Once again, the most prescient man on electronics in America is Louis C.K.*
On Tuesday, Apple introduced an upgrade to the most popular and acclaimed smartphone in history. While the new iPhone 4S resembles last year's iPhone 4 in design, the device includes several internal changes from its predecessor, including new software, a new processor, improved cameras, and even a promising new voice-control application called Siri.
If the iPhone 4S isn't the most advanced mobile phone in history, it's at least in the top five, and it brings to life all sorts of technological achievements that would have been inconceivable as recently as five years ago.
So what was the nearly-consensus media and fan reaction to the announcement? It mostly ran the gamut from slack-jawed disappointment to howling, undisguised rage. The general letdown was even reflected in Apple's stock price- it fell 5 percent in the late hours of the day, after reaching an all-time high the previous month.
The whining, whether from journalists, commentators, financial analysts or Apple fanboys, coalesced around a couple of themes: Why wasn't there a more different, advanced upgrade? There were rumors of an “iPhone 5,” with a bigger screen and totally new design- where was that? And why did we have to wait THREE WHOLE EXTRA MONTHS for such a disappointing reveal?
Come on. Who in the world told us we're entitled to a mind-blowingly awesome new iPhone every year? So they didn't improve the 4S enough from the 4- so what? Everyone unhappy with the iPhone 4S is well within their rights to not buy one.
And if you're disappointed that there wasn't an iPhone 5, remember something: There was never any reason to believe one existed in the first place. Rumor culture is totally out of control these days, especially when it comes to Apple, whether we're talking about upcoming products or Steve Jobs' health.
Gawker's Ryan Tate put together a wonderfully humorous roundup of all the woefully incorrect predictions from the tech press of what the new iPhone would include. For example, didn't it occur to anyone but me that when Al Gore referred to “the new iPhones,” he was talking not about multiple models but rather the millions of units likely to be sold?
The worst take of all was probably this, from Business Insider, a piece for which the Twitter hashtag #firstworldproblems was practically invented. The author describes herself as a long-time BlackBerry user, who meant to upgrade from her BlackBerry that doesn't work to the newest iPhone but is now “feeling very sad” because the new iPhone didn't meet her expectations. “I will buy the iPhone 4S, simply because I can't handle my Blackberry anymore,” she writes, “But I'm not happy about it.”
Oh, cry me a friggin' river. I'm in the same situation- I have a years-old, barely-functioning BlackBerry, and have been holding out for the new iPhone to upgrade. But I don't see a whole lot to complain about, because even the super-disappointing, buzzkilling, shockingly inferior iPhone 4S is worlds better than what I have now. And if you're not happy with it, there are about 25 other very good options for a smartphone, and new ones arriving by the week.
And the saddest thing of all is, despite all the crushing disappointment, I expect the iPhone to outsell every other smartphone this quarter by a considerable margin.
*It's going to space? Sure, but not at 4G speeds…