Following the announcement of the iPhone 4S release, there has been an overwhelming negative response. Apparently the entire media (tech and mainstream), and most of the population, had convinced themselves that the form-factor of the iPhone was going to change yesterday. And it would seem that looks are all we care about.
To start, the iPhone having a drastically redesigned case only one year after it was initially released is pretty un-Apple. For how many products do you see Apple completely redesigning the form on a yearly basis? Correct: none. That’s not Apple. It may be what some people want from Apple (after all, when they do redesign something—or design something new—it’s almost always awesome), but that’s not how they work. They refine and iterate to a final design internally, then launch to the public and make incremental changes over time. If the initial form wasn’t elegant enough to stand the test of time (which isn’t very long in the cell phone market), it would not have been released.
So yesterday we were introduced to the latest and greatest iPhone: the 4S. Consistent with all of Apple’s products, it iterated on an existing design. Unfortunately, this is as deep as most of the analysis of iPhone 4S has gone. It looks largely the same, so it’s not a big deal. Yeah, maybe there are some little tweaks inside but it LOOKS the same! How will all the people you pass on the street know you have THE COOLEST, LATEST iPhone?!
But what was really announced yesterday was monumental. It’s obvious why Apple needed a slightly longer release cycle to get this iPhone to market. Everyone seems to be overlooking these major points:
- World phone
- Remember antennagate? Not only has Apple fixed the problem, they leap-frogged the concerns to offer a CDMA-GSM-capable world phone that intelligently switches antennae to optimize transfer performance. And it supports HSPA+, which means effectively 4G speeds (twice iPhone 4).
- Sure 8 mega pixels is nice, but new optics and sensors, a collection of new software for facial recognition, and auto-leveling of 1080P video? I just bought a nice, new point-and-shoot camera a few months ago, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if iPhone 4S out-performs it—particularly with video.
- A5. Twice as fast a processor in a phone that was already universally considered to be the quickest, most responsive smartphone in the world. And if there was any doubt that iPhone was the greatest mobile gaming device available, that can be set aside now.
- Not only is there a more powerful processor, heavier-lifting software and twice-speed data transfer, but battery life actually improved!
- We saw hints of iOS5 over the summer and began to see how a new notifications center and deep Twitter integration could evolve how we use iPhone. Yesterday we saw how Siri could completely change how we interact with a device. This isn’t “read my touchscreen” voice control like Android introduced. This is intelligent, contextual, human language interaction. Remarkably, it was only 4 years ago that Apple redefined human-computer interaction with multi-touch. Now they have introduced the next major revolution in human-computer interaction. Siri alone would have been a monumental announcement. It will have enormous, far-reaching impacts in technology.
Sorry if you didn’t get your tapered case.