Short and long-term business rationale for today’s 4S announcement

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    Posted: 04 October 2011 08:44 PM

    This may be covered piecemeal in other threads, but I’d be interested to hear all your takes on WHY just a 4S after 15 months.

    Put on your TC / SJ hat:  what is the long-term and short-term business rationale for today’s move?

    —Could global demand for the current form factor be so great that they wanted to maximize production/minimize disruption of assembly line to grab global share?

    That is, a conscious decision to forgo some high-end demand in USA in order to satisfy burgeoning demand globally?  Maybe they figured they had USA growth covered at the high end with Sprint and at the low-end with the “free” 3GS?

    Will they be right or will sales / hoopla disappoint?

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  • Posted: 05 October 2011 03:13 AM #1

    Tick-tock strategy. Just like Intel. Allows you to lower the risk on the true next-generation design.

         
  • Posted: 05 October 2011 03:28 AM #2

    Xtra - 04 October 2011 11:44 PM

    This may be covered piecemeal in other threads, but I’d be interested to hear all your takes on WHY just a 4S after 15 months.

    I’ll start by chuckling at the use of the word “just”.  Bookmark this page and check back in about 6 months and you may chuckle too.  Single to dual core processor.  Arguably the best camera ever put in a cell phone.  iOS 5 and all it’s added features.  No charge cloud integration of devices.  The most elegant single device I’ve ever held in my hand.  The introduction of ‘HAL 5000’.  (heading toward the 9000 series of course)  This is right up there with the original Mac introduction as far as I’m concerned and will continue to sell as many as they can produce.  It also made the moat a few kilometers wider.  The blogosphere is way WAY off on this one.

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    Posted: 05 October 2011 03:55 AM #3

    We should’ve seen this coming, really, with the 3G > 3GS transition.

    And the iMac external design life cycle.

    And the MacBook Pro external design life cycle.  Etc.

    I have my “complaints” but I find it very hard to be legitimately critical about Apple’s actions when I look at things more objectively.  Mostly same external form factor = WAY faster ramp-up and little production line transition issues.  There’s nothing wrong with the current design - it’s crazy solid and when properly protected holds up very well over time.  It’s also AWESOME for margins since Apple can keep riding down the cost curve with expertise and huge volume, sharing some parts between the 4 and 4S.  There may be two or three minor-ish things missing but everything the iPhone 4S needed to succeed this year is there.  Oh yeah, and that cool new OS.  Where’s Android’s?

    Apple made the right business decision.  This gives Jony Ive and Co. a few more months to prototype/perfect the iPhone 5 design, as well as make sure the new design can be produced in GIANT quantities.

    Anandtech also has a good take on iPhone 4S as it relates to the LTE radio - there is no integrated, power-efficient solution available yet.  Besides, a true world phone make iPhone more versatile.  And now, the stage is set for iPhone LTE to serve ALL carriers, potentially.  That’s very important.

    Let the competitors crow about the wrong perceived inadequacies of the iPhone 4S.  Yes, the iPhone 4S isn’t perfect, no phone is, and there are a few features that would’ve been nice to have.  But I see the iPhone 4S as powering the iVolcano that sprung up in the midst of Cellular Phone territory.  It’s spewing more and more lava, and even worse for the competition, the iVolcano has advanced voice response capabilities.  raspberry And as Cl4 so astutely pointed out some time ago, the cooled magma gives way to rich volcanic soil from which the ecosystem can continue to flourish.

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  • Posted: 05 October 2011 04:18 AM #4

    I’ve never been all that interested in many of the home automation products laying around out there.  That may change big time with the introduction of Siri. 

    Set heat to 72 degrees when I leave the office. 
    Set lights to ‘scene 4’ when I pull in the driveway.
    Set audio to Bossa Nova mix.
    How much was that Blender I looked at on Amazon?
    “$69.47”
    Order it and have it shipped to the cabin.
    Send a note to my nephew Paul as a reminder for our upcoming dinner.
    Open the garage bay door Hal.  :-D

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    Posted: 05 October 2011 04:21 AM #5

    I think you can do maybe 2 of those things with the current version of Siri…maybe?  LOL

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  • Posted: 05 October 2011 04:31 AM #6

    Mav - 05 October 2011 07:21 AM

    I think you can do maybe 2 of those things with the current version of Siri…maybe?  LOL

    True but one has to make a beginning and knowing the destination is quite often the hardest part. 
    Still no word if they’ve licked that liquid metal process.  If so, that may move today past the original Mac intro.  It was sometime after the original iPhone presentation but prior to shipment that Steve revealed the screen would be glass.

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    Posted: 05 October 2011 04:34 AM #7

    Nah, no surprises for the iPhone 4S.  Unless you’re really clumsy, really violent or really unlucky, it’ll take a lot to damage your case-and-screen-protector-equipped iPhone 4(S).  In the first and third cases, Apple has an AppleCare+ thingy they’d like to interest you in.

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  • Posted: 05 October 2011 04:43 AM #8

    Mav - 05 October 2011 07:21 AM

    I think you can do maybe 2 of those things with the current version of Siri…maybe?  LOL

    I should amend my response a bit.  Crestron  (as an example) already has an iPhone app to control the home automation aspects referenced above.  Making it Siri compatible should be a piece of cake as it only requires being voice driven.  I know my nephew is using iPads to control his under renovation house but I don’t know who’s system he went with.  Lutron also has an iPhone app.

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    Posted: 05 October 2011 04:47 AM #9

    A Siri API?  That could, should be coming to help third-party apps.  iOS 6 will be so damn awesome.

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  • Posted: 05 October 2011 05:06 AM #10

    Mav - 05 October 2011 07:47 AM

    A Siri API?  That could, should be coming to help third-party apps.  iOS 6 will be so damn awesome.

    I’ll be rather shocked if we have to wait for iOS 6 to see a Siri API.  I think it’s safe to say that Apple has left the road as the whole world has been horrible at forecasting what direction it may take so I may well be wrong on this.  I have a tendency to think that they withheld all the Siri references leading up to today to make Siri THE announcement of the presentation but sadly walked on it.  It was the one time when I longed for Steve and his gift for hyperbole.  This is one of the areas that it’s clear to me they’re busy managing expectations but I personally wish they hadn’t.  We’ve officially entered the Tim Cook ‘speak softly but wield a light saber?’ era.

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  • Posted: 05 October 2011 05:22 AM #11

    But wait…, there’s more!  (bonking my head for not thinking of this myself)

    A poster at Giga-Om commented that they could never have called this the iPhone 5 because the next one will be the 4G (for the fourth generation network it runs on).  I buy it.

    AlfieJr
    Tuesday, October 4 2011
    actually, the first iPhone was called the 2G. then the 3G and 3GS (almost same chassis), 4 and now 4S, with also the same chassis. so a very consistent naming scheme i would say.

    many companies would artificially add an integer just to hype a new model. like Windows 7, which is actually NT 6.1 (Vista was 6.0), and coming, Windows 8, which will actually be NT 6.2.

    the iPhone 4 is a beautiful industrial design. why f it up just for hype? so the 4S perfected it, and will be a true classic.

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  • Posted: 05 October 2011 06:36 AM #12

    Siri will generate 50k apps and updated apps within six months. Bill has this pegged.

         
  • Posted: 05 October 2011 08:42 AM #13

    This uproar over iPhone 4S is more about the public simply running too far too fast with the iPhone 5 nomenclature. I don’t think its an issue with iPhone 4S actually not being a worthy update.

    We never really had this occur with the 3G -> 3GS because:

    1) iPhone was a lot less common back in 2009 and wasn’t exposed to the same level of criticism that it faces now.

    2) There was no solid precedent for iPhone naming in 2009.

    If you exclude the iPhone case maker rumors, I would say the leaked rumors were somewhat close to what we got, albeit the ‘thinner and lighter’ thing.

         
  • Posted: 05 October 2011 10:32 AM #14

    I would have punted the 3GS and kept the iPhone 4 and branded the new one with “5,”  particularly with no case redesign.  Does reducing the price on the 3GS from $50 to free that big a deal?

    In any event, few customers draw the correlation between LTE speeds and naming conventions of the iPhone, so who cares?

         
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    Posted: 05 October 2011 11:41 AM #15

    I’m persuaded it was a sound business decision…...still somewhat Concerned about Siri based on experience with existing app and memories of Newton handwriting recognition…..columnists might shred it…but I agree the direction they are pointed in is more than tantalizing.

    I’m taking the global perspective and am persuaded global demand for this set of offerings, plus addition of sprint, will more than make up for any high end market disappointment in us.

    It IS a gorgeous phone….I remember SJ saying that holding it was like holding a Leica. He was right. Gosh I will miss him.

    Onto earnings speculation…..and rumors about form factor for real iPhone 5


    Aapl….it is not a stock…..it is an obsession.


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