Editorial: Great Expectations

Disappointment is probably the single best word to describe the emotion felt by many after October 4th’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event. No major strides were taken on Apple’s part to outpace the Android juggernaut. Apple seemed relatively content to add predictable features to the iPhone 4 – an A5 chip, as well as the previously rumored voice assistant, now known as “Siri Assistant” – and call it the iPhone 4S.

What were we expecting? Various reliable sources had stated we would be receiving double the fun: not one, but two iPhones! One, the iPhone 4S, would be for budget-conscientious buyers, while the iPhone 5 would be the iDevice to do battle with, and ultimately vanquish, much of the Android army. That didn’t happen, in any form. We got one new iPhone, and it was the iPhone 4S; no iPhone 5 was to be seen. This led to probably the second most negative response to any Apple product I’ve seen (need proof? How about this forum, as well as this and this, among many, many others). The first? Oh, that was just the iPad 1.

We all know how that product did: phenomenally well. The iPhone 4S isn’t a direct comparison to the original iPad (the iPhone is coming in to a market that is already firmly established, for instance), but I think that the iPad situation is interesting in that Apple proved everyone in the tech sphere wrong.

Apple’s biggest problem with these unveilings is that they are preaching to the wrong crowd. As geeks, we want the biggest, fastest, most of something. We’re hardwired to want more. And guess what? Apple’s market is just to gigantic for them to cater specifically to us. Contrast that with Samsung, Motorola, and HTC, who continually are getting bigger, faster, stronger. In marketshare, Android may not be the geek’s OS any longer. But, in terms of hardware, it certainly appears to be.

The iPhone 4S isn’t revolutionary; it’s not supposed to be. It takes the iPhone 4, and fixes every problem that I can think of (antennagate being the most egregious). Why, then, is this bad? I would valiantly argue that, until today, the iPhone 4 was the best smartphone you could buy, eighteen months after its initial release. It certainly continued to sell well, even though technically superior competitors were available since its original release.

The iPhone 4S is trying to perfect what was the best. If that’s not good enough for you, I don’t know what will be. Go try using a beat-up DROID X that refuses to update to the latest version of its OS for three months to reset your expectations. Because, as far as I’m concerned, the 4S is great.

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