Entering the evolution phase of mobile + product leaks – fearless leader = less exciting talks

Some are disappointed in the iPhone 5 announcements today. There were no surprises. No “one more thing” of the Tim Cook era.

This isn’t to say that solid progress wasn’t made, but it shows what a different time we are in.

There are the calls of “see! Steve isn’t there any more! Apple is doomed!” That is hogwash, and we need to put this all in perspective:

1. They will sell a boat load of devices

Ask someone who wasn’t happy about the event “are you going to get one?” and see what they say. Every Apple user that I have asked has said yes. The device in your pocket has become indespensble. I don’t want to get all Jonny Ive on you, but it is very personal indeed. Making something that you touch and use constantly even a little better can be “worth it.”

2. The iPhone 5 has fierce competition, including iPhone 4S!

What is Windows 8’s biggest competition? Windows XP (and other old versions). This is the nature of a more mature market. The first iPhone competed with feature phones and Blackberry devices! It was a revolution in mobile in that it brought the full Web to your pocket (and the other items that Steve mentioned… such as unifying music and the phone itself).

There was still much room to improve. We got the biggest feature of all in “apps”, which is still the biggest reason to be an iOS user. We got faster connectivity. We got amazing displays.

Fast forward to today though, and you see much more niche features. Going from the iPhone 4S display to the 5’s will be fantastic, but not in the same league as moving from a RAZR to an iPhone. We also have the real competition of the Android ecosystem.

I am sitting on a plane right now and the flight attendent is telling me how she switched from iOS to Android and a Galaxy S3. She was thinking of switching back to the iPhone 5 but after hearing the news she doesn’t want to. I asked why and she said:

– I want my music and apps free (perception of cheap cheap cheap on Android)
– I prefer the S3 screen (size and quality… note she has never actually seen the 5’s screen 😉
– I prefer Google Now to Siri
– I prefer apps such as Gmail, Google Maps and driving directions, and others.

It is interesting to get a few into the perceptions. Android is doing very well indeed and is a force. I would argue that Google is innovating faster than Apple in many ways, especially on the “services” side (e.g. Google Now) and that favors Google. We are at a point where hardware is getting better but software is huge, and we are going from simple algorythms to truly complex (it is hard to get Google Now right!)

Where do we go from here? What were you hoping for? For me I would love to see leaps in the areas of:

– NFC-ish. Google Wallet is awful. I have yet to see it work, and Apple has an obvious play here.
– Inputs: Haptics, better software input (SwiftKey, Swype, etc)
– Siri that works
– Airplay that really works
– Decent stereo speakers
– The fold out displays 🙂
– Camera that works in low light

Game on.

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