A great reflection on the iPhone 4S event by John Gruber (unlike, say, this one). Three key takeaways. On the 3.5-inch screen debate:
Bigger is not necessarily better. Apple decided on the optimal size for an iPhone display back in 2006. If they thought 4-inches was better, overall, as the one true size for the iPhone display, then the original iPhone would have had a 4-inch display. It’s not like 4-inch screens are harder to make, or use some sort of new technology. If anything they’re surely easier to make, as the pixels are less dense.
That’s a great point that no one ever brings up. It’s not like 4-inch screens are some technical achievement that Apple can’t handle. They simply choose not to. And why? Because they believe 3.5-inches is the correct size.
Want bigger? You’re gonna love the Nexus Prime. But remember something else: bigger screen mean worse battery life. Add a 4G chip into the mix and well…
In the months leading up to the iPhone 4S unveiling, there were only two things I heard for certain: “October” and “3.5-inch screen”. No one wanted to listen on the latter, apparently.
On the form factor and timing:
The gist I get, after talking to some valuable little birdies over the past few days, is that a new form factor was never in the cards for this year’s iPhone. It may or may not have ideally launched a few months sooner, but the plan was always for an iPhone 4 successor that looked like the 4 but had improved internal components. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next iPhone doesn’t change, or doesn’t change much, either.
I also believe the original plan to launch this new iPhone in the summer but it was delayed (as was the Retina iPad that was originally due this fall). What I’m still not clear about is if Siri/iOS 5 delayed the iPhone 4S or the other way around…
Speaking of Siri:
I can’t help but see Siri as Apple’s first attack in the direction of Google’s crown jewels: search. Apple mentioned and promoted two partners for Siri’s knowledge back-end: Yelp for locations, and Wolfram Alpha for encyclopedic information and as a calculation engine. Every Siri query that’s answered by Yelp or Wolfram Alpha is a query that might otherwise have been answered by Google. The more people use Siri, and the more non-Google data sources Apple adds to it, the less iPhone users will use Google search.
Yep. And there will be more Siri-powered partners coming. And I bet they will come soon. I can’t believe Twitter isn’t one yet…