Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Editorial: Apple Introduces the iPhone 4S (and little else)

Apple iPhone 4S
So yesterday was the day all the Apple fanboys have been anticipating for 16 months now (including me) and to say it was a bit disappointing is an understatement. My story is probably not unlike many of you guys out there when it comes to the iPhone. Personally I have an iPhone 3GS that I got in Feb 2010 (finally caved to the Apple machine). Here in Morgantown, West Virginia, the AT&T in the area had just upgraded to 3G (from EDGE) to better make use of the iPhone so I decided to take the plunge mere months before the iPhone 4 launch. I became addicted to the usability of the iPhone virtually overnight and haven't looked at another phone since. Once you get embedded into the Cult of Apple, it's nearly inescapable.

Once the iPhone 4 launched, I almost bit the bullet and paid big bucks to buy/upgrade to the iPhone only months into my contract. That's when AntennaGate dropped into full swing. That put the brakes on that deal so I've been toughing it out with my 3GS for about a year and half now, all the while seeing the much nicer iPhone 4 take over the world with it's far superior camera, speed, flash, design, etc etc etc. Still, I've held off in hopes the iPhone 5 drop in the Summer of 2011 would be the upgrade of all upgrades.

As the Summer of 2011 approaches, the chatter begins that there won't be a new iPhone yet, maybe September, and everyone will just have to hold on a bit longer. "UGH!" says me. Waiting....and waiting...August comes and so do the rumors and speculation. iPhone 5 cases, spy shots, etc etc. I'm on the edge of my seat extending my neck for every drip of information like raindrops falling from the sky. Then the rumors start backtracking...no iPhone 5, only 4(s) maybe?! One iPhone, two iPhones!? Who the hell knows!? It was driving me and everyone else following this tale absolutely bonkers. I had visions of a 4" retina display saddled to a new revolutionary design to take the world by storm once again.

Then comes October 4, 2011. Apple unveils a simple hardware upgrade from iPhone 4 to 4S, with basically the exact same design as the previous model. As much as I've fallen in lust with the design of the iPhone 4 over the last 16 months or so, I really expected so much more than a simple hardware update. Sure the iPhone is selling like hotcakes. Sure the current iPhone 4 is extraordinary (other than the Antenna). Why should they change it? Would you if you were Apple? If it isn't broke, don't fix it, right? Or at least don't F**k it up! Think about how many times car manufacturers have taken their best selling car or truck and completely screwed it up by completely redesigning it for the sake of redesigning it.

So as much as I would have liked to see an all new iPhone 5 with all the state of the art trimmings, I can see where Apple is coming from. With so many irons in the fire, so to speak, (China and Sprint getting the iPhone with millions upon millions to supply), that they wanted to keep the changes to a minimum on the product. At least for now. The iPhone 4 has been their best iPhone yet and did it really need a complete overhaul? Not really. Did they change the right aspects of the phone? It appears so. Faster and better without losing anything is usually a formula for a successful upgrade.

Am I disappointed with the Oct 4th keynote? Yup. The fever pitch of the rumors was so deafening, I'm not sure I wouldn't have been disappointed either way. They could have launched and iPhone 5 and 6 at the same time and there would have been something to bitch about right? Will I still buy what Apple is selling? Yup. I'm thinking the iPhone 4S will be nice upgrade from my 3GS. The Siri assistant seemed to steal the show for the most part and for good reason. It really does have the potential to revolutionize how we use the iPhone. And that's saying something.

You can watch the complete keynote on Apple's website here or just check out their iPhone page here.