Instant view: Apple's latest iPhone fails to excite
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook presided over the company's first major media launch since taking over from Steve Jobs in August, but the latest version of the iPhone he unveiled did not excite investors, sending its shares down as much as 5 percent.
Jobs did not appear at the event.
The following are immediate comments from analysts, tech experts and fund managers.
TAVIS MCCOURT, ANALYST, MORGAN KEEGAN
"They could have called it iPhone 5. There are enough changes. The voice-recognition service -- if it works like reports on it did on stage -- is pretty impressive."
"Voice recognition has been on Google and BlackBerry devices for years, but Apple will make it much more usable."
"They're going to have three products in the market at the same time for the first time ever. That will allow them to price the 3GS down. That will be free now."
"For Sprint it can't hurt. We'll see what they can do to differentiate it. They've customers who won't be moving to AT&T and Verizon now. If they keep the same data plan for the iPhone this will be the cheapest way to own an iPhone."
TIM BAJARIN, PRESIDENT, CREATIVE STRATEGIES
"Anyone that's had an iPhone 3G is going to want to upgrade. Anyone that's got an iPhone 4 I think will want all of the new features in this system, especially what they're doing with the Siri personal assistant, and then what they're doing with the video and the imaging."
"They've just mastered manufacturing that form factor (iPhone 4) and demand is higher than it's ever been. For them to, in the middle of the year, decide to put out a brand new design and then have to refigure out how to do another 100 million of that. That's a hard job."
"It is much more practical, and a smarter thing to do, to stay with the existing design and completely redo the insides instead. Because it means that they can now keep up with demand."
"Nobody can replace Steve. Steve has a charisma and a stage presence that's unmatched. But having said that, in the end, even though Steve's stage presence is important, what you really care about is what he said. And in that context, they nailed it."
ROSS RUBIN, ANALYST, NPD
"Since Apple is known for its industrial design and known as a hardware company, there were expectations of another form factor or that it would support LTE. But we've also seen Apple do very well with designs that are more tried and true."
"It can take much better photos and video. The new graphics capacity opens new doors for developers. Where Apple differentiates itself is the quality of applications available for the platform."
JOHN JACKSON, ANALYST, CCS INSIGHT
"The new price points, coupled with a much greater strategic emphasis on iCloud and iMessaging, suggests a shift to a volume game rather than high margin products."
"Because they didn't move to a new phone they can shift to a volume game by adjusting the prices, expanding the installed base of iOS users and start to sew up more of your computing experiences."
"The danger for these guys is that they've done a product refresh in a market where the product cycle is shorter and shorter. I don't think there's going to be any defections really but the danger is that the prospective iPhone customer is going to be distracted by that shiny new device from Samsung or whoever it is."
"Nobody has caught Apple in terms of service integration. As true as that may be, it's a tougher thing to market to consumers."
SHAW WU, ANALYST, STERNE AGEE
"Overall, there was probably slight disappointment. People were hoping for a bigger screen, just given what's out there from many of the competitors, namely HTC and Samsung."
"From a software perspective, they really made some big enhancements. Siri -- that's really impressive. Many users, for example, when they're driving, would like to do some simple commands, like have email read to them. It makes a ton of sense. This is an area people actually want."
"One thing that's really going to help them -- they're going to roll this out pretty quickly, to every territory by December. In the past, we've seen it take longer."
MICHAEL YOSHIKAMI, CEO, YCMNET ADVISORS
"People are disappointed that they didn't change the hardware more. There were rumors of a bigger screen and a thinner model, prompted by the usual spate of cases coming out of Asia."
"Those who may be disappointed by the lack of hardware changes are missing the major point here. Apple for the first time is in a position where they can target all of Nokia's phones in emerging markets by dropping the price of their phones."
"Apple has always been about selling premium products. Not anymore. Apple now has cheaper products that will probably come out in pre-paid plans. They dropped the price of the iPhone 3GS today. The iPhone 3GS will be seen a lot in parts of Asia where you only see Nokia right now. 3GS costs zero on a contract and if it's not in a contract, the price point will be pretty nominal."
"Apple is hitting Nokia when it's vulnerable. How many billions of people in emerging markets would love to have an iPhone?. These are a growing demographic. You are essentially targeting Apple customers who may move up over time."
"As an Apple investor this is positive news, but for technology people this may be disappointing. There's a lot of cool technology out there that doesn't get enough scale to be interesting."
TIM STEVENS, EDITOR IN CHIEF, ENGADGET BLOG
"Certainly people are disappointed. People got overexcited for the launch and there was a lot of hype. But the 4S looks like a great product. It will make a lot of people very happy but certainly people were expecting an iPhone 5."
"Siri looks fantastic. It looks really nice if you're a person who finds yourself stuck in traffic. While driving you can now read your text messages without worrying about breaking any laws. Whether or not it'll be groundbreaking, I'm not so sure."
"The thing that surprised us was the 4S got the faster A5 processor. It's a faster phone than the 4, that was the only surprise but that wasn't exactly a shocker."
"It was exciting to be in the room and way more intimate than the Moscone Center where their events are usually held. It was a couple hundred journalists there. You could hear the shutters from the photographers going off quickly near the end. People thought Tim Cook would say those iconic words, "and one more thing," and when he didn't, people were disappointed."
VAN BAKER, ANALYST, GARTNER,
"Some people will be disappointed as they were hoping to see something that looks different, but this is an improvement across the board on hardware. Where they really raised the bar is on Siri."
DANIEL ERNST, ANALYST, HUDSON SQUARE ANALYST
"They are disappointed because people were expecting the iPhone 5 and they got the iPhone 4S. The confusing element is the iPhone 4S has everything they thought the 5 would have. It has the new chip and it's integrated with the new cloud service."
"Unfortunately they are calling it the 4S so the market thinks Apple is behind in the release schedule."
"There's a lot of consumers who were expecting an iPhone 5 around the corner, which will keep some people on the sidelines. It sends some confusion into the market even though it seems like a great phone."
MICHAEL WALKER, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, WP STEWART
"It's in line with expectations but the stock's trading off. It's kind of funny -- if they have gone and called it the 5, the stock would have been fine, but they're calling it the 4S, which is a disappointment to some."
"It's a faster chip. The form factor is the same as the prior one which might be a disappointment also to some people."
"We're not disappointed at all. It's exactly as you'd expect, but next year they need to look more carefully at the prepaid market."
(When asked if surprised that Jobs did not make an appearance) "No. they've been clear that Tim Cook would lead the way."
FRANCIS SIDECO, WIRELESS ANALYST, IHS ISUPPLI
"I like how they made a big deal of the new antennas, because of the history of the death grip on the initial iPhone 4. Switching between one radiating structure and the other will definitely help. Users should be able to get a pretty good signal at all times. They are finally using the potential of that kind of design."
"We didn't think the new phone was going to have LTE. Apple doesn't do tech for tech's sake, only to enhance user experience. While LTE is gathering steam it's still too early from a chipset point of view and also from network deployment point of view."
COLIN GILLIS, ANALYST, BGC PARTNERS
"It's been 16 months and all you've got is a A5 processor in the existing iPhone 4."
"It's a mild disappointment, but they're still going to be selling millions of units."
"There's plenty of significant improvements, the software, the A5 processor that's dual core."
"There's a certain segment of consumer that's always going to be buying the latest device based on form factor to be seen to have the latest. This isn't going to satisfy these people."
(Reporting by Sinead Carew and Liana Baker in New York, Alistair Barr, Alexei Oreskovic, Sarah McBride and Poornima Gupta in San Francisco/Cupertino)
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