I got a new iPhone 4S this week despite saying that I wouldn’t but when my carrier called me and offered me a free upgrade I couldn’t really resist. I’ve been playing with it for a few days now and while it is certainly a big improvement on the regular iPhone 4 I certainly wouldn’t be advising anybody to pay for an upgrade. It’s the first Apple product I’ve bought in recent times that didn’t make me go “WOW” and even though these phones have been flying off the shelves since launch I think that is a worry for Apple. I remember opening my iPhone 4, the Original iPad and various Macbook Airs and having that unbelievable feeling that you get when you get a new Apple product. I opened the 4S and started using it but I would honestly have felt pretty stupid if I had paid the full upgrade price. I can imagine that if the 4S was my first iPhone I would be absolutely blown away but making the switch from the regular old iPhone 4 is simply not worth it and Apple need to bring out something pretty special next time to stay out front.
Competitors At The Races Again
For the first time in years the competition is actually starting to look quite strong for Apple. Nokia have been missing in action for the last couple of years but seem to be getting their house in order and with their Microsoft partnership 2012 could very well be a good year for them. Samsung have been building great momentum and I think they are the company that will threaten Apple the most over the next 3-5 years with their smart phones and integrated smart TVs. Samsung’s latest phones are all as good if not better than the iPhone now and that is not something you would have said 18 months ago. Android is the huge juggernaut that keeps on rolling and with over 600,000 activations per day it will always keep Apple honest at the very least. When Apple launched the original iPhone they absolutely stunned the phone market and nobody was even close to them. Now after a couple of years copying what Apple do and getting their own houses in order the big boys are all back and ready for action.
Siri Is A Load Of Rubbish
Siri is a great idea and I have absolutely no doubt that it is the future of search and this sort of voice service will be baked in to every phone in the future but at the moment it is absolutely useless. Apple are using it to sell phones with prominent promotions in commercials but I tried it on a few friend’s phones and already knew it didn’t work. I then tried it on my own phone 5 times and after getting no right results I decided I won’t be using it at all. When it does work it gives you a great feeling but it is based on trial and error and I don’t have that sort of time to be talking to my phone. Just like Facetime (the Apple video calling service) it looks amazing but it truth you just won’t be using it yet. Here is an example where I was looking for “Barclays Premier League Fixtures” to see what matches were on today but it returns me the share price for Barclays bank. This sort of thing happens on such a regular basis that Siri actually ends up annoying you.
Is Apple Getting Too Popular?
About 3 years ago when you bought any Apple product you were very much part of the “cool gang”. There was something special about buying one of their computers or phones and being in a huge minority and having people look on in awe. Now it seems that everybody has an Apple product as they start to dominate computers, phones and tablets. Apple is very much mainstream. A certain part of me wants to think of myself as more cutting edge than that and that I should be trying something new and for the first time owning an iPhone doesn’t feel very cool to me. I know that is a stupid reason but it is Apple themselves through their marketing that try to make themselves seem so cool and it works especially well. This commercial from Samsung last week really drilled it home for me and made me feel kind of silly for being an Apple fan boy. Maybe it is time for change?
What Is The Future For iPhone?
I have absolutely no doubts in my mind that the iPhone is the most incredible new device that I have seen in my lifetime. It is easy to take it for granted now after a couple of years but most people forget that you couldn’t even open a web page properly on your phone and there was no such thing as an App store before Apple invented it. What the original iPhone did was waken those competitors up and make them all start innovating again. The problem for Apple is that the competitors have all caught up with them at this stage with their own apps, faster phones and larger screens. While the iPhone 4S is faster, has a better camera and some great new features like Siri it just didn’t move on enough from the iPhone 4 for me. You also have to remember that it was the first iPhone ever to be delayed beyond their normal June launch. By all accounts these phones are selling in huge numbers which is great news for Apple in the short term but I think they need to really push the envelope with their next phone launch next summer. Having a faster phone with better specs will just no longer cut it anymore. I’m not totally down on Apple because I have the phone sitting here beside me and it is super solid but for the first time the wow factor is gone for me personally and I’d actually love to see what else is out there by trying a new phone. In the past 4 years I have never had that thought and that has to be a slight worry for Apple.