Let’s recap briefly: In the past month, “an iPhone 5 was lost in a bar,” and was followed up with a lame legal battle. Case-Mate relased images of iPhone cases, that judging by the shape, clearly weren’ t meant for the iPhone4 or newly announced iPhone 4S . And almost every Apple fanboy blog was rumoring two new smartphones to be released today at Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event. We must be getting an iPhone 5 today right? Wrong.
While I’m not here to express my frustration with Apple’s annoying guerilla marketing tactics & overly theatrical method of unveiling new products, I will speculate why they chose to forego the release of an iPhone 5.
- History – In June of 2009, Apple found great success releasing an iPhone 3Gs just one year after the iPhone 3g hit the market and at the time it was a pretty significant hardware upgrade from the 3G, just as the newly announced iPhone 4S appears to be. It wasn’t until a year later, in June of 2010 that the iPhone 4 was released, so why not continue the trend that’s worked so far? Just in time for Christmas, no less.
- Market Dominance – The original thought was that Apple would release an iPhone 4S & an iPhone 5 today. The iPhone 4S would resemble the iPhone 4, and be cheaper than the iPhone 5. Meanwhile the iPhone 5 would sport a new shape, better hardware & cost more. But think about that reasonably. Apple dominates the market right now in both enterprise (93% of the Fortune 500) & consumer use, so what the benefit of releasing two completely new phones be, when the model of releasing just one has worked so well. What would happen to the iPhone 4? Would it plummet in price? Isn’t it still a pretty good phone?
- iPhone 3GS – Another thing that rumor mongers failed to question is what would happen to the iPhone 3GS? As it stands, everyone knows if you have an iPhone 3G or an iPhone 3GS and have the current iOS installed it’s virtually unusable, so it was assumed that the iPhone 3GS would be put out to pasture. The problem with that is, Apple can still milk something out of this phone. Maybe they won’t make boat load of money off of it, today, but by offering it “free,” imagine how many non-smartphone people they will entice to use it. Eventually they will get on the iPhone bandwagon and buy their phones in the future.
- Tim Cook – It may seem obvious that a new iPhone 5, if successful, would do wonders for Tim Cook’s career. But think about this, what if it were the newly appointed Apple CEO and not the legendary Steve Jobs at the helm when the iPhone 4’s atenna-gate took place? His public perception would’ve been in the toilet. Earlier today I was convinced that witholding the iPhone 5 would be a major let down and a smudge on his new career, but after re-considering I feel that it’s a safe move by Apple. By releasing a phone that’s already won over consumers & enterprises, adding a few new shiny bells & whistles, Tim Cook has a sure thing in the palm of his hands. If he wants to begin to attempt to fill Steve Jobs’ shoes, Apple needs to ensure that he’s got a proven product under his belt before unveiling a radical departure from the norm.
As a fan I have to say that I’m disappointed there will be no iPhone 5. But as a businessman, I understand the decision. The iPhone 4S looks like an impressive piece of hardware, and while I won’t be upgrading to it, I just hope that my iPhone 4 can keep up with the new iOS functionality.
The Apple iPhone 4S will be available for pre-order October 7th and go on sale on October 14th, 2011. It will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models for $199, $299 and $399, respectively. Stop over to Engadget’s photo gallery for more.