Well, kiddos, it's officially that time again: time for Apple's annual phone launch extravaganza.
The iTeam has scheduled a "special event" for next Wednesday at which it's expected to unveil the next iPhone -- the iPhone 5, as folks have taken to calling it. I'm sure you're every bit as excited about that as I am (which is to say not very excited at all).
Still, the iPhone is a major force in the mobile world, and for anyone passionate about mobile technology, its launch is impossible to ignore. Aside from the traffic jam effect the new iPhone is already having on Android products, there are a handful of things you can pretty much count on seeing from this side of the fence:
1. Apple -- and much of the mainstream media -- will paint the new iPhone as being "game-changing" and "revolutionary."
It happens every time: No matter how many of Apple's new features are things that have been available on Android for ages (irony alert, aisle one!), Apple will portray the technology as being magical and revolutionary -- and much of the media will follow suit with headlines about the product's game-changing nature and market-shifting potential.
That leads us to our next point:
2. Android fans will quickly point out how most everything new with the iPhone is old news for Android.
If the rumors are true, the new iPhone might have a larger screen (a full 4 inches -- gasp!) along with LTE connectivity, a quad-core processor, and possibly NFC functionality. It won't take long for Android enthusiasts to point out how those new tricks are all old hat in this corner of the world (see? I already got things started).
The same goes for the iOS 6 update that'll likely launch along with the latest iPhone: From what we've seen so far, most of the software's hallmark features are things that'll elicit an indifferent "meh" from the majority of Android-oriented folks.
In the big picture, that's perfectly fine -- we're talking about two different platforms, and Apple's latest advancements will no doubt be nice improvements for existing iPhone users -- but given Apple's adjective-heavy marketing habits, the platform-to-platform comparisons are inevitable.
3. Apple will present some impressive-sounding -- and probably misleading -- statistics about iPhone adoption.
It happens at nearly every Apple launch event: The powers-that-be prepare some eye-catching slides that either twist the facts or show a limited scope of the mobile ecosystem in order to downplay the competition and make the iPhone look like the dominant force in the smartphone market. It's reality distortion at its finest.
To be fair, a lot of companies do this sort of thing. Apple just happens to be really good at it.
4. The new iPhone will legitimately be a big hit.
Does anyone doubt this? Apple has a huge and loyal following of fans, and with a once-a-year upgrade option, its hardware releases are bound to draw enormous interest. Let's be honest: At this point, Apple could probably put last year's phone in a shiny new shell and there'd still be lengthy launch-day lines.
That being said...
5. Android devices will continue to sell well, too.
With every single Apple launch, the industry's self-appointed analysts start predicting the pending demise of Android's popularity (see point #1, above). Yet, every time, Android somehow manages to hang on to its sizable market share -- and continue to grow in popularity in the months that follow.
Now, I know that right now, plenty of people are saying "but just wait for the iPhone 5 -- that's the one that'll change it all." Remember: We've heard that before, first with the iPhone 4, then with the Verizon iPhone, then the iPhone 4S, and so on. There's always a "just wait for..."-factor looming in the future.
Here's the plain and simple truth: Apple's iOS and Google's Android appeal to different people for different reasons, and that's A-OK; that kind of competition is good for everyone, most of all consumers. But the hype and excitement often get the better of pundits and lead to some pretty sensational statements. In this ongoing game, you learn to take those statements in context and treat them for what they are.
Speaking of which, one more thing: As soon as this event's behind us, get ready for the talk about next year's iPhone 6 SuperDuperMagicalEdition and how it'll have all the features that this year's model doesn't. I bet it'll even be the one that's totally gonna change everything -- like, for reals, yo.