iPhone launch: The thrill is definitely gone

iPhone launch: The thrill is definitely gone

Summary: Apple threw its big iPhone launch bash and in spite of the tech industry's best efforts to whip everybody into a frenzy it fell short. Unlike years past, there wasn't much announced we hadn't heard before.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, iPhone
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iPhone 5S
Image: Apple

Apple seems to have lost its way. The big iPhone launch event held today, formerly one of the biggest events of the year, fell a bit flat. In spite of the efforts of Apple and the entire tech industry in attendance at the event to convince us how exciting the launch was, it didn't work for this author.

Prior to the event I shared my belief that Apple was losing its iPhone launch magic due to sharing too much about upcoming iOS versions in advance. I still think that plays a big role, but I now think it's much more than that. The thrill about new iPhones has significantly waned for me.

Those of us involved in covering tech look forward to the new iPhone launch, in spite of what we might say, as in years past Apple has been able to shock us, surprise us, and delight us. This has been done through the absolute secrecy Apple has always maintained about the unreleased iPhones. We clamored for information, held our breath to hear every word of the announcement, and cheered with the rest as each surprising feature of the brand new iPhone was unveiled before us.

Given all the information on the web about the new iPhones prior to the unveiling, today's show was more of a confirmation event.

That didn't happen this year. When preparing to write this article I went back through the meticulous notes I took while following the iPhone 5S and 5C announcements. I may have missed some little factoids but I couldn't find any major detail about the new iPhones that we haven't already heard as rumors. Even some pictures of the new phones had appeared on the web that now seem to be accurate.

Details about the new iPhones, including the major new appearance of not one but two new phones, had been shared on the web for days. The official names of both the new iPhones were a known item before Apple "unveiled" them. It's as if the Apple secrecy machine has developed a lot of holes for details to spill out in volume.

Remember the frenzy that accompanied the prototype iPhone left in a bar and found by a patron, sold to a web publication, and then leaked to the public? That frenzy was so big because back then there was no way to find out much of anything about the new iPhone with any degree of confidence. That prototype might not have been the real deal but we didn't care, we ate up anything at all we could find out about that mystical new iPhone.

So what happened? I remember seeing a speech by Tim Cook announcing he was going to double down on secrecy to keep future products hidden from view. Under Steve Jobs Apple's mystique was amazing due to total silence about upcoming products. There were regularly accounts of false product teams working on fake devices to keep details about real upcoming products secret. Jobs would apparently go to any length to keep products secret, just to ramp up anticipation at the launch event.

That is completely gone from the iPhone event in this writer's view. Nothing surprising was unveiled. Given all the information on the web about the new iPhones prior to the unveiling, today's show was more of a confirmation event. And that is sad, as it pointed out quite distintcly how much Steve Jobs is missed at Apple.

Don't misunderstand me, the new iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S are quite nice. They represent a new model of having two iPhones each year going forward, and that's a big departure for Apple. Whether you think the new iPhones are big upgrades or incremental refreshes over the last iPhone, millions will buy them world-wide. Apple is doing things right with the iPhone, I just wish the thrill wasn't gone.

iPhone launch coverage:

Topics: Mobility, Apple, iPhone

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            • Microsoft is finished

              Windows Phone and the Nokia Lumina are so great that...

              Nokia is selling the business because hardly anybody bought their phone...

              Microsoft is buying the business because hardly any other devices use their OS....

              When Microsoft agreed to buy the whole Nokia handset business for $5B, the market knocked $15B of Microsofts market cap.

              i.e. the market has no confidence in Microsofts ability to do anything with Nokia apart from write off more billions in value.

              The Surface is dead. Microsoft built 10x as many as they could sell. They'll be writing down another $1B on the stock pile of Surface Pros this quarter, and that's just the start. This looks like RIM's heap of Playbooks. They ended up at $50 each.

              The only thing that has raised Microsoft's share price recently was Ballmer resigning.
              Henry 3 Dogg
              • So this is what counts?

                "When Microsoft agreed to buy the whole Nokia handset business for $5B, the market knocked $15B of Microsofts market cap."

                When apple announced the iphone 5s/c the market knocked billions off apple's market cap.
                toddbottom3
                • markets are volatile

                  Markets are volatile, stock prices don't mean much. Actually when Apple announced the 5s today MSFT gained billions to their market cap (i.e. 2%).
                  Sacr
  • Whoa

    iPhone's now come in colours! Wow, what a design breakthrough but wait, didn't Nokia do that about twelve phones ago? The fanboys are in serious trouble now that their Apples are back in the pack, towards the back of the pack actually, and they're still over-priced.
    KRP1950
    • Yes, Nokia did this ages ago

      But the difference is that with the iphone, you get to pay $500 for a polycarbonate shell whereas the Nokia is $100 for a plastic shell. So iphone sounds waaaaaay better. /s
      toddbottom3
      • Just to clarify/magnify

        Polycarbonate is actually a plastic, right? However, TB3, I'm sure you're right that the fanboys will display their ignorance of chemistry.
        KRP1950
      • lol

        5C stands for Cheap Plastic... You know, the same cheap plastic iFans have been screaming against Samsung owners for years.
        jamz2277
      • Quality

        If you buy a phone for it's quality, none of them hold a candle to Motorola. And they are made in AMERICA! Imagine that! They do everything the other Androids do, offer all the bells and whistles, and they are fairly priced. (compared to the other brands, except of course Apple) Too bad Google bought the company. I'm sure that will all change.
        naplesjoe
    • Nokia did not invent coloured phones

      Though their adherents would have us believe they (a) matter, and (b) invented fire.

      The Blackberry Curve came in bright multi colours eight years ago. There may have been multi hued feature phones before that, but they're the first to do a multi colour line up on a smart phone model.
      Mac_PC_FenceSitter
      • re: "Nokia did not invent coloured phones"

        You do realize that the fact that Nokia wasn't the first to do this only strengthens todd's and KRP's point, don't you?
        daftkey
        • Why would I care?

          I don't use an iPhone. I have a Blackberry. What is irritating is the constant Nokia pimping in every iPhone article, as though the alternative to an iPhone is a Nokia. It isn't - the Samsung Galaxy line is.

          Its like the old joke - Chicago enjoys a friendly rivalry with New York and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Los Angeles and New York enjoy a friendly rivalry with each other.
          Mac_PC_FenceSitter
          • You tell me, Mac_PC_FenceSitter...

            "Why would I care? I don't use an iPhone. I have a Blackberry."

            ..I assumed that you had a point to make with your comment about Nokia not inventing coloured phones. I guess I stand corrected there.

            "What is irritating is the constant Nokia pimping in every iPhone article, as though the alternative to an iPhone is a Nokia. It isn't - the Samsung Galaxy line is."

            Really? Why is this? Is there some law in your country that says that you are only allowed to compare the iPhone to the Galaxy line of phones? That nobody is ever allowed to compare another brand like HTC, LG, Nokia, or any others? Or is it because the Galaxy line of phones has the best commercials and the only herd of sheeple following the brand that is comparable to Apple?

            See, in my country, we still believe that *any* phone is an alternative to the iPhone - even $0 feature phones. In my case, it is the Nexus 4. People are still allowed to buy whatever tool they deem fit for their purpose. And in case you haven't been paying attention (which appears to be the case here), Nokia is increasingly becoming that tool.

            But then again, why am I telling you this - you apparently have no reason for commenting here other than to piss and moan, do you?
            daftkey
  • 64 bit may not improve battery life 5C=cheap? @550 not so ... 5S=same
    jltamo
  • What's left tp unveil?

    The first few years of new smartphones were very exciting. Every new major event brought us tiny new wonders. But by this point I suspect that most of the gee wiz features have been implemented already. I think the next few years of smartphone unveilings will be snooze fests in general because there aren't any truly novel and useful smartphone innovations left to implement.
    dsf3g
  • Are you excited yet?

    Let's start a pool on how many people will be waiting in line to get into the Apple store for one. I'm bidding 0.
    larry@...
  • Apple need to innovate something new

    I suspect if Jobs was still there, they would have stopped trying to innovate the iPhone and focused on something else (perhaps that is happening in secret, although I suspect not). People don't rush out to get the latest iPod.
    What will happen to Apple when the whole company is set up to rely on a massive release each year that turns out to be a flop. Yes they have huge amounts of cash, but just look at Nokia. If the company stops innovating in something, it doesn't have to be a phone, then they will be in serious trouble in 5-10 years time.
    Nimos-92373
  • still matters

    haha, it's so interesting to read any news and comments about Apple, as someone who don't own any Apple devices (yet.) Whether Apple has lost their mojo or not, I'm not sure, as it is still a long way to go as far as the battle of smartphones is concerned, but what is apparent is that Apple still matter to a lot of people, esp. those Apple-haters, just look at the amount of time they spend cursing and belittling any apple products. if criticism also counts as a form of publicity, then apple wins hands down. if apple's products are really becoming irrelevant, why all these attention paid to it? while i can't really comprehend the cause of their hysterical hatred toward apple, i think the more venom they spew toward their object of hatred, the more attention they are bringing onto that very object. it is interesting. :-)
    travellersolo
    • Re: "i can't really comprehend the cause of their hysterical hatred toward"

      For the most part, it is best left to a song quote - "It's not the band I hate, it's their fans".
      daftkey
  • The day the music.....Died.

    So what you're saying is after months of hashing, re-hashing, re-re-hashing and re-re-re-hashing rumors, so many of which turned out to be digital hot-air, we get to the end and find there is nothing to talk about except talking about having nothing to talk about ;)

    Sounds like the best course of action may be to tune-out the rumor mongers. Most people do. I know over 20 iPhone owners and only one of them (myself) is even aware that Apple does these big announcements. I am not counting my wife, who is mainly annoyed at these announcements because I watch them.
    oncall
  • Appless ~ Hapless

    WOW! A 64 bit iPhone and no 64 bit apps!

    That sucker is DOA!

    Imagine the horror amongst the isheep as they peruse the barren shelves of the app-store!
    Mujibahr