Have I become cynical in my old age? Maybe my fanboyism to Android has grown out of hand? Or maybe Apple have just given their worst unveiling since the Newton. I concede that Steve Jobs who, to be fair to the guy, was one of hell of a sales person, is now absent from centre stage but it is no excuse. The very worst aspects of the ‘Apple machine’ seemed to combine together to deliver what was quite frankly a massive let down for all involved.
The Iphone 4S, does this change everything again, again? No. Granted it is a nice little refresh to the iPhone 4 but it is just that, a refresh. Had Apple unveiled it as a budget alternative to the Iphone 5 then it would have been all hugs and kisses, and I would have commended them for taking another leaf out of Android’s book. However as a stand-alone device the 4S is a woeful attempt to upgrade the Iphone, even I (someone who would rather pickle my left ear than buy an IOS device) was disappointed. I wouldn’t have minded so much if they had announced it as an incremental upgrade and at least mentioned the Iphone 5, but no. Not a sausage. How long until the Iphone 5 is launched? It could be next year, or it could be before christmas seeing as they have blown their previous launch pattern to smithereens. Thanks for making us wait 15 months, getting us all hot and bothered about it, and then leaving us to stew for god knows how long more.
The 4S itself is a nice little phone (little being the operative word) but it doesn’t contain 15 months worth of upgrades. Even IOS5 seems to me more interesting than the new device and I am a hardware fanatic. Apple can vomit up technical specifications and graphical benchmark results all they want on stage, but when push comes to shove I would rather hold a new (bigger) device in my hand than poke my finger at a piddly 3.5” screen and slobber over graphics which make little or no difference to 99% of my smartphone usage. The only games I play on a regular basis are casual, light addictive games, often involving irritated avian characters and their porcine rivals. I don’t sit on the train playing a hardcore game which requires me to concentrate and gawk at graphics whilst draining my battery in 3 hours flat. And I make it my business to play the latest games as I review most of them but still spend less than a few hours on most ‘hardcore games’ and I enjoy them on a 4.3″ screen, not a 3.5″ tiddler. Oh, did I mention it’s dual core? Much like many phones I could mention which have been out for almost a year. The camera is now 8MP with 1080p video capture, something which we have all seen before, but wait it has two antennae. Wonderful.
Iphone 4S aside, Apple also announced IOS5, or to rephrase that showed us a bunch of stuff they have already shown us, an iPod Nano with BIGGER ICONS! And some Ipod Touch’s which are now in white, splendid. I won’t even bother slating IOS5, but I do wish to mention SIRI, if only in brief. Voice control has been around for years, and it is a nice concept but in practise it fails in 9 out of 10 situations. It is so easy to type something into google, or to open your SMS or Email that voice commands make the whole process more difficult. Unless you are in the car, or are sitting alone at home, then it makes you look ridiculous and never works due to background noise. Also, more often than not, when I send an email I generally don’t want to announce it to everybody in the vicinity, heck that’s why I email instead of calling someone. But I have faith in Apple zombies everywhere, if Apple say it is the future then I look forward to walking into an office and seeing blurry eyed executives yelling corporate secretes into their phones whilst the one dodgy bloke in the corner asks SIRI where the nearest lap-dancing bar is.
All in all it was a disappointing day for tech fans, and it leaves me wondering if Google and Samsung are going to do the same thing at their little get together next week? I think releasing the Samsung Galaxy S2 with a new 3MP front facing camera, and a choice of two new lock screens in the UI of ICS would just about bring them up to par with Apple. I think it is unlikely, and I am confident that Apple will have to release a new device before next summer or risk falling even further behind Android, ICS running on quadcore in 2012 anyone?
I now understand why they chose not to broadcast the event live, can you imagine how boring it would have been for us poor unsuspecting civilians?