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Posted at 04:54 PM ET, 10/05/2011

Why Apple released an iPhone 4S


Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the event introducing the new iPhone 4s at the company’s headquarters October 4, 2011 in Cupertino, California. The announcement marks the first time Cook introduces a new product since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs resigned in August. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) (Kevork Djansezian - GETTY IMAGES)
So maybe you’ve heard that a new iPhone was announced. Maybe you heard that it wasn’t the “iPhone 5″ but rather the iPhone 4S, which is essentially iPhone 4.5. People wanted the iPhone 5.

They were let down when Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook announced in his first public presentation that they were giving the world a better version of what they were already selling, and what most people in the audience most likely already were using. They were so disappointed that Apple’s stock fell $17 dollars as he was talking. That’s harsh.

If you follow how Apple’s product release cycle for iPhones work you wouldn’t have been surprised to hear about an 4S phone instead of a complete hardware redesign with a 5. With Steve Jobs, the God CEO himself, stepping down due to his failing health the public, and stock holders, were expecting Cook to unveil the blueprint for Jesus’ return and a miracle cure for Steve Jobs in Apple’s first product announcement under new leadership.

It’s been 16 months passed since the last iPhone release so rumors were flying every which way with speculation. Bigger screen! Curved glass! Infrared keyboard!

None of that happened. What you got was “same design, new insides.” (see phone specs below)

Why does Apple release the iPhone 3GS and IPhone 4S? Here’s why.

Why try to re-invent the wheel every year when your current wheel is still rolling pretty damn well? These iPhones and similar types of smartphones are absolute technical marvels in product engineering. Competition is incredibly fierce and phone makers need every advantage.

That advantage being leave something off the table so you can play that card later. Why do you think Apple withheld cameras in the first iPad or withheld iPhone 4′s celebrated retina display in the iPad 2? They need something for the next generation to woo and wow the fan base in the future.

The Apple design team did such a wonderful job in designing the iPhone 4 that they may have painted themselves into a corner. I handily doubt that but it takes years of ingenuity to fit everything that the iPhone does into such a small box and still have it out perform most other phones. How do you improve on that?

Of course, they will figure it out but why not milk the innovative current design for another year? Just upgrade the current phone with better gizzards and an updated OS to maintain relevancy. And sometimes it takes at least two years to invent a product that’ll tilt the world once again. Apple knows what it is doing. It’s like a sports video game update that comes out every year. It’s pretty much just a reworked version of the previous year. But every two or three years there is a complete overhaul.

The most important reason why iPhone 5 wasn’t announced is because of phone service contracts. The iPhone 4S is for people who aren’t iPhone 4 owners yet. Not for the millions who just upgraded last year and will still be stuck in their contracts if a shiny, entirely new iteration drops.

And with Sprint as a new service provider that’s a lot more people. It costs phone companies such as AT&T, Verizon and now Sprint upwards of $600 per iPhone to stock the much in-demand device but the public gets the lowest end model for $199 with a two-year service plan. Nobody is going to buy a phone for $600 so the phone company subsidizes the iPhone at a deep discount and locks customers in with a two-year contract and data plan to get their investment back.

The phone company gets new customers, the public gets an iphone, and Apple gets money (does ‘Get Money’ dance). That’s the game. The millions who bought the iPhone 4 are still locked in their contract so Apple releases a completely new iPhone every two years.

With 16 months already passed and with reports of curbed glass in production and the iPhone 5 cases already popping up I wouldn’t be surprised to hear an iPhone 5 within 8 months (that’ll make 24 months).

It will be coming. A co-worker of mine who knows all things Apple in our office theorized that Cupertino may wait until at least January for the product announcement to tie in the iPod’s tenth anniversary. Next year is when Apple will change the game.

Check the specs via Tech Crunch

The iPhone 4S will go up for pre-order on October 7th, with the first shipments set to arrive on October 12th.

The specs disclosed so far:

  • Dual-core A5 CPU, said to be “2x as fast at CPU tasks”
  • Dual-core graphics, up to “7x faster than the previous iPhone”
  • Battery life estimates: 8 hours talk time on 3G, 14 hours on 2G. 6 hours of browsing on 3G, 9 on Wi-Fi. 10 hours of video playback, 40 hours of music.
  • Theoretical download speeds of 14.4Mbps (as opposed to 7.2 on the iPhone 4.) Interestingly, Schiller called out Motorola, LG, and HTC for calling these speeds “4G”.
  • World Phone (in other words, the one model will handle both GSM [like AT&T] and CDMA [like Verizon], and it should work well in most countries around the world)
  • 8 megapixel camera (Photo resolution: 3264 x 2448). The camera also takes advantage of image processing on the A5 chip, enabling stuff like Face detection and 26 percent more accurate white balance.
  • 1080p video recording with real-time noise reduction and video stabilization (!)
  • Voice-controlled personal assistant. You can ask things like “Wil it rain in Cupertino?” or “Can you find me a Greek Restaurant in Palo Alto?” or “What’s the time in Paris?” and it’ll answer accordingly. This is the culmination of their purchase of Siri back in 2010 — and surprisingly enough, they’re keeping the “Siri” name.
  • Available in black or white
  • Pricing 16GB for $199, 32GB for $299, or 64GB for $399. This is the first time Apple has offered a 64GB iPhone.
  • Will be offered in the US by AT&T, Verizon, and most notably: Sprint!

The Root DC

A well earned thank you

The Root 100 honorees for 2011

By Pharoh Martin  |  04:54 PM ET, 10/05/2011

Categories:  The Root DC Live

 
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