Technological progress is rarely as dramatic or as disruptive as the introduction of the original iPhone in 2007. But thanks to Apple's past successes and the fierce competition Apple faces in the smartphone market, everyone has been hoping for something just as revolutionary today.
Does Anyone Else Miss Steve Jobs?
So, on the heels of the introduction of iOS7 and iPhones 5S and 5C, I have to wonder: What would Steve Jobs think?
Did Apple impress us the way that Jobs, with his understated flair for theatrics and suspense, might have?
Based on past Apple events when Jobs was alive and the fact that he actively contributed to the Apple roadmap, directing the company’s course for years after his passing (it’s not like Jobs left unexpectedly), I think that yes, not only would he have approved, but had he still been alive, we might have witnessed a very similar product presentation today.
If Apple faces any problem, it isn't the challenge of producing high-quality, innovative products; it’s the challenge of keeping the levels of surprise, awe, and anticipation high in an age of unprecedented planned obsolescence, market saturation, internal leaks, and intense competition.
So now that today’s media event has come and gone and we know exactly what all the hype and hoopla was about, the question is, did Apple sufficiently wow us? Was it enough to preserve its dominant position in the smartphone arena and keep folks from jumping ship to a bigger or cheaper phone?
I'd say yes, but barely. While still setting the bar high, Apple is no longer the only provider of great smartphone technology, even if the competition are all virtual clones of Apple’s innovation.
Hey, Apple, Where's the Bigger Screen?
With the iPhone 5C, Apple certainly succeeded in leveling the playing field when it comes to a less expensive and thus more accessible smartphone. But the lack of a larger-screened iPhone is a glaring omission that Apple needs to address in this increasingly competitive industry.
People, myself included, want a larger-screened iPhone. As a power user of both the iPhone and the iPad mini, I can say without hesitation that Apple’s lackadaisical attitude toward introducing a larger-screened iPhone is a shortcoming for the company. One need only look to the sales of the larger “phablets” to see this.
If Apple released an iPhone somewhere within the 5.5- to 6-inch range, I know it would be a massive success. I myself would be such a fan that it might just cannibalize my relationship with my iPhone and my iPad mini. The increased portability of a larger iPhone or smaller iPad would totally fit the bill when it comes to a portable gaming console, PC, and general entertainment and communication center. The fact that Apple is said to be testing a larger-screened iPhone is of little consolation to those of us who are ready for an upgrade now. We are tired of squinting and struggling to navigate, communicate, or game with our iPhone’s tiny touchscreens, especially when we see the competition’s larger phones abounding. Admittedly, it’s a test of our loyalty as iPhone fans.
iOS 7: The Main Attraction
The physical upgrades in the new iPhones 5S and 5C are modest, incremental upgrades to the existing product line. So, if it’s not the physical device, what is the big draw for the new phones? I'd guess it’s not the hardware but the software that is supposed to be the main attraction and the big selling point.
As Gizmodo's Brian Barret rather succinctly put it: “Consumer technology has reached a point where hardware comes last in the decision tree. The decision of which rectangle to buy doesn't matter nearly as much as what you can do with it.... That's why no matter what phones Apple announced, they're not nearly as important as the software they'll be running. It's iOS 7 that will convince people to buy iPhones for the next several years, and it's iOS 7 that will turn millions of unsuspecting current iPhone owners' devices into entirely different phones.”
In my opinion, iOS 7, along with the new line of iPhones, represents the pinnacle in smartphone technology. Not only is the software the most innovative, user-friendly, and cutting-edge technology on the market, the base hardware is the highest quality available to the general public.
So did Apple succeed in capturing the spirit and intention of what the late Mr. Jobs would have delivered? I'd say most certainly! Moreover, today Apple introduced to the world the next logical step in the evolution of the best portable computing, gaming, communication, and lifestyle management accessory on the planet.