So now we know. But can the 4S keep iPhone at No. 1?

Apple's iPhone 4S
iPhone 4S family

A few random thoughts after Tuesday’s big iPhone 4S announcement:

  • The rumors and speculation felt bigger this year than most.
    A lot of people thought Apple might pull off something really big, like introduce a radically redesigned phone. I don’t think many people expected Apple to introduce a 4G model, especially given the company’s attitudes toward battery life — and how battery-hogging the current 4G chips are — but there was a lot of legitimate hope for a redesigned phone with a larger screen. When Apple didn’t intro the new phone in June, as usual, a lot of people felt that meant we would get something major, hardware-wise, Tuesday. Why else would they delay? Well, we got some major software announcements, some very major software announcements, but the new iPhone is just as tiny looking compared to the Android competition as the old iPhone was. It’s way past time for Apple to boost the screen size.
  • Tim Cook isn’t the showman Steve Jobs was.
    Scott Forstall could be a really good “face” for Apple at these product launches if Cook were to cede a little of the spotlight he reportedly doesn’t care for too much. He seemed nervous, and given the stage and the fact that this was, more or less, the official changeover from Jobs’ regime to his, most new CEOs would be. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles the iPad 3 presser later this year or next year or whenever it is. I suspect he’ll be less nervous and much better.
  • Apple’s stock fell $17.15 to $357.45 in afternoon trading Tuesday.
    This clearly was related to the general expectations there would be a larger phone, which many customers seem to want. But that’s not to say that Apple won’t sell five bazillion of these things between now and Christmas. And it comes in white at launch. Oh, and there won’t be any antenna issues, right? Right??
  • The world phone thing was both expected and welcome.
    Verizon and Sprint customers can take their phones overseas now and roam. Also welcome is the free 3GS version (on AT&T contracts only) and the $100 iPhone 4 on Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. Those cheaper models should sell big, particularly the iPhone 4. Many customers will probably look at the 4S and the 4 and not see $100 worth of speed differences between the two (improved camera notwithstanding).
  • Siri is a wicked new feature.
    When all the fuss slows down over the lack of a redesign and folks start using it, this could be Apple’s next big innovation. From the looks of it, this is a true personal assistant in your pocket and something the competition is going to be chasing for awhile.
  • The new operating system is not getting much discussion–yet.
    iOS5 is going to breathe some fresh life into all those iPhone 4s on the market; Apple has sold nearly 40 million of them in the first six months of this year. It adds some overdue features, but combined with iCloud, it may stave off upgrades for iPhone 4 users who are waiting for the next big thing.
  • Couldn’t Apple have made Siri “one more thing?”
    Just didn’t seem right without that feature at the keynote.
  • Will the next iPhone release support LTE?
    By not creating a redesign now, I wonder if Apple will release the iPhone 5 with LTE support sometime in early 2012, when less power-hungry chips are available and AT&T’s 4G network is more mature (it’s just in a handful of markets now) and Sprint has launched its 4G network. I’d bet that phone will include the “NFC” chip that will allow customers to use the phone like a credit card a payment terminals in retail stores. It is hard to imagine that Apple will wait until Oct. 2012 to update when Android phones are coming out hot and heavy and Samsung is about to drop the Nexus Prime next week on a phone with a nearly 5 inch screen.
  • iCloud is a winner.
    We knew about iCloud, but I think customers will enjoy it when it’s launched, especially if it works as seamlessly as the videos make it appear. Not having the need to tether to a computer to activate or use iPhone will open it up to even more users.


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