I think I have the hang of this Apple as industry leader thing.  Release a new design then update it the following year with better internals.  Why change a whole lot when you possess a customer base that gives you the highest user satisfaction rate in the business.  Ladies and gentleman, I give you Apple, new kid on the block turned refined senior elder. In other words, the iPhone 4S.

If you’re an Apple user and lover than today is pleasing in many ways. If you are a user of a competing platform you’re probably feeling like there is no place like home. If everyone were to take anything away from today it is this; Apple is now Microsoft Windows.  What does that mean you say?  Apple is now so entrenched in their OS paradigm and are responsible for so large an ecosystem that changing too much would likely be catastrophic. This means that you’re much more likely to get an evolutionary upgrade than a radical revolution in both hardware and software. The theatre setting the event was held in was fitting. It was eerily similar to going to a movie theater and feeling like you’ve seen all of this before.


The Good

Hello Siri!

So nice to meet you.  You have made my day all by yourself.  I’m thinking this is the line most Apple fans have running through their head and I decided to put a nice pretty picture to thought.  Siri, the tech, is amazing.  It has instantly heated up the speech competition and stands to have both Google and Microsoft voice recognition software engineers staying up long nights well into the future.  Now all that’s left is a sort of creepy but totally cool hologram beaming from the phone to chat with.

A5 Dual Core Processor

Apple says that the iPhone 4S will allow up to 7x graphic performance boost compared to the original iPhone 4.  As gaming intensifies and become more graphically intensive this extra horsepower will be a very welcomed addition.  With this Apple is prepared for the next wave of mega games to hit the app store.

8 Megapixel Cam

The iPhone is already the most widely used camera on Flickr and the better picture quality will only cause this stat to ring truer by the day. We all want to feel free to leave home without lugging around a spare camera to capture moments.  Apple has now staked their claim to the best camera phone in the U.S. Market.  Sorry Apple, Nokia’s Carl Zeiss 12MP cam still reigns supreme.

The Snooze

The same body design over a year later isn’t paying homage to the greatness of your hardware design, it is boring. It wreaks of a company that is resting on their laurels.  This is a stark contrast to Apple’s stance as an innovator in the smartphone space.  On the bright side this almost ensures that Apple produces a radically designed iPhone 5 for next year’s offering.

64GB iPhone 4S

This year’s WWDC brought the announcement of iCloud.  Apple’s iOS syncing/backup service.  Offering a 64GB iPhone 4S  while pushing the iCloud seems counterproductive to me.  It’s a catch 22 that a lot of people will get burned by.  If you do manage to cram 64GB of data into your phone the automatic backup iCloud is much more likely to be syncing even larger amounts of data.  In the era of data caps this is a very dangerous bridge that purchasers of the 64GB model would be wise to keep an eye on.


We’ve already seen what was coming in iOS5.  The only thing we didn’t already know tons about is Siri and indeed Siri impressed the pants off of us.  The thing is trotting out obvious rip offs of Android and Windows Phone isn’t exactly making this device forward leaning.  Everything iOS5 is touting can be done and largely in more elegant ways on competing platforms.

The Kicker

Apple needed to fend off the competitors by walking out an iPhone 5 that potentially changed the game.  Instead they trotted out an updated iPhone 4 and it felt a lot like they were playing catchup.  Apple represents the Rolls Royce in the smartphone game, they spend more, charge more and should produce far more than any other major player in the game.  They no longer do that.  Apple will always produce a terrific piece of hardware, the experience will be enjoyable and you will have the largest selection of apps & games you could dream of.  That is fast becoming a moot point in the face of their competition.

Millions will flock to buy one of Apple’s iPhone models (3GS, 4, 4S) and Apple will score record setting profitable quarters but to all who have been paying attention the pizzazz is gone.  Microsoft’s Mango has blown the socks off of everyone who has tried it.  Later this month Nokia will be debuting their initial Windows Phone offerings will be sure to eliminate Apple’s camera advantage and Android’s Nexus Prime is one doozy by any standard.  I’m thinking customers will be much more likely to buy one of the latest Android or Windows Phones then they were 12 hours ago.  That is a defeat for Apple.  Why by an aged 3GS (yes its free on contract) when you can get a more capable Android or Windows Phone for free on most carriers?

By the way, this strategy of offering older and continuing to support older models to gain market share is a sign of things to come under Tim Cook. Cook is the guy responsible for logistics and supply chain.  In short, he’s a business manager and who also has that same pedigree?


What do I give the iPhone 4S? A solid 8.5 out of 10.  There is nothing wrong with it but aside from the Siri personal assistant nothing really amazes.  The remaining 1.5 out of 10 could have easily been had if they would have cleaned up the whole “if I drop it it’ll smash” thing and of course have some kind of industry first going on.  A great  score but once again competing phones like the HTC Titan and Samsung Nexus Prime/Galaxy S II aren’t exactly shaking in their boots.


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