an iPhone and have not heard from him since. Apple’s innovation was the amount of power they could pack into an intuitive foolproof package. Not any one actual thing, but the whole thing… (And yes, all OS’s borrow from each other. It is called advancement. I hate these damn lawsuits. They are stifling the advancement of technology.)
    That being said, (and this is only based on what I saw yesterday…) Siri has the potential to be something big. Voice commands have been around for decades, and you know what? I never use them. Because they suck. It is more trouble than it is worth.
    The old way: “Command | Open Application | Text Message | New Message | Recipient | John Doe | Subject | Dinner | Body | Can you come over for Dinner tonight | Send”
    The Siri way: “Send John Doe a text asking if he can come over for dinner tonight.”
    Wow! If they can make it work like that, they have created a whole new interface method. It is now not only usable, but idiot proof. I suppose when they invented the mouse, people thought they were nuts too.

    By the way… Until Sunday I was a devoted WM 6.5 user. I just bought my first Android phone (SGS2). Pretty neat so far. I can’t wait until someone duplicates Siri on Android. What do you think? 4 weeks? 5 weeks? :)

  12. I can almost always tell which articles Ramon wrote based on the title, not that he has a bias or anything ;)

  13. And yes… Everyone copies from everyone else. It would be ridiculous not to. That is why Moores law existed (although I think it is shorter than 18 months now-a-days – the rate of acceleration is acceleration.. First derivative or second? College was sooo long ago). In any case, advancement is built on the last advance. Whoever invented it. So if HTC puts out 20 ugly fat and heavy smartphones, and Apple comes along and make one that is a beauty to hold and look at, of course future HTC phones will look much nicer. Did they steal that from Apple? Maybe. But Apple raised the bar, then the next company raised it higher, and so on…

    And again. I will never own an iPhone, and I think their marketing is brilliant. However, I have to appreciate and respect genius when it occurs. (And greeting cards is not it. :) )

  14. @Joe Green:

    As Uncle Ben told Peter Parker: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
    I totally understand what you’re saying about customization vs. ease of use.

    I loved tweaking out my PC6700 WM 2003 device. But i didn’t HAVE to. The Touch Pro worked OK sans ” enhancements, but was nicer with tweaks.

    I get it Apple simplified the whole experience their UX was head-and-shoulders above WM. But that’s a big difference from “revolutionizing the GUI”. You want to know the biggest problem of the pre-iPhone phones? Resistive digitizers. Ruined the experience. With MS married to the stylus, they couldn’t make the switch to a more precise, more fluid technology. The next biggest WAS their approach. They tried to fit a PC experience on a mobile device. And while geeks like us loved all the features that afforded us, your avg Joe (no relation to you) didn’t need it and it took away from the UX.

    So yes, Apple got that extremely right with iOS in 2007. Fast Forward 5 years and they’ve done nothing since.

    As far as Siri goes. It’s really no different from any other voice recognition algorhythm. It’s marketed better. Try saying “Will it rain in Seattle” in Bing on WP. You’ll get pretty much the same results. Also, I guarantee that it will get confused A LOT during a substantial amount of natural conversations. What we saw yesterday were carefully scripted querries.

    And your “old way” premise is wrong (or at least way outdated) It’s more like this. COMMAND|ACTION|CONFIRMATION.

    I had a chance to do some testing with TellMe a few years ago. It was great. The language was conversational. It was a lot like Siri. Again in UAT, people hated it! It was too much. Most that I’ve tested prefer: “Text mom & Dad” then a confirmation that they can then start dictation. Then an option to send/cancel/retry.

    Here’s the reason: When average people do ANYTHING during their interaction with a computer they have one main concern. “Did I do the right thing?” The command/response model gives them the positive feedback they need psychologically. The natural conversation model withholds that feedback until the results are in.

    Go test a WP 7.5 phone. Hold the Start button and say (conversationally) “Text CONTACT NAME” Done.

    Oh, and they didn’t invent the mouse. But the people who did were thought of as crazy.

    ” I finally talked him into an iPhone and have not heard from him since.” I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t talk to you anymore either. :-)

  15. “I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t talk to you anymore either” LOL!!!
    I love conversing with intelligent folks. :)
    Just one thought that popped up as I read you post. Trying to “fit a PC into a phone”. I had purchased FlexMail and configured it to look just like my desktop – synced a years worth of email… etc. Then one day, I had an epiphany. It was a phone, not a desktop. So I bought ProfiMail and never looked back. My dad always says “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Until I realize that my phone was not my PC, I was never happy. (Then I discovered the vibrate feature and now I am always happy. :) )

  16. More Windows fanboy stuff from MD. To say Android does not come close to a replacement to an iDevice, but WM does is not just ignorant. It is plain stupid.

  17. @freakshow: um… you’re 100% correct. he said windows phone is, he said nothing about windows mobile. to not know the difference between windows mobile and windows phone before you open your mouth is ignorant.

  18. @Joe Green:
    Well, thanks Joe. I tend to enjoy the non-trolling as well.

    Just so you know, UI/UX design is my life. I’ve been doing it for 17 years and when I first saw Metro on WP I knew it was over for the “icon grid” model. The visual design is so fresh & different from anything else I’ve seen in the PC/phone space and the interaction model of “hubs” for like tasks is something I’ve been preaching for almost a decade. Content as UI is another “theme” I was in favor of for a while. So Metro automatically appealed to me. I told the folks in Redmond that they simultaneously anti-Appled & out-Appled Apple. Brilliant.

    Now wrap your head around this & tell me if you think it makes sense.

    Windows Phone introduces Metro design language, voice control, great touch experience.

    XBox picks up design language, adds motion control & enhances voice command.

    Windows 8 incorporates Metro, brings WP’s great touch experience, XBox’s (Kinect’s) voice & motion control, keeps its awesome pen+keyboard+mouse input.

    What’s it all add up to?

    The first TRUE Natural User Interface (NUI) This is the “holy grail” of computing and Microsoft is a heartbeat away from realizing.

    I’ve been of the mind for a while that NUI isn’t any ONE technology, but is context dependant. Voice is great in the car…not so much in the office. Touch is great in what I like to call “lean back” mode, but horrible in a vertical environment. Kybd/mouse, perfect for “lean in” mode.

    Here’s my prediction: You walk into your office, tell your PC to “list new emails” while it’s doing that you’re motion controlling a “Newspaper” app, flipping through stories. When you hear an email in the list from your boss asking for changes to a Word file. You tell the PC to “read it” while starting to lean in to naturally grab your mouse/Keybd to interact with the document.

    When finished, you get up, un-dock the device and navigate MobilityDigest using the great touch interface.

    This is how I see the very near future and as a designer, feel this is where we should be looking with our designs.

    I know this went off topic of our original conversation, but the point is, there is a revolution in UI/UX coming. And what we saw yesterday was not the next step.

  19. @freakshow:
    Actually, most people I know that made the switch from iPhone to Android are not happy campers. (with the exception of one IT guy). I think Ramon was pointing out that the transition from iPhone to WP would be an easier transition.

  20. And that’s Gizmodo! I can’t think of many more Apple friendly sites that don’t have “i” in front of them.

    On a related note, only 22% of Engadget readers are planning on buying a 4S.

  21. @Joe Green: Joe,

    I was just thinking about what you said earlier about the way Siri could change the AUI. The more I think about it, the more I feel MS’s and Google’s voice options are actually better.

    You see, like Apple always tends to do, Siri is going to assume it knows what you want from it. In the instance of “Send a text to John Smith” it should always be right. Just like the other platforms. But in a case like “What’s the weather like in Seattle?”, it looks as if Siri would show you today’s forecast by default. Well what if you wanted a description of Seattle’s general climate instead? Granted, the forecast information would probably be the right answer 7 or 8 times out of 10. But that means it would be wrong 2-3 times as well.

    Now with MS’s/Google”s voice search you would get rests for every possible connotation of your question. What’s more useful? That’s a good question. But I feel the right answer every time, while taking an extra click or two, is better.

    Pick up a Mango WP and long press the the start button. Phrases like “Find the public library” brings you to maps with markers from which you can get directions. But it also has images, or Bing search results just a swipe away.

    “Pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge” (to borrow from an old iPhone commercial) brings you right to images. But again, more options are just a swipe away.

    Now I haven’t used Android voice search in about 6 months, but I remember it being similar.

    Again, which is more useful? I know the answer for me, but that’s the beauty of choice. Yours may be different, but now you have something to think about.

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