Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook received a lacklustre reception as he announced the latest version of the popular iPhone range.
Trying to replace the charismatic but seriously ill Steve Jobs is a thankless task but there was disappointment when the new iPhone 4s was revealed and not the anticipated iPhone 5. Many technology fans had been hoping for a slimmer device with a bigger screen.
Shares in Apple lost as much as five percent immediately after the launch, although later recovered slightly, closing down 0.6 percent at the end of the business day.
However there are some notable developments in the iPhone 4s including voice commands for sending messages thanks to ‘Siri’ technology that is already being used in iPhone rivals using Google’s Android software. Some analysts say Apple will make ‘Siri’ more usable, although it remains to be seen if consumers agree. The battery life is also significantly longer, while the camera has also been improved.
Some of Apple’s competitors have been catching up in terms of market share; Samsung for example has been shipping several times faster in the smart-phone market and enjoys a market share of 17.8 percent compared to Apple’s 18.4 percent.
In his first product launch since becoming Apple CEO, Cook stepped into the background for the highlight of the show, allowing the company’s head of marketing to show the new iPhone 4s to the world. Some industry experts say this may be a new strategy, with Apple presenting itself as a team rather than relying on the star quality that Jobs provided.
One important factor in the battle for smart-phone market supremacy is cost, and the iPhone 4s will allow Apple to compete at the lower end of the scale. The 4s will be available for $199, around 150 euros, and will allow the price of the iPhone 4 to be cut to $99. Older 3GS models will be free to customers signing long term contracts, which will bring Apple to potentially billions of people in emerging markets.
Apple may face legal troubles however: Samsung said on Wednesday morning that it will try to have iPhone 4s sales banned in Italy and France as it claims the technology used in the new device infringes its patents.