Seldom does the world come close to such an instance where things happen so fast that its almost impossible to catch upto them. Last time this year we were discussing the iPhone 4 launch in India. Throughout this year there were speculations of a Jesus Phone in the form of the iPhone 5, a slim design, bigger screen, high spec’d cameras and a lot going on under the boot.
There were several devices launched in the mean time, the Samsung Galaxy S2 being the most prominent of them all followed by the likes of Sensation, Optimus 2 and now the Galaxy Note and galaxy Nexus. But companies like Samsung and LG live in the global markets, they cater to a vast audience, with a vast range of products. That makes them impressive industry giants but that also slows them down when it comes to device support.
Apple has followed a simple less product portfolio system from the get go, whereas other companies tend to branch out and diversify. Take the notebook for example, the Apple line has been consistent since the beginning with the Macbook, Macbook Pro (earlier know as powerbook) and the recent new addition the Air. Apple has essentially also eliminated the Macbook line and only now has the Pro and the Air.
In a similar scenario Samsung has a vast variety of Notebooks, even though they are relatively new to the industry. From over 300 different models in the Indian catalogue alone, it is difficult to imagine developing bios updates and bug fixes for each individual product.
For Apple the win – win scenario lies in their simplicity, One update to rule them all! Since all their MacBooks are essentially based on the same platform, Apple is usually able to send out app and OS updates without any problems. But that does not mean they are let off easy, issues are usually tested for several months before fixes are released, sometimes causing major problems too. But its easy to tackle problems if you have only two products to worry about.
The case of the iPhone
Same is the case with the iPhone, since its launch in 2007 several people have suggested year in and year out, that Apple will add a new phone to their lineup, an iPhone nano, a mini touch phone and possibly even a cheap variant of the main device. They have all been proven wrong, Apple’s strategy comes to light very simply: they have a yearly refresh cycle where they offer the last years product at a considerably lower price to see market response before they diminish stocks and stop selling the devices. This policy as we have seen is only applicable for the iPhone and not any other device.
Apple does not intend to give themselves competition by releasing two variants of the same device when their earning lie in numbers from the same device. Apple couldn’t be bothered giving os and bug fixes to previous adapters. Those who bought the iPhone 3Gs will start to hurt over the neglect that Apple will give to their updates. Its simple Apple want consumers to buy the latest products so they can continue to evolve and are able to enjoy the innovations of the company. But not everyone can afford new products yearly! Especially in India where contract systems don’t exist. Apple devices are expensive and much more than other devices, Apple includes the cost of one year of “Apple no questions asked service and repair” in their products. No other company offers you the ability to walk into a store with a defective product and walk out with a shiny new one. Other companies usually repair devices, sometimes delivering no real solution to the problem. No to mention that your precious device gets unscrewed and manhandled.
The iPhone 4s
The critics and investor management companies deemed the iPhone 4s as a major failure for Apple, but the truth really lies in the numbers. Apple got over 1 Million pre-orders of the iPhone 4s in the US alone in the first 24 hours. That is actually more than the total life sales of many companies. So what makes Apple iPhones so special? The first iteration of the device made people all over the world want it, possibly because they couldn’t buy one (sales were restricted to the US). This made people want it even more, causing groups from all over the world to indulge in home brewing the device.
The most significant specification change to the iPhone 4S from its predecessor is the bump to Apple’s A5 processor. Just as in the case of the iPad we should see a vast improvement in overall speed and responsiveness of the device. The iPhone 4S also bumps the resolution of its digital stills from 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels and its HD video capture resolution from 720p to 1080p this was seen in almost all cameras in higher end Android phones. But, the fact that apple continues to improve its rear illuminated sensor adding better optics and image stabilization is a mighty improvement.
The inclusion of Siri was not much of a shock because Apple had acquired the company some time ago, but the software has obviously come a long way since Apple purchased it and is integrated into core functions of the handset as well as Wolfram Alpha for getting answers directly from the internet. This personal assistant Siri was one thing that made me stop writing and start watching during launch.
Owner : How many cups in an ounce?
Siri : Let me think : Here is your answer!
Owner : Schedule my meeting for budgets at 12.
Siri : Note : You already have a meeting at 12 , would you like me to schedule it anyway?
For all those who have seen Terminator the movie, should know that this is the dawn of Skynet in the form of Siri. Jokes apart this is possibly the most advanced Ai you can think about putting in a handheld device. Forget peta flops of processing this takes a measly A5 chipset with a dual core processor.
The only reason Apple continues its success if because they not only focus on hardware but deliver the software as promised. They can always announce the iPhone 5 next year and they will, but till then Siri will rule the smartphone haven riding a 4s which houses brand new optics, a full hd 8 MP camera and a spec bumper Dual core A5 chip.
Now its only time before people start to mention the good aspects of Samsung phones and LG, i don’t deny them or dispute them. i love my Android devices, the S2 the Sensation and even the Evo 3D, my honeycomb tablets, a daily user of Blackberry and even my Windows Phones. I have used vLingo on the S2 and my tab But its no where near what Siri does. Honestly we do wish Apple paid us for what we write about them. But it does not seem that they need anymore hype than what they can already generate by themselves.