If you love your iPhones and having been waiting patiently for the upgrade even, then this is the news that you’ve been waiting for.
The US technology press are reporting an invite to an Apple event on September 12 in the USA (which for us in Australia is an eye watering 3am in the morning on September 13) for a product announcement which is almost certainly a new iPhone.
The invitation (below) cleverly shows the number ’5′ in the reflection for a device which will be the 5th device in the iPhone line up after the (iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S).
There’s speculation as to what it will be called…will it be an ‘iPhone 5′ or just ‘iPhone’ as Apple has recently shown by naming the successor to the iPad 2 as ‘iPad’ and not iPad 3 as expected.
So few consumer products are able to get the type of hype, speculation and anticipation as the iPhone.
There have been mockup versions and artist impressions combined with thousands of stories on the internet about predicted features and specs, and even shots of the predicted packaging. All this without a single confirmation from Apple. If you step back from it for a second, it is a remarkable situation. Imagine if this amount of chatter surrounded your next product release.
So out of control is this anticipation and navel gazing that Apple recently pointed at speculation over the ‘new unreleased iPhone’ as impacting negatively on their last quarter of sales of the current model iPhone 4S in April to June 2012. Expect the same downturn in iPhone sales this quarter as well (July – Sept) as it the iPhone might take a few weeks to hit the shelves…
“I think there’s been a lot of speculation out there,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a conference call Tuesday, further describing the chatter as “incredible anticipation out there for future products,” without elaborating on any details of new devices in the company’s pipeline.
Chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said iPhone sales “continue to be impacted by rumors and speculation regarding new products,” which was also a factor weighing on the company’s forecast for the September period. That forecast also came in below Wall Street’s forecast.
Feeding the Machine
Apple has been long been a company that does things its own way and what a journey to greatness it has had, right up to the recent crowning of Apple as the most valuable company of all time.
However, the most valuable company of all time can’t now afford to put a foot wrong and now they’ve got to feed the consumer and hype machine whether they like it or not. If Apple designers looked at the iPhone 4S (as one particular WhistleOut employee has) and said, ‘You know what, this is pretty much perfect already, what do we need to change?’, then the impact on their sales would be devastating. The consumer machine has been trained to expect beautiful innovation and lustful products once per year, every year.
The choice about whether to try to ‘wow’ the market or not is not theirs anymore, as not innovating each year would diminish their sales greatly and shareholders don’t enjoy losing value and money.
So, can the hype machine for iPhone keep running at full speed with this release and will people line up around the block or will this launch hit the soft sand a little like the latest iPad which saw far less hype and consumer backlog.
If this new iPhone is underwhelming (many thought the iPhone 4S was an underwhelming innovation from the iPhone 4), then the challenge is really on from other manufacturers.
A ‘ho-hum’ iPhone will mean many of those currently sitting on the fence with their current iPhone will be faced with three key choices.
- Keep your current iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S and switch to a cheaper SIM only plan and pay $20/month until your phone breaks as it is already pretty hot device
- Consider a switch to a newer Android phone like the Galaxy S3 which is also a hot device
- Just upgrade again and love the innovations, no matter how small they are.
Yet, if the new iPhone is a knock out new model, showing innovations that no-one predicted (and that means out-thinking the whole internet) and which flies along on Australia’s 4G networks, then rush to upgrade will be clear and the hype continues.
If this model is a knock out new innovation, Apple will be showing that this is a company which is truly magical in their ability to stare the pressure in the face, ignore it and then dream, imagine and deliver on products that the mere mortals in the rest of the tech industry can’t do.
The iPhone was originally nicknamed the ‘Jesus’ phone by the tech press in 2008. Will it stay that way? As a consumer, I’m looking forward to a new phone soon, iPhone or other. As a participant, ever so slightly, in this industry, if Apple knock everyone’s socks off again next week, I’ll be shaking my head in wonder and respect knowing that I could never achieve what the people in that company have achieved.