Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

Summary: Apple will unveil a new iPhone as a shiny new object, but software will carry the device forward.

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Apple will take the wraps off its new iPhone Tuesday, but the launch really boils down to one word: Software.

Sure, we'll ponder the importance of an 8 megapixel camera, try and figure out key design decisions and potentially drool over the iPhone. The reality is that the iPhone is just a vessel for Apple's software and app ecosystem.

Simply put, the iPhone can tackle emerging markets, be an incremental upgrade or even tackle 4G networks. In the end, everything boils down to iOS 5 and iCloud.

Among the key items from the Apple rumor mill:

  • Apple will roll out an Assistant feature that integrates voice technology throughout the phone. If this software works out, Apple's iPhone will be more like a Star Trek tricorder.
  • iCloud will tie Apple's ecosystem together without the PC as a hub.
  • The new iPhone most likely won't be 4G capable.
  • Sprint is plunking down billions of dollars to bet on the iPhone.

Add it up though and software is the big thing.

Later today: 1 p.m. EDT, 10 a.m. PDT: ZDNet live color commentary on Apple's iPhone unveiling

Barclays Capital Ben Reitzes said:

We believe that the potential new model in 2011 will feature a faster processor, more DRAM, an upgraded 8MP camera and be optimized for use with the new iOS 5 with better multi-tasking. One of the major benefits of this new product could be expanded carrier relationships in the US and elsewhere, given the Qualcomm baseband. We also believe that a new iPhone can sell in China and other parts of Asia as early as December, significantly helping sales. We expect software to be the big focus of this announcement as Apple is set to release iOS5 including iMessage and other key enhancements. We are upbeat about the prospects for new voice recognition software, as Apple could work in features from its purchase of Siri last year. The feature could include a new interface that helps access a whole new range of commands that increase convenience and integrate more social networking options. We continue to believe that Apple’s software and its integration into specific hardware is its unique advantage over peers.

Apple's software as well as its app ecosystem is what gives the iPhone and iPad their stickiness with users. Bottom line: It's likely that the new iPhone will provide folks with a shiny new object, but in the end features like Assistant and social integration will drive sales.

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Topics: Software, Apple, CXO, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones, IT Employment

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20 comments
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  • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

    Tricorders aren't voice activated.
    jrp@...
    • seriously.. more like a communicator.. linked up to ships computer..

      @jrp@... and all the knowledge of the known universe..
      doctorSpoc
  • I'm looking forward to the post-Jobs Apple

    I have no respect for Steve Jobs but I do like Tim Cook.

    I hope the rumors of Steve Jobs coming to ruin Tim's presentation turn out to be unfounded.

    All that aside, I'm truly looking forward to iOS 5 and I'm really hoping that Apple doesn't artificially disable any iOS 5 features on the iPhone 4 just to drive iPhone 5 sales.
    toddybottom
    • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

      @toddybottom

      The A4 chipset in the iPhone 4 should be able to handle most new functions.

      However, it wasn't until the advent of the A5 chipset in the iPad that really nice video streaming functions coupled to a significant graphics display speed boost made using the iPad II much more enjoyable over the first generation model.

      I suspect that the A5 chipset in the new iPhone 5 will ensure full support for all iOS 5 features. However, I'm not so sure about that compatibility for the A4 chipset.
      kenosha77a
    • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

      @toddybottom Somehow I doubt Steve Jobs will come to "ruin" Tim Cook's presentation...

      I too am looking forward to iOS 5 and like you I'm hoping that some things will not be disabled on the iPhone 4... and if they are that the jailbreaking community will be able to make those features available for the iPhone 4 running iOS 5.
      athynz
  • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

    "Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software" yeah cuz Android army beat iPhone 5 on hardware before launching?
    Lame excuses!
    pepe-el-Toro
    • It' always been about the software.

      @pepe-el-Toro

      For ten years, WinTel had the superior tablet hardware specs. Guess what happened when that hardware was coupled to iOS and its apps ecosystem.

      The soon to be announced iOS 5, iCloud and Assistant software packages should prove to be revolutionary and magical. (Sorry ... I just couldn't resist! Very Big Grin.)
      kenosha77a
      • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

        @kenosha7777
        Actually if the phone doesn't change its hardware and dramatically change its ios the iphone will be in trouble as in its current state it lags greatly behind even the most basic android phones. It better have 4G capabilites and hdmi port along with abilty to physically swap extended batteries with simple slide off back. The icloud as with anything cloud is a negative as the cloud is and has already been shown to be a bad idea and technology and really not needed if you have a basic home netork with a drive setup as thats much more reliable and customizable and not an additional fee. The phone on sprint is a puzzler though. I could see if they were offferd the iphone freely so apple could sell more units but if Sprint has to pay for the phone then thats a dumb decision as the iphone has a long ways to go to catch up to android units at this time and if it doesn make these huge leaps today then it may seal the iphones quick descent.
        Fletchguy
    • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

      @pepe-el-Toro Yes it did indeed take an entire Android Army to edge over one company's device... and even with Android's "superior" hardware it took a then 6 month old device launched on a different carrier to give that carrier the best first day sales it had - over newer and spec wise more superior devices. AND that one device has outsold any individual Android based device.

      So yeah as an army Android got the market share. Lame excuses indeed...
      athynz
      • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

        @Pete "athynz" Athens I meant "lame excuses" on the hardware side. Im not talking about iOS and Apps where they beat the entire Android Army...
        (Clarifying only if iPhone 5 doesn't get 4G or NFC or 4+inches screen or dual core 1.2ghz ... )
        pepe-el-Toro
      • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

        @Pete "athynz" Athens
        Cant change the mind of the stupid and those who use iphones tend to not be so smart as they pay a ridculous price for an antiquaited device that does less then all other phone makers and is desperately in need of a new design and larger lcd. Not to mention a different battery setup and hdmi out.Some people though choose to waste their money without care for its usefulness to value ration and those people you won't change as common sense is not their strong point.
        Fletchguy
  • iPhone is useless

    Where's the bloody stylus?
    Monkeypox
    • Good One!

      @Monkeypox

      But you never know. Now that Tim Cook is running the show, who knows what might be revealed in a few hours.
      kenosha77a
    • Where is the bloody stylus?

      @Monkeypox You must be too dumb to even use Google/Bing/Yahoo/Amazon

      If you needed it, you can get it from ANYWHERE. In case you are too dumb to understand, here are just a couple of links:

      http://www.amazon.com/Private-Label-3G-iPhone-Stylus/dp/B001C1MD9M

      http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/cellphone/a31f/
      wackoae
  • Not 'all' is about software; A5 chip is up to 10 times faster in vector FP/

    ... /multimedia operations, and times faster in graphics than <b>any existing or announced</b> smartphone.
    DDERSSS
  • It's all about the computing experience

    It's not about the hardware or software, it is about the whole experience and interaction and intuitive usefulness of the device. 4G or dual cpus or retina display graphics are irrelevant if the device is cumbersome to use or understand.
    Synthmeister
  • Where Is Apple's Long-Hoped-For Android Killer?

    Looks like Apple just don't have it in them any more.
    ldo17
    • RE: Apple's new iPhone: It's all about the software

      @ldo17, no the new iPhone models are not "Apple's ..Android Killer"; iPhone 4 and the iPads have been killing Android successfully for some time. <br><br>The new iPhones are Apple upping the ante, and making it harder for the next generation of Android copies.<br><br>Android just can't compete with iPhones: they are OK as a shopping list of features, but for most people they don't gel.
      StandardPerson
      • Re: Where Is Apple's Long-Hoped-For Android Killer?

        @StandardPerson "iPhone 4 and the iPads have been killing Android successfully for some time."

        Of course they have, that's why Android is now outselling all of Apple's devices put together, and growing faster!

        You know the old saying: "With enemies like these, who needs friends?"
        ldo17
  • jgrhyur 21 irl

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