New iPhone launch: The lost surprise

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.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Apple, iPhone
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iOS7
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

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20 comments
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  • "...it's not likely that Apple will be able to surprise us..."

    Hey who knows. Maybe Apple will come out with a new iThingy with SQUARED OFF CORNERS. Now THAT would be a revolutionary device.
    IT_Fella
  • non innovating

    when HP is on the way to announce some new products, I don't see anticipation or sour grapes as much as this......

    when MS is on the way to announce some new products, I don't see anticipation or sour grapes as much as this......

    when IBM is on the way to announce some new products, I don't see anticipation or sour grapes as much as this......

    when * is on the way to announce some new products, I don't see anticipation or sour grapes as much as this...... (replace * with Samsung, LG, Acer, Dell, Asus, Google, etc.)

    if Apple is already irrelevant, there wouldn't be so much talk about it (whether positive or negative), but there IS, obviously they are still taking Apple very seriously - not bad for a "non innovating" company!
    travellersolo
    • What new products

      That's because when other companies announce new products, they are in fact new.

      The S in iPhone 5S stands for "similar".
      Tim Acheson
      • you are right

        that's the thing: even if Apple announces shit, people are taking it so seriously, especially the haters, doesn't it say something? if you can't be bothered, why rant your sour grape here :-) Apple's competitors still have a lot to learn from Apple about marketing, advertizing, and attention generating - seriously, this is what every advertizing and pr company would die for but fails to achieve.
        travellersolo
      • fear?

        and, forgot to mention this: to all you apple-haters, don't you know that criticism is also a form of advertizing? if you truly see apple products as shit, then just ignore it, stay quiet, and those apple's shit products might just die silently, but instead you keep contributing to it's hype and fame (though from the opposite). for me, if i couldn't be bothered about some products, i'd just ignore them altogether. or maybe you really fear apple's success?
        travellersolo
      • Wow

        Posting this same exact post in another talkback is a sign of your desperation. Is Ballmer talking about terminating you from your position as paid shill?
        athynz
        • serious?

          haha why are you taking me so seriously too?
          travellersolo
  • It used to be easier...

    it used to be easier years ago to keep secrets... I think most of that changed because there are millions more people that actually care about Apple news now, when used to there were many many less.
    doh123
  • Don't be surprised if you're surprised.

    It's likely going to happen Mr. Kendrick...
    makemineamac
  • I don't think they will make a bigger phone

    because they have always gone out of their way to say they want you to be able to reach all parts of the screen with your thumb. How will they explain themselves with a large device then? They will have to admit that they just made it big to keep up with the competition, and not their 'perfect design' first.

    Can't believe there are people still lining up already. If walked by I would make an 'L' sign with my fingers on my forehead. This is because I think apple has past its peak.
    drwong
  • Times have changed!

    When even the most hardcore Apple evangelists are writing straplines like this, you know the corporation really is screwed:

    "while the hoopla will be as big, it's not likely that Apple will be able to surprise us as in years past"

    It's a harsh evaluation. But it's true.
    Tim Acheson
  • I stopped reading articles by this author

    Now I will gladly continue. I was wrong. Not such an embedded reporter Apple schill after all.
    Tim Acheson
    • And yet

      You felt the need to read his article and comment on it - Apple is so good it makes even supposedly uninterested MS fanbois and shills like youself want to read and comment on every Apple article.
      athynz
  • Long winded article

    Everything could have been said in a few sentences. Good points were made, but it's amazing how little information was contained in the above paragraphs. I do not look forward to reading similar articles. Thank you.
    datanewb
    • What???

      That was basically the entire point of this article, that so far there has NOT been much information to go by in regards to product announcments from Apple on 9/10/2013.
      wizard57m-cnet
  • I just think you're seeing the iPhone become nothing more than some device

    When a new laptop comes out, even a new Macbook Air (which some people still are wowed by for some reason), you don't get very much hype any more. Thats because all the laptops pretty much do what you need them to do. It starts to become aesthetics or personal preference. And when you find one that works you just stick with it until it dies.

    The only reason to geta new phone every two years is because thanks to Verizon and AT&T you pay for a new phone every 2 years in your bill whether you upgrade or not, so might as well shell out for a new one. But now even that seems sort of futile. At $35 per phone and $200 upgrade for each phone, a family of four pays $940 just to upgrade! At that point, a Go Phone like the Nokia 520 starts to look pretty cheap (saving a few grand over the life of a contract for a family of four). That's a full family vacation.
    A Gray
  • Oh, fer chrissakes...

    Doesn't this happen _every_ year? Apple brings out its new stuff, and the pundits say, nice, but oh dear, _evolutionary_, not revolutionary.

    And the the lines form, and sales spike, and suddenly you can't imagine what things were like before...Siri, or iPhones, or iPads, or iPods.

    And a half year passes, and the initial sales spike moderates, and competitors put out similar features/products, and everyone wrings their hands about Apple falling behind, and not innovating like it once did.

    And then next year comes along.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.
    pdq
  • As a public service,...

    ...I'd like to provide a template for the ABAers to use after the announcements. Here it is:

    "Ha!!! You call THAT innovation??? My (fill in the blank) Android phone has had that feature for at LEAST (fill in the blank) years! Call Goodwill to come and pick up the furniture, Apple. You're done!!!"

    There. You're welcome.
    Userama
  • Yet another content-free article from TR

    Where in this write-up did the writer say anything that has not already been said, at length and repeatedly?

    Where, for that matter, did he say anything at all apart from "yada yada yada Apple blah blah blah"?
    chrisbedford
  • iphone party

    i don't agree that there can be pretty much nothing new. That's lack of imagination more than anything else.

    how about features like:
    - the famous finger print reader? Wouldnt it be great if phones/computers in general FIIIIINALLY got rid of all those passwords? That'd be a revolution I'd even say! How many passwords? Just today - open my windows, gmail, vendors website (had to reset the passw bc didnt remember :)), this website+annoying registration

    - look and feel. How about edge-to-edge display? foldable display? Battery life? more integration to everyday stuff like why the heck do we need to carry around keys like 14th century still?

    - even annoying basics like accidently pressing wrong buttons, typing messages, phones not understanding what's happening (e.g. in quiet place they could ring softer, loud places louder, in car they should know one's driving...), know when a person is close or far..etc.. etc..
    ..not to mention better/different business models how to make iphone gateway to mine more money off of users by giving iphone users something special they'd be willing to pay for..

    LOTS of things to still innovate!
    danielkeder