After many rumor-packed months of feverish anticipation, Apple fans were at last greeted Tuesday by the unveiling of the latest iPhone. In the end, Apple didn't announce an iPhone 5 with a drastic new look, but rather a mere iPhone 4S with the same exterior and a souped-up interior, as well as a price reduction for older iPhone models. The old iPhone 3GS will now be free — when customers sign a two-year contract. (The new iPhone 4S will retail for $199 to $399, and goes on sale Oct. 14.) Many have dubbed Apple's announcement "disappointing." Is it?
Don't judge a smartphone by its cover: Sure, "if you were hoping for a brand new iPhone 5 today, you might be a little disappointed," says Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch. But if you get past the fact that the iPhone 4S looks just like the iPhone 4, you'll actually find some big changes. There's a faster processor, a dual CDMA/GSM chip so it can run on cell networks around the world, and a vastly improved camera. Then there's the new software: iOS 5, apps that work with the iCloud, and, most importantly, the Siri Assistant, a voice-controlled virtual assistant that can answer questions and respond to commands in natural language.
"The iPhone 4S — It's what's on the inside that counts"
It's easy to see why Apple customers are bummed: It's been 15 months since the iPhone 4 was released, and all we get is an iPhone 4s? says Dan Lyons at The Daily Beast. That's quite "a disappointment to hardcore Apple fans." Sure, Siri is "pretty amazing," but for the most part it seems that "Apple is content to keep selling what it has." For years, Apple has been a market innovator, but now there are fears that it's grown complacent. "Whether that's really the case remains to be seen."
"Apple's iPhone letdown"
And Apple could have managed expectations better: "For the past year, we've endured a near-daily slew of rumors about a device called the iPhone 5," and imagined that when it arrived it would be "something spectacular," says Chris Taylor at Mashable. But Apple only delivered an "iPhone with more advanced innards," not a "new, iconic, must-have device." Apple typically works the media quite well and manages expectations for its big product releases. But this time, oddly, the company didn't. "Is Apple losing control of the message?"
"iPhone 5 a no-show: Did Apple fail to manage expectations?"
Hold on. The iPhone wasn't even the biggest news: The "real hidden gem" of the announcement "may not be the new iPhone at all, but instead a statement earlier in the presentation regarding Mac's growing market share," says the Market Intelligence Center. New CEO Tim Cook reported that Apple now dominates 23 percent of the computer market, and that the Macbook Air and iMacs are, respectively, the number one laptop and desktop computers in the country. This is a big deal — Apple was once a cult brand that struggled to gain footing. Forget the iPhone 4S — "the real news could be the strength of Mac computers and how they are reshaping the technology world as we know it."
"What's the hidden story from Apple's (AAPL) keynote event?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- How to make classic pulled pork
- How The Killing survived two cancellations and ended on its own terms
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Don't vote for Andrew Cuomo
Subscribe to the Week