Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iPhone 4S, Keeping the iPhone Relevant

The iPhone 4S wasn’t so much of an evolution as an improvement in select features. The timing was not right to introduce technology features such as LTE and NFC. The LTE technology had to be more mature in terms of longer battery life and lower price per chip to be incorporated in the iPhone. For NFC, Apple had not garnered enough merchant support around a payments solution to create a fulfilling customer experience. Both of these technologies are likely to be in the iPhone 5, which will be more of an evolution to the iPhone product.

Still, the iPhone 4S made some good improvements. The better camera will certainly be appreciated by iPhone users. For many iPhone users the iPhone is their de-facto camera. The Cards iOS application is also a good feature and combined with the new camera features will provide value to the customer. There is something special about receiving a beautiful card in the mail. USPS had been offering this service on its web site for over a year. This is another example of Apple genius, taking an existing service and making it more user friendly and relevant.

Siri, the new voice recognition service is an interesting improvement. Voice recognition has always been a holy grail for mobile phones because of the size of the keyboard, and the perceived ease of use it would bring. But it has never reached its full potential, due to limited applications, and the mini keyboard being the preferred way to communicate. Here comes Apple, the company that changed the model for digital music, the smartphone and effectively created a market for the consumer tablet, with its implementation of voice recognition. Apple’s specialty is making technology come to life. From what I have read, it is fun, which is always popular with iPhone users and smartphone users in general. Many smartphone users consider their smartphone to be a close companion, and look to their smartphone to be entertained.

Apple also emphasized the iCloud service, which is an important evolution in the multi-device world. People need access to their information on various devices and they need reliable storage for devices like the smartphone and tablet because they are being used so much and are an important part of our personal and business lives.

“Find my Friends” iOS application that Apple plans to introduce will be a nice service but limited because it only works with iPhones and iPads. This highlights Apple’s somewhat myopic vision on interoperability. “If you are not an Apple user who cares” is not recipe for success in the communications world where interoperability rules.

Lastly, the introduction will help Sprint get their customers excited about buying an iPhone. Because at the end of the day, for Apple it is about providing an excellent customer experience and selling devices.

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