iPhone 5: Much ado about nothing

Media outlets everywhere eagerly awaited as Apple began their annual conference Oct. 3. The rumor mill spun out huge expectations as Tim Cook, current CEO and replacement for Steve Jobs, took the stage to announce new Apple products for this year and the future.

Steve Jobs. Photo from Creative Commons.

The rumor mill had more than enough time to churn out unrealistic expectations for the next-generation iPhone. Apple typically holds this conference months earlier, which lead many to suspect that issues with sourcing parts had put the company behind schedule with the rumored iPhone 5.

What the public was treated to is what many in the Twittersphere panned as a dull presentation on an iPhone no one was expecting or wanting. Instead of the fabled and now fictitious iPhone 5, eager fans were treated to an introduction of the iPhone 4S, a phone that serves as a face-lift to the current iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4S, while not being what fans and the media were expecting, is an upgrade on the current iPhone 4. It features a faster processor coupled with an updated operating system. The shining feature of the iPhone 4S is the voice activated program built into it. The program is known as Siri and is different than the standard voice command software that has come with many phones before, though not dissimilar to the voice activated program found in the Droid.

The iPhone 4s. Photo from Creative Commons.

What makes Siri unique is its ability to learn and remember things. For example, you can ask Siri to remind you of a meeting with your boss. Siri is going to ask you to identify your boss in your contact list and then will remember and know who your boss is for any future commands or requests mentioning your boss.

Siri is also able to transcribe what is called natural language. This means that Siri will be able to listen to a user and then write down the words as they speak with greater accuracy than what users are probably used to. Natural language is how everyone normally talks every day, meaning there is no need to make an extra effort on enunciation to make sure the program understands users.

While not what fans and the media expected, Siri was still big news. Only a few hours later though this news was eclipsed with the devastating announcement Steve Jobs’s passing, a man who had effectively built the industry of smartphones, mp3 players, and tablets. This news eclipsed any negative feedback on the iPhone 4S. Competitors of Apple delayed planned releases for their products out of respect for Steve Jobs who, while a fierce competitor, was someone respected within the industry.

Initial response to the iPhone 4S may have been negative, but within days the phone’s online pre-order stock had sold out. The iPhone 4S may become one of Apple’s most successful pre-order products to date. Much of this outpouring is due to Jobs’s death, which spurred initial lackluster sales to unexpected heights. Those ordering online now have to wait up to two weeks to receive their new iPhone 4S. It will be interesting to see if Apple maintains their staying power now that their founder and visionary is gone. The iPhone 4S will be the first real test for the company.