Posted By oomphhq on October 5th, 2011

Apple launch is all about the software

Thursday, 06 October 2011 09:26

Patrick Stafford at SmartCompany

Developers of iOS apps have given the iPhone 4S a mixed reception, saying the device is a step up from the current iPhone 4 but isn’t necessarily the big upgrade they were hoping for.

The mixed reception isn’t limited to developers, with analysts, consumers and investors expressing their disappointment after Apple only unveiled an upgraded iPhone 4, rather than an iPhone 5 with a totally new design.

LookOut Mobile director of product development Patrick Fitzgerald told SmartCompany this morning that while the Siri voice technology introduced yesterday is a welcome feature, “the phone is not that exciting”.

“Siri has opened up opportunities for developers, and there’s perhaps lots of cool stuff people can do. But overall, not so much.”

Andrew Campbell, co-founder of the GoCatch taxi app, says the device isn’t as “hugely new” as some hoped it would be, noting it’s more of an “incremental change”. Mogeneration chief executive Keith Ahern agrees, saying that Apple is tending to focus more on iOS software this time around rather than actual hardware upgrades.

However, developers also say this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Fitzgerald says it’s unrealistic for developers to expect a totally new phone every year. “I think a lot of the hype that was generated was made by the Apple community, and not Apple itself,” he says.

“I think it’s the same with what happened with the 3GS. People were underwhelmed, but when they started using it, it won people over.”

Campbell says the announcement could have been a lot worse – “it could’ve been totally different that nothing worked”.

“It’s an incremental change and that’s always easy for developers to adjust to. I anticipate there wouldn’t be too many changes required to get in with the new device.”

Ahern points out that the device itself has some worthwhile upgrades, and notes that Apple has traditionally backed away from introducing new features such as NFC or 4G until it believes consumers are ready.

“Next time around they’ll probably put in 4G and whatever, more stuff like that. But it’s probably too early for all of that now.”

“People should remember that Apple first launched the iPhone on 2G, when 3G was quite prevalent, and it still took over the market,” he says, adding that Apple is focusing more on software right now.

“I avoided the iCloud stuff because I didn’t really trust it until now, but I think it looks really good, and we’re a few months away from people using apps on iCloud and taking advantage of it all that way.”