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Apple blots report card on iPhone 4S


Published: 7 October, 2011


We have often remarked on how Apple seems to know exactly what the world wants and how it combines this with an understanding of what is technically possibly, to come up with some breathtaking ideas. But how much was that in evidence at the iPhone 4S launch this week? The new CEO has bungled his first launch.

The other phone manufacturers have already come out with dual core chips and devices, and this phone uses the same chip as the iPad2, so catches up there, the camera has finally reached 8 megapixels just as most of the world's smart phones have moved on from there. The device looks identical to the iPhone 4. This is a "me too" phone which can only convince people who are already Apple converts, to buy it.

There is one new idea called Siri, a voice activation system that also speaks back to you and will interrogate Wikipedia for you, so tries to tell you just about anything you ask - it's a nice idea and like all things Apple, we're sure that it will be relatively well engineered, but off-the-cuff tests have already shown that the system is at least somewhat flawed, which makes it less a breathtaking idea and more of a gimmick, which means it will soon be copied and likely bettered.

This is a device built when the company was both busy worrying about legal actions and its founder's health, and it offers none of what is great about Apple. Could it be that the technological dance which Apple has led the cell phone industry is now virtually over.

We're not saying the brand and mindshare of Apple is over, and the likely effect of the death of its founder will be increased, not decreased sales - those fascinated by the man will want an Apple product while the "Jobs effect" still drives his company.

Ahead Apple will have difficult times, and come Monday morning it will be tough on all its 47,000 employees to ask them to carry on innovating as if Steve Jobs was still alive. Many will leave now we're sure, but the company faces its most alert adversaries ever and while Jobs leaves a company miles ahead of its peers, rivals are accelerating fast, and Apple will have to do better that the iPhone 4S if it wants to maintain that lead.

Pricing in the US will be $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for 32GB and $399 for the new 64GB model and the phone is available in US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK on October 14 and in a whole lot more companies come the end of their month.

For a full version of this story go to or email for the issue of Faultline it was first published in

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