People around San Francisco are used to the ground shaking -- both literally and figuratively. The ground actually shakes when the globe's tectonic plates get a little claustrophobic beneath them, and it metaphorically shakes every time Apple hosts one if its Internet-stopping unveiling events.
For the past six or seven years, these debut sessions have been like Christmas mornings rolled into Super Bowl Sundays. The electricity, the technological wizardry, the chance to line up and hand over our money in exchange for American coolness.
Not today. The ground moved alright. But it was caused by a painful, disappointing thud.
It's easy to blame Apple's big fail today on the loss of Steve Jobs -- and I'm sure that plays a part -- but there was something fundamentally missing from todays' big iPhone 5 announcement. And that something was "new." Or "unique." Or "exciting." I would have settled for any one of those. And instead we got something better suited for Samsung, HTC or even Microsoft.
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This is the world that Apple created for itself. When you're the biggest, baddest company in the Valley, we expect greatness. Today, we got a warmed-over, beige yawn. And not even on video. Why wouldn't Apple stream this event live?
Let's get this out there to begin with for all the Apple Fan Boys: The iPhone 5 is likely an incredible device. It can do things we never dreamed possible way back when important businessmen toted around cellular phones the size of farm animals. But the unveiling today possessed an underwhelming pall of disappointment.
The two biggest additions to the iPhone 5 are screen size and LTE.
I hate to point out this inconvenient detail, but I've had those 2 "new" features on my android phone for nearly two years. Is that supposed to turn the world upside down? Is that supposed to generate five million units sold?
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Maybe. And I might be one of those who purchases the iPhone 5. But my sense of intense anticipation was extinguished 10 minutes in, right after I realized there wouldn't be a "wow factor" with this latest iPhone generation.
Many will say it's because "all the secrets were leaked" in advance, which would have "never happened under Steve Jobs." I'm not sure that's accurate. Was there any one secret you heard before today that got your heart pumping? Everybody has a bigger screen now. Everybody is moving towards LTE. The iPhone already has Siri.
This was a press conference dedicated to upgrades. Lots of things are better with this phone. Thinner, faster, we get it.
But there's nothing -- not one single thing -- that has people buzzing hours after the Great Unveiling.
And for mighty Apple, that means failure.