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Four Reasons Apple is Making us Wait for the iPhone 5

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Contrary to popular belief, greed isn't the primary factor.

After this week's lackluster unveiling, many have accused Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) of milking the system. This is the easy thing to do whenever a company rehashes an existing product.

But while Apple announced the iPhone 4S knowing that there are millions of consumers who will buy it despite the lack of major innovations, the company didn't take this path for the sake of profits alone.

Why, then, did Apple choose to launch another version of the iPhone 4?

Reason #4: Color Changes Aren't Enough

Remember the white iPhone 4? It wasn't an upgrade. It wasn't a fresh phone in any regard. But that did not stop Apple from hyping it as the next best thing in smartphone development.

Consumers tended to agree. When the new color launched earlier this year, most Apple stores held onto its stock for the full day. But if you had believed the pre-release hype, you would have expected it to sell out as soon as it was released.

Apple could add another color to the iPhone lineup. But compared to a red or blue iPhone (or even an all-silver design), the iPhone 4S seems downright awesome.

Reason #3: Sprint (Likely) Wanted a Better Deal than Verizon

With the $20 billion deal now apparently confirmed by Bloomberg, Sprint (NYSE: S) is going all-in with the iPhone. Thus, it's not a stretch to assume that the company asked Apple for a better (read: more exciting) unveiling than Verizon (NYSE: VZ) received earlier this year.

For better or worse, Sprint got one. Now its customers can proudly buy a “new” phone instead of another iteration of last year's model.

Reason #2: Innovation is a Slow Process

I don't want to defend Apple's decision to hold off on releasing a superior phone. But while we love to tell ourselves that Apple is an all-mighty innovator that should never wrong us, there is the strong possibility that the company is incapable of the level of innovation we expect.

That being the case, some might argue that the company should tone down its marketing and pre-announcement hype. But Apple doesn't sell products with open and honest advertising – it sells them by raising our expectations. While other companies often suffer for not fulfilling those expectations, Apple has enough customers to get away with this sneaky strategy – year after year.

We (the Apple skeptics) are equally to blame, however. If we didn't continue to expect big things from Apple, we wouldn't have to feel so disappointed when the company fails to deliver. And considering how many times Apple has failed to deliver in the last 12 months, isn't it about time for us to move on and lower our expectations, no matter what the hype, rumors and so-called “confirmed” reports tell us?

Reason #1: Fear

Change can be a scary thing. It might have made arcades rich in the ‘80s, and it might have made voters elect our current President. But in general, people fear change. Companies do as well.

While the current iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad formula has been successful, Apple could be afraid to make any drastic changes, knowing that it may ultimately make or break a product people already love. Consequently, Apple might believe that it is better to risk alienating consumers with high expectations than it is to risk alienating the mainstream market, which still believes that the iPhone is the best and most groundbreaking product in its class.

Follow me @LouisBedigian

Posted-In: Apple Bloomberg iPad iPhone iPhone 4S iPhone 5 iPod TouchTech Best of Benzinga

 

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