IT WAS A LAUNCH without surprises and for Apple fanbois expecting the fifth coming of the Iphone, a bit of a disappointment. As the fruit themed gadget seller unveiled its Iphone 4S yesterday it became clear that no Iphone 5 is in sight, for now at least.
It's not surprising that the Iphone 4S wasn't a big upgrade. It was the same situation when Apple launched the 3GS - the outside cosmetics stayed the same but Apple upgraded some of the internal hardware and software.
The problem for Apple is that the minor upgrade of the Iphone 4S will see it playing catch up with its rivals, namely phone makers such as HTC and Samsung that are churning out Android handsets.
Worse still, the next generation of Android smartphones will come out long before the Iphone 5 - unless Apple brings the launch forward - increasing the salability of Android rivals to the Iphone even more.
Android has already become the most popular OS, with 48 per cent market share, according to Kantar Worldpanel Comtech, which placed Apple's IOS third with 20.8 per cent. And even die-hard fanbois might consider a far more advanced Android phone if their beloved Apple falls far enough behind.
Yesterday's Apple Iphone announcements were hardly game changing. The faster processor will be welcome to those who might want a 3GS upgrade and better hardware, while the 8MP camera only sees the cappuccino company matching its competitors' camera specifications.
An HD 1080p video camera is nice, but whether it will sell Iphone 4S upgrades is questionable. (See our Iphone 4S vs Iphone 4 head to head review for more).
Meanwhile, Apple's IOS 5 greeting card app is at best bizarre, a clear attempt to take on greeting card companies such as Funky Pigeon, but why? Apple might better leave the card making to those who do it for a living and make technological advances instead.
Of course, some will always be seduced by Apple's latest shiny gadget and when it comes down to it, perhaps it's laziness on the toymaker's part. Apple is still selling Iphones hand over fist, so how can you blame Jobs' mob for not bothering to make the Iphone 4S a big upgrade?
What will be interesting is whether Apple will launch an Iphone 5 early next year, as the rumour mill has suggested. If it does, Apple surely will have shot itself in the foot, given that releasing a much better Iphone 5 so soon will cheapen its Iphone 4S model immediately.
Let's just say, whatever Tim Cook has up his sleeve, it better be good. A firm that has become celebrated for its innovation could be slipping behind. µ
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