Tim Cook's dull debut


A close look at Apple's new iPhone 4S

It felt the same as any other Apple event - a man in dark, casual clothes walking around a stage telling the world about how wonderful his company and its products are.

But this time that man was Tim Cook, not Steve Jobs. On taking to the stage, Apple's new boss acknowledged that this was his first launch since taking over, as if to say, "be gentle with me".

Soon he was reeling out stats in the familiar manner - new stores opened, more Macs sold, a 23% market share for Macs in US stores, 45 million iPods sold last year, the iPad had 74% of the tablet market.

One statistic did not look so great - the iPhone has just 5% of global phone sales, although its share of the smartphone market is much higher.

Mr Cook's point was that the whole market is going to be smart - so there is plenty for Apple to aim at.

But then just as we were waiting for the big reveal, Mr Cook left the stage and handed over to a succession of his colleagues.

Tim Cook. 4 Oct 2011 Tim Cook says Apple is not just about individual products

They filled us in on the progress towards the launch of the iCloud service - launching next week, and offering to sync your music, photos and documents to your various devices. A bit like what Google and Amazon offer.

They told us about new apps like Newsstand which will act as a portal for papers and magazines, or Cards which lets you send cards - through the mail. None of it exactly mind-bending - but then we had the iPhone 5 to come, from the main man.

But we didn't.

Apple's marketing boss Phil Schiller, after talking about new lower prices for the iPod, stayed on stage to launch the iPhone 4S. It looks identical to the iPhone 4.

Mr Schiller assured us that it was completely different inside - a better camera, longer battery life, faster data connections, and apparently it's got an even better antenna than its predecessor (eg it can actually make phone calls.)

Still, you could sense a great wave of disappointment rolling through the Apple community.

Why rush out and buy the new, new thing if it looks just like that old phone that's been around for more than a year?

There was an impressive demo of the new Siri voice control system for the phone, which apparently allows you to talk to your mobile and get it to do just about anything from laying the table to fixing you an appointment with an Apple executive. Whether we all want to shout to our phones is another matter.

But overall what we got from an extremely long and ponderous event was nothing that would make anyone but the most dedicated Apple fan go "wow".

As if to answer that criticism, Tim Cook finally came back on stage to tell us that Apple was not about the individual products, more about how they all worked seamlessly together.

But there was no "and one more thing". So, for Apple's new boss, the verdict has to be - things can only get better.

Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

More on This Story

More from Rory


Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    "Why rush out and buy the new, new thing if it looks just like that old phone..."

    This sums up the Apple demographic... in a bad way.

    Looks are everything, functionality, features, new software, better power consumption are for nothing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    We waited a year and a half for an amazing new phone and this is what came out? why doesn't apple stop messing around and design an amazing new phone that we all know they are capable of?

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    People expect too much from Apple these days... when the successor to the 3 was the 3GS and looked idential, noone blinked. But since the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 people think a radical redesign will be an annual event. Any realistic tech fan will have been ready for a 4.5 model this year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The battery life is identical to what they quoted the iPhone 4 as having a year ago. Though that is impressive in itself given the other hardware improvements to the processing power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    So the all new singing and dancing all new bells and whistles iPhone 4S is still not as good overall as the Samsung Galaxy SII,

    Apple have finally lost it. I am very happy that I switched from the iPhone to the Android on the Galaxy SII.


Comments 5 of 307


This entry is now closed for comments


  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814

  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea

  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?

  • Children testing a bridge at a model-making summer school in Crawley, West SussexSeeding science Watch

    The retired professor who turned village children into engineers

  • Krouwa Erick, the doctor in Sipilou town at the border of Ivory Coast and Guinea - 27 August 2014Bad trip

    The Ebola journey no-one in Ivory Coast wants to take

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.