Tired of iPhone hype and backlash

Usually I get the one word editorials around here, but this time it's my podcast co-host, Seth Clifford who's grown tired of miss-set expectations, of media hype and backlash, and for the reality distortion field that no longer comes from Apple, but is directed at Apple.

On the heels of what many are describing as the cataclysmically disappointing iPhone 4S announcement yesterday, the internet is rife with tales of Apple's inevitable post-Steve descent into oblivion. Why, the mere suggestion that Tim Cook has bungled his first big show is enough to send bloggers the web over into paroxysms of glee, breathlessly recounting every misstep, every missed opportunity, and every underwhelming demonstration onstage at that emotionally vacant press event.

But today, after the smoke's cleared, I'm just tired. I'm tired of the outlandish expectations the media creates. I'm tired of contrarian backlash, built on incorrect assumptions about how an extremely successful company needs to operate to continue on the path to further success. There simply isn't any way to even view Apple announcements through any lens of reality anymore, and it's tiring.

Now go read the rest of it.

Source: Seth Clifford

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments



I agree completely. Do I wish there was new body design? Yes and no. I love the design of the iP4 as it is. I think it would be sweet if they added a little more screen real estate, but it isn't a deal breaker. I have owned a few of the latest Android phones with their massive displays. They don't look as good and they make the phones far too big (IMO).
I am totally happy with the same sexy design with more power under the hood. I don't find it to be a "marginal upgrade" as everyone is saying just because it doesn't have a body redesign.
Either way we all know that the way the media works, Apple could have come out with a totally redesigned iPhone 5 that cures cancer and gets you laid and they would still line up to point out any (minor) imperfections they could find in the phone.
I have no issue dropping $$$ to get the iP4s...and I will on the 7th.
EDIT BTW. Love the Jayne Cobb pic. hahaha

I wholeheartedly agree with Cory. Apple took the sleekest slab of glass and aluminum and gave it a jump of power under the hood. I definitely am going to get the "S" because I love the fact that the camera has been ramped up to the nth degree! So what if it looks the same, it's sexy regardless... Can anyone see your turbo, nitrous, or supercharger underneath the hood? No? Didn't think so.

I agree, everyone wanted a new body design for the best looking and sleekest looking phones ever...I'm totally satisfied with the iP4s announcement

I grew up using pay phones, looking up numbers in phone books, writing handwritten letters, driving with paper maps, and taking film in to be developed. You'll never hear a complaint from me about any iPhone that is ever made.
Young people today are ungrateful punks.

Barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways…yada yada yada. Somebody call Homer Simpson and tell him we've found his dad, Abe.

the same body is only a bad thing for all those luxury-i-sheeps ´cause it´s not obvious anymore that they got the newest gimmick from Apple :-( I am quite happy with it as I am a returner-to-apple and would not if they have thrown in a 4.3" chocolate bar. my 2 cents, 2XS

I agree to an extent, Rene. TiPB is just as responsible since you guys regurgitate the rumor mill posts at times [not meaning that negatively, it is just the case].
But...where I disagree is in Apple not taking any "blame" here. They have released the iPhone [major launch], iPhone 3G [App Store, major launch], iPhone 3Gs [great hardware updates, speed improvements, etc - major launch], iPhone 4 [retina, great Apple apps, etc - major launch], then you get to iPhone 4S [.....].
When you play up the launches with these major releases, wait 16 months to release the next one [I get why so not a prob in my book], then only play catch up in the majority of the features and add a few really nice-to-haves [not killer] features you will get blow back. This release was anticlimactic in every way.
With that said, it is a great device [love the antenna tweaks, Siri, and reminders] but it begs the question of "why would I buy iPhone 4S instead of ____________?"
I'll also add one thing. The other iPhone releases were "must have" devices. iPhone 4S isn't forcing anyone to say "I HAVE TO HAVE IT!!"

Totally disagree. The 4S is every bit as worthwhile as previous. The iphone 4 itself stands out as the "A+" hardware update, but nonetheless, this is a worthy update in itself.

I in no way said it was a worthless update but compare it to the previous updates and it is far from spectacular. Personally, if I were still using an iPhone, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat for Siri, camera, and the antenna [speed] upgrades alone but I'm a gadget freak too.
Aside from Siri, the iPhone 4S is marginally better than the iPhone 4 considering iOS 5 will be on both. By marginally I purely mean in terms of consumer desire. People will care less about the $N more the 4S costs for an antenna they don't understand and a better camera they use for recreational purposes.
The expectations of a major release in previous years coupled with a less than stellar release this year [after such a long delay further feeding the rumor mill] is what caused this backlash from long time Apple lovers, haters, etc.

I can agree with some of what you're saying. I was a little upset yesterday. The hype got to me. I wanted the larger screen. But when I sat and thought about what they were actually offering it was enough. Enough to keep me Droid free for one more year. The camera. The A5. Siri. The ecosystem. It's more than enough. I'll be able to use iMessage to text my 6-year old son from his iPod. I can continue to share apps and music with my wife. The iCloud integration with pages and the camera between all devices. The App Store! Nobody OS touching that. To me those are all killer. And toouch to walk away from.
I do seriously agree with you that Tipb did a large part of the hype building but they are here to give us all the rumors and possibilities. And to Rene's credit. He was yelling 4S all along.

I'm with you. I think it is a great upgrade it just isn't in normal Apple fashion.
Consider this [mainly iPhone haters]:
If HTC released a phone just like this, what would you think?
The world would be ablaze of their awesomeness. The Evo 4G compared to Evo 3D is about the same but throw in the 3D gimmick, few tweaks [not nearly as many software tweaks as iOS 4->5] and a body change.
This is common practice but Apple isn't common so we hold them, unfairly, to a different standard.

"The world would be ablaze of their awesomeness"

I think the same is true if iOS 5, iCloud, and iPhone 4S were all announced together. But, because people already knew about so much ahead of time, they lost sight of the "awesomeness" four months later.

And that's a real shame.

I agree it would have been a bigger event if it were all announced at the same time.
The iOS 5 announcements weren't mind blowing, aside from iCloud, but coupled would have helped.

Dude, the switch from 3G to 3GS was almost EXACTLY like the switch from 4 to 4S. They both provided better, faster innards with almost nothing in the way of new features. I'm still on the 3G. I didn't buy the 3GS because it was barely a change at all. Didn't buy the 4 because of all the antenna and prox sensor issues. I'm absolutely, positively, all over the 4S. I no-kidding HAVE TO HAVE IT.

As a 3G owner myself [not active user though], I would absolutely have jumped to a 4S. It is definitely a HAVE TO HAVE for 3G users. 3Gs users it is a no-brainer [2 year upgrade cycle]. 4 users...not so sure beyond techies.

As much as I really really hate rumors and speculation of people whom seem to know anything about what Apple's plans are, I too got sucked in to the hype of a new design. But after the good night sleep I've been asked 6-7 times, what I thought about the 4s. The iPhone 4 design is so successful and was still selling strong before the "Lets talk Apple" announcement, why would a company change that winning design. To take it from what is was to what the 4s is now is amazing. iOS5 is a huge step forward in terms of functionality and overall user experience that has to be taken into account with the iPhone4 and 4s. Do I wish I could get an iPhone4s I am asked, yes but since I just bought my white iPhone4 5-6 months ago, it just doesn't make sense. Thus I wait for the next model (5?). Now my wife teeters on getting the 4s as she was the first buyer of the iPhone4. So the Camera is enough to compel her and Siri, camera and speed would be enough to compel me. Yes I think the 4s is a grand new phone.

Why is the media apparently to blame for everything? I've seen more outrageous expectations and rumors from bloggers who aren't associated with any media organization.
I'm admittedly on the fence regarding the 4s. I was hoping for a little bit more - not because of anything I read or because of any hype, but just because of what I personally deemed as shortcomings (for example, the low resolution of the front-facing camera which I would like to use more often for photos of my wife & I as we're out having fun.)
On the upside, I was always disappointed with the lack of video stabilization so I'm thrilled to see Apple addressed that with the 4s.

Does this mean that TIPB is tired of adding to the hype by passing along every stray rumor that turns up?

I totally agree with the article. I was half-heartedly expecting a new body design, but in the end SIRI definitely was a game changer. I still like my iP4 and will wait until next year when my contract is done to upgrade. I think the expectation was high due the fact that every few months a new Android phone is released and the pundits would write that this is what the iPhone should have had. For me the UI is much more sleek for iOS as well as the classic minimalist style of the iPhone.
No other phones on the market creates this much expectations, enthusiasm, frenzy, and as well as disappointment. iPhone announcement always are front page news compare to other smartphones. For these reasons I will inevitably stays with Apple iPhone! (I am not a fanboy...I am just a fan of a great product.)

It's diffently not cutting edge anymore, Apple is getting pass by by everyone. In 2007 iPhone was 5 yrs ahead of everyone, now their 6 months behind. I've had all 4 iPhones and this one disappoints me the most, more than 3GS. Apple come on!

I'd say it is fair in terms of a business doing what they need to to get sales. They have to create demand for the 4S. With Siri on the iPhone 4, sales would tank, IMHO, compared to previous releases.

If Siri is doing enough of it's processing in the cloud that it doesn't need the A5, I bet you will see it available on the iPhone 4 through a jailbreak tweak sooner rather than later.

Excellent!! I actually stood up and clapped when I finished reading this! You summed it all up for me! I was upset at first. And then I took the case off my phone and looked at it! The design is above and beyond anything else out there! Even after all these months! And then I took the time to step back and look at what they'll be offing with the new hardware and Siri and the otter updates. It's going to be an amazing phone! I'm gonna buy 3!

@iWeb: I think that your expectations of greatness from Apple is a lot like demanding teleportation from the engineers at MIT. Yeah, they are great but they are bound by the reality that surrounds them.
When Apple 'builds its own hardware', it means that design how to integrate components from other semiconductor companies into a consumer product. If you give careful technical consideration to each of the items on your list, you'll see that including those items would not clearly improve consumer satisfaction.
4G chips is not ready for cell phones! The current power requirements make them a better fit for laptops. In addition, 4G only covers a small geographical area and carriers are still working to roll it out (it will likely take another year). So why add 4G when it wouldn't benefit most users given the sacrifices made to battery life and cost?
NFC is also another technology that is becoming adopted but not quite there yet. If Apple were to include this, they would need to build an entire backend that integrates with itunes. This is not a trivial feat to be accomplished.
Memory options: have you check the price of SSDs in the market lately?
A better FFC: I would agree that having a better FFC would allow you to take better high def photos of yourself, but most people are so narcissistic. Facetime video resolution is limited by network bandwidth not the size of the sensor or the lens.
Thinning and lighter: do you really need the ip4 to be thinner? really!? what purpose would that serve other than to say that it's thinner? In my experience, most people like the weight of the phone because it doesn't feel cheap, though that evidence is anecdotal.
4" screen. As Rene has posted before, this would cause problems for the developers and decrease the quality of the apps because to keep retina display, they need to change the resolution. I don't want to argue if 4" or 3.5" is better but Apple did do several years of usability studies before they decided to go with 3.5". This could have been a decision made in the past because it was optimal then but not now.
I liked your post because you actually identified what you wanted, instead of complaining that the 4s doesn't look different. I think that Apple made really good decisions with this launch that stayed true to its beliefs in building great products. Instead of shoving a whole bunch of random hardware together, they made careful decisions with the consumer in mind. They put their energy into things that would impact user experience the most: icloud and siri. They played their strengths because no other manufacturer can offer the same software/hardware integration that they can. This isn't just a talking point but the actual truth. It would take years for other companies to catch up, which is why they aren't trying and those that are (i.e. RIM) are behind.

I am actually kind of relieved that the design will stay the same. I LOVE this design - I think it's a work of art. So elegant. It'd be nice to hold onto for more than a year... Our expectations have increased at the same rate our attention spans have decreased, IMO.

Come on Rene, this is really lame, tired of your own hype and hubris?
If this was Samsung or Microsoft would Mr. Clifford be "tired"? Is Apple, once again, above criticism and backlash because of the occasional lame keynote?
After 16 months you saw this coming and wrote the "Setting Expectations" post, but was that enough to compensate for 16 months of covering every fantastic rumor that crossed your way?
Steve Jobs, in every possible occasion, did his best to convince everyone of the unique supreme awesomeness of Apple, and when people buy into it you blame the media?

Ummm yeah. Two days before. Up 'til that point it was hyping the iPhone 5 rumors with the best of them.

Lars is absolutely correct. Until JUST before, they were hyping iPhone 5 just as bad as any other news source. Case leaks, feature additions, form factor analysis, etc...
To suddenly claim like they had no responsibility is laughable.

Amen Seth! Just the media and bloggers leading the way to disappoint the their followers. My iPhone never let me down as phone mini computer and game piece. I'm still happy.

For "Christ's" sake? Really? If people were only this angry and spent this much time and energy working to further relationships with others I can only imagine what kind of world we would live in...
I invite those who are angry, frustrated and seething about "what you didn't get" from Apple and consider if in the final moments of your life on this earth, you will look back on all the emotions spent telling the world about your disappointments and anger or if you might, just perhaps, find that energy would have been more joyfully and beneficially spent elsewhere?
In a country that values things over people, the "toy" du jour over just anything of substance that might sustain, and general self-centeredness, some will respond with yet more anger, others will scoff or mock the thought shared above, and many will pay it no mind at all. I still can't help but wonder what might happen if people actually considered it...

I'm also tired. Tired of the synch on my calendar not working. Apple, please fix that. Tired of when I have 4 bars and my phone doesn't ring on calls. It goes right to VM. Apple, please fix that. Tired that everyone has the same tone for emails and we can't change that. Apple, please fix that. Tired that not 1 of my 4 iphones that I bought didn't last 1 year. I've had 3 refurbs. Apple, please fix that. Tired that there's no push for GMail. Apple, please fix that.

Natural language interfaces have been around for a while, there is nothing "pioneering" about it.
Besides, Siri itself is not new, it has been around for a while as an iPhone app. Did it make a splash? Do you have it on your iPhone? Was it a "game changer"?
People are clinging to Siri to justify the 4S. Siri is old news.

From the parent: "so everyone that buys a iPhone 4S will need to upgrade AGAIN"
Need: I do not think that word means what you think it means.
And to the larger point: I couldn't be more baffled by the reaction to the 4S. Not every single update is (or could) be earthshatteringly great. I think people's expectations really did run away with them here.

No wonder Rene is tired. How many hours of podcast and live stuff have you done this week mate - and its still Wednesday! Just say "Aluminium" one time, then Chill.
Expectations are not manufacturer obligations, perhaps we forget that. A mid season "refresh" is better than nothing, it has history; and I think there are reasons behind that which fans will forgive, if they ever find out (keep checking the SF bars). I guess iPhone will reach 5 when the supply chain and the hardware is ready - which is Apple SOP.
I do wonder what lovely hardware Nokia will wrap it's mangos in this season. They do make great hardware and MS is not going away. Android will be serving ice cream at the sandwich bar next week; hell, even Blackberry has plans. We live in interesting times.

Seriously. A phone with an eight megapixel camera and voice recognition is a "disappointment?" What have we become but perpetual spoiled brats? Sad thing is, if the iPhone 4Ss guts were taken and stuffed into that ugly "teardrop" shape we've all been seeing, the bloggers would be falling all over themselves to get their hands on one.

Apple did not promise or hype up anything about this release, expectations are self made in this case. It would be one thing if Apple for the past year had been building us up then failed to produce anything living up to those expectations, but they did not do that.
I think most people have come accustom to expect the wow factor give Apples last few years of development and our tendency to want more and have it now.
This is an assumption but I think they are playing it safe and smart, to say, they have a standard for the iPhone and will only deploy features and functions as the technology develops maturely to the point it fully fits that model with no compromise. Yes they could have put in NFS or a larger screen, or baked in faster network speed. Why did not not do this, well maybe to do that would have them compromise on something, like space, battery life, performance, and this is something they will not do.
One of the unmistakable factors about Apple (present form that is) is their commitment to their standards and unwillingness to bend just to deliver a product to market, it will be released when it is ready. So with that in mind and like some have posted, I am happy with my iPhone 4 and will upgrade to the new 4s. If it is as reliable and my current unit I will be just as please and happy with it. Yes I would like more capability but that will come when ready and I would rather it work flawlessly instead of being half baked.

Folks, I'm flagging every comment like this. I urge you to do the same so this community blog can stay positive. Difference in opinion is fine but these types of comments are out of line.

That's how innovation works.
Until somebody sues for "a method of specifying computer activity with vocal inflection"

You are as old as me...if you were going for a real human being pic, I can't believe you did not go for a picture of Lilly von Schtupp ("I'm tired") from Blazing Saddles.
Now get off mah lawn while I go feed my pet dinosaur.

You know, so are we Rene. So are we. We have read for months every single rumor that was out there recycled here as if it were from the mouth of Jobs himself.
Nobody, nobody knew what was going to be announced for sure this time, and it was obviously by design. Was there an iPhone 5? Yes. It will come next year. Was it signed off by Steve? Hardware, certainly. iOS 6 on the other hand, we'll have to wait and see.
Frankly, you set yourself up for this by trying to bring news from inside a company with security that exceeds our own government's at times, and then you invite discussion.
This is part of it man. Unless you have facts, you're all reporting rumor and hope. You are as responsible for reporting "Apple will be including a cappuccino maker" or whatever, and then when it's not there suddenly Apple has "fallen short of expectations".
I had no expectations other than a nice upgrade to a phone I already love. I got that. I'm happy. Try it some time.

Hey Guys,
I've been lurking around here for some time now and I decided to register because I really need your help :(
I heard alot abot Profit Assassin and I was wondering if any of you knows more about it (I cant find too much info on google about it).