News Analysis: Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple has 5 percent of the worldwide phone share. He says he's looking for the day when all phones will be smartphones-dominated by Apple.
There is no Apple iPhone 5.
At least not yet. The much-hyped announcement on Oct. 4 revealed that there
will be a new version of iOS and an improved iPhone called the iPhone 4S. But
the much-anticipated iPhone 5 was never mentioned.
Perhaps the biggest news was
that Sprint will finally get an iPhone. But the plans for eventual world
smartphone domination by Apple haven't been shelved. Those plans are just
progressing along a slightly different path than the prognosticators thought.
The bottom line is that the
iPhone 4S eliminates many of the iPhone 4's shortcomings. It has an internal
antenna switching system that should reduce if not eliminate the problems with
the original antenna causing signal loss if held the wrong way. The new iPhone
4S has a much faster processor, better graphics, a better camera and
high-definition video. Perhaps more important over the long term is that all iPhone
4Ss will be world phones: They will work with both Code Division Multiple
Access (CDMA) and GSM networks. The price will remain the same as it was, with
the iPhone 4S starting at $199 with a two-year contract.
The dual network provision
is a real convenience for iPhone customers that travel, but it's better yet for
Apple because it simplifies its manufacturing. Apple only needs to make one
phone with a choice of case colors. Ultimately, this will lead to a lower cost
for Apple when it makes the iPhone 4S. That lower cost could ultimately lead to
more iPhones globally, where price is a very significant factor and subsidies
But Apple isn't planning to
build a global market for the iPhone on just the iPhone 4S. The original iPhone
4 will remain on sale and cost $99 in the United States with a two-year
contract. The iPhone 3GS will be available for free with a two-year contract.
In other words, Apple is bringing the iPhone out of the realm of luxury
products and into the world of real people. As long as one of the carriers that
sells the iPhone 4 and 3GS is in your area, there's little reason not to buy
Perhaps the other reason Apple
will make a big impact on the world of smartphones is the release of iOS 5,
which adds a number of much-needed features, such as Siri, a personal assistant
using voice recognition; a version of Safari with tabbed browsing; and iMessage
(Apple's version of BlackBerry Messenger), a notifications bar that's revealed
by flicking your finger down from the top of the screen-like the one in Android
Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.
He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.