For a week now, Apple news that wasn’t Steve Jobs-focused has been first and foremost about the “disappointment” of the iPhone 4S and then, later, about how Apple sold a million of them in pre-orders alone.
Jobs’ demise stirred sadness and grief around the world and it’s believed that Jobs’ untimely death has rocketed demand for iPhone 4S from consumers.
Maybe the widespread news of Jobs’ unfortunate passing away (too young, for anyone) has raised general awareness that Apple had also just released a phone. But would it have mattered? Apple tends to beat its previous records with every single product release, consistently. New MacBook Air? Best sales of the Air ever. New iPad? Best sales ever. New iPhone? New record. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Apple’s products are so mainstream that people talk about them without knowing who Steve Jobs even is. People want these devices after seeing their friends or family using them and discovering just how easy they are to use, and how fun they are. Those two factors were always a driving force behind the ‘Jobsian’ vision: it should work intuitively great, and be a delight to use.
The disappointment in a lack of iPhone 5 was both predictable and uninteresting news. Why do people want new hardware form factors? Because that feels new. Same form factor, different inside? Doesn’t feel new. This is very basic human psychology, something we collectively exhibit starting at single-digit ages. We want new toys because the feeling of having something new makes us feel happy. It’s superficial, but true.
Once we become adults, however, we tend to realize this superficiality after a while, if not immediately. Sure, it’s not a new form factor, but boy does that camera look amazing, and have you seen Siri in action?! Most of us eventually rationalize our (superficial) disappointment away and realize that the new iPhone 4S is, yet again, a pretty must-have device.
Those who are disappointed enough not to buy the iPhone 4S are few and far between the well over a million people who already have. A new form factor is nice, but for the majority of mainstream consumers—the people Apple now sells to—it isn’t about having a form factor; it’s about having a really great phone.
Like the iPhone 4S.