Will the iPhone 4S Console Apple Fans?

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On Tuesday October 4th, Apple held its annual iPhone event. As usual, expectations were very high, particularly, since the event is usually held in July. Fans were following live feeds on the web awaiting an announcement of the next must-have product, but the problem was, that didn’t happen…

A Year Full of Rumors:

Tech followers have endured a year of hints about a supposed iPhone 5 hitting stores in July with a redesigned body and improved specs. Rumors accelerated when it was announced that Apple would be moving its iPhone event to Fall 2011. Fanboys and girls got more excited, especially when cases from manufacturers such as Casemate starting popping up online depicting a teardrop form for the rumored iPhone 5. As late as last week, online pictures of the inventory of several stores depicted the presence of an iPhone 5 in its upcoming shipments, making it seem more and more obvious that Apple was going to announce the iPhone 5, especially after announcing an operating system as powerful as iOS 5 (which I reviewed previously).

 
The Casemate landing page, announcing that the iPhone 5 would be launched.

What was announced.

As usual, Apple made a lot of announcements during the event, revealing a drop in existing iPhone prices, upgrades to the iPod, and that iCloud and iOS 5 will launch on October 12. But the event’s most anticipated moment, the iPhone 5 reveal, never came. Rather, this year’s new iPhone model will be the 4S, an upgraded version of the current model. This announcement generated mixed feeling among fans who were clearly expecting more.

                         

However, the announcement was not a total stall. While the iPhone 4S is identical in shape to its predecessor, it has been upgraded on many fronts. It now boasts a Dual Core A5 chip that grants the phone more processing power and graphical capabilities, allowing it to easily handle complex games and applications. The maximum storage capacity has been boosted to 64 GB, bringing the iPhone 4S closer to the the iPad 2 in terms of storage power. The camera has been upgraded to 8 megapixels with 1080p HD Video, while the battery life has been improved as well.

The most notable addition however is the inclusion of “Siri,” an intelligent voice-integrated assistant to whom you can dictate instructions. Ask her where to eat a good Taco she will give you the closest and highest rated Mexican restaurants close to you. Tell her to remind you about your meeting the next day, and Siri will send you a reminder to your notification screen. With Siri the possibilities are endless.

iSuccess or iFlop?

As I said previously, there was a lot of disappointment after the conference, since the public was expecting an iPhone 5 reveal, especially because the last iPhone release was 15 months ago. The iPhone 4S is a very powerful phone indeed, but for some owners of the iPhone 4 it might not seem different enough to justify an upgrade. While it’s not easy to redesign a phone and upgrade its performance, perhaps Apple could have done better with a 15 month window.

Consumer disappointment was echoed in Apple’s stock price, which fell 5% on Tuesday before rising back up again and remaining steady. Tim Cook is still in the beginning of his tenure as CEO of Apple, but he will have to do more to “wow” the public. Only sales figures from next week’s release will tell us whether Apple’s 4S announcement was a success or a flop. This will be a crucial yardstick for gauging Apple’s position, especially now that it has lost its most inspirational figure with Steve Jobs’s passing, may his soul rest in piece.

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