Average iPhone Announcement Begs the Question: What Now?

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The highly-anticipated iPhone 5 was unveiled yesterday at an Apple event in San Francisco. The world’s slimmest smartphone, the new model is 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S, and boasts a number of other updated features.

The excitement that surrounds Apple press events is unparalleled in the tech world, and in the commercial world at large. Will that always be the case? 

Ken Auletta, writer and media critic for the New Yorker, attributes much of Apple’s success to the “mystique” Steve Jobs created around new products, making them status symbols as well as useful and innovative devices.

“Forget the technology,” Auletta says, asking us to focus instead on Steve Jobs’ flair for marketing. Jobs “treated all of his new products as if they were atomic bomb secrets.” Though competitors may be able to imitate or even surpass the iPhone technologically, the company’s marketing campaigns have “reinforced this sense” that it’s cool to own an Apple product.

Apple continues to be an innovator in many other areas as well. Of late, the company has dabbled in the use of electronics for medical information sharing, and has worked to improve the healthcare system for large-scale employers as well. Still, many critics remain less than impressed. As The Wall Street Journal asked, “Is Apple’s iPhone 5 Boring?” 

According to Auletta, this criticism is less because of disappointing technology, and more because we are holding Apple to a different standard. Yesterday's announcements were "not deemed to be revolutionary,” so they received “some snickering”. While the mystique has certainly helped Apple's image in the last decade, it seems that without Steve Jobs, this strategy might begin to backfire.