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Apple iPhone 4S, Siri, and the Magic of Apple Marketing

At this point can we all agree that:

A)  Apple’s marketing prowess is second to none


B)  If it wasn’t the iPhone 4S would’ve been a huge flop?

Apple Marketing

Apple has done a great job of making people feel that they need whatever they are selling, it really is impressive.  At the same time this new iPhone underwhelms on pretty much all fronts.  It’s most (truly) meaningful upgrade for users is an improved camera sensor.  Realizing that this was not really a reason to upgrade Apple instead artificially restricted Siri, their two years late voice-recognition capability, to the iPhone 4S despite the fact that it requires nothing that isn’t already present in the iPhone 4 (or for that matter any older iPhone).

Are Apple fans righteously indignant about this seemingly unfair treatment of longtime users with older iPhones?  Of course not.  Why?  Because Apple says it should be this way.

There have been some articles about issues with Siri’s gender, with poor battery life, with slow connections on Sprint.  These things will all soon be fixed by software updates no doubt.  But no one, it seems, is arguing that all iPhone users should have access to this feature of iOS 5.  This is because Apple marketing knows that Siri is the only thing causing the iPhone 4S to sell and Apple marketing controls the media very well.

Mobile OS Voice-Recognition History Lesson

Just in case you didn’t know, Android has had voice-recognition capability built-in since it’s 1.5 release in April of 2009 and has had some of Siri’s more advanced actions like voice calling, voice texting, etc. since the release of Voice Actions for Android back on August 12, 2010.  Additionally, Windows Phone 7 debuted with all of these same features built-in back on November 8, 2010.  Windows Phone 7 even had the press-and-hold to activate functionality first (on Windows Phone you press-and-hold the Start button to activate voice commands, on iOS you press-and-hold the Home button to activate Siri).  I wonder if Microsoft had the foresight to patent that…

Apple’s ground-breaking innovations with regard to Siri are:

A) Giving it a name like it is a person

B) Having it ask you what you want it to do rather than waiting for input

C) Tying it to Wolfram Alpha to answer basic knowledge questions

Marketing Magic

There isn’t much there but boy did Apple marketing sell it well.  On the flipside, the camera improvement from 5 to 8 megapixel is meaningful.  The processor improvement from single-core to dual-core is nice.  For AT&T users the upgrade from HSPA 7.2 to HSPA+ 14.4 is nice in the few areas where it is available.  Outside of that it is the same phone they’ve been selling for the last 15+ months.  Meanwhile Android and Windows Phone devices keep coming out with larger screens, physical keyboards, and OS features that iOS lacks.  Yet if you ask the average person what the most advanced mobile phone is you almost always will hear “the iPhone [insert latest version here]” because Apple has Marketing Magic.

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