I think I’m suffering from post-iPhone depression. Every time Apple triggers worldwide hysteria by ‘not’ hinting at a new product release the crystal ball gazers get to work. I refuse to get caught up in the predictions and rumors that abound before the big unconfirmed event then marvel at how clever the correct-guessers make themselves out to be.
Isn’t time we all grew up and ignored the hype and mystery that happens at the same time every year. If Apple wanted to raise the profile of any product launch they could spend billions and not have the same effect that magically happens because they say nothing at all. It’s brilliant whichever way you look at it – ‘anti-marketing’ at its best.
Take a look at how much money poor old Samsung has to throw at press, TV, web, billboard and Apple look-alike stores to get its message out. They probably got more bang for their buck from their many patent cases than their traditional channels. Isn’t the old saying that any publicity is good publicity?
But getting back to the root cause of my depressive state. I almost relish going over the predictions, after the event, to see if anybody got them all right (never happens) and seeing if Apple releases something that nobody foretold. This particular iPhone 5 release seems to have been well-guessed by the pundits. Larger screen, LTE compatibility worldwide (sort of), thinner, lighter – all covered off. It’s sleeker, sexier and will sell in great numbers according to the analysts, but what about the stuff that Apple has done that will be really annoying, and may even lose it sales.
Breaking with its own tradition, the unique, multi-purpose dock connector (called Lightning) has been shrunk down to something that is very ‘unique.’ It won’t fit any other device in the world. Despite the fact that most other device makers and the GSMA agreed nearly four years ago to standardize on a micro-USB connector (that few have managed to deliver) Apple has gone, once again, in a completely different direction. As most Apple iPhone users will attest, they have collected a number of those old connectors over the years and these may now become museum pieces, at considerable cost to their owners.
Well, not quite, it seems. Apple, in a magnanimous gesture, has produced an adaptor to connect the old with the new. For the bargain price of US$29 (or 29€ if you live in France) all your problems will be solved and Apple will turnover another billion dollars in profit with no thought of the environmental waste such a move will create. Let’s hope those Chinese craftsman come up with ‘compatible’ version at $5 (that costs 50 cents to produce) post haste.
This news will hardly stop you rushing out to buy a new iPhone, but the fact that your existing SIM card, that annoying little micro-SIM, won’t fit in. Using the implausible excuse that they needed more space in the new iPhone for more important things, Apple engineers, with the wave of their magic wands, introduced their own-inspired nano-SIM. As if the micro-SIM wasn’t annoyingly small and easily losable, this new model, over 40 per cent smaller, will require dexterity to be inserted and bifocals to be found if you happen to drop it.
Apple actually managed to get the new standard for SIM cards approved by the European Telecommunications Institute (ETSI) back in June but it was expected to take years for operators to agree to take it on. In yet another case of the ‘tail wagging the dog’ Apple is saying to mobile operators everywhere, if you want to have our phone you have to have our SIM.
Annoyingly for users that travel internationally and use local prepaid SIMS at their destination, if the local operator doesn’t have nano-SIMs (and it is most likely they won’t for some time) you will be carrying around a large screened, thin, light, sexy, LTE device – that you can’t use! Oh, let me guess, who holds the patents for those nano-SIMs?
First published at TM Forum as The Insider, 13 September, 2012