The impossible expectations of Apple

The impossible expectations of Apple

Summary: Apple has doubled its phone's speed, improved the camera, and added a fingerprint scanner. Why are people still disappointed?


It's been a week since the iPhone 5S and 5C were announced, and I'm sure everyone has read how they're not innovative enough on the 5S side and not cheap enough on the 5C side.

iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s: Connecting up the dots in Apple's plans

iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s: Connecting up the dots in Apple's plans

iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s: Connecting up the dots in Apple's plans

Where's the bigger screen, the longer battery life, the flexible display, the all-glass body, the laser-projected keyboard, the market-creating addition, and the feature that spits out unicorns?

Apple is a victim of its own success. Unless they release another market-category creator like the iPad they're going to fall short of expectations. Improvements on existing devices are not appreciated anymore.

"You made a phone that is 2x faster than the phone from last year, has a significantly better camera, and includes a fingerprint scanner. Man, it’s like you guys took the whole year off from creating something new."

I get it; we all wanted CEO Tim Cook to say, "Oh and one more thing…" and pull an iWatch out of his pocket. Because he didn't we feel like Apple led us on; they teased us with their secrets, they didn't clamp down on rumors, and we ended up with the iPhone 5S.

They put a fingerprint reader on a phone! Sure, at first it's only good for unlocking the phone, but don't forget that millions of app makers now have access to a fingerprint reader. This community of developers will figure out how to use this scanner in ways we haven't thought of. Similarly, having a 64-bit processor might not be that useful now, but developers will figure out how to unlock that performance potential.

So I wanted to say, "Good job, Apple". You're one of the few that have added a brand new feature and I can't wait to see what the community will do with it!

Topics: Apple, iPhone, Smartphones


Howard spent 14 years in the tech industry working as a programmer, evangelist, and community manager for Microsoft. In 2009, he had lived his "dream" of middle-management long enough and opened a Japanese restaurant called Standing Sushi Bar. Trading in stock grants and software licenses for raw fish and cash, he enjoys mixing his passion for technology into the daily hustle of small business.

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  • Maybe the fingerprint reader is Apple only?

    You say:

    but don't forget that millions of app makers now have access to a fingerprint reader.

    but it is reported (TechRadar) that:

    Apple has no current plans to open up its new fingerprint sensing technology to third-party app developers, the company's Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller has confirmed.
    • For now

      I'd reckon they would give access to the fingerprint functionality which is stored on the phone but limit any developer from somehow retaining the fingerprint data on their end.
  • Need to wait...

    if the fingerprint reader works as advertising. It could be the same like the apple maps.
    • Apple Maps - aargh!

      Haha, let's all just hope it doesn't turn out like Apple Maps. Someone else's fingerprint would end up unlocking my phone.
      • Someone else's fingerprint would end up unlocking my phone.

        more likely you will get locked out of your own phone
  • Because it's still not as good as the competition...

    Apple's improvements to the latest iPhone are nice... but are not really what most consumers want from a phone.
    • That's for the marketplace to decide

      not any of us. We'll see how it goes out there.
    • So Many Here Are Residents of Our 51st State

      baloney. one thing just about all us consumers really do want is a super easy way to unlock our phone several dozen times a day - a necessity - and Touch ID delivers that. you are living in the State of Denial.

      as to the remark below that 'it's been done before' - yes, but it was done poorly, was unreliable and the hardware wore out quickly. that's the difference.
  • Re: app makers now have access to a fingerprint reader

    This is not true. According to Apple, no application has access to the fingerprint data, it is stored in encryption vault in the A7 CPU itself.

    Application will as usual have access to the user's credentials, just as they have now. Nothing new. They will eventually be able to know if these credentials are confirmed via biometrics.

    As for the iWatch, if Apple intend to produce one, there is plenty of time until the end of the year to announce it. Why dilute the iPhone announcement with a watch?
    • Re: iWatch

      If expectations weren't met for the iPhone then what better way to make the whole event seem more exciting than by announcing an iWatch? (I have no idea if they're working on a watch, but I guess we're talking about marketing tactics).
  • Agreed..................

    Considering it was pretty much a hardware only show, if you add IOS7 on top, you really do have a pretty impressive phone.

    Yes, there really isn't a big price differential between 's' and 'c' but in all honestly, were you really expecting apple to turn into a discount manufacturer?

    The disappointment for me is more from the rumour mongers and press, for unrealistic expectations. Apple didn't build the hype, they just built the phone and it's software.

    Oh, for balance, my current phone is a Galaxy Note with 6 months left on contract.
  • I may have misunderstood Apple's fingerprint scanner capabilities but

    I thought that it could be used to purchase iTunes content in lieu of typing in a password. That would make it's capabilities more than just unlocking the iPhone home screen.
    • That's what the trade rags have all said

      You can make app store and iTunes purchases with biometrics, and no password.
  • Haven't you heard, Howard?

    It's not fashionable to say complementary things about Apple these days. "Disappointment" is much more in vogue---at least among tech bloggers and Wall Street types. Only time will tell how well the new phones will do. I'm betting the sales numbers won't be "disappointing". :)
    • Only phone nerds and Wall Street are disappointed by the latest iPhone

      There's no reason for iPhone sales to be disappointing because the average consumer isn't necessarily looking for a cutting-edge smartphone. The latest iPhones will be more than enough to satisfy consumers. iPhones have always been highly rated for consumer satisfaction and overall use. Apple knows this better than anyone and they're not going to try to push beyond the curve for flashy features. It's not necessary for Apple's survival. The only ones driving the smartphone spec wars are phone nerds and analysts. The average consumer never goes into buy a smartphone and says something like, "Give me the most highly featured smartphone money can buy." Why would they? I highly doubt most consumers use more than 60% of the features on any smartphone and unless they play games they surely don't need the fastest processor available. Apple doesn't have a thing to worry about for the next six months. iPhone 5c and 5s sales will be record-breakers.
      Steffen Jobbs
  • because no one was begging for those things?

    Apple used to deliver features that people wanted, many times before they knew they wanted them.

    It isn't likt the iPhone5 is so slow people are begging for a faster CPU or were begging for a fingerprint scanner login or bright plastic iPhones that still cost $550. The camera is nice, but again not as nice as other phones offer. Even iOS7 was boring and followed the same trend.

    Overall Apple released upgrades to THEIR phones, but they still lag behind the competition in many areas.

    I don't think it is a matter of Apple not being innovate anymore, but rather Apple has lagged behind so long that these events are not very eventful. They have turned into a series of letdowns for what many consumers want in the next version.
    • "Before they knew they wanted them"

      Just pointing out that you say that Apple "used to" deliver features before people knew they wanted them and start your comment saying that no one was begging for those things (in regards to the features just announced for iPhone 5S).

      If people didn't know they wanted them they wouldn't be begging for them, so time will tell if these features turn out to be awesome.
  • Impossible expectations

    BlackBerry feels the same way.
    • Poor Blackberry

      Haha, I agree with you about Blackberry's impossible expectations but I also feel like the market gave up on Blackberry and didn't hope for anything exciting. So when Blackberry delivered... well, nothing exciting... it was the end.
      • Really?

        Just wondering how much time you spent with any of BlackBerry's new handsets before you decided that they delivered "nothing exciting".