Earlier today, I, like most of the Internet, tuned into the live blogs of those reporting from 4 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA, on the new iPhone. Online, the term used was iPhone 5. Those getting leaked information heard big things about an iPhone 4S. Some had reported both. After a long, drawn-out report on things discussed back at WWDC in June (like iCloud and iOS 5), people were anxious to hear the real news from Apple.
Then, the official announcement: iPhone 4S? Yes. iPhone 5? No.
While there are initial reactions to disappointment and frustration over the lack of a real iPhone replacement, before you jump into the mob with others, there are a few things to consider for Apple’s planning.
Don’t Blame Tim Cook
Because Apple takes years to develop their new iProducts, this was in the works well before Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO. This was coming, with or without Steve. Tim will keep things alive at Apple.
Setting Up For The Real Show
Apple’s always ahead of themselves by years. They’re most likely testing the iPhone 5 now and designing the iPhone 5S/6. So, when they do announce the iPhone 5, it will combine the anticipation of what people had for today’s event and combine it with new anticipation to generate more excitement/frenzy/fanboyism than before. Today’s event was a small bump to give people something to look forward to next year.
It will come. Just not now. It’s simply not the right time.
2011, The Year Of The iPad 2
Remember back at WWDC when iOS 5 and iCloud was announced? Remember how they also announced the iPad 2, and claimed 2011 to be the year of it? Apple’s not the kind of company to step on their own toes, especially if they know what’s going on behind their own closed doors.
Apple launched the iPhone 4 on Verizon’s network at the beginning of this year. If Apple announced a new iPhone now, it’d be very hard to convince VZW to give everyone an early upgrade option (like AT&T did for the original iPhone 4 launch) so soon. It would anger quite a few customers. And upsetting your customers just isn’t a good business move, you know?
And speaking of AT&T…
It’s only been a little over a year since the iPhone 4 was released on AT&T’s network. Yes, they could do an early upgrade option again, but why bother if another, hopefully better iPhone is possibly coming next year?
The Master Plan
With all this in mind, this is how I see the iPhone 5 launch: Next year, possibly at WWDC 2012, iPhone 5 gets introduced. AT&T customers who bought iPhone 4 (not 4S) should have expiring/expired contracts, so signup would just require contractual recommitment. Verizon customers, having their phones for a year and several months by that time), could be given the option of an early upgrade. Sprint customers and iPhone 4S buyers might still be left behind, but then they are in an “every-other-year” upgrade cycle (which really isn’t that bad). T-Mobile will probably get swallowed by AT&T long before next summer, giving them access equal to AT&T’s. The iPhone 3GS will be extinct, making iPhone 5 $199, iPhone 4S $99, and iPhone 4 free (all with contracts, of course).
Patience, Apple consumers. Next year, we’ll have our real iPhone 5. And then, Apple’s sales are going to explode.
For now, I’m happy with my iPhone 4. “Siri-ously.”
What are your thoughts about today’s announcement of iPhone 4S? How about the lack of an iPhone 5 announcement? Send me your thoughts via the comments!