Tomorrow, Apple is poised to announce its newest iPhone, the iPhone 5 (or whatever they call it). And while there has been no mobile device more successful, more inspired and more game-changing than the iPhone, I can't help but feel that the sentiment post announcement by the media and bloggers will range from, "That's it?" to "Apple blew it."
Mind you, I say this NOT because of anything that the product will or will not do, but more because, if you think about it, it's the Perfect Storm in terms of media sentiment.
One, the "WOW" bar is pretty high with Apple to begin with, so anything that's not absolutely game-changing is destined to register with story writers as a disappointment.
Two, the big new feature of iPhone 4S, Siri, is widely perceived to be a bit of a disappointment, so there is already the easy narrative that Apple's lost its iPhone mojo.
Three, the media loves hero takedown stories, and has been waiting for the right moment to write the "He's not Steve Jobs" story about Tim Cook. I'm guessing this is that moment.
Don't get me wrong, I am not saying this is a conspiratorial effort or even that it's fair, just that the narrative machine works this way.
Four, Apple is coming off a "disapppointing" quarter in terms of its earnings (relative to its ridculously lofty standards), so the pieces fit if you want to construct dark, but ultimately meaningless, narrative.
As such, I will be shocked if the sentiment is not dour post announcement, and if there aren't at least a handful of "Apple's in trouble" stories tomorrow.
Put on your raincoat. A storm's afoot!
Then again, the last disappointing iPhone blew the door off the barns in the one place it matters - the market - so I expect a similar outcome when the faux clouds disperse.
Govern yourself accordingly.
UPDATE 1: Watching today's stock ticker during the Apple event and leading up to the close of the market, you could see a debate going on with dollars, as the stock teetered between being down $4 and up, before rocketing to a close up $9. In the end the stories were actually pretty measured like these two:
- The iPhone 5 Is Completely Amazing and Utterly Boring (Wired)
- Apple's iPhone 5 bigger, faster but lacks "wow" (Yahoo Finance)
UPDATE 2: MG Siegler at TechCrunch has written an entertaining read, 'Apple’s Magic Is In The Turn, Not The Prestige,' that takes an apt metaphor from the movie 'The Prestige' to explain the magic of what Apple has done with iPhone, and specifically disappointing to some of the Apple faithful at this point.
UPDATE 3: I may have been a bit ahead of the curve, but since the launch, Apple is getting dinged left and right for dissatistfaction with Maps, "disappointing" iPhone 5 sales, an un-Apple like launch of Passbook, and an unheard of drop in device satisfaction, to name a few. Some even wonder if the company has peaked.
UPDATE 4: In the four weeks since I wrote this post, Apple is down $22, or 3.39%. By contrast, Google is up a shade under 10%, and the Dow is up 2%. Of, Andy Zaky (my favorite analyst of Apple), thinks the rank and file are clueless and will miss Apple's run up to $1,000.