The Apple iPhone 5 Announcement: The Un-Story

Everybody covers the story of a product announcement. Its easy. Just re-arrange the stuff they said on stage in your own words. What is harder to cover is the un-story. That is the story about the stuff that wasn’t announced. It is also risky, because the company might forget to send you an invitation to the next press extravaganza. But since I don’t get invites to these things anyway, here is the un-story.

1. No love for the iMac line yet again.
This represents the second time that people thought that an Ivy Bridge processor upgrade to the iMac line would certainly be part of the announcement. Hey, that processor has been out since April! Should iMac users be worried about that bold proclamation today that ‘we really are in a Post-PC world’?

2. No killer feature.
It used to be that every iPhone announcement had something that left the competition stunned. The closest thing to such a killer feature in this iPhone it is that it is thinner and lighter than the 4 and 4s. But the larger screen is still much smaller and lower resolution than the other top of the line phones. The 4G LTE is merely catching up to the cutting edge from a year ago, as is the faster dual-core processor. In the meantime many of the competitors can boast of things that the iPhone 5 does not have and will be unlikely to have in the next year. Examples include near field communication (NFC) in the latest Samsung and built-in wireless charging in the latest Nokia.

3. Apple is not going to try to compete with the Kindle Fire or Nexus 7 in the $199 small tablet market for the next year.
A lot of people expected an ‘iPad Mini’ to be the ‘one more thing’ that never happened in this event. But how do I get from there to saying that Apple is not going to try to do anything to compete with the $199 7-inch tablets from Amazon and Google? Because they priced the new iPod Touch at $299. There is no place for a $199 seven-inch tablet if you are selling a four-inch tablet (which is what the iPod Touch technically is) for $299.

Apple has apparently decided that there are places that they will not go margin-wise to protect their market share.  The cheapest current generation iPad is $499 and the cheapest prior generation iPad is $399.  Ten inch screens and an extra 8gb of memory are not that expensive.  Is there room for Google or Amazon to come out with 10 inch screen tablets starting at $299?

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