I just got done listening to a few podcasts from this week, and it occurred to me that pretty much every tech site has got the very question I pose in the headline wrong. Dead wrong.
Almost all of them look at it from the perspective of ‘Will I upgrade from the 4S’, but guys, that’s the wrong question, and therefore you will reach the wrong conclusion.
The target upgrade audience isn’t you. It’s the people that are on the iPhone 4.
Most of us, including myself, are on two-year contracts with our respective providers. The reason being that almost none of us can, or want to, buy a new 600.- + phone every year. That’s why carriers subsidize new smartphones with contracts that let them recuperate the cost to the manufacturer, plus a lot of extra money over the period of the contract.
Only a very small minority of users get a new smartphone every year, or in the case of Android phones every few months. This minority includes most people working for said tech sites.
So the initial question, without having laid hands on the new iPhone 5, becomes ‘iPhone 5. A worthy upgrade for the iPhone 4?’, and guess what? This changes the whole picture, because you can bet your butt that the answer to that question is a resounding ‘Hell, yes!’.
It’s pretty obvious to me, and has been since the iPhone 3G – 3GS cycle, that Apple is on a two-year cycle with the iPhone: First built something great for the people that bought their last phone two years ago, and then build on that in the second year.
Next years iPhone 5S (yeah, I’m betting money on that name), will be for current 4S users.