No iPhone 5 (Yet)

So the rumours were true and Apple’s iPhone 5 was beset by enough technical difficulties to be canned (for now) and replaced by a souped-up iPhone 4:

Except it is the iPhone 5. Its technical specifications are exactly in line with what was expected of the iPhone 5. The only missing pieces were the bodywork and the title.

I think this is instructive. In the highly superficial world of technology, if your latest product looks exactly like your last product, will anyone but specification-obsessed-geeks care?

How difficult would it have been to tweak the casing, call it the iPhone 5, and watch the hoards flock to it?

In spite of a late-day rally, Apple’s stock is down for the day:

How often is it (in recent history) that Apple stock falls on the day of a major product launch?

The entire episode smacks of mismanagement and reminds me of the market’s disappointed reaction to Operation Twist. Like Apple-junkies, the POMO-junkies wanted their version of the iPhone 5 — QE3.  Just like the iPhone 4s, Operation Twist is what the junkies wanted — a massive money-printing operation (over the yield curve) in all but name. Yet the junkies end up disappointed.

Steve Jobs might have been dictatorial and Machiavellian, but at least he knew how to manage expectations and give the market what it wanted. The fear for Apple is that now Apple has lost its envisioner-in-chief that those same obedient automata who so smoothly executed Jobs’ vision will now fuck-up that last great bastion of American innovation (no Ben — “innovative” monetary policy is not innovation).

9 thoughts on “No iPhone 5 (Yet)

  1. And in another colossal screw up – Siri? really?
    The service looks amazing but calling Siri is just such a miss.
    They should have called it Steve. And they should have given it Steve’s voice to respond. And every so often a little Stevism would be awesome:
    “and boom… there’s a pizza place two blocks up on the left”
    “You have a new email… and it’s beautiful. I mean, look at it”
    “Oh and one more thing… don’t forget bread at the grocery store”

    Talk about Ghost in the Machine.

  2. I think they would have called it “iPhone 5” if samsung and company hadn’t upped the technical specs so much with their new phones. Apple was probably expecting less capable competition. They probably didn’t want to release a phone under the iPhone 5 name that was barely competing with the current Android phones in terms of technology.

  3. Like Apple-junkies, the POMO-junkies wanted their version of the iPhone 5 — QE3.

    I love the comparison. continuing it I’d say Apple managed to create something like “gadget Ponzi scheme”. it’s unsustainable in the long run, as customers won’t be willing to throw away their smartphones every year, especially as credit dries up and telecoms can’t improve their network capacities to match gadgets’ needs (they will also hike prices soon to fund network upgrade).

    one interesting thing is that while technology sector is widely considered as selectively deflationary (Moore’s “law”) we still can have a bubble in such market. and to think mainstream is afraid in deflation people would stop buying and investing…

    • The telecoms industry’s answer to that?

      Battery life starts dying after a year of use. And people think “why get a new battery when I can get a new phone”?

      But models built around built-in obsolescence have never been sustainable…

  4. The Military Industrial Complex has reached into all industries, including Apple, Microsoft etc. and they are boosted by government spending. The notion that Apple is a pure free market entity of innovation is false. I really fail to see why people are so obsessed about a device that allows them to make phone calls from anywhere, something seems to be amiss with people.

    • Lol. For people who are familiar with technology, Apple wasn’t even innovative. Maybe the way they marketed their products was (ie: as a fashion accessory instead of as a gadget).
      At the end of the day, Apple could push devices that had already failed before, like tablets, because they had an entire cult (I don’t know what else you would call it, honestly) that would buy it, regardless of usefulness, quality, etc. The Macbook Air, for instance. For all intents and purposes, it was garbage, and wasn’t even the thinnest, lightest laptop around. Yet it wasn’t a failure at all. If Sony had released such a POS, it would almost certainly have flopped. If Samsung had released the iPad instead of Apple,how well would it have done?
      In other words, Apple had far more leeway to take risks than other companies.

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