Let's talk 'Let's talk iPhone' on

Thirty minutes after the end of the ‘Let’s talk iPhone’ event, will be hosting a set of commentators[1] giving initial impressions of announcements.

“Tune-in” at

I’ll update this post with a link for the download once available.


Dan Benjamin talks about Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event with Dan Moren, Marco Arment, John Siracusa, John Gruber, Horace Dediu, Arnold Kim, and Christina Warren. Topics include the iPhone 4S hardware and form factor, the iOS update, the “geek letdown”, Siri, iPods, pricing, release dates, AppleCare, carriers, serious stats, iCloud and iTunes Match, the non-geek response, and more.

Download the episode here.

  1.  @marcoarment @asymco @arnoldkim @dmoren (@gruber & @jsnell if avail)
  • I guess this is a good a time and place as any to plug Horace’s podcast “The Critical Path”. Let me state in the strongest possible terms, that if you’re not listening to this podcast, you’re missing out. As co-host Dan Benjamin would say to those of you who are not taking this opportunity to hear Horace ruminate on the business side of mobile , “Shame on you.”

    • Anonymous

      Am I the only person who finds Horace’s voice strangely soothing? Horace – if you decide to record some audiobooks I’m right there! Brothers Grimm to start with maybe?

      • Amit_kandpal

        second that .

      • Oakustic

        Very soothing. I love the content of the podcast, but fall asleep every time, regardless of time of day.

  • Eat up Martha! 😀

  • Andrew Condon

    So now i see what the “Let’s talk” in the title of the event meant. It occurs to me that Siri is a potential disruption of search – i’d say it’s a long shot so i don’t suggest they are doing it _for that reason_

    • Amit_kandpal

      Nice take

    • It will indeed take a long time.

      If it works (big if) and if it’s heavily used (another big if), Siri may get to know you better than Google ever did. More interesting might be whether Siri will know a different type of person or some other type of knowledge than what Google collects.

      • davel

        I think Siri is astounding.

        Even if it is limited to whatever database they are gearing it to. If it works like that to find restaurants, make calls, calendar and simple web searches. It is important.

        The video showed useful every day uses in natural language. Not stilted words that only a computer understands.

        It was a stunning demo.

        They did say it was beta, so I am sure there are hiccups. But to have the confidence to show beta software like that. A live demo was very impressive.

  • Li An

    Apple announced at their Q3 conference call that they sold 222 Million iOS devices. Today at the iPhone 4S announcement they announced they sold 250 million iOS devices total. Does that mean they “only” sold 28 Million iOS devices in Q4 (the quarter just ended)? They probably missed big on either iPhone or iPad shipment

    • They’d be off by about 13 million by my estimate. But I would caution that providing a specific number could be construed as material information which is frowned upon as Apple is very close to reporting its earnings (October 18, less than 2 weeks). We need to listen to the way they made the announcement closely.

      They may say “over 250 million” to cover this.

      • Li An

        I just watched the part of today’s presentation where Cook mentioned that Apple “just passed a quarter of a billion iOS devices”. I certainly hope Apple’s iOS sales didn’t just fall off a cliff last quarter

      • kevin

        Apple likes to announce round numbers, so I think Apple could’ve sold anywhere from 28 to 37m iOS devices in the quarter. At the high end, that could break down into about 3-4m Touch, 13-14m iPad, and 19-20m iPhone.

      • Chicagobob

        I just re-watched the keynote, here is TC’s exact quote: “I’m pleased to tell you this morning, that we have passed the quarter of a billion (250M) unit sales mark.” Also, here is Scott Forestall’s quote: “As Tim said, we’ve already sold more than a quarter billion iOS devices.“

        While I don’t think they’re playing games, I do think its a meaningful hint, as I said over at the AFB board. I doubt that they would have said 250M, if they had actually sold more than 260M. Just my 2 cents. So, I think some downward tweaking might be appropriate.

    • r.d

      Apple actually said more than 220 million sold thru Q3.
      While the number they provide in the earning calls is shipped to the channel.
      It was 200 million in June 6, 2011.

      28.728 million ipad + 128.961 million iphones + the rest for ipod touch
      It could be counting devices sold to consumers.
      Or just rounding number. but last time this kind of number
      was leaked during the ipad trail documents. The number was accurate
      to the earnings.

    • Jon

      Here is the way I’d look at this. On June 6, they announced 200M at a similar presentation at WWDC. But then in earnings it was 222M, implying way above 200M on June 6. Now we have 250M on Oct 4. So 50M new devices in 4 months or about 12.5M per month. That to me implies 37.5 million in Q4 or 260.5M total.

  • epic fail from Fruit factory. Hail the king Samsung

    • Anonymous

      Your enthusiasm is admirable. For the purposes of discussion it is helpful to introduce some data or analysis. Samsung does appear to be making phones with advanced features but I propose that the war will be won or lost on the ecosystem, where I don’t see Samsung well positioned.

  • deV

    Here’s the best analysis of the few I’ve read:

    “So what’s my take on all of this? Well, to be honest, I’m a bit underwhelmed. No. I’m very underwhelmed. It has been almost a year and a half since Apple released the iPhone 4, and all they have to offer is two upgrades in the form of internal hardware? Adding a dual-core processor and a better camera in the iPhone 4S is, more or less, minute. The iPhone 4 was already fast, and the camera was already fantastic. Nonetheless, they are improvements I’m sure many will be happy with. That said, Apple has been too caught up on worrying about their competitors “copying” them to realize that they have finally surpassed them. Bigger and higher resolution displays are on the verge of release, even bigger and faster processors are around the corner. Can the 4S hold Apple afloat for another year? Another year and a half?

    People have long been anticipating a larger iPhone. In light of larger, more capable Android phones with 4-inch and beyond displays, the iPhone 4S sporting a 3.5-incher is absurd. People were anticipating an entirely new design – admittedly not my favorite – and changes in a big way. Neither the iPhone 4S or Siri can deliver on that level. I think the sudden dip in Apple’s stock prices should serve as a testament to that.”

    Such an utter disappointment. The only thing he left out is that 4 inch or better screens that are brighter, more-vibrant, and more beautiful than any iPhone screen have been available from a Samsung phones since at least the beginning of this year. The iPhone 4’s aging (over 1.5 year old) processor is bested by many, many Android phones of all shapes and sizes. iPhone’s A5 (made by Samsung) is a fast chip, but can it beat Samsung’s own Exynos 1.2 or 1.5 GHz varieties? I’m awaiting the benchmarks from the actual phone (not the tablet), but I highly doubt it. Exynos 1.2 GHz alone utterly destroys every other smartphone processor (Quadrant score 3500 vs about 2000 for most high-end smartphones). I don’t see any evidence that the A5 will be any different.

    So basically Apple just “refreshed” the iPhone 4 and simultaneously entered the low-end market with their older phones. Waits a few seconds for you guys to suddenly change tune and explain how that’s such a great idea. Genius!

    Can’t wait to see what Samsung and Google have in store on October 11th. They’re totally going to outdo….themselves?

    • Chicagobob

      FWIW: people love their iPhones. Without a doubt the iPhone 4 is the best phone I’ve ever had, and I love the industrial design! I’m delighted that they didn’t do a redesign. (my previous phone was the original iPhone).

      Improving every component, but keeping the same form factor means all accessories work right now. That means there is a huge pile of cases, chargers, car mounting kits, etc. etc. etc. that all work right now. I think this is one reason why they were able to wait so long, there is nothing that any vendor in the iPhone eco-system needs to do to get ready for the holidays, because they’re already ready.

      I think you’re missing the point. The iPhone is already the aspirational brand. If the camera is as good as claimed, just that one component is a huge leap forward. I wonder who else will be using that camera on Oct. 11 or do you think Apple had it locked up? The fact of the matter is that now that there is a “free” iPhone, I think Android phones will have a hard time finding niches to compete with the iPhone this year.

      • deV

        You can’t improve every component without improving the screen. They neither improved the screen size nor the screen technology. Take your iPhone 4 or 4S to a Best Buy. Compare. Your screen is outdated by at least 6 months. It does not look as good as the 4.5″ Samsungs (though it may look better than any of the Droids). Maybe you have to hide the Apple logo and identifying marks to get an unbiased comparison, so go ahead and do it.

        Personally I haven’t thought twice about spending money on accessories. They tend to be more expensive when a new form factor comes out. I assume that is good for the manufacturer’s profits, so I fail to see how it helps them to be so “ready.”

        Congrats to Apple for finally catching up to 8 megapixels, 1080p video. The Galaxy S II had that in May (5 months ago). Many other phones have those same specs. The S II is already known for having a very good camera. We shall see when the comparisons are revealed.

        Do I think that the Samsung superphone that is about to be revealed, expected to have Samsung’s SAMOLED HD 720p resolution and a number of other amazing features will use the same exact camera as their 5 month old flagship S II? It’s a toss-up. I know 12 megapixel cameras are around. But I don’t think there’s a priority on making it look better than it already does. It’s 1080p. It got there many months before Apple. What more do you want?

      • Anonymous

        Bigger isn’t necessarily better, it’s not like battery life or storage or camera quality – it’s much more of a personal preference. I have no interest personally in a device which is larger than the iPhone, heck the iPhone itself is the biggest phone I’ve ever owned – it’s at the outer limit of my size range. If they could shrink it to 3inches I’d be interested.

        As for the Samsung screens looking better, that’s entirely subjective. If you care about deep blacks and highly saturated colours, then the qHD SAMOLED+ screens are superior. If you care about pixel density and colour fidelity then LCD is still ahead. If you don’t hate pentile arrangements then the 720p SAMOLED (without the plus) is in the running, if you do then it’s drek.

        If you rate cameras solely by Megapixels then Samsung is ahead, photographers however take a wider view of camera quality.

      • Not to mention that “bigger” ‘Brighter” “faster” and “on 4G” means harder on the battery. Anyone got real world battery stat comparisions?

      • davel

        Yeah. I know people who have the new 4G LTE phones. They keep it tethered to a wall so they can use the phone as a phone and not a brick.

      • kevin

        Not real world, but Galaxy SII on AT&T touts an “up to 3 hour” talk time on 4G. For comparison, iPhone 4S now has “8 hours 3G talk time”.

        See or check AT&T’s website

      • deV

        My god that’s an awful source of data. Here’s some real data:

        Galaxy S II – Talk time :
        Up to 18 h 20 min (2G)
        Up to 8 h 40 min (3G)

        iPhone 4S – Talk time:
        Up to 14 h (2G)
        Up to 8 h (3G)

      • deV

        Pentile or not, the 720p Super AMOLED HD screens will be more impressive than anything currently available. I’m not sure how you could deny that. On the other hand, you’re right that 720p screens without pentile would be even better.

        As far as Super AMOLED Plus, the Infuse that I had with its gorgeous 4.5″ screen was simply the best looking screen I’ve ever seen in my life. It really does make iPhones and most Droid phones look washed out in comparison. I’m not sure how anyone could not want blacks to be black. It provides greater contrast and makes everything look better, more defined. The technology also saves battery life. Pixels that are black are really “off.” Works really well with Android’s generally white-on-black menus.

        In the camera department, I know the S II is known for its camera as well. I would be interested to see how they compared. Apple is known for promoting features that other companies would consider rather…mundane. At the same time, I think there is currently a point of diminishing returns. Pros will continue to use their high-end cameras, not their iPhones. Before anyone mentions Flickr again, do you really think all photos on Flickr are professional? I was under the impression that any old amateur could post a photo there. Heh.

        Here’s a somewhat amusing YouTube comedian doing a skit about video games, all recorded in 1080p on a Galaxy S II:

        (don’t forget to full screen and switch to 1080p)

        Do I really think consumers expect much better than that quality? Not really…no.

      • kevin

        You’re too easily seduced by simple specs, rather than by real-world results. Most reviewers have found the 5MP camera on iPhone 4 bests almost all the 8MP cameras on other phones (excepting Nokia), because software and other factors play a big role in getting better looking pictures; it’s not just about megapixels. And it’s not the MHz rating of the processor, it’s whether the user finds the phone responsive and smooth. (Having said that, I believe we’ll soon find that the A5 blows away the Exynos on graphics processing on a phone as well.)

        You should remember that every iPhone has had hardware that lagged others in the market. The first iPhone lagged Nokia N-series phones in its camera and lack of 3G. And yet it changed the industry.

        Larger screens mean bigger phone sizes and shorter battery life. There is a huge market for phones that are smaller, that fit better in hands, pockets and purses. Those who expect Apple to make a larger phone will continue to be disappointed. Plus Apple just introduced a technology, Siri, that reduces the need for a large screen for just about everything you do on the phone (other than viewing pictures or watching videos, and for those, clarity is just as important as size). And Siri goes way beyond the voice controls and dictation that Android has.

      • davel

        How do you improve the screen?

        OLED is not ready. The vendors cannot produce this type of screen in the quantity that Apple requires. Larger screen size? Perhaps Apple likes their screen size.

        In fact you do not want to change the screen size unless you want to make it harder for graphics intensive applications.

        The pixel count on an Apple phone is higher than the competition anyway and still is 1/ 1/2 years after they released the current screen specs.

      • deV

        There is only one vendor of AMOLED screens: Samsung. They control 98% of the market. I believe the other 2% are licensees.

        So that’s really a dead end for Apple. They’re likely not getting any of Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus or HD screens at any point in the future.

        Meanwhile Samsung is well on their way to flexible AMOLED screens. They have already been produced. I guess now it’s all about scale. And innovative designs.

        As far as their current lineup of Super AMOLED Plus, they can meet demand if they can estimate it accurately. The Galaxy S turned out to be far more popular than they predicted, so they used some Super LCD designs in certain countries, for some variants of the Galaxy S II.

        Samsung has sold 10 million Galaxy S II. I do not know if that includes all variants. But Samsung has many models that use that screen. I couldn’t tell you how many they produce.

        “The pixel count on an Apple phone is higher than the competition anyway and still is 1/ 1/2 years after they released the current screen specs.”

        That is pretty surprising, isn’t it? But it won’t be true for much longer. If not next week, it will no longer be the highest by Christmas. I guarantee that.

        It’s also somewhat of a marketing gimmick. The other vendors, without the clout of Apple, likely saw little benefit in going to such an extreme on the ppi scale, which basically meant making a high resolution phone with a tiny screen. It doesn’t sell more devices unless you’re Apple. It’s basically Apple over-compensating for the horrible (480×320 px @ 163 ppi) resolution of their previous 3 devices. Yeah, it’s great, but there were other ways to make the screen better with better returns.

      • Um, no. Those Android screens you tout might be larger in dimensions, but the pixels are gargantuan and fugly.

        960×640 > 800×480

      • deV

        1280×720 next week is much bigger than 960×640.

        Just as importantly, 4.5″ SAMOLED Plus 800×480 that exists today looks better than the 3.5″ LCD 960×640 iPhone 4/4S. Go. Compare.

        I keep hearing you can’t just go by the numbers. You guys want me to this time, so you can think you “won”? Seriously. Go to the store and look.

      • Anonymous

        > Congrats to Apple for finally catching up to 8 megapixels

        You are just not getting it. iPhone 4 already took the very best pictures you could take with a phone. iPhone 4S takes pictures that are better than iPhone 4. In other words, iPhone 4S just took the best picture crown from the previous champion, iPhone 4. Better pictures is what matters. The camera’s sole purpose is to take pictures. Its only objective measurement is the quality of the image it captures, not the size of the components of the camera.

        The megapixel crown? Nobody cares about that, because it is not a real measurement. I can take a 1 megapixel image, open it in Photoshop, and stretch it 8 times larger into an 8 megapixel image. That will not make a better photo. Similarly, a phone maker can replace a 5 megapixel sensor with a 12 megapixel sensor of the same size, and it will not make a better photo. It only makes a better bullet point for the box and marketing. Notice that each time Apple ups their megapixels, it is not because they upped the megapixels, it is because they made their sensor larger. The pixels on the sensor in iPhone 4 are the same size as the pixels on the sensor in 3GS, but 3GS only has 3 megapixels worth and iPhone 4 has 5 megapixels worth. They capture more light each time, and make a legitimately bigger photo.

        The mistake you are making is you gather like 10 specs together and compare the numbers. These devices are much more sophisticated than that. You need to have about 100 specs to evaluate these cameras on paper, and even then, you cannot be confident you can tell which takes the better photo. You have to take both cameras out into the field and shoot the same photo from the same spot with the same light with each camera. Then low-light, then with the sun in front of you, then behind, then an action shot, and so on. Then you have to put all the photos side by side and look at them very carefully and spot artifacts if there are any. Compare the quality of the photos. That is how camera reviewers do it. They are not COMPARING CAMERAS, they are COMPARING PHOTOGRAPHS.

        In your mind, iPhone is just another Android phone with what look to you like mysteriously lightweight specs for its level of success. But it is not an Android phone, it has many very different components than an Android phone, most significantly, iOS and App Store. The digitizer on iPhone uses double the voltage of any other, so it is twice as sensitive. There are a million things like that because iPhone was designed and crafted over many, many years, and Android phones are thrown together over a quarter or so, shipped, then die a quarter later.

      • deV

        I’m not sure you will find 100 specs, but I know you can find 50. Go to gsmarena or phonearena. Compare the full list of specs. All iPhones released to date disappoint. I’m hearing the iPhone 4S has 512 MB of RAM. That’s pathetic. What is preventing them from including 1 GB like everyone else? It has a real impact on performance.

        I’d love to read a real review of the camera on the iPhone. would be a great, credible source of a review. I’ve read in some threads on there that virtually all of their members object to reviewing the phone on their site. They do not take iPhone’s camera seriously. So I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t take marketing’s word on anything, whether than be Apple or Samsung.

        As far as longevity of Android devices, Samsung Galaxy S II is as huge in America now as it was in the rest of the world 5 months ago. It is still without a doubt the best performing phone in the world.

        At least until October 11th, when Samsung outdoes itself. A true next-gen phone is coming.

    • davel

      I just finished watching the presentation.

      No one is a better salesman the Jobs. He knows how to related the features to everyday life better than anyone.

      Better camera, faster cpu, integrated gpu, etc.

      The thing that blew me away from a hardware perspective is Siri. Astounding. Not sure what the limitations of it is, but to conversationally do the things they were showing is way, way better than anything I have ever seen.

      The iCloud product looks like it will deliver what Steve showed months ago.

      I think yet again the analysts just don’t get it.

      Siri will prove to be the killer app for the 4s.

    • Tom

      Talk about missing the point. Apple just introduced another revolution in user interaction and you are talking about bigger screens!

      I think non-command-based voice interaction of 2011 will be seen as remarkable as the actually working multitouch of 2007.

      • deV

        Voice command was in Android in 2010. Not sure what your angle is.

      • Tom

        Exactly, saying “voice command” shows that you just don’t get this.

        Non-command-based voice interaction is going to be huge, as huge as multitouch was. Android has nothing like it, but is surely trying to follow in the future releases.

      • deV

        I misread what you said. “Non-command-based voice interaction.” That’s a mouthful. 🙂

        So caught up with Android’s voice interaction, then added “natural language,” which is basically allowing multiple ways to say the same command. No more. No less. It’s the natural extension of the base that Android built. I would not be surprised at all if they added it at some point. It is the logical next step. Definitely not anything revolutionary.

        As it is, phrases like “Navigate to 100 Main Street” work well enough. A product we can use today. Without an unbiased reviewer looking at the 2 technologies, I don’t think you can draw any conclusions except hype and marketing.

    • ” iPhone’s A5 (made by Samsung) is a fast chip, but can it beat Samsung’s own Exynos 1.2 or 1.5 GHz varieties?”

      Apparently, the answer is YES, it does.

      The Anandtech review includes benchmarks of the then iPad exclusive A5 for comparison purposes. While the exynos blows away the iPhone 4 cpu, the iPhone 4S’s A5 cpu blows away the exynos by a wide margin. There’s your evidence.

      The A5 might be fabbed by Samsung, but it is Apple’s proprietary design.

      As far as Apple going after the low end, this has already been discussed here in depth, so there isn’t going to be a lot of tune changing. You’re not keeping up. Once again, the competitive difference Apple has in in the software and the ecosystem, areas where it beats other handset manufacturers. MS has the wherewithal to potentially challenge this, but that’s down the road a bit, and many think that MS is hindering itself with it’s dual OS strategy.

      • deV

        You’re comparing a much more powerful tablet version of a processor to the one that fits in a phone. Undervolted, underclocked. Completely different performance. Nice try though.

        Waiting for some specs FROM THE PHONE.

    • kevin

      That reviewer and you just completely missed the change Apple is making in the game.

      In 2007, Apple mainstreamed the idea of a large responsive multi-touch screen. That led everyone else to start using large multi-touch screens, and then competing on how much larger the screen is, except for Apple, which has never shown any indication of expanding from its 3.5″ screen. (I believe the first 4″+ screen was on the HTC Evo 4G in 6/2010, and the reason for it was that the 4G components and resulting needed larger battery size drove a bigger handset, so they put on a larger screen.)

      Instead today, Apple just began mainstreaming the idea of an intelligent, voice-interactive agent that if (a big IF) it works, it reduces the UI weaknesses of a multi-touch screen. Rather than multiple touches and swipes, its one click, a sentence or two and you’re done.

    • Anonymous

      > So what’s my take on all of this? Well, to be honest, I’m a bit underwhelmed.


      > No. I’m very underwhelmed.

      I will wait while you get a tissue.

      > It has been almost a year and a half since Apple released
      > the iPhone 4

      iPhone 4 was released on July 24, 2010. iPhone 4S was released 1 year, 2 months, and 11 days later. That is much closer to 1 year than 1.5 years.

      > and all they have to offer is two upgrades in the form
      > of internal hardware?

      I can explain this to you in small words.

      iPhone has a huge 3rd party hardware accessory market. It numbers well over 100,000 products from thousands of manufacturers. Cases, clothes, speakers, scuba, camera gear, gaming gear, musical instruments, audio interfaces, art tools, keyboards, batteries, toys … it goes on and on. This is in sharp contrast to other here-today-gone-tomorrow phones that typically have only 1st party accessories like a charger, bigger battery, maybe a carry case of some kind.

      What is the one thing all of these thousands of 3rd party manufacturers rely on? That iPhone fits into the slot, dock, pocket, case, or holder in the 3rd party hardware accessory. In other words, the very shape of iPhone 3G/3GS and iPhone 4/4S is to the hardware accessory makers like API’s are to software developers. The 3rd party software attaches to iPhone via API’s, and the 3rd party hardware attaches to iPhone via its enclosure. If Apple were to change the API’s in a new iPhone, all of the old software would not run. If Apple were to change the iPhone enclosures, all of the old hardware accessories would not work.

      Imagine in 2008 that Apple invited many hardware accessory makers to make cases and other accessories for iPhone 3G. The accessory makers likely thought they had about a year to make and sell products, so they invested $n and started selling various accessories. In 2009, just before a new iPhone was introduced, those accessory makers were likely looking at their remaining stock and thinking write-off, same as some original iPhone cases were surely written-off. But when iPhone 3GS came out with the same enclosure and iPhone 3G went to $99, that was like money falling from the sky into the laps of anyone who had been bold enough to bet on the iPhone accessory market. Not only was iPhone 3G still around to wear your cases, it had dropped to $99, opening up the market for more customers, and in addition to that, a 3GS that could also wear your cases, speakers, cameras, and so on and so on.

      In 2010, when iPhone 4 was released, all of the hardware accessory makers had done extremely well on iPhone 3G accessories, and the 2010 iPhone 3GS meant they were not done yet. But here was a new enclosure, requiring new accessories, and this one is flatter, even easier to build accessories around. If I’m a 3rd party hardware accessory maker, do I invest heavily in making iPhone 4 gear? Yes, of course I do. I invest 10 times as much, 100 times as much in making iPhone 4 cases and accessories. I swamp the market with iPhone 4 accessories. It takes 3-6 months to ship, but within a year, there are a ridiculous number and variety of iPhone 4 accessories.

      Now it is time for another iPhone in 2011. Should Apple change the enclosure and break compatibility with all of those accessories that were released over the past year and are just now peaking? Should Apple consign those tens of thousands of accessories to the $99 phone only, and ask hardware makers to invest yet again in a whole new line of accessories while consumers wait another 3-6 months for them to arrive, only to have 6 months to buy them before a new iPhone comes out and obsoletes everything again?

      No. Neither consumers nor hardware makers wants that fast a pace. The iPhone party is so good, we don’t want it to end.

      So while you had your head buried in specs, while you were complaining about the lack of new external hardware, you missed 100,000 pieces of external hardware that are either already compatible with iPhone 4S, or can be made compatible with very little work by the hardware maker, and thus be available right away for iPhone 4S purchasers. That means iPhone 4S has tens of thousands of cases, each of which is a different enclosure. An iPhone 5 would have had just one case, its own enclosure, and it would have had to wait a while to have any selection. Since 90% of iPhone users use a case, the iPhone 4S option is what those users want. They want to buy a 4S and a case that has Hello Kitty on it and get back to their lives.

      > Adding a dual-core processor and a better camera
      > in the iPhone 4S is, more or less, minute.

      Well, the dual-core processor is actually a dual-core SoC. It has both CPU and GPU. The CPU power is doubled, but the GPU is 8 times bigger. That GPU was designed for an ARM PC — iPad — and it is the biggest GPU by far ever put on an ARM SoC. All the other ARM GPU’s were designed just for tiny phones. So going from A4 to A5 is not just “1 more.”

      Also, the A5 is what enables iPhone 4S to run Siri. That is the one feature my roommate is upgrading from an iPhone 4 to get, so in a sense he is upgrading to get the A5. If his phone had an A5 he would keep it and run Siri.

      iPhone gamers will also want the dual-core SoC. The 2 gentlemen who introduced the 3D game on iPhone 4S at the Apple Event seemed to be the 2 happiest guys on Earth. They just got 8 time the GPU to exploit on a platform where they are already making money hand over fist. iOS gaming is huge. It is not minute to give gamers and developers that much more power. Especially when other phones are not even exploiting their GPU’s fully.

      So, “minute”? Whatevs.

      > Apple has been too caught up on worrying about their
      > competitors “copying” them

      In your dreams maybe. Nobody at Apple Legal works on products. You get that, right? Tim Cook is not at the law library with Scott Forestall boning up on patent law and architecting courtroom strategy. They have lawyers for that.

      A company the size of Apple basically always has to be suing someone. If they don’t defend the trademark on the Apple logo, by law it becomes public domain. If they don’t defend their product designs, by law they become public domain.

      > “copying”

      This is not copying?

      > them to realize that they have finally surpassed them.

      Finally! I’ve been hearing about how Android was going to surpass iPhone for years now. What has taken so long do you think?

      > Bigger and higher resolution displays are on the verge of release

      3 problems here:

      – bigger is BAD in mobile … many people find iPhone 4 to already be too large because they came from tiny feature phones … please try and find a petite woman who is using an iPhone 4 and look how big it is in her hand … after the Apple Event, a friend asked me what is in the new iPhone? As a joke I told him, “a bigger screen,” and he looked HORRIFIED. He goes, “how am I going to fit it into my pocket?” and showed me how his iPhone 4 only just fits … the last thing he wants is bigger … he was happy to hear no bigger screen

      – putting a higher resolution display into a phone is only step 1 … if you don’t also put in higher resolution interfaces and higher resolution content, the user will not notice the screen is higher resolution … Apple started this process at WWDC 2010, about 18 months ago, so when you use an iPhone 4/4S you see 300 dpi artwork everywhere … that is not on the verge of coming to any other phone, it is 18 months away at least, even if they can move as fast as iPhone in going high-res

      – verge? didn’t you just tell me Apple was surpassed? now you have your tenses mixed up, they are now just on the verge of being surpassed?

      > even bigger and faster processors are around the corner.

      Future tense again. This is feeling a lot more aspirational than I originally thought.

      Apple just doubled the CPU in iPhone, and octupled the GPU, and you’re telling me that OH NOES Apple better watch out, faster processors are around the corner!

      Yes, about 10 days away. In iPhone 4S.

      Apple makes a new custom SoC every single year. A6 is also “around the corner.”

      Maybe you don’t understand ARM. All ARM SoC makers are working from the same ARM designs. CPU speed is not really a competitive issue between devices. 2010 was single-core ARM, 2011 was dual-core ARM, and 2012 is quad-core ARM for EVERYBODY. A6 will be quad-core. The GPU’s and the other silicon that is on the SoC is much more important to competition, because that is where the variety is. For example, Apple’s giant GPU’s distinguish it. Other SoC’s have Java accelerators and other such features.

      > Can the 4S hold Apple afloat for another year? Another year and a half?

      Afloat? What do you mean? Apple could stop all sales altogether for a year and their financials would still be incredibly good.

      How do you know when the next iPhone will be released? You don’t. The last 3 were released 8 months apart (iPhone 4, Verizon iPhone, iPhone 4S.) Another 8 months from now puts us in June, 2012. We’ve seen June iPhone launches a few times now.

      > People have long been anticipating a larger iPhone.

      Which people? Again, smaller is better. The only people who defend larger phones are people who bought a cheaper, crappier, larger phone and are trying to defend it. Sure, HTC would love it if Apple made a larger iPhone, because it would make HTC’s giant planks look a little smaller by comparison.

      > In light of larger,

      Again, larger is not better in mobile. And if you really want larger, you get an iPad, a 2-hand device which runs full-size native C/C++ PC apps.

      > more capable Android phones

      You don’t know the technology. There are no Android phones that are more capable than iPhone. Android barely uses the GPU, has no functioning software update system, runs Java applets, wears out the battery, lacks consumer usability, and has malware, which iOS does not. iPhone has a bunch of Mac apps: iMovie (HD video editing,) GarageBand (music and audio,) Keynote (world class presentations,) Pages (word processor,) Numbers (spreadsheet.) These are powerful native C/C++ apps. There are no equivalents on Android. Android is not capable of doing the things that those apps do. Android phones are less capable than iPhone. It is not even controversial to say that.

      > with 4-inch and beyond displays

      Are you like 2 meters tall and weight 200 kilos or something? What kind of pockets to you have?

      > the iPhone 4S sporting a 3.5-incher is absurd

      iPhone has a higher resolution display than your 4 inch phones. That means it has more information. That means you can literally hold iPhone a couple of centimeters closer to your face than the 4 inch phone and not only will the iPhone screen appear bigger, but it will still have more information on it.

      > People were anticipating an entirely new design

      What people?

      > and changes in a big way.

      Why would anyone anticipate big changes to the #1 selling phone? You understand that iPhone 4 sold more in the last 3 months than it did in its first 3 months, right? It’s an extremely popular phone. Why change it?

      > Neither the iPhone 4S or Siri can deliver on that level.

      > I think the sudden dip in Apple’s stock prices should
      > serve as a testament to that.”

      – Apple 1998: $2 billion
      – Apple 2011: $345.3 billion

      > The only thing he left out is that 4 inch or better screens

      You are going to need some Ritalin or something for this 4 inch screen thing of yours.

      > that are brighter, more-vibrant, and more beautiful than
      > any iPhone screen have been available from a Samsung
      > phones since at least the beginning of this year.

      But only in South Korea you forgot to mention. And those screens are showing almost exclusively low-res Android interfaces designed to be shown on low-res screens. And Android lacks color management, it cannot show accurate colors. The screen is wasted on Android. OS X is the only system that is color safe out-of-the-box. No other mobiles. Windows can be cajoled into it if you are an expert and you have at least one Creative Suite app.

      And those phones have malware and Java apps and no hardware accessories and are not iPods and on and on and on. Irrelevant.

      > The iPhone 4’s aging (over 1.5 year old) processor is bested
      > by many, many Android phones of all shapes and sizes.

      That may be, but iOS is much, much faster than Android, so it does not matter. iOS is running native C/C++ apps instead of Java … native C is much, much faster. iOS is drawing its interface entirely in the GPU while Android is drawing its interface in the CPU. The GPU is much, much faster. Underneath iOS is OS X, which in its first version shipped on a system with 40 MHz CPU and 16MB of RAM and ran well there. In version 10, OS X ran on systems with 500MHz CPU and 256MB RAM and ran well there. Then came 6 years of battery-powered optimizations before iOS was running quite well on 400MHz ARM with 128MB of RAM in original iPhone, and then 4 more years of optimizations since then. iOS is much, much, much, more optimized and much faster than Android. Google has no incentive to optimize Android. Why spend 2-5 years making it faster when the hardware maker can just put in a faster SoC and bigger battery and who cares if the user suffers? And iOS is tuned to the hardware, the kernel and A4 or A5 have been optimized together to run well together with the maximum efficiency and maximum speed.

      Another problem with what you said is that unlike when you are plugged into AC all day on a desktop, on batteries, SLOWER CLOCK IS BETTER. Yes. A key thing is if you can optimize your software to be 2x faster, you can slow the CPU click down to half speed, which saves more than half of the battery, because the higher clocks take progressively more and more battery.

      iOS devices quite regularly are running at half or 3/4 speed to save battery. They are fast and responsive, they don’t need to run faster than that. THAT IS A FEATURE.

      > iPhone’s A5 (made by Samsung)

      Designed by Apple, and fabbed by Samsung.

      That is the same as: written by John Smith, printed at Kinko’s.

      > is a fast chip, but can it beat Samsung’s own Exynos
      > 1.2 or 1.5 GHz varieties?

      If the Samsung chips are running Android, and A5 is running iOS, then yes. A5 will wipe the floor with those chips.

      If the task you are doing is GPU-heavy, then A5 will absolutely murder those Samsung chips, which have tiny GPU’s that Android is not even utilizing, while A5 has the biggest GPU on any ARM chip, a GPU designed for an ARM PC.

      > I’m awaiting the benchmarks from the actual phone (not the tablet),

      Benchmarks are irrelevant.

      If you have a Dell PC and HP PC both running Windows 7, you can benchmark them both and see which is faster and it may be productive. Those are basically identical systems. That means the one that benchmarks faster will likely also be faster in real world conditions.

      If you have an Apple phone and Samsung phone, then benchmarks are irrelevant. Even if the Samsung device can run its clock speed at 3GHz, it does not tell us if it is faster than iPhone. The iOS and Android software is going to contribute much, much more to the speed of the device than the ARM CPU. Especially since ARM is a little RISC chip, it has very few routines in it. When OS X moved from PowerPC/Intel to ARM, Apple had to add MORE software to make it run on ARM to make up for the software from the PowerPC/Intel chips that is not there in ARM. If we test without the software, it tells us nothing.

      Further, the user is the slowest part of the device. You speed them up through usability and good interface design. So if we test without the user, it tells us nothing.

      So if you want to determine with phone is faster, you need to set up user testing. You need an experience iPhone user and experience Android user (or both naive users, but make them match) and you want to time them running through tasks, and they have to complete them successfully. Calling up maps, adding contacts, browsing, games, 3D games, video editing, music and audio recording and editing, art tools, office tools, and so on and so on.

      > but I highly doubt it. Exynos 1.2 GHz alone utterly destroys
      > every other smartphone processor (Quadrant score 3500
      > vs about 2000 for most high-end smartphones). I don’t
      > see any evidence that the A5 will be any different.

      How did you miss the 8 times bigger GPU in A5? What were you looking at?

      > So basically Apple just “refreshed” the iPhone 4

      No, they replaced every single part except the screen, digitizer, and the glass back.

      > and simultaneously entered the low-end market with
      > their older phones.

      No. Wrong in 2 ways.

      Their lower-end phones are still high-end phones. The low-end market is phones that carriers buy for $100 or $300 and give away free or for a cheap price. iPhones all have $400 subsidies. That is just the subsidy. They are all high-end. iPhone 3GS is $399, iPhone 4 is $499, iPhone 4S is $599/$699/$799.

      Secondly, Apple has been selling their older phones alongside the latest for years. The iPhone 3G dropped to $99 when iPhone 3GS came out.

      > Waits a few seconds for you guys to suddenly change
      > tune and explain how that’s such a great idea. Genius!

      This is one of the strategies that enabled Apple to take 66% of the profits out of the entire phone market. The entire market, including feature phones. When you have that kind of success after only 4 years, it’s hard to argue it is not a great idea. But here are some more specific examples of why it is good:

      – 90% of iPhone users buy another iPhone, so a cheaper iPhone that gets a user in the door most likely leads to selling them many more phones
      – as I explained above, the iPhone 3G/3GS and iPhone 4/4S are like hardware API’s for accessory makers … accessories for iPhone 3G/3GS can still be sold and used, accessories for iPhone 4 can still be sold and used

      > Can’t wait to see what Samsung and Google have in
      > store on October 11th. They’re totally going to
      > outdo….themselves?

      Definitely. Every year they show something that is even more out of touch with consumer needs and desires than the previous year.

      I have to say, this thing you’re doing where you just so want to knock iPhone down is really, really weird. Isn’t Android good enough for you on its own? Do you have to find a way to pretend it is better than an iPhone so that you feel good about Android? I don’t get it. Why did you buy an Android phone? Is it sort of like a fantasy baseball league, and you are on the Android team and you can’t wait to beat those terrible Apple Yankees?

      The thing is, iPhone is the Silicon Valley phone, the computer phone. It’s a Mac in there. The OS X core in iPhone is the same one that is running inside 75% of the personal computers at Google. The same one they use to make Facebook and Twitter. The same one used in Hollywood to make movies. The same one that was used by Tim Berners-Lee to invent the Web.

      Samsung, Motorola, LG, HTC … they are not computer makers, they are phone makers. They are not going to beat Apple at making computers. Especially not today when computers are literally 99% software. They are not even trying. If they were, they would be doing MUCH, MUCH more software, either individually, or collectively, and/or in cooperation with Google. Android is tiny compared to iOS. Google’s software team is minuscule compared to Apple’s software team. I’m not sure why you think there will suddenly be a day when 3 year old Android knocks out a system that was 3 years old in the 1980’s and has been progressively maintained and modernized the whole way such that it represents the absolutely state of the art in client computing, not just in phones, but also on tablets, notebooks, desktops, giant workstations. The system upon which desktop music, desktop publishing, desktop video, native mobile apps, and the World Wide Web were created. The system that introduced the mouse, trackpad, multi-touch, and virtual personal assistant to computing. That brought the full HTML5 Web to mobiles. And Android has … ? Lots of phones shipped below cost? What?

      iPhone is going to roll along and do its own thing, separate from the antique phone makers. You should consider just ignoring it. iPhone users are not thinking about you or Android, that is for sure.

      • deV

        I stopped reading that halfway because it was too bizarre that you were replying to me as if I had written that quote…for like 20 paragraphs in a row….

        Anyway, one small point. I am almost 100% positive that iPhone case makers and such do not maintain a large inventory from their factories in China. I also do not believe they put much R&D into their accessories. Nor do I believe they would have any problems selling any remaining supply to people who currently own or are buying secondhand iPhones.

        Also, if Apple were really concerned with accessory compatibility they would be using microUSB for charging, docking, connecting to displays (via microUSB to HDMI adapter), etc. Instead they use a proprietary 30-pin connector, which they sometimes alter slightly and make accessories incompatible. That is their own fault for not using the standard that all of the other mobile handset makers have standardized….microUSB.

        As far as the rest, you seem to be ignorant to the fact that Samsung alone sells about as many phones as Apple. And that’s just one Android phone manufacturer. That makes most of your big wall of text inaccurate and highly distorted.

        Nice flaming though.

      • deV

        A couple other things. The phone coming out next week, that HD 720p one you bash so heavily, is expected to be 320 ppi. So basically the phone that Apple SHOULD have released this week. Didn’t you say it would take them 18 months to get that, @JohnDoey? Regardless, there are phones that came out 5 months ago that look better, you know, to real people, than the 300+ ppi iPhone 4S. The same technology that will be released in 720p next week.

        iOS is not terribly interesting benchmark-wise because all the UI does is display rows of icons. Not doing anything useful is a good way to have a “smooth” user experience, unless they, you know, want their OS to do something. Like display the weather, time, their favorite news, facebook messages, texts, emails, the list goes on… iOS has no widgets. Just never-ending rows of icons. I’m not sure any benchmark of that would be terribly meaningful.

        But let’s say instead we just look at the web. iOS does not display Flash…on any webpage whatsoever. So the benchmarks for the web aren’t that interesting either. The videos of the Samsung Galaxy S II zooming in and out of webpages while Flash is loading (which could potentially even slow down a desktop computer) so amazingly fluidly cannot be denied. That’s something the user would actually care about. Unfortunately, iOS can’t display complete web pages, so any sort of comparison is meaningless.

        So basically iOS breaks even on benchmarks with recent Android hardware by lacking any sort of features that require any sort of performance. Bravo! I think they’re doing their users a disservice by remaining featureless though.

        My initial draw to debating this stuff was my own purchases. I owned a Samsung Infuse for almost a month, but returned it so I could wait for the Galaxy S II to come out. Since then I’ve just been following phone news and waiting for big announcements. Apple’s was obviously extremely anticlimactic. Guess we’ll see about Samsung and Google’s announcement next week.

        I don’t own any stock, unlike those of you who mostly own Apple stock. I just find the battle interesting. I think there are a lot of assumptions thrown around based on past performance that may not hold true. We shall see.

  • silverlining2

    Sprint was promising a “very big” announcement on Oct 7 having to do with 4G. I don’t believe the I-phone qualifies. We’ll see Oct 7. My bet is it underwhelms like Apple’s did today.

    Is it possible that the DOJ announcement on ATT surprised everyone and some big deals are now being put on hold until more clarity is shed on the mobile market? That could explain Apple underwhelming if they had intended a much broader announcement involving a deal in the mobile space.

    A lot of speculation here, but there are lots of little pieces that point to some sort of bigger Sprint/Apple partnership.

    • Are you suggesting an iPhone 4G will be announced by Sprint this week?

      • silverlining2

        Not at all. I do think there is a chance that something bigger was planned by both Sprint and Apple. Sprint specifically promised something really big on Oct. 7. We’ll see if they disappoint also. The DOJ ruling took everyone by surprise, especially in its timing. If Apple was planning announcing a strong strategic partnership with Sprint, the DOJ announcement would have caused them to reevaluate. There are lots of smaller clues out there, all that can individually be explained by other factors. If such a strategic partnership is ever announced, we will look back at all these little clues and ask how we did not see it coming.

        Many have speculated about tech companies buying carriers. That would be a dumb move. Apple however, have repeatedly been ahead of the curve in tying up key assets to support their future growth and hold competitors at bay. Sometimes they outright buy the asset. More often, they sign preferential pricing and access agreements, sometimes with exclusivity. Sprint through Clearwire control spectrum assets in the US that noone can match which allows a network to be developed that can’t be matched for speed. It is lacking only capital.

        Lots of speculation, but it makes lots of sense. Jobs is on record as saying that the world and Apple’s future lie in mobile. If Apple was looking at a US mobile market dominated by 2 carriers, they would have been very, very concerned. The DOJ ruling has now put that in doubt.

      • Anonymous

        If they were going to buy Sprint, the worst thing they could do is give them an iPhone to sell. Why not withhold iPhone, watch them go bankrupt, then buy the pieces you want at auction? Or just the right-of-ways?

      • silverlining2

        I think buying Sprint, or any carrier, even out of bankruptcy would be a terrible idea. However, a strategic partnership similar to what they form with key manufacturers makes a lot of sense, especially if you are looking at a market that would otherwise be dominated by 2 carriers. If you have a very competitive market, Apple can afford to act as Switzerland. That is why the DOJ announcement may have caused Apple to hold off on any deal for now.

        Also, reference the VZ/MSFT partnership announced today.

  • Anonymous

    Sheesh, people are so myopic. Obsessing over some spec or another, some narrow feature? Please! Apple wins customers because of the overall experience.

    That experience is more than the sum of the parts, and these days, its more than just how those parts are integrated into a device. It extends to the retail experience, and now, it extends over all your Apple devices (and to a lesser extent, your Apple software on Windows).

    This isn’t just about the phone. iOS 5 and iCloud are going to be a major platform for future innovation. I think they are downplaying it after their miss-steps launching MobileMe, but with iOS 5 + iCloud + Lion, Apple has the foundations for pervasive computing. You’ll soon be able to close up your MacBook in the middle of editing a Keynote presentation. Review it on your iPhone while you are waiting for your flight and revise it on your iPad without really even thinking about syncing, or copying the file.

    And Siri? Siri starts integrating 3rd party web services into the experience.

    Open your eyes, folks. They may or may not pull it off, but Apple still has some interesting stuff up their sleeve. These complaints remind me of the whining about what was missing from the original iPhone.

  • Rob Scott

    I am in the disappointed camp, but my disappointment is hugely irrational.

    1). At the top end (450 – 700 Euros) iPhone 4S is comparable to all premium phones that will be shipping between now and end March/April 2012 (I have seen the road-maps from all major OEMs for the next 6-7 months) when one phone will pack more processing power than the iPhone. That is a good 6 months from now and iPhone will easily lead the pack until iPhone 5 is launched.
    2). In the medium range (300 – 400 Euros) iPhone 4 is not only the most popular phone against the phones it competes with but also competes very well on specs, depending on how Apple price the 8GB model it should also easily lead in this range of products.
    3). On the low end (<=250 Euros) iPhone 3GS will probably be an also run. While the phone is competitive on specs it is simple old.

    There is no good reason to be disappointed and with additions like Siri we should all be excited that 1). the phone is great spec-wise and 2). finally AI assistants are here!

    I know that I should be happy and I know I will be buying an iPhone 4S 32GB as soon as it lands here. And I know I will be happy with my decision.

    • Anonymous

      > when one phone will pack more processing power than the iPhone.

      But so what? They will also put on software that is 10 times slower, so iPhone will still be faster. They will also put in a tiny GPU, so iPhone with it’s giant made-for-iPad GPU will run games and data visualizations and transitions and animations better. They will run Java on there instead of native C/C++ and slow down further. They will do little to no interface design so the workflows on the phone will be slower than iPhone.

      • deV

        The A5 in the iPhone 4S is stated to be undervolted and underclocked. It is a 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9. Samsung Exynos has a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 that is faster than most Snapdragon or OMAP 1.5 GHz phones. They also have a 1.5 GHz Exynos. The Exynos is known to be faster clock-for-clock than its competitors, both in general purpose performance and in graphics.

        It remains to be seen which is more powerful. Let me know when you’ve seen any benchmarks of the A5 in the actual phone. Because there don’t appear to be any. We can compare iPad CPU to phone CPU all day, but it won’t mean anything. Tablets obviously have much more space to work with, can run at higher temperatures, and have bigger batteries so they can be clocked higher. None of that is relevant to phones.

        There’s no reason to believe the A5 in the iPhone is any faster than phones that are already on the market. But nobody can say for sure until we see benchmarks.

        And you can come up with whatever excuses you want for why performance doesn’t matter, but guess what? It does.

  • Horace, your quote in the podcast: “watch the techsphere and bet against it everytime” was epic in light of some of the “woe” online all day. I shared it on twitter earlier:!/franksting/status/121414319052308481
    I professed my own lack of surprised even earlier in the day and why I wasn’t surprised is outlined here:
    P.S. I hope you understand my later tweet was taking the mick out of my “freedom” loving Android friends 😉

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    It is disappointing especially for us tech forum dwellers but for Apple it’s all business. Horace has been saying for a long time that Apple’s problem is production and channels, not demand. After they delayed the iPhone 4’s successor by a few months, many predicted the iPhone sales will bottom out quickly but what happened was precisely the opposite. Because Apple could finally supply enough iPhones.

    Obviously whatever new design Apple has in pipe cannot be produced in bulk at this point and will slow the production down. My guess is they figured the iPhone 4 design is still competitive enough that they can really pump out millions of these quickly, and it’s evident when you look at how soon the presales and actual sales are coming up. Plus Apple is adding many more carriers over the world.

    So yes, it’s a disappointment for us. But I wouldn’t put it past Apple that this will sell more than any of the previous phones. I keep hoping someone else makes a phone that’ll blow iPhone 4’s design out of water but alas, competitors still have yet to produce a truly remarkable design. The main obstacle for iPhone 4 is whether the smaller display will hinder the sales in the mainstream market; that we’ll have to see.

  • Horace mentioned an interesting theory that if the tech world is “disappointed” by what Apple releases, that’s actually a good indicator that the product will be a *success*, because it signals that they’re tailoring it more for the mass market, which is far larger.

    That seems to have been a very wise observation, because MacRumors noted today ( that AT&T alone processed 200,000 iPhone 4S preorders in its first 12 hours of availability. Last year, 600,000 preorders were taken for the iPhone 4 across ALL carriers in its first full DAY. So despite the supposed “disappointment,” the 4S is already massively more successful (for AT&T, at least) than the 4 was!