What we learned from Apple’s iPhone Release
Apple needed to nail it at Cupertino on Wednesday evening. It needed to rise above the rest in a remarkable manner. It needed to hit a home run in the last minute of The World Series, or score a brace of injury time goals to overcome a one-nil deficit. It had to do something out of the ordinary. So did it?
Put it this way, before the event the world and his mother knew there would be two new iPhones – a budget one and an interim one with more power and a better camera. We got both – fantastic!
However, a ‘budget’ iPhone C will still set you back as much as a HTC One or a Samsung Galaxy S4. It’s not truly a budget phone and it’s certainly not positioned at a price point to break into emerging markets.
So, how about the iPhone S – yes it’s more powerful, yes it has a better camera and yes it’s got 64 bit architecture and a finger print scanner lock screen. But, is it the home run the company needed? Is it the innovative spirit of Steve Jobs reincarnated in a sub 140g aluminium case? It’s not really – it’s got virtually the same design as the iPhone 4 and its screen is much smaller than the industry standard consumers have taken to. It’s still good but it’s not great.
It’s like going out to that amazing new burger place you’ve heard about but dare we say, ending up in Harvester. It suffices but that’s about it really and what’s worse, there was no real surprise. However, let’s be somewhat positive – so, what did we learn?
If Nokia for example, came out with the finger print scanner or the 64 bit architecture, it’d be a happy day. We’d herald them into their rightful position at the top with Samsung, Apple and HTC. But Apple isn’t Nokia and so it’s disappointing.
When Jobs was at the helm each keynote, every release, every press conference had some surprise. If Apple released an ‘S’ version of a phone, the ground breaking iPad 1 or 2 appeared alongside it. When the iPhone and iPad existed – Apple led the way with a retina display. On Wednesday, the appearance or mention of an iWatch would have brightened things up somewhat, but there was not sign or sight of it.
Apple led from the front with Jobs, he was a showman, an innovator and his record speaks for itself. The way things are looking now, we’d nearly long for something along the lines of the Apple Newton PDA thing – we’re pretty bored.
People are Losing Patience
It’s not just us that are losing patience either – people are getting bored of the iPhone. There seem to be more comments to that effect across the web from former borderline Apple fan boys, than you could shake a stick at.
People are getting sick of disappointment. Apple set the bar so high for itself under Jobs and after the initial iPhone releases, only something astounding will now do. We’re not suggesting Apple take the Samsung approach of throwing everything into a phone including the kitchen sink, but Apple needs ideas quick and fast for the next iPhone – especially if it wishes to keep the most loyal owners on-side. They say that without great hope; there can’t be great disappointment. So, we’d imagine that if the iPhone 6 fails to arouse excitement, the 6S won’t be a disappointment for all the wrong reasons.
Apple’s like an Injured Animal
However, an animal is at its most dangerous when it’s hurt. Apple still wields a lot of power, perhaps more-so than anybody else in the mobile industry. Sure, Android phones have hit 1bn activations and Samsung’s romped home this year in terms of sales, but Apple’s still top dog and the other players know it too.
The other manufacturers’ response towards Apple’s release showed that they could do nothing more but stand and try to latch onto Cupertino’s coattails on Wednesday.
Everybody knows that a new Apple release means global trending in social media, and searches and interest and all the rest – more so than anybody else in the tech industry. And, so competitors tried to use the humorous efforts to garner attention.
One of the more notable things about these efforts was the lack of truly tongue in cheek, borderline mean attempts to do so. Unlike previous releases, where Samsung for instance popped up with sharp parodies of Apple fanboys, this time things were a lot more dignified and humane. This may reflect a number of things: –
• The patents problem between the manufacturers isn’t as cutting of issue as it was
• Samsung and others don’t believe in kicking a company that’s now fallible
Either way other tech companies still jumped on the social media-jacking bandwagon. However, that said, the level of excitement in the press around the release seemed a little less prevalent than for previous releases – then again that could be subjective.
So, it looks like Apple needs to move up a gear and do something truly innovative. Apple have never been real risk takers, but they’ve always been leaders, refiners and trend setters and injected something magical.
In a strange way, Apple’s scenario is like the infamous David Copperfield Statue of Liberty trick. Copperfield makes the statue disappear in front of a live audience – it’s a great trick. However, if you’ve ever been to New York and seen that Statue, the most overriding thing is you’’ feel it’s far smaller than you perceived – in fact, it’s a bit disappointing. In a weird way, this disillusionment takes away from Copperfield’s feat. And perhaps that’s a little like the iPhone 5S – maybe we’re so focused on the disappointment, we can’t see the fruit from the trees.