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Has the iPhone 4S launch bruised Apple?

So, there’s a new iPhone, but it’s not the one the world was expecting. In fact the iPhone 4S is really just a slightly enhanced version of the existing model. It has the same look and feel as the existing iPhone 4, which was launched 15 months ago, but boasts an improved camera, longer battery life and some new voice recognition capabilities.

There has been widespread disappointment following the launch with avid Apple fans feeling underwhelmed. Shares in Apple fell by almost 5% within minutes of the eagerly anticipated launch, with analysts saying that investors and Apple fans had expected the latest version to be a more radical.

From a branding point of view, Apple has set the bar extremely high – perhaps too high. They have created an expectation of radical innovation and cool style with every single new product, which is why the latest launch has left punters feeling underwhelmed. The iPhone 4S is undoubtedly a very good product, but it just isn’t as good as people had hoped it would be.

If you’re not an iPhone user or aspiring user, then this blog might seem irrelevant, but there’s a big business angle here too. Only a couple of days ago Sprint, the massive American mobile operator, spent $20billion dollars in a deal to allow it to sell iPhones (it committed to buying 30.5million of them!).

Which is interesting as it shows that the continued appeal of the iPhone is so powerful that mobile operators cannot afford to NOT sell it and are prepared to spend vast sums to secure the rights.

However, executives at Sprint must be feeling slightly nervous at the moment. The iPhone 4S will probably still be relatively popular, but will it be as popular as they had been banking on when they signed the deal? Or will they be left with a warehouse full of iPhone 4S models until the iPhone 5 actually appears?

Given the public reaction to the launch, it seems that only the most ardent of Apple fans, or brand new customers, will be prepared to spend their hard earned cash on the new model. Let’s hope the Apple boffins have got something special up their sleeves for the next iPhone launch otherwise Apple could find itself toppled from the top spot altogether.

 

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