With Apple’s latest product about to be finalized, I am left wondering: Will the tech pundits ever give up and simply admit that it doesn’t matter what they say, the next Apple iOS device — even if it sucks — will sell millions upon millions? No matter what legacy technology Apple makes the “mistake” of not building into the device, millions of regular users won’t care, and a third party will make an accessory that takes care of its function.
Hopefully the sixth iPhone — what everyone is referring to as “the iPhone 5” — will not be called “The New iPhone,” but I wouldn’t bet against it. Sure complicated product names such as “The Infinorator ED-209 IV S” are unwieldy, but trying to search for specific, current information using the words “New iPad” or simply “iPhone” is an exercise in frustration. Either way — a silly name or lack of a tech-pundit-declared “essential” feature — the new iPhone and its rumored sibling will be popular.
Sure, it will have a faster processor and wireless throughput, a better screen and longer battery life. It might even have Near Field Communication (not that it will matter within the next year), or a larger amount of RAM. But the most important thing to the image-conscious majority of people who buy them will be the “new” feeling. As truly novel features are added, a greater percentage will never be used by a majority of users. I don’t fall into this category, but I realize that in order to get these killer new features that others will discover in three or five years, we have to bling up the marketing speak: “4G,” “carbon fiber,” “near-field,” “WiMax,” “WiGig,” “B Arthur!” (Okay, that last one is a joke, but you get the idea.)
‘We Have The Technology’
The new iPhone will be a virtual Six Million Dollar Man of a phone: guaranteed to be “better, sleeker, faster.” But still, articles about executives turning to their blackberries to get “real work” done will crop up — completely ignoring the plethora of inexpensive third-party Bluetooth iPhone keyboard cases that will also give tactile feedback. Such takedown pieces won’t put a dent in sales.
As always, the lack of some “essential” feature will be addressed by some innovative company. Only 64GB internal storage? There’s Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite. No SD slot? (See previous remark.) No HDMI output? There’s always Airplay Video Mirroring, and Cables “kind of suck” once you are used to streaming audio across the room via WiFi using AirPlay or Bluetooth using its A2DP. Frankly, I say good riddance to the plethora of physical connection standards. That’s why I am pretty stoked about the new 802.11ac (draft 3.0) devices and the upcoming 802.11ad standard.
I can only hope that Apple was also waiting with baited breath for 802.11ac devices. Who needs Gigabit Ethernet ports built in when you have 1300Mbps 802.11ac at your disposal. And next year I will be talking about how awesome direct point-to-point 802.11ad is at 60GHz with its mind-blowing 7Gbps peak throughput. But that discussion is for later. Will Apple have 802.11ac in the next iPhone? Hopefully. Is it absolutely critical that it have this or any new feature? Not until a tipping point of people have it.
At this point in the popularity bell curve, Apple could Photoshop in the new iPhone in place of nyan cat and have a hit product. XKCD could lampoon this “portamanmeme” and still not make a dent in the sell-through. (In fact, I just took a few minutes and made one — the image up top. I think Apple should run with it. As SNL’s obnoxious tech, Nick Burns, used to say: “You’re welcome!”)
Despite the ad campaigns detailing how cool this or that phone is, the important thing to do is to get a product that suits your needs — not the image you want to project. Don’t buy something because someone else bought one, and don’t get caught up in the hype. If you run only Macs at home or like the easy interface, then an iPhone is a logical choice. If you are going to tinker with your phone for fun, Android is the logical choice. Blackberries are still great if you only care about email and good time management. If you want something easy, skip the “smart” altogether and just get a dumbphone. Seriously, you’ll save hundreds on not having to pay for a data plan. I haven’t gotten my hands on a WP8 for more than a few minutes, so I can’t say who those would appeal to.
Front Page Image: Gizmodo