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Why The iPhone 5 Could Be The Next “Hangover, Part II”

So here we go.  The September 12th announcement has come and gone.  All we have now is a nine day waiting period until we can actually buy the iPhone 5 but something tells me lines have already formed in front of stores across country waiting for “the device no one can live without”.  Seriously, what did we do before Apple told us what to do?  Ok, maybe not literally but certainly in a subliminal, I-need-this-now sort of way.

I spent two hours of live radio Wednesday afternoon talking about, analyzing, dissecting, debating, dising and recommending not a smartphone but BLOGS about a smartphone that hardly anyone has actually seen.  THIS is what our society has come to.  Don’t worry that we could debate about the presidential election less than two months away or discuss the recent horrific incidents in Libya.  Nope.  The question of the day seemed to be “when can I get my hands on the new iPhone?”

After hosting my radio show today I spent time with other media outlets around the country giving them my take on the announcement of the iPhone 5.  Not the release of the product but just the announcement.  Keep in mind that I, too, have yet to see or touch the device.  But my media brethren, viewers and listeners wanted to know if the device was “everything I expected” and if they should immediately buy one.  How the hell should I know?  I haven’t played with it yet!  I could not give the device a recommendation nor could I actually tell people not to get it because all I have to go on is a teaser.

Sidenote
I liken this to a scenario played out often in the film industry.  We get excited when we see a movie preview with our favorite actor, an adaption of a great book or a unique theme or setting that looks cool.  We can’t wait for the movie to be released.  It will be a “must see”.  It may break box office records.  However when we actually do go see that flick that we waited so long for it turns out to be a dud.  The funniest parts of the movie were all in that trailer.

I call this “The Hangover, Part II” effect.  I loved “The Hangover” when it was released in 2009.  Some buddies going crazy in Vegas for a bachelor party and wind up looking for their lost friend.  Action and high comedy ensue.  I have seen the movie no less than 50 times now thanks to a DVD and cable TV repeats.  Love it.

But that film was so successful Hollywood wanted forced more on us.  More action, more laughs and mo’ money for the studios.  I saw the trailer for “The Hangover, Part II” months before it would be released and I literally circled the calendar date.  In my mind it was going to be one of my favorite flicks of all time and one I would also be watching again on DVD for years to come.  I couldn’t wait to see the shenanigans that Stu, Alan, Doug and Phil would be getting into while in Bangkok.  Hell, I almost started a Mr. Chow fan club going into the new film.

What did we get with “The Hangover, Part II”?  Not a sequel but a remake.  A few tweaks that allowed us to catch up with the characters we loved at first but simply thrown into a very similar and tired story line.

We now continue
During my interviews today, the main words I used to describe the words I read from the Apple presser were “no WOW”.  As in…there was no WOW factor for me after I saw all the things the iPhone 5 will do.  We as consumers are now used to touchscreen smartphones, voice-activated assistants, cameras in our pockets, music and videos on the go, interactive maps and apps that do everything.  Everyone seemed to be waiting for Apple to announce something really big, something really new.  And do you know what we got?  Apple tweaking and updating a few things to play catch up with almost every smartphone currently on the market.

“Welcome to the 21st century, iPhone.  Where you been all this time?” – Love, Android

Here are a few features that were announced today that millions of people will be playing with on their early-Christmas Day of September 21 (iPhone 5 release date):

  • A phone that works on 4G LTE networks.  Awesome.  Haven’t seen that since Sprint debuted their high-speed data network in 2008.  My kid is almost older than that.
  • A thinner and lighter phone than the iPhone 4S.  My Samsung Galaxy GIII, my Droid RAZR, my HTC One and many others went to Weight Watchers a long time ago.
  • A larger, 4″ diagonal screen.  My other smartphones (see above) took their digital Viagra years ago and easily measure at least 4″.
  • An 8-megapixel camera and high definition video recording.  These features are as outdated as bell bottom jeans.

What did people expect to see on the new iPhone?  When asked several times what would have made me say “WOW,” the only thing I could think of were new apps for Total World Peace and an working Doc Brown Time Machine.

That is because we are used to these devices now and we have Apple itself to thank for that.  When the company introduced the first iPhone back in June of 2007 it indeed was a game changer.  That smartphone still ranks in my Top 3 gadgets of the current century.  It was totally new and fresh.  No physical keys to type on.  Pinch and squeeze to zoom in on photos.  That stuff was the bomb way back five years ago.  But users continually want to be “WOWed” with new features and add-ons.  It is tough to top perfection other than trying with a few added tweaks every so often (see “The Hangover, Part II”).

The conclusion as of now seems to be that the smartphone market is saturated with super smart devices that can do multiple tasks for us.  We are always looking for something more; something that makes us say WOW.  Apple is a very unique company.  No matter what device they release – even if it has just a few added tweaks to it – people around the world will line up and buy it.  Steve Jobs led us to water and he will eternally and subliminally make us drink.

My official advise on your next smartphone as of now – iPhone 5 sight unseen – is to wait until the product is released so you can feel it, touch it and soak in information and reviews from people who have actually played with it even for just a few hours.  No need to stand in line as there will be plenty to go around; Apple expects to sell 30 million of these babies.  And then what?

Yep, just wait until next year when the “next” greatest device you can’t live without is announced. And then released a few weeks later.

Let’s just hope it’s not a remake.

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