If the iPhone 4S is such a failure, how can it be a success?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: October 8, 2011

So now that pre-orders for the iPhone 4S have begun, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that Twitter pretty much blew up again early yesterday morning. Everyone talking about pre-orders, how the Apple Store was still down, or how people had to wait even longer than usual to get their pre-order in. Retweets, mentions, the whole show. By now, it’s standard stuff. When Apple launches an iPhone, the crowd goes wild, basically. But, to be honest, I thought this time was going to be different. Why? Because, as I mentioned in a previous article, I thought the pundits and market researchers and all of those tech junkies out there who were bashing the new iPhone would have some impact on the general public. After all, the general public obviously follows all of those people. But, that didn’t seem to be the case.

We’re not going to talk about the rumors this time around, even if they do still seem to be the brunt of this whole thing. No, instead we’re going to talk about the fact that all of these people, everyone out there who was expecting something more, and went out of their way to point out how Apple had disappointed everyone, was just about as wrong as they could be. Because there’s no other way to look at it.

The pundits, the journalists, the market researchers and analysts. Not all of them, but it seemed like a growing number of them all wanted to do the same thing: point out how Apple had failed not just them, but the consumer, and everyone in between. People wanted to see an iPhone 5. People wanted to see a larger display, that same dual-core processor in the A5, and that same much-improved camera. They wanted something that wasn’t coming. Apple’s strategy is their own strategy, and it isn’t Apple’s fault that the media had literally run amok with the rumors. That’s what it had come down to – insanity.

And after the launch, what was the point of all those articles, editorials, news pieces and soap box rants pointing out why, or how, Apple had failed? If there was a point, I’m not seeing it. Even now that it’s all quieted down, and pre-orders have started and the iPhone 4S is almost available. I didn’t see the point during the announcement of the 4S, either, even the moment after they showed off what the phone will look like. I’m not going to say that Apple released a minor improvement versus the iPhone 4, or that the phone doesn’t look exactly like its predecessor. I can’t say those things because they aren’t true. But, much like the launch of the iPhone 3GS after the 3G, this was an improvement more for Apple’s product, versus a revamping of the whole market.

But that’s what people expected. They wanted a new iPhone that blew away the competition. And I understand why. When the iPhone 3GS launched, there wasn’t much in the way of competition, at least not in the sense that we see now with Android and Windows Phone (?). But you also can’t tell me that the iPhone 4S isn’t a device you don’t want. With that improved camera. With that A5 processor under the hood. The improved antenna and data speeds. And let’s not forget that the thing is still connected to iTunes, iCloud, and is still one of the most played mobile gaming devices out there. So much so in fact, that talk about Nintendo’s continued existence in the mobile video game market is a serious one. And then there’s Siri, which aims to change the very way you use your phone. You don’t expect other manufacturers to follow that? We can’t forget these things because that’s what makes the iPhone 4S, just like it’s what made the iPhone 4. And those things will help make the iPhone 5, too, whenever it launches.

There’s no denying that the pre-order bonanza for the iPhone 4S was just as hurried, climactic and busy as the previous launches. From multiple people that work in the industry, I heard how their stores were packed from open to close, everyone talking about the iPhone 4S and trying to pre-order it. Saying they’ve been waiting since February to see it, to know it is coming. That just shows me all that talk about how Apple failed, and how the iPhone 4S is a huge disappointment was ineffectual in just about every way imaginable.

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