The Fine Art of Ganging Up on Apple

The Apple blogosphere gets together and decides, based on rumors, what Apple should do. They entice readers with these predictions. Then Apple goes its own way, bound by its own realities. Then the bloggers get all upset and bash Apple. Then Apple sells millions of fill-in-the-blank. Will it ever end?

I am a bit disappointed with the reaction, in some circles, to yesterday’s Apple presentation. Some felt that Apple’s iPhone 4S was a let down. We heard the same thing back in 2009 when the iPhone 3GS came out, and guess what? It sold very well then, at a hefty price and continues to sell well now, obsolete and entry priced.

There are some who claim that Tim Cook took too long to get around to the meat of the presentation. It seems, in the age of the Internet, we need satisfaction within minutes — or our minds drift. Should Apple know better? Should Apple gauge its presentations based on the Attention Deficit Disorders of peripatetic journalists? I think Apple marches to the beat of its own drummer, and it did a lot of things right on Tuesday.

Tim Cook

Apple does everything for a reason. Those reasons are not always divulged to the press for the sake of good form and politics. For example, perhaps Apple wanted to get everyone on the Internet grooved in and solidly connected before Mr. Cook jumped the gun. Perhaps, knowing the the TV news was there, the company had certain messages that it wanted the TV news to visualize at certain times. There could be all kinds of things going on that we don’t take into account as we jump to quick analysis.

As for the iPhone 4S, there are some who claim that it should have been called the iPhone 5 just to satisfy a personal, self-imposed desire and time table. This hilarious Hitler spoof video sends up (WARNING: R-rated.) all that attitude. One quote I really liked was: “I want people to know that I’m better than they are. How can this happen if they can’t tell the new phone from the old?”

Many had an emotional investment in a slimmer, sleeker iPhone that would, by the way, require a whole new generation of cases. Maybe the industry isn’t ready for that yet, especially in this economy. Perhaps a slimmer iPhone would set a bad precedent — the battery space will be too small for battery killing 4G/LTE next year. Do you want your iPhone 5 to get thicker? Perhaps Apple has learned, based on manufacturing lessons, that retooling for a whole new external design every 12 months doesn’t work so well anymore. Along those lines, Tim Bajarin just published a very sane and sensible response that I liked: “Why Apple didn’t Release the iPhone 5

Yesterday, Bryan Chaffin published a chart that I helped with comparing the iPhone 4S to the highly regarded Motorola Droid Bionic. I’ve also looked in detail at the Samsung Galaxy SII specs. What I’ve found is that Apple is doing just fine against the competition with the iPhone 4S. Customers loved the iPhone 4; maybe it’s sensible to ride that wave a bit longer. Again, it’s Apple’s time table, not ours.

We all have our self-imposed ideals and hopes. Many of us who cover Apple professionally 24 x 7 feel that we’ve come to know the company well. Readers come to us for our expertise, and the best observers of Apple provide valuable insights. They prepare us for our life as an Apple customer. (I try to be one of those.) This is well and good. Regrettably, I fear that the Internet age has made some of us all too edgy, impatient, maybe even a little arrogant — ready to push our own agenda too hard instead of letting Apple do its thing and report on it. Everything Apple does has a reason behind it. It’s our job to find out what that is.

It was pointed out to me that Antennagate didn’t stop the iPhone 4 from being phenomenally successful. Let’s wait and see how the customers react to the iPhone 4S. The sales numbers will tell the real story.