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Oh how ringing the sense of disappointment in the Apple fan club must have been after Tuesday’s keynote.
When Steve Jobs said farewell to the company and left Tim Cook at the helm of the world’s most valuable tech empire, everyone expected Cook’s reign to begin with a bang. Sadly very little “bang” occurred in his first keynote.
The affair played out like a variety show, with various Apple top executives stepping up on stage to unveil software updates, new apps and the iPhone 4S. Apple dazzled with videos and pictures and clever talking artificial intelligence but the audience waited for Cook to surprise them with the iPhone 5.
The infamous iPhone 5 has been the subject of rumours for the past few months, with leaked photos and tales of abandoned prototypes littering the web. These rumours had started to take the form of whispered legends, with fanboys hoping the legend would become real.
As the event dwindled and Cook stepped back on stage, the eager audience waited for the big unveil… the “one more thing” so to speak. They were to be left disappointed. Cook’s role at the keynote seemed more like MC than that of CEO. He set the stage for other Apple executives to unveil the products.
Perhaps though, this is just down to the kind of person Cook is.
In his description of Cook, Mashable correspondent, Chris Taylor, says: “The plain truth is that Cook is an inventory guy. That’s how he made his name at Apple: understanding the life cycles of products, and making sure his stores weren’t saddled with too many of them. Keeping inventory low, unsexy as it sounds, is a big part of what makes companies wealthy. And from that perspective, there’s one major reason to release the iPhone 4S now: Making sure all your iPhone 3GS customers, who have just left their two-year contracts, upgrade to a new device.”
The iPhone 4S, which was introduced by Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, is pretty impressive, no doubt. It has an A5 chip which is also found in the iPad 2 and with a killer graphics processor it is able to run games like Infinity Blade 2. That’s pretty cool, but an iPhone 4 with a better processor? Oh and a slightly unnerving voice-activated assistant that allows you to have a conversation with your phone. That’s the best thing Apple has to offer us?
Is there really an iPhone 5 prototype sitting in Apple top-secret vault? There must be, the rumours couldn’t have emerged from thin air and Apple wouldn’t have gone through the hoop-jumping it did to get back the “lost” prototype. If the iPhone 5 will launch in 2012, Cook must be holding out for something amazing to be added to it.
Perhaps as Taylor points out, Cook is waiting for iPhone 4 users to near the end of their two-year contracts so he can lock them into another two years with the iPhone 5. That approach makes business sense and devoted Apple fans will probably wait.
There is also the Android “problem”. Is allowing Apple fans to salivate over a product he didn’t even hint to the existence of going to cause them to run to the ever-growing Android market? Perhaps, but the loyalties will probably win out.
Cook is not the “innovator-in-chief” Steve Jobs was. He is, however, a competent leader that understands the ones and zeros. He doesn’t have the style and flair that Jobs had and that’s just not good enough. Keynotes are more than just market share and software updates they are supposed to be exciting and full of surprises, well at least one.