Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple iPhone Aftermath, Bad Labeling?

Image representing Siri as depicted in CrunchBase
I wasn't as accurate on my predictions yesterday as I would have liked but Thats part of the fun when trying to guess what Apple is up to. I did get some things right including my conclusion that people would be disappointed if the new iPhone just turned out to be a rehashed iPhone 4. The ironic thing is that this iPhone is arguably as different from the previous generation as any other has been with the possible exception of the original iPhone 4 when compared to the 3GS. This illustrates the importance of getting every detail right when launching a product, including the naming.

Apple apparently doubled the RAM from 512 meg to 1 gig(I'm seeing conflicting reports on this), significantly upgraded the rear camera, upgraded the CPU and graphics and integrated both CDMA and GSM into one phone with HSPA+ thrown into the mix for those on GSM networks that support it. Would anyone have blinked if they had called this the iPhone 5? I certainly wouldn't have.

Part of the problem is the amount of time this phone took. We waited an extra four months for this. People were expecting something awe inspiring. Calling it the 4S may have been a misguided attempt to manage expectations?

The other issue here was of course the absence of Steve Jobs. This was Apples first chance to shine with Jobs not on stage. Put simply, they didn't  there were some bright spots.

Siri is a nice piece of technology. More importantly to Apple's long term bottom line though it is also going to make them a part of the "conversation" people have with their phones. Currently a big chunk of that conversation takes place with Google or Facebook. With Siri Apple has displaced Google for many tasks and will likely displace them further as this technology rolls out to more devices and becomes more refined. There is speculation that Google has similar functionality in the works at its easy to see why they would. This is the way many people have dreamed of interacting with their phones for awhile now.

Another thing that impressed me was "Find my Friends". Not so much the technology itself, which has been done before; but instead the fact that APple actually thought to give people the ability to turn it on with an expiration day/time. If you're on a family trip to Disneyland then you might be willing to turn on that tracking just for the convenience of being able to keep track of where everyone in your group is but that doesn't mean you want your personal space invaded that much normally. It's that kind of design decision and attention to detail that separates Apple from their competition.

While there was a disappointment in the short term I don't think it will linger much. This does put additional pressure on them though for the next big announcement. Apple's growth over the past several years has been nothing short of phenomenal and maintaining anything close to that pace is unrealistic. With Jobs role being deemphasized Apples current management is likely going to get a lot of blame for any slow down even though it may be part of the normal growth cycles that companies go through. Steve Jobs is going to be a hard act to follow not only because he is brilliant but also because of when he stepped aside. I don't envy Tim Cook one bit. He's in an almost impossible to win situation.

Image via CrunchBase
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