Apple has upgraded the iPhone 4 and made some improvements, but it is highly unlikely to please customers who were hoping for an iPhone 5 crammed full of exciting innovations. The iPhone 4S was unveiled by Apple CEO Tim Cook (pictured) yesterday (4 October) in California.
David McQueen, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said of the launch yesterday: ‘There was a little disappointment in the air as, in actuality, Apple revealed a warmed up version of last year’s iPhone following 15 months without any hardware upgrade.
‘The iPhone 4S looks the same, with similar industrial design, screen size and user interface but just with a little better innards. Having a faster dual-core processor helping improve battery life, 1080p HD video recording, an eight-megapixel camera and the ability to roam between CDMA and GSM networks may float some people’s boat, but that may not be enough to seduce all Apple lovers to upgrade,’ said McQueen.
Ovum chief analyst Jan Dawson said: 'Though the announcement was relatively meaty in terms of hardware, Apple has been a victim of the hype that surrounds all of its announcements. With so many false rumours about what it would announce, it was almost inevitable that the announcement itself would disappoint. The hardware upgrades should improve performance considerably and keep the phone competitive with the latest Android and Windows Phone devices, but none will blow users away.
'This represents a significant upgrade for 3GS owners, but many iPhone 4 owners will be content to stick with what they’ve got until something less incremental comes along, especially as many will not yet be eligible for subsidized upgrades from their carriers.'
McQueen observed that there were some improvements in the service layer, including iCloud integration and an instant message application iMessage, while the voice recognition has the capability to be a key differentiator.
However, he added: ‘While Apple announced improvements in the hardware performance and on the service layer, it has been let down somewhat by having almost no change in the user experience and in the industrial design. Unfortunately for Apple, this is happening at a time when competitors are aggressively bringing new products to market with superior user experience in the form of wider and better screen, intuitive UIs, and more integrated apps. As a result, iPhone 4S could be the first disappointing device since the launch of the brand.’
A survey of UK consumers undertaken ahead of the launch of the iPhone 4S by mobile advertising network inMobi revealed that 39% of current smartphone users intended to buy an iPhone 5. However, if Apple only unveiled a product update like the iPhone 3GS, then just 12% of consumers said they would purchase an iPhone 4 update.
If this turns out to be the case, Apple will be hoping that its pricing strategy will bring it new customers instead who previously considered the iPhone out of their price range.