By Rob Fahey
Once upon a time, Apple was the company held up as a shining example of successful corporate secrecy. That time has passed; there wasn’t a damn thing about the company’s pronouncements at its iPhone 5 launch event that surprised anyone, with the entirely predictable result that People On The Internet, having gorged themselves on rumour sites and leaked photos for months, were disappointed not to be surprised.
Indeed, People On The Internet don’t seem to like the iPhone 5 much. It’s an evolutionary development, they say, with nothing exciting to offer. Apple has lost its mojo. Android, Windows Phone or even BlackBerry 10 (for the truly devoted faithful) are about to rise up and mop the floor with Cupertino’s efforts. Any minute now. Just you wait.
Dear People On The Internet – you’re utterly irrelevant, out of touch, and seemingly possessed of absolutely terrible memories to complement your weakened powers of deduction. Remember when you passed precisely the same judgment on the iPhone 4S? Remember when it then went on to become the fastest-selling and most profitable phone handset of all time? Remember that? Tell me, oh wise Internet People, what is it about your logic that’s different this time around?
Of course, it’s entirely plausible that Apple will eventually be overtaken as the most important handset (and tablet) manufacturer in the world, but that’s not going to happen because a handful of extremely vocal tech types are disappointed by the firm’s offerings. For that to happen, someone is going to have to do to Apple what Apple did to Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry five years ago; they’re going to have to come up with something that’s genuinely, eye-catchingly different and better to Apple’s phones. Until then, Apple will continue to rule the roost – not in terms of overall installed base, because cheap and far from cheerful Android handsets are swarming into the low end of the market, but certainly in terms of profitability, and absolutely in terms of relevance to content creators.
That’s not to say that Android hasn’t become an important platform – it has, absolutely. Windows Phone 8 also has the potential to be an important platform, and is incredibly laudable for being an innovative and interesting mobile computing experience – especially in light of Android’s rather shameless replication of iOS, WP8 proves that there’s both room and necessity for innovation. Whether the stylish Lumia phones which are flagships for the OS can thrive in the market in spite of Nokia’s weak launch and sales execution is another question entirely, but it would be good to see the platform become a solid competitor.
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