Amazingly, Apple belted a foul ball today and called it a home run.  The “new” iPhone 4S may be a nice phone, and it has some nice features, but it is basically just the same device that has already been selling for a long time.  Yes, the camera is better, and that’s nice, but at the end of the day this is not the device that triggered the breathless anticipation of the next cool thing.

After decades of Apple watching, it was sad to see Apple blow the opportunity to show something really new.  If they didn’t have a truly new product ready, then they should not have shown anything – or, given the hype they helped foster, should have started out the event by saying that the 4S was an interim device, while the truly new product was being readied for release.

Instead, it seems that Apple has tipped over the hubris barrier at a scale that is grand, even for them.  They seem to assume that, by simply being Apple, the adoring crowds will clamor for ANYTHING new with their name on it, just to be first on the block to have one.  The 4S is as disappointing as the iPad 2 – which was basically an attempt to bring the iPad to the level it should have been when it was first launched.

In fact, with two lackluster products being hyped by Apple in a row, it makes one wonder if Apple has lost it’s edge.  Whatever happened to the Jobsian mandate of making things that were “insanely great.”  I was fully prepared to pick up a new iPhone tomorrow.  That’s not going to happen.

I bet the folks at Google are having a huge party today.  But we shouldn’t celebrate Apple’s misstep – it should sadden us.  Apple has long been viewed as an industry leader in technology and design.  It is losing this edge and sooner or later someone needs to tell the king that it is walking around in its bloomers.

Please wake me when Apple releases a truly new product.

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