New iPhone launch: The lost surprise

Summary:It's iPhone launch week and while the hoopla will be as big, it's not likely that Apple will be able to surprise us as in years past.

Image: Apple

This week will be crazy week with the expected launch of Apple's latest iPhone. Tech sites will have iPhone articles all over the web with pundits weighing in on every little feature of the new phone. Even with all the hoopla generated by the launch, the big surprises dealt out by Apple in years past will likely not be the case this year.

Apple's ability to keep secrets about upcoming products has fueled the frenzy about them for years. Super-secret teams working on mystery features has regularly led to excited coverage in the press in the past.

That's not really the case any longer and it's due to one factor. Months ago Apple unveiled the latest version of iOS that will drive the next iPhone. Pundits have chimed in on every notable feature of iOS7 and software gurus have torn into every crevice of the new OS.

There's not much about iOS7 that isn't known at this point, and that eliminates a lot of the mystery. Any innovative hardware feature that Apple might spring on us this week at the iPhone event will require software to drive it. Pretty much everything in iOS7 has been exposed, so that leaves individual apps for Apple to surprise us with.

That may happen but it's not likely that major hardware changes will slip into the launch that aren't supported by iOS7 directly. No secret feature in the new OS probably means no major surprise hardware that can be sprung on the public.

A big part of the mystery that Apple's been able to foster is lost with the early availability of iOS. Yes, Apple wants to get new versions of iOS out there so developers can build apps for it, but it limits the surprise factor at the iPhone launch event.

Sure, we'll all still ooh and ahh about little features in the new iPhone, but we won't likely be blown away by anything. Then the press will set in with the "is Apple losing its edge" coverage. That's a given, no matter what Apple unveils. The focus will be on what new features are missing than on those actually in the new iPhone.

A case can be made that the iPhone is now such a mature product that has few big innovations left to shock us with. That's true to a point but if Apple kept new versions of iOS to itself for the iPhone launch there would be more surprise than there is by exposing the OS so far ahead of the new iPhone.

While the lack of big surprise features in the next iPhone will get tech press tongues wagging, it won't affect mainstream consumers much. They'll still line up to buy the iPhone as they usually do.

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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