Why the iPhone 4S Happened Instead of the iPhone 5

John Gruber, from Daring Fireball, tells it like it is. For example, his thought on people wishing for larger 4-inch iPhone screens:

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.

I agree. Jony Ive probably had a bunch of iPhone foam models with different sizes and the model with the 3.5-inch screen probably felt the best in Steve Job’s hand.
John also shares some good insights on how and when we can expect a new iPhone form factor:

Apple isn’t going to make a new form factor just for the sake of newness itself — they make changes only if the changes make things decidedly better. Thinner, stronger, smaller, more efficient. If they don’t have a new design that brings about such adjectives, they’re going to stick with what they have.
Apple is a company of patterns and cycles. These product cycles keep the machine functioning at a steady pace. They broke one pattern with the iPhone 4S: all previous iPhones were released in June. But they’ve added a new one: a two-year cycle that starts with a new form factor (3G/4) followed a year later by a new phone with the same form factor but significantly improved internals (3GS/4S). If next year’s phone is named “iPhone 5”, then I’ll expect a lookalike iPhone 5S in 2013.

John’s comments mirrors my own thoughts in my earlier article on mobile phone brands copying iPhones. I never really expected the new iPhone to have a change in its form factor. However when I called it the new phone the iPhone 5, what I missed was that Apple only changes the number when the form factor changes such as how the iPad evolved to iPad 2.
Finally, I like to say that Siri intrigues me. Is it strange that I keep on wondering how she looks like for real? Is she even a she? Function wise, I’m excited. Since it can do speech to text, it looks like it can help me with a faster blogging workflow. But I’ll hold off my judgment until I get a chance to play around with it. How about you? What are your thoughts on the new iPhone 4S?

  • Alistair Smith

    October 14, 2011 at 5:22 am Reply

    I think Apple are scared to release a new version. Competition from the Andriod phones like the Samsung Galaxy S2 are just too great for Apple to keep up with as they only put out 1 phone every 14months. Apple could play it smart and allow some key companies to use the iOS5 for them to test it further and push the boundaries. Lets be honest, if it wasn’t for the Jailbroken iPhone, Apple wouldn’t have came up with half the features they have today. The people that are hacking their phones and developing new things for it are twice as smart as anyone that apple have employed. I remember having the original iphone jailbroken and playing games on it, when no one else (unless they were jailbroken too) could.
    If Apple weren’t good at marketing their brand in all the subliminal ways they do they wouldn’t be as big as they are right now. Their handsets aren’t much better than anything Nokia are putting out just now, and thats saying something.

  • jeff

    October 27, 2011 at 9:21 pm Reply

    I’m certainly happy/not surprised they stuck w/ the 3.5″ screen. The form factor is ideal for use in my hand and fitting in my pocket. The current 4″ screen phones are too big for my pockets.
    In looking at their other products one can see Apple prioritizes minimizing the distractions between the user and the content. I expect Apple will increase the screen size when they can decrease the bevel size to keep the overall size about the same. I also expect them to minimize the glass thickness that separates your finger from the LCD. Doing this will improve the interface by strengthening the illusion that you are physically moving/touching things on the screen.

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