And so Apple announced a new iPhone. Except that it’s not new – at least as ‘defined’ by media, tech blogs, general public and everyone in between. Of late, Apple product launches follow a similar pattern: speculation, more speculation and even speculation. All of which is ‘substantiated’ with hazy product shots from various factories of suppliers. Tech blogs carry on and on with these stories. Fan boys jump into the fray with their concept designs (an iPhone 5 video on YouTube had some mind blowing key board concepts). The media laps this all up as official news. All this creates a tsunami of hype and consequently, expectations. Apple remains stone cold silent through all this.
This time the hype was more-than- usual. Reason: a new band of ‘iPhone watchers’ joined the fray – Android users. Given the recent super premium launches in the Android space (Samsung Galaxy S2, Droid, Bionic etc) all believed to be iPhone killers, the new launch was expected to be something totally different, dramatic even. Everyone was expecting a totally new hardware design, including a larger screen. What was announced was largely under-the-hood speed bumps. It did not seem to impress Wall Street, Android fans and even some Apple fans.
No other brand evokes this kind of response when it comes to product launches. That’s a huge positive. On the flip side, it could lead to disappointment and derision when the self-created expectations are not met. In this case, Apple treated it just like the 3GS launch. But media expected another game changer – leading to sensational, link baiting and frankly, moronic headlines like ‘Apple follows, not leads‘. If anything, Apple has refused to follow by joining the tech spec race. All other mobile brands focus on pumping specs into the hardware. Yes, specs are important. In countries like India, that’s all what a potential buyer looks at. But Apple believes it’s about the integration of hardware & software which makes a difference. The faster A5 processor, better reception, camera improvements will make the iPhone experience better.
I think Samsung created a new goal post with a 5-inch screen. Apple has not bettered that yet – explaining a part of the disappointment. Nevertheless, it is clear that both iOS and Android have their camps – there’s no winning over each other.