Earlier today, Apple finally revealed their latest hardware, the iPhone 4S. Like most of you, I’d been waiting a long time for this day to come, and I was truly excited to see what Apple has been hard at work on. If you’d asked me a month ago, I would have almost bet the house on the iPhone 5 being revealed today. There’s some nice symmetry to releasing iOS 5 and an iPhone 5 at the same time, and we all know Apple loves symmetry.
Over the last few weeks though, I’d been increasingly getting the feeling that this release was going to be evolution, not revolution. The penny dropped for me upon reading a post over at Daring Fireball, titled Teardrop Skepticism – the basic gist being that the rumoured teardrop design made no sense, as it would feel wrong in landscape mode. I’m amazed that no one else had pointed this out earlier, and from that point forward I was positive that today would see the announcement of only the iPhone 4S.
As I watched the announcement, I couldn’t help but feel a growing disappointment. A better camera, better internal performance – even the worst analyst could have figured those things out, which have been rumoured for months. Despite my gut feeling, I was still hoping for the unlikely. Even Siri was pretty much all but confirmed before today, and whilst it looks really cool, I don’t know how much I’ll use it after the first hour of experimentation.
Now that everything has settled and the world has gone back to work, I’ve been thinking about the flow of the announcement, and the message that Apple is really trying to send here. Yes, the iPhone 4S was the finale, and the piece that everyone was waiting for, but a substantial amount of the presentation was given over to other aspects of the eco-system – notably iOS 5, and iCloud. Most of the details we already knew from WWDC, but the difference here is that these are no longer a work in progress – iOS 5 and iCloud will be with us in just over a week. If there really was an iPhone 5 announced today, it would take the gloss off iOS and iCloud. Make no mistake about it, these two components are going to drastically change the way things work in our ecosystem, and Apple has done an amazing job bringing them together. You get the feeling the company has been incredibly hard at work since WWDC.
So while the iPhone 4S might not be the new hardware that we were all hoping for, I think that’s ok. I’m still super excited for October 14, because damn – the iOS 5 and iCloud combination is going to be truly awesome.