A great reflection on the iPhone 4S event by John Gruber (unlike, say, this one). Three key takeaways. On the 3.5-inch screen debate:
Bigger is not necessarily better. Apple decided on the optimal size for an iPhone display back in 2006. If they thought 4-inches was better, overall, as the one true size for the iPhone display, then the original iPhone would have had a 4-inch display. It’s not like 4-inch screens are harder to make, or use some sort of new technology. If anything they’re surely easier to make, as the pixels are less dense.
That’s a great point that no one ever brings up. It’s not like 4-inch screens are some technical achievement that Apple can’t handle. They simply choose not to. And why? Because they believe 3.5-inches is the correct size.
Want bigger? You’re gonna love the Nexus Prime. But remember something else: bigger screen mean worse battery life. Add a 4G chip into the mix and well…
In the months leading up to the iPhone 4S unveiling, there were only two things I heard for certain: “October” and “3.5-inch screen”. No one wanted to listen on the latter, apparently.
On the form factor and timing:
The gist I get, after talking to some valuable little birdies over the past few days, is that a new form factor was never in the cards for this year’s iPhone. It may or may not have ideally launched a few months sooner, but the plan was always for an iPhone 4 successor that looked like the 4 but had improved internal components. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next iPhone doesn’t change, or doesn’t change much, either.
I also believe the original plan to launch this new iPhone in the summer but it was delayed (as was the Retina iPad that was originally due this fall). What I’m still not clear about is if Siri/iOS 5 delayed the iPhone 4S or the other way around…
Speaking of Siri:
I can’t help but see Siri as Apple’s first attack in the direction of Google’s crown jewels: search. Apple mentioned and promoted two partners for Siri’s knowledge back-end: Yelp for locations, and Wolfram Alpha for encyclopedic information and as a calculation engine. Every Siri query that’s answered by Yelp or Wolfram Alpha is a query that might otherwise have been answered by Google. The more people use Siri, and the more non-Google data sources Apple adds to it, the less iPhone users will use Google search.
Yep. And there will be more Siri-powered partners coming. And I bet they will come soon. I can’t believe Twitter isn’t one yet…
Bobby Ghoshal, founder of FLUD News, shares a very personal story about his interactions with Apple and Steve Jobs:
The day FLUD News launched its iPhone app last december, I emailed Steve and thanked him for his contribution to the app industry. I also asked him to check out the latest FLUD when he got a chance, the next day I got a call from Apple heads telling us that we were the number 1 featured app in the app store and that we were invited to meet with people from the app store team. It gave me goose bumps.
When engineers working on the very first iPod completed the prototype, they presented their work to Steve Jobs for his approval. Jobs played with the device, scrutinized it, weighed it in his hands, and promptly rejected it. It was too big.
The engineers explained that they had to reinvent inventing to create the iPod, and that it was simply impossible to make it any smaller. Jobs was quiet for a moment. Finally he stood, walked over to an aquarium, and dropped the iPod in the tank. After it touched bottom, bubbles floated to the top.
“Those are air bubbles,” he snapped. “That means there’s space in there. Make it smaller.”
Just an hour in and by 9:30PM last night, almost every social medium online was abuzz with the terrible news, with 1,905 blog posts, 3,836 online news articles, 1,483 forum posts, and over 570,414 tweets. Numbers continued to rise as the news spread and the world both fell asleep and awoke to the sadness. Keywords surrounding Jobs’ passing had also moved from conversation central to the release of the iPhone 4S, and onto more timely and emotional chatter related to his death. (via 2.5 Million Steve Jobs tweets sent out in just 12 hours)
The Apple home page says it all, appropriately in black and white. Steve Jobs was a legend, a visionary, and a businessman, who looked to the future but never stepped on people to get there. He had high hopes for Apple, and he surpassed every goal he set for his company.
There have been some grumblings around the iPhone 4S debut, but seriously, who doesn’t want one? If you feel like you were short-changed by not seeing the iPhone 5 debut, just think about what that launch will be like.
Steve Jobs was smart enough to know he needed to enable others to recreate his kind of vision and innovation. Not just follow his, but be even better. Lead into the future. Dare, reach, dream, and make it happen. He knew enough about his business to understand, he could never be the only innovative, forward-thinking, creative, visionary for Apple. His desire for others to succeed at Apple, and in business in general, means I can’t wait to see what Apple has in store. I’m sure they will honor the memory of Steve Jobs, and his vision, and it will be like him, extraordinary.
Brand new iPhone app fresh from our lab. ‘Jam With…’ is aimed at the music industry and is a dream for musicians.
We are launching the app via our blog BEFORE we go to record labels with the concept. We have one major UK band signed up but essentially this is a social experiment. Share the content, let us know which band YOU want to see in the app and you never know, you might be in luck!