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Neil Katz

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Millions of People Will Buy the Apple iPhone 5 for No Apparent Reason

Posted: 09/14/2012 2:32 pm

If anyone but Apple released a major new product whose most unique selling point was a new accessory plug, consumers would jump ship faster than rats on the Titanic.

But not for the iPhone 5. Analysts predict it could be the greatest selling gadget of all time, right behind the nearly identical iPhone 4S, which was nearly identical to the iPhone 4. That's three three major releases over two-and-a-half years and the most Apple lovers have to show is an inch of screen and a talking assistant that basically has no idea what you're saying. Worse, Apple didn't even build that. They bought it.

At any other company, heads would roll, at Apple they'll be rolling in money - as much as $36 billion in new sales, according to a Bloomberg analysis. But can the party really last, and at this point who's really copying whom?

Samsung already has much of what the iPhone 5 is selling. Bigger screen. Check. Lighter body. Check. Works with high-speed cellular networks. Check. As for that special new accessory plug, well that one is exclusive to Apple, who is kind enough to sell you a $29 converter for all the gadgets you bought for the old plug.

The company also proudly touted major new software innovations like turn-by-turn directions and better photo sharing with Facebook, except you can do both on other phones already.

Still Apple sounded impressed with itself at Wednesday's marketing bachanal. The one-inch the company added to the iPhone's screen? "We've worked on that for a few years," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president for marketing, "to come to what we think is the optimal size to give you more screen, but something that is super comfortable, easy to use and is thin and light and fits in your pocket."

Give them a few more years and one can barely imagination the innovation that's possible: an alarm clock with multiple snooze buttons; a better space bar; another accessory plug?

"Apple has never been stronger," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. Certainly true for the balance sheet, but can the same be said about the product line?

If all of this sounds like I'm an Apple hater, you've got the wrong guy. I'm just disappointed with the company I've loved since I was child. I've bought just about everything Apple's made since the Apple II Plus came out in 1979. I own two iPads, two Airbooks and a 20" iMac. I have a closet full of old iPods. And come Sept 21, I'll probably be standing on line with millions of other Americans buying an iPhone 5. Only this time, I won't really know why.

Loading Slideshow...
  • An Associated Press reporter holds the Apple EarPods during a product review in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • The Apple EarPods are shown during a product review in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • The new Apple iPhone 5 is displayed Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012 following the introduction of new products in San Francisco. The iPhone 5 is a blend of beauty, utility and versatility. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple unveils new iPhone model

    Technology giant Apple has unveiled a raft of updated products including the latest model of its new iPhone. The iPhone 5, which weighs in at 112 grammes, has a 4in screen - half an inch bigger than previous models, at Kings Place, Central London.

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The new iPhone 5 is displayed during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: The new iPhone 5 is displayed during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/apple-iphone-5-liveblog/" target="_hplink">Courtesy of Engadget.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/apple-iphone-5-liveblog/" target="_hplink">Courtesy of Engadget.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/apple-iphone-5-liveblog/" target="_hplink">Courtesy of Engadget.</a>

  • <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/12/apple-iphone-5-liveblog/" target="_hplink">Courtesy of Engadget.</a>

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • The iPhone 5 is shown during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks about camera quality of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Tim Cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook talks on stage during the introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, gives prices of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • The Foo Fighters perform during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage about new connectivity options during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Greg Joswiak

    CORRECTS ID TO GREG JOSWIAK, NOT EDDY CUE - Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Hardware Product Marketing, speaks about EarPods during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Tim Cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in front of an image of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Tim Cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • The Foo Fighters perform during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, gives release dates of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage about the introduction of a new operating system during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage about new connectivity options during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage about new connectivity features during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, talks about the features of the new camera and iSight during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks about camera quality of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks in front of an image of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks in front of an image of the iPhone 5 during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Tim Cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks in front of an image of an iPad during an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

  • Phil Schiller

    Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, speaks on stage during an introduction of the new iPhone 5 at an Apple event in San Francisco, Wednesday Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

  • Apple iPhone

  • Apple Introduces iPhone 5

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Apple announced the iPhone 5, the latest version of the popular smart phone. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

 
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