How can you tell the Apple loyalists in the crowd? They're the ones shouting the loudest to defend Apple, which didn't announce the iPhone 5, now officially a unicorn, today for its "Let's Talk iPhone" event in Cupertino, Calif.
Of course, I'm full aware that I'm writing this post as the editor of a blog called Google Watch, so you'd be inclined to think I have a preference for Android products. And you'd be right. Even so, I have to address this heady topic because Apple for once failed to deliver on the HYPE, even if it produced a great product.
Take this unbridled post from Dan Frommer, who leaves no clue as to his intent unturned in a rant titled "If you're disappointed by the iPhone 4S, you're nuts." That reads like a terse tweet until you read on as he soundly expounds:
"For users, this is still the best phone that money can buy -- even better today, with some new features. And for investors, Apple will sell record numbers of these devices, probably earning record profits."
That answers both consumers and investors concerns, which is a big deal considering Apple's stock fell a bit on the news.Then there's this gem:
"While the iPhone 4S may seem like a letdown, I assure you: It is an excellent phone, and it should do great things for Apple's business."
Who the hell said otherwise? You can't take the million tweeters who ripped the Let's Talk iPhone event's content to heart. Well, I guess you can, but it doesn't make for a cogent, clearheaded post. For Frommer, it made for a petulant rant with some meaty stats thrown in.
We'll forgive the normally sober Frommer for that. It could have been worse. He could have besmirched Android phones, or attacked RIM devices or denigrated Windows Phone 7 handsets. Instead, he just gave a ringing endorsement of What Seems Clear to Him Is the Best Phone In The World.
But this is all subjective, right?
Here's the thing, I pretty much agree with Frommer's points about the device. But... if Android were wearing this shoe I wouldn't get so testy about it.
Suppose the Samsung-Google event ends up being a Nexus S II instead of the a Nexus Prime, killing every rabid Android fanboy's wet dream. I wouldn't write some hot-headed post about how great Android is, how the Galaxy S II beats the pants off any phone, speed-wise to date. I wouldn't rave about Android's massive market share, cloud chops or notifications.
But here's my take on the iPhone 4S. It's an impressive combination of hardware and software. It's like a souped up iPhone 4.
I was impressed by the specs -- the A5 processor, which makes the iPad 2 hum, the awesome 8 megapixel camera, which I'm sure will whip any shutter on any Android phone, and of course, Siri.
I was quietly jealous in April 2010 as I covered Apple buying Siri,which is one of those buys that could be a bargain at any price considering the untapped potential to marry AI with mobile.
Of course, Google would unveil Voice Actions, providing some minimal iteration of what Siri offers. Siri is Voice Actions, with better, smarter context and the ability to learn with use.
Over time, I have no doubt that Google will more fully embrace AI for mobile and desktop. Google+ will mine your status updates, photos and videos, which you will post by speaking into your PC or smartphone speakers, and suggest music to listen to or things to read to cheer you up. So I won't begrudge Apple a qualified AI win.
In fact, don't tell my wife (she doesn't read me anyway), but I'm pre-ordering her an iPhone 4S Friday. Why? I asked her what feature she most wanted in an iPhone that she doesn't have in her iPhone 4.
She replied, and I kid you not, something like "I want something that will let me speak into it while driving to see my appointments or make calls." My Droid X does some of that, so she didn't pull that from nowhere, but the iPhone 4S is clearly for her.
But here's the thing about the iPhone event yesterday. We the media are responsible for the HYPE.
That's right. It wasn't the consumers, who probably won't be annoyed by the lack of an iPhone 5. It was the Apple-loving media trying to guess where Apple is going next to take on or take down Android.
So people shouldn't be upset with Apple. Blame the Apple blogger corps who fumbled this one, talking about an iPhone 5 and smoking the crack that led some to claim an iPhone 5 would be exclusive to Sprint. Blame me, who re-reported what some of the top blogs wrote.
But Apple Apologists, don't take it out on Android, RIM or Windows Phone 7. Don't start telling everyone how much their platforms suck compared to the beautiful, elegant and arrogantly polished veneer of the hallowed iOS.
Get pissed at yourselves, all you people who opined about the iPhone 5 would be the second coming of smartphones. Don't get pissy because people are lashing out at Apple's "lack of news."
What Apple announced today was more than good enough, and it will certainly give the Samsung Galaxy S II a run for its money.
Postscript: Hours after I posted this at midnight, several other stories of a similar nature crossed the transom:
AllThingsDigital's John Paczkowski, who never ceases to pump up Apple at the expense of Android, HP, RIM and any challenger that comes within Apple's sacred universe, offered this well-worn mantra:
"Sure, Apple did not meet some of the market's hardware expectations. But what the market sometimes forgets is that it's software that truly differentiates Apple from its rivals."
Oh, yes. Blame the senseless market, a cabal of ingrates spoiled by Apple's meteoric success, for Apple's failure to meet the expectations media hyped on it.
"Many people had hoped the company would showcase a new phone, specifically called the iPhone 5, that would come with newly designed hardware. It was like the child who convinces himself there will be a pony waiting for him under the Christmas tree even though no one promised one or even suggested such a gift existed."
LOL on that one. Bilton goes on to tout the fine iPhone 4S features, but falls short of lashing out at others for their disappointment.
He concluded that while there is no pony, there is still a shiny new firetruck under the tree. That sounds about right.