Last night I sat for almost two hours on an achingly stylish chair. In every sense of the word. Apple’s designer seating is not the best for lengthy keynotes. The reason for my prolonged discomfort was Tim Cook. Projected in front of us at a private London event, Mr Cook made his first public appearance as Apple’s new CEO and calmly ushered in a new age for the iconic manufacturer. But it didn’t go well.

Within minutes of his closing remarks, the web’s tech vultures had descended on the newly-announced iPhone 4S. “I Am Disappoint” groaned Gizmodo. “Ho well, there’s always next June,” lamented Pocket-Lint, and even TechRadar’s usually chipper Patrick Goss sniffed that “it is difficult not to feel a little underwhelmed.”

But they’re missing the point. Many of the web’s most experienced commentators are so busy grumbling about the familiar design of the new iPhone, they haven’t noticed that Apple doesn’t need a new design, and has no reason to rush one out of the door.

Even accounting for its antenna trouble, the shape, size and proportions of the iPhone 4 were always spot on. Reviews from those same sites said so. So what could possibly be grinding these tech hacks’ gears?

Inside, the iPhone 4S packs in rumour-satisfying kit like never before. There’s the much-leaked, and vastly improved camera. Siri voice control. The A5 processor and a beefed up battery. iCloud. A friend-finding location service. 1080p HD video recording and faster 3G (through a clever dual antenna system). It should be, by any yardstick imaginable, a home run.

Pretty much the only rumour Apple failed to tick off the list was NFC and an iPhone-powered digital wallet. But if that’s standing in the way of punditry praise, why did every single one of those sites rank the iPhone 4 as being better than, say, the Nexus S? NFC can’t be that important, can it?

No, Of course not. It’s much shallower than that.

The single missing feature which seems to have irked the tech press so much is the lack of a new shape. Not a thinner shape, or a lighter shape, a curvier shape or a more rigid shape… just a new shape.

They are, with few exceptions, howling with pained exasperation at the device they’ve pined after for months, wrapped up in a shell they’ve already professed to love. Honestly, there’s just no pleasing some people…

In the meantime, those eyeing up an iPhone 4S will doubtless be grateful that there are tons of cases and accessories already available. There won’t be a shortage at launch, as was the case with the original iPhone 4, and there’s the possibility that much of their old kit can continue to function without adjustment or replacement, should they upgrade from an iPhone 4 or 3G, or 3GS.

Let me tell you from personal experience: Once you’ve bought one £50 Apple dock, you don’t buy another, you get the Dremel out, and hope for the best. Thankfully, most upgraders will be spared this DIY nightmare. The plastic dust gets everywhere.

Of course, any new iPhone 4S owners will miss out on a few bragging rights. It won’t be immediately obvious to every passing person that you’re cradling a brand new iThing. But, personally, I’m glad that on my next train journey nobody will know whether I’m using an old iPhone, or a new iPhone. For once, Apple’s upgrade itch isn’t so scratchy, because my gadget envy is vastly reduced by simply not seeing their new iMusthave at every turn. For once, ignorance really is bliss.

And in the meantime, while I’m slowly considering whether to add an S to the end of my iPhone’s name or not, Samsung and Co have plenty of time to lure me to the green green grass of Android. Or Windows Phone.

Apple’s lack of physical change has offered a rare chance for the competition to break from the norm, and this can only be a good thing.

Rather than continue churning out lookalike black slabs with curiously familiar home screens, the Android mob has the maneuvering room it needs to create eye-popping new designs, fine-tune their software, and perhaps dodge any more of those troublesome intellectual property lawsuits.

Sometimes change for the sake of it is a bad thing. I can’t help but notice the iPod nano and iPod touch are similarly static in the design stakes, and while some will decry Apple’s lack of ‘innovation’ in the area, perhaps the old adage rings true: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Unless it’s those bloody designer chairs. Please Apple, get them swapped for something more cushiony in time for the iPhone 5. Thanks.

Original image by Jason Cartwright

  • Anonymous

    Anyone moaning about Siri has missed the point entirely. BUT, I do think Apple has missed a trick not making the iPhone bigger. Samsung and HTC have shown that 4.0, 4.3-inch and even larger phones absolutely work, and even with Siri, I couldn’t go back to a phone as small as the iPhone.

    Samsung, LG and Sharp have all announced new phones this week with 720p screens too, which mean Retina display pixel density is possible on these. Moreover, with all those iOS apps for iPad resolution, it wouldn’t even be a software issue.

    At a more base level meanwhile, there is something emotive about having a phone that’s in fashion, and looks and feels cool. The iPhone 4 still does now, but I’m not sure that will last: I remember thinking by the time the iPhone 4 was announced just how ugly the iPhone 3GS (essentially the same design as the original iPhone) looked by that point.

    Maybe I’m just vain.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone moaning about Siri has missed the point entirely. BUT, I do think Apple has missed a trick not making the iPhone bigger. Samsung and HTC have shown that 4.0, 4.3-inch and even larger phones absolutely work, and even with Siri, I couldn’t go back to a phone as small as the iPhone.

    Samsung, LG and Sharp have all announced new phones this week with 720p screens too, which mean Retina display pixel density is possible on these. Moreover, with all those iOS apps for iPad resolution, it wouldn’t even be a software issue.

    At a more base level meanwhile, there is something emotive about having a phone that’s in fashion, and looks and feels cool. The iPhone 4 still does now, but I’m not sure that will last: I remember thinking by the time the iPhone 4 was announced just how ugly the iPhone 3GS (essentially the same design as the original iPhone) looked by that point.

    Maybe I’m just vain.

    • James Holland

      You’re so vain… I bet you think this blog is about you, don’t you, don’t you?

  • Anonymous

    Spot on article – Apple can sell every phone that they make – 66% of Americans dont own a smart phone yet, god knows what the figures are in China or Brazil, or India – why would they retool all the factories for a new phone.  They’re still even flogging the 3GS.

    It will be interesting to see the networks pricing – will Tesco be going for it like they did with the iPhone 4?

    • James Holland

      I hadn’t cranked my thought processes around to network pricing yet. We’ve heard a couple of networks (Vodafone and Three) say they’ll have it from day one, but I haven’t seen any cold, hard figures yet. Still, Apple seems to think the 4S will mean the 3GS goes free on “typical” contracts… so that’s around £20 a month, surely?

  • Anonymous

    Spot on article – Apple can sell every phone that they make – 66% of Americans dont own a smart phone yet, god knows what the figures are in China or Brazil, or India – why would they retool all the factories for a new phone.  They’re still even flogging the 3GS.

    It will be interesting to see the networks pricing – will Tesco be going for it like they did with the iPhone 4?

  • Anonymous

    As usual, Electric Pig desperately trying to paint a positive picture in the Apple world where all is not well.

    The worst part was how scripted it all was, clearly Tim Cook being told how to act, gesture and walk the stage like Steve Jobs.

    Pathetic is the only word to describe it. (actually no, add Embarrassing).

    • James Holland

      But what about the phone? Isn’t that what matters, or doesn’t matter? I don’t think Tim Cook’s actually for sale, so the argument’s a bit dry…

      • Anonymous

        No, the phone doesn’t matter.   Everyone is sick and tired of Apple hype and underdelivering products, and the Apple obsessed media lapping it all up.

        I don’t see any other company or product getting live launch coverage and minute by minute micro-updates, and 20 news stories all saying the same thing.

        Will the media be covering the next Ben and Jerrys new flavour launch in similar detail?  Of course not…

        The media needs to wake up and grow up.  Just because YOU love your iPhone and can’t bear to look at anything else, doesn’t mean the whole world thinks the same.

        My radio station (national DAB rock radio station) was even talking about the iPhone4s this morning? WTF??   You have to wonder if Apple are paying these people, or if they are simply wrapped up in the hype and along for the ride….

        • Anonymous

          Mr_Jelly, but apple announcements are big news.  Any new product has people queuing for days outside and willing to sell their left testicle.  I don’t see this happening when Samsung or HTC release a phone, so sorry, chum you have to grin and bear it, Apple releasing a product is huge news that is why the media report it the way they do.

          ** Just for the record i own a HTC phone, Samsung tab and don’t buy into the Apple hype

          • Anonymous

            Interestingly, HTC are actually trying to adopt many of the marketing/press tactics Apple uses. See for yourself tomorrow.

          • Anonymous

            You clearly don’t understand the problem here.  People queue up outside stores for days BECAUSE the media makes a huge deal out of otherwise uninteresting product launches like this.

            It’s  nasty vicious circle, most of those uses are blindly unaware that there are better and cheaper products out there and simply trust what sites like this tell them.

            Most of those same idiots also probabily watch the GadgetShow where almost everyone on there is sponsored in some shape and form and nothing is inpartial.

          • Anonymous

            I dont think you understand, Apple brought out a simple product about 10 years ago, the ipod, an amazing product.  Since then people have bought their products because they are generally easy to use and nicely designed.  Not everyone is like yourself or I, where we are techie and would source the best best product at the time, for example my missus doesn’t care, she loves he iphone because it does what she wants and it is easy too use, she doesnt care if it is old tech, she would deffo buy an apple product again.

          • James Holland

            I’d love you to write a piece for Electricpig about the public perception of Apple’s marketing from the perspective of someone who really hates them. Go for it – e-mail it over, and assuming it’s not libelous, and fairly well written, we’ll run it. How’s that for a right of reply? james.holland@republicpublishing.co.uk

          • Anonymous

            I may just do that. (how many words do you want?)

            I have just counted 13 stories relating to iPhone4s on this site posted in the last 24 hours. I’m guessing the Samsung made Nexus phone due to launch in the next week or so, which will certainly be a far superior phone in every respect will be lucky to get 2 pages here (or anywhere else).

            The article is going to be how technology takes the backseat, and how marketing dollars are driving the game, along with consumer laziness to bother to explore anywhere other than what’s presented directly in front of their eyes. Of course it’s not just Apple guilty of putting style about function, and spending disproportionate amounts of money on creating an image for their product, whilst skimping on the tech, Microsoft and others are usually guilty.

            I will also focus on the vicious cycle that means the more these mega-companies get their foot in the door, the more the media report it, meaning better tech from smaller/independant companies simply gets locked out because it’s not Apple or Microsoft…

            Of course Android’s problem is that it’s not a single phone or tangible product, it’s a technology, and the real shame is that the OHA haven’t got together to pool their marketing budgets into educating less tech users who opt for the easy (but inferior) option.

            I would have a hoped all these tech sites reviewed products on their TECH rather than their image, let the style be handed by Vogue…

          • James Holland

            Go for your life. Send it with a real name, and your IP address so I can tally that it’s really you, there’s a good chap.

          • Zio-Excel

            Its not as bad as some of the other tech blogs, ElectricPigs view and those of Mr Holland are very refreshing. Techradar had no other posts on their site yesterday despite their being other news to report.

          • Anonymous

            You clearly don’t understand the problem here.  People queue up outside stores for days BECAUSE the media makes a huge deal out of otherwise uninteresting product launches like this.

            It’s  nasty vicious circle, most of those uses are blindly unaware that there are better and cheaper products out there and simply trust what sites like this tell them.

            Most of those same idiots also probabily watch the GadgetShow where almost everyone on there is sponsored in some shape and form and nothing is inpartial.

  • Anonymous

    Well I sort of agree with you, I like a good redesign on a phone, but maybe this did not need one as the internals have changed & a nice camera is always a plus point for me.

    I do with all other phone manufactures would have a universal docking port as i love my ipod docking music stations.

  • Wazza_MCR

    I’m a massive ‘tech’ fan and must admit I was very excited by the forthcoming new iPhone announcement.  Rumours of a ‘cheaper iPhone 4′ were everywhere, with the possibility of it being called the iPhone 4S, as were credible rumours of a new and updated model – probably called the iPhone 5?  Apple have in theory been true to the rumour-mill, and announced a cheaper 8GB iPhone 4, but called the newer model the 4S? The design of the iPhone 4 is quite simply gorgeous… it’s weighty, classy whilst still having curves in some ways – but even compared to the multitude of Android phones released since the iPhone 4 last year, I believe it still looks the best.  

    Whereas other company’s are regularly updating their designs, processors and cameras, Apple each year provides a year long spec that does just that, provides power and speed to see it ahead or equal to the competition.  Having used the very fluid and responsive IOS 4, NOTHING on the ‘touch’ market is as responsive as this.  I’ve not seen any games running as fast or as better looking as the ones on the iPhone 4.  So, for Apple to place the iPad 2 CPU in the new iPhone, along with an awesome rebuilt camera with 1080p full HD recording, that fulfils ALL the spec requirements that everyone was after.  OK, so it hasn’t got the bigger screen (which would’ve been the icing on the cake) and a different design, who cares??  How many time have Apple changed the design of the Macbook Pro over the last 3 years??  

    As for all the hype, believe who you want to believe, and read what you want to read!  The ‘proof is in the pudding’ as they say, Apple have created a very unique product in the iPhone with IOS… yes Android is full of intuitive updates and features and Apple is slow to cotton on, but when they do, it’s the best user experience bar none!  

     

    • Guesticles

      “OK, so it hasn’t got the bigger screen (which would’ve been the icing on the cake) and a different design, who cares??”

      Err…. maybe you don’t , but many people do . I can’t believe how much better my GalaxyS2 is to view than my old iphone. Funny how the negatives are dismissed by the faithful.

      • Wazza_MCR

        How big and cheap does the Galaxy S2 feel in the pocket and hand (no offence intended to your mobile BTW)?  The screen is really nice and big on the GS2, no denying that – a bit too big though wouldn’t you say?  Lovely to view the net and Google Maps I might add!

        As I said, a bigger screen wouldn’t have gone a miss on the new iPhone, but the tech makes up for the lack of larger screen.  

        • Lloyd Schober

          Not so big as to be annoying,  but a cheaper feel than the iPhone . I always put my phones in a case anyway so its no big deal, Holding a bare iPhone feels like holding a mackerel so that went in a case too.

  • http://www.nerdcrunch.com NerdCrunch

    Hahahahah, Apple made fool of its fans. I cannot believe that people gonna ditch their iPhone 4 for iPhone 4S.

  • http://www.aha-soft.com/stock-icons/high-resolution-app-tab-bar-icons.htm?ref=ch Aha Soft

    Many
    are gambling on what the iPhone 4S have now, which is the 3 inches display
    screen is absolutely annoying, 4 inches and higher is the normal screen
    display we have now. Now, iPhone development are surely working on it.

  • Prince Maximus

    What did you expect! It’s Apple inc. that’s there strategy “business before pleasure”. They’re thinking about income we’re thinking “I want I want i want”

Hot chat, right here!


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