Buzz kill: Online reaction to iPhone 4S trends negative

But some analysts defend Apple's new smartphone

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"People look at the iPhone 4S and see Apple holding to [a] 3.5-in. screen when the market has shown that we like a bigger screen so we can see more, do more," said Llamas. "So they ask 'Why can't you stay ahead of the Samsungs, the HTCs of the world?'"

But he saw reason in Apple's moves.

"I can imagine a ton of developers breathed a huge sigh of relief that they wouldn't have to support yet another screen size," said Llamas. "It could have lead to the fragmentation [that affects] Android all over again. And as for LTE, good luck finding it anywhere outside the U.S. If you want to put out a device that reaches the corners of the earth, you can't bet on LTE."

The negative reaction to the iPhone 4S also stems, said Llamas, to the perception that "Apple is a trend setter" in the smartphone space, and people expect that each year.

That's unrealistic.

"Apple only does a major change of its hardware design every other year," said Llamas, pointing to the iPhone 4 as the first in that two-year cycle, and the 4S as the follow-up.

"I think the criticism [of the iPhone 4S] was kind of unfair," Llamas added.

So did Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities.

"The new name of the iPhone was a clear headline disappointment and led to a rush to judgment around the degree of improvement consumers will receive with the new phone, leading to a knee-jerk reaction from the market on fears of a weak upgrade cycle," said White in a note to clients today. "We believe this is nothing more than a superficial analysis."

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, mentioned headlines as well.

"Although the iPhone 4S will disappoint headline writers, it's a very strong product," said Gottheil yesterday.

Llamas agreed, and echoed other experts yesterday who argued that Apple's whole was bigger than its parts, certainly bigger than the hardware.

"Yesterday, they didn't really talk about the hardware, except for mentioning the faster [A5] processor," Llamas said. "Instead, they really tried to sell the entire experience."

Keith Shaw and Ken Mingis chat about the new iPhone 4S, announced today by Apple.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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