It seems that we can’t help it. Apple has barely hinted to what’s coming, but feature and factor speculation is rampant. Other mysteries include the actual date of the launch, and according to Woz, what exactly was true about the Jobs movie.
We do know that hearsay about Apple is typically like an old-fashioned game of telephone, where the original thought gets told (or in Apple’s case leaked?) and then passed on — being exaggerated or simply miscommunicated as it goes on.
At the end of this round of the game, the consensus, however, is that Apple will launch the next iteration of the iPhone5 (S?) on Sept. 10, that it will probably come in gold and have fingerprint scanning technology, but that it will not be a totally “new” iPhone — not the next great Apple innovation, but an effort to keep the public’s attention.
We already know it will have iOS7 (said to be released in Beta on Aug. 18). In an interview with Mobile Enterprise, Jeff Orr, Senior Analyst, Mobile Content, ABI research, noted that the rumor also points to a 128GB, not just a 64GB configuration. For quite a while, ABI has been concerned with Apple's strategy regarding innovation. "So the idea of 128GB makes sense because it addresses Apple's need to stay upmarket," he said.
Likewise, a gold-tone product tries to create that element of style which Apple's brand and products have. "In terms of functionality, it’s more of a bling phone in that sense," he said, adding that Apple is taking the direction of personalization, slightly similar to what Motorola is doing with Moto X.
Some outlets have reported a possible shortage of the device, which, while currently unfounded, could serve to drum up some of the lost iconic urgency associated with past Apple launches. This is all in light of Samsung trying to steal a bit of Apple’s thunder by holding a launch of the next Note and the rumored “Galaxy Gear” smartwatch on Sept. 4.
According to a company statement from Andy Kemshall, Co-founder & Technical Director, SecurEnvoy, “Apple has confirmed its plan to use fingerprint scanning technology as an authentication method on its new devices.” (Mobile Enterprise cannot verify this confirmation.)
Kemshall said that this feature is not a surprising addition, but noted that it will “undoubtedly” result in exposure to security risks. While the end user might think it’s cool, he does not think the technology is ripe for business just yet.
“Biometric authentication is not yet near the level it needs to be for the majority of …organizations to implement it in their products. There are industries in which it does make sense to use the technology though, such as those in which many people are using a single or small number of devices. For example, airports often use a passport and eye ball scan to authenticate a traveler. But for an organization such as Apple, which is creating multiple products for multiple users, it could not realistically enforce such a method,” he said.
The Story of Jobs
Maybe Apple season inadvertently started this past weekend with the opening of the movie—Jobs—a huge miss at the box office. Some say that failure is more a reflection of the lead, Ashton Kutcher, than a disinterest in the tech icon.
Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder, on the other hand blames the portrayal. In an interview with Bloomberg Television he said there were a lot of things wrong with the story, that Jobs was over glorified for the time in which the movie was based—a time in which, he said, Jobs was actually failing. He called the “great Steve Jobs” the man that “came back” more “mature and capable of executing a great vision.” (i.e. the iPhone.)
He also said that Jobs had a lot of flaws when running the company in those days, and mentioned that others were not accurately depicted, those who deserve much of the credit for Apple’s success. This is apart from, but also including himself.
Kutcher went on record as saying that Wozniak is involved with another upcoming Jobs film, so there’s a business case behind the high-profile comments he made.
Plenty of people, however, agree with Woz’ view of an imperfect Jobs . Orr said, “A lot of people put Steve jobs on a pedestal; he could do no wrong." He also noted that he has worked with those who reported to Jobs directly. These employees called him a tyrant, “a one-man show.”
Still, you’ll never satisfy everyone. As Orr pointed out, "I don't think anyone can put together a film that people would generally be happy with because it changes the perception people have of it." If they see him as a hero, for example, they wouldn’t want to see him in any other light. Likewise, if a moviegoer hated Jobs' guts, they certainly wouldn't pay money to watch his biopic.
“What's the point, is it done for drama, entertainment?" Orr asked. This seasoned analyst, who also used to work at Disney, has a good grasp of what movies make an impression with the populace. "This is not something the public finds entertaining."
More To Come
Nevertheless, perhaps this Apple season, will be like the recent old days with the company trumping them all. On both the Q1 and Q2 financials calls, CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer mentioned a busy year—not a one-off product.
Cook said in April, “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services that we can’t wait to introduce this fall and throughout 2014…one of our areas for growth are potential new categories, and we’re very excited about those.”
This was followed by a comment Oppenheimer made in July. “We are on track to have a very busy fall,” he said. “Let’s wait until October.” October? Did he mean the end of Q3 or another launch? Speculate on that.
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