iPhone

How Apple's iPhone 5 no-show reveals a change of heart for Cupertino

Apple is no longer wooing power users - its eye is on a bigger slice of the mobile pie...

Despite months of iPhone 5 rumours, speculative analysis and even a review of a phone that did not exist, Apple confounded many by not launching an iPhone 5 yesterday.

And yet, in hindsight, this should not be a massive surprise. Apple is a business: it sells phones to make money. And the iPhone is continuing to make Apple a very wealthy company indeed.

At yesterday's iPhone 4S launch event, Apple's new CEO Tim Cook noted that more than half of all the iPhones it has sold since the company got into the phone-making business back in 2007 have been last year's model: the iPhone 4.

If it ain't broke, goes the saying, don't fix it. Or in Apple's case, don't make unnecessarily drastic product revisions and risk derailing what is a very well-oiled money-making machine.

iPhone 4S

The Apple iPhone 4S: it's new on the insidePhoto: Apple

Once again, Apple is going for evolution, not revolution - just as it did with its iPad to iPad 2 update. And the iPhone 3G to 3GS update.

While Apple marketed the iPhone 4 with the hype-tastic tag line, 'This changes everything. Again.', the iPhone 4S gets the much more modest motto - at least by Apple's adverb-packed standards - 'It's the most amazing iPhone yet.'

Apple's product roadmap dictates it's simply too soon for an iPhone 5 to 'change everything once again'. Cupertino's upgrade cycles are meticulously structured for it to get the most out of its products - and therefore its customers. This means incremental updates are the natural follow-on to more substantial revisions.

Revolution begets evolution begets revolution and so on.

Reporting its third-quarter results this summer, Apple revealed it sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter - representing 142 per cent unit growth over the same quarter a year ago. It is selling more iPhones than ever - and making more money than ever.

The iPhone 4S brings a dual-core chip to Apple's handset and an eight-megapixel camera that can match the specs of the vast majority of high-end smartphones. Sure, it doesn't have NFC or LTE or 3D or even an all-new teardrop-shaped unibody. But it's still a compelling handset for a lot of smartphone users.

But what about innovation? Isn't Apple falling behind its Android-powered competitors on that front? It's been 16 months since...

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