Buzz kill: Online reaction to iPhone 4S trends negative

But some analysts defend Apple's new smartphone

Over two-thirds of the online buzz Tuesday about Apple's new iPhone 4S was negative, a social media monitoring company said today.

According to Bellevue, Wash.-based Visible Technologies, 69% of the comments it tracked on Twitter concerning the iPhone 4S were negative, a turn-around from what the company said were usually "rave" reviews for Apple and its product introductions.

The thumbs-down reaction was largely based on the lack of a larger, faster "iPhone 5," said Visible.

Rumors, many of them citing unnamed sources, had circulated widely in the weeks and days leading up to yesterday's announcement that Apple would roll out an "iPhone 5," a device that would supposedly boast a bigger screen and support the faster LTE networks being deployed in the U.S. by Verizon and AT&T.

Instead, Apple took a page out of its 2009 playbook, and dubbed the next-generation handset the 4S, using the same nomenclature it applied in the transition that year from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS.

Visible's findings echo an undercurrent of disappointment in what Apple revealed that has been expressed by bloggers, some analysts and even news reports yesterday and today.

Some of the responses to the iPhone 4 have ranged from over-the-top to simply outraged, while the Twitter hash tag #ifail continues to be heavily populated with gripes and venting over the new smartphone.

Some analysts were not hesitant to join the chorus.

"This new iPhone 4S announcement was a real yawner," Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, said in an email. "There was nothing earthshaking at all about this iPhone announcement. It is not the iPhone 5 like we expected. It is just an iPhone 4S."

Kagan berated Apple for wasting people's time by holding a product announcement when in his opinion a press release would have done. "This was almost abusive on Apple's part," he said.

Other analysts didn't see it that way.

"The disappointment is really ironic, considering all the positive press leading up to the announcement," Ramon Llamas, a senior research analyst with IDC, said in an interview today. "I can understand it to some degree -- I would have liked to see a bigger screen and LTE, too -- but Apple is still doing things better than anyone else."

Llamas pegged the same-sized 3.5-in. screen as the iPhone 4 and lack of LTE as the two biggest buzz killers.

Apple has unveiled the iPhone 4S, shipping Oct. 14. What new hardware feature will earn the device a place in your toolkit?

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