The bar had clearly been set by some commentariat that an iPhone 5 was forthcoming. The lack of a radically different (looking) iPhone leads some to say that Apple has not met expectations. This in turn will lead to others
highlighting the iPhone 4S as a reason for lowered stock performance or as a misstep for new CEO Tim Cook post the retirement of Steve Jobs. All of that is hogwash, but what I can’t believe Apple didn’t understand is the importance of their products as signal of status.
You’re really limited to what you can do with the form factor and footprint of a phone. What are you gonna do, make it round? Nokia’s experimentation with different form factors shows that we’ve been conditioned to either clamshells or candybars.
Having the latest shiny object means something. A new iPhone is a conversation starter, especially when Siri is showed off. Apple could have easily circumvented this by taking a MacBook Air approach, not in the form of a thinner body but in the use of materials. Wouldn’t an aluminum or titanium (or some other more-exotic metal) differentiated the 4S as something new and lustworthy?