Why Tuesday’s Apple Event is One of the Most Important Ever



Ho-hum. Another iPhone. Tuesday’s Apple event is going to be boooo-ring, right?

Well, not so fast. I think that from a milestone perspective, Tuesday’s announcement may be among the most important Apple has ever made. 

(You’ll notice I said iPhone, singular, not iPhones, plural. I know this because as an Apple invitation Kremnologist, it’s clear that the little 1 on the phone icon means Apple is launching only one phone. I think.)

The reason the event will be so important is that history judges such moments not so much by the product announced, but by the revolutions they start.

For example, when the iPod was first announced, it was just a cool new music player, Apple’s entry in a crowded market. But that moment in history is now seen as a giant event, because it represented a change in direction for human culture. The iPod made possible iTunes, and the universe of electronic downloadable music as a replacement for the old CD model. The recent Facebook-as-a-media-center announcement, the cell-phone-as-an-entertainment-hub habit and much more can be traced directly back to Apple’s announcement of the iPod.

When the iPhone was first announced, it was cool, to be sure. But the iPhone’s importance once again is that it changed culture, opening the way for a transformation for how most people use a phone, for the app store concept as a mainstream way to get software and eventually a transformation in how all mainstream computers will be used. For example, the awesome new gestures, Launchpad and other features in Mac OS X Lion can be traced back to the 2007 iPhone announcement.

So from a milestone-that-leads-to-culture-changing technology perspective, Tuesday’s announcement will be ginormous.

Of course, we don’t know for sure what will be announced. But it’s possible that Tuesday’s event will usher in not one, but two, new eras in consumer technology.

The Social Tablet Era

Facebook on iPad. Big deal, right? I think it is. At post time, none of the major social networks has a native tablet app for any of the major tablets. We have never seen social networking optimized for touch tablets.

Rumor has it that Facebook will release its long-awaited iPad app Tuesday at the Apple event.

The lead engineer for Facebook’s iPad app, Jeff Verkoeyen, says on his blog he worked 80 hours a week to get that app done months ago — that it was “feature complete” in May. (He’s since left and moved to Google.)

Facebook or Apple or both have apparently been delaying the app for months for some reason. Now they’re launching together, according to rumors. And Facebook’s “Project Spartan” HTML5 development environment is also rumored to be on the menu.

Here’s the thing. Apple agreeing to host Facebook’s iPad app rollout makes absolutely zero sense unless one of following two things is planned: 1) Facebook will release a tablet version only on iPad and on no other tablets; or 2) Apple’s iCloud content will be jacked into the Facebook matrix.

Of these two, the second one is far more likely. In the same way that Facebook’s new services will enable the discovery, playing and sharing of music via Spotify and many other streaming music services, I think they’ll also enable you to do the same thing with iTunes music, to be served up via iCloud.

Regardless, Facebook’s iPad app will probably be incredible.

But app quality isn’t what makes social networking on a tablet so compelling. Two years from now, I predict social networking will be the main thing people do with tablets — especially now that media consumption and gaming are becoming social networking activities. Social networking will be what drives the next massive wave of iPad and tablet purchases. Social networking will drive iPad sales to a whole new level.

There are two reasons why I say that. First, if you map “prime time” for iPad use and overlay it on “prime time” for social networking, they both occur at the same time: Evenings, breaks and weekends. And they both take place at the same locations: The couch, the dining room table and Starbucks.

The second reason is that both social networking and touch interfaces, the iPad being by far the most compelling example of today’s touch experiences, tap into our homo sapien hardwiring for how we want to spend our time. People are designed to socialize with other humans, and also to explore the world with touch.

Nobody will be able to explain why using Facebook on an iPad will “feel” really, really good. But it will.

Right now, a Facebook app seems like a minor upgrade from just using the iPhone app or logging into Facebook via Safari on iPad. But this is like saying that building a digital camera into a cell phone is only a minor change from carrying both devices. But history shows that the cell phone camera changed how people live and interact. Social networking optimized for tablet computers will prove to have a similar culture-changing effect.

Anyway, the Social Tablet Era starts Tuesday, if the rumors are true.

The Artificial Intelligence Phone Era

While the main use for a tablet will become social networking, the main use for a cell phone will be interacting with our personal robot assistants.

Within three to five years, we’ll talk to our phones, and our phones will talk back. Special software, either residing on the phone or off in some distant data center, will use artificial intelligence to gather reams of data about us, and our present circumstances and proactively suggest things to us.

When we want something, we’ll just tell our phones to do it:

“Call Steve, and if he doesn’t answer leave a message that I called.”

“Where’s the nearest good Chinese restaurant?”

“Postpone my three o’clock meeting for some time next week.”

The software accessible from our phones will figure out what we meant, interact with our calendars, contacts databases, social networks, favorite e-commerce sites, booking services, and the people we know in order to do our bidding.

In the third example above, our phones will notify other people I’m meeting with, find out when they are available, confirm all attendees for the new time and then put it on my calendar — all without my involvement.

This Star Trek-like capability will become expected and commonplace. But we’ll all trace it back to Tuesday, when Apple rolls out the Assistant.

In quintessential Apple style, the artificial intelligence agent that will appear in the next iOS release will be strictly feature limited to only the parts that work really well. The rest will come later.

Yes, Siri, the app upon which Apple’s Assistant technology is based, which itself is based on a Pentagon artificial intelligence agent technology program, has been around for a while. So have other similar attempts.

But the Apple rollout will instantly mainstream personal artificial intelligence agent technology. And that’s a huge milestone, the stuff of science fiction — until Tuesday.

  • Jessica

    Just because you have an idea for article, doesn’t mean you should write it. This is awful beyond belief. Biggest Apple event ever because of Facebook app?

  • Monkeysanchez

    Is twitter not a major social network.

  • shiva’s tears

    jess, i agree with the principle you espouse, but you missed the point of the article. i suggest rereading mike’s post to understand that he is writing about something more fundamental.

  • ryanshattuck

    Oh good lord, what a ridiculous, unnecessary article. Mike Elgan is one of those tech journalists who has a bad habit of confusing hyperbole and opinion with journalism and fact.

  • Alexandre Mello

    I agree with these ideas in part. The second reason you point is better imho, and probably would became a milestone. But I don’t think it would be the best event in Apple’s history. Maybe the next, when iOS and MacOS become only one system…

  • Connor Mulcahey

    I still think people are over interpreting the 1 badge on the phone icon.

  • Oriondlc

    I like how you laid this out and I think we will see some of what you said come true. The thing I find fascinating is the primetime of days and week ends and what we do in that time and how it will change in the near future. It is exciting to see these changes I have beenwaiting for this to come true. Thank your for your in site.

  • Ed_Kel

    Agreed.. And also the line itself. “Let’s talk iPhone” cleary refers to the point of topic and not just 1 iPhone. Speculation from websites like CoM are only making it more difficult for us to ingest what Apple may or may not announce..

  • Roy

    Apple = The technology, Facebook = Human network! If you put those together you will get people using apples Technology because of Facebook and people using Facebook because of apples technology! Less NEW people on Twitter and less New people using example “Sony”. So its a smart move from both sides. If you feel that Mike only try to brainwash us using propaganda then its your problem. But in 5 years from now, you will laugh when you think back on what you wrote.

  • rushbc

    Twitter has an iPad app optimized for the iPad.  So I assume you are saying that the Facebook app will be integrated at the OS level, like Twitter for iOS 5, and not a download from the App Store?  

  • Alberto Hernandez

    No at all. Most twitter accounts are dead. 

    Facebook is the only true social network. Google+ is far far behind.

  • nounoursbleu

    Good point of view. Very interesting. Could you maybe detail a bit more this part?

    “The recent Facebook-as-a-media-center announcement, the cell-phone-as-an-entertainment-hub habit and much more can be traced directly back to Apple’s announcement of the iPod.”

    Not sure I do really get it…


  • Aj Tk427

    You’re right, this will be a giant event for Apple, but I think for different reasons. First, I believe there will be 2 iPhones, the first being the budget friendly iPhone 4S and we will see Apple breaking into the pay as you go and budget phone arena.

    2nd, Tim Cook’s first major event as CEO, we’re going to see if TC has the same stage presence as Steve Jobs.

    Yes, Facebook integration and Siri integration are going to be major announcements, but I think the items mentioned above are going to be more defining for apple as a company.

  • Oldboot37

    I find Google+ to be much more dimensional than Facebook.  I use both, but it seems G+ is evolving to a higher purpose.

  • Tcrowns

    Social going on Facebook is huge and flash based and there is no flash on the iPad. So people are going to use the Facebook iPad app but do their social gaming on their computer. Can’t see that happening.

  • Roy

    Yes. It would be the most exclusive and the most easy app to use for communication. Exclusive because its built in the system ( Not a download from App Store ) And easy because they work together developing the best App it could be.

  • Runny Lovers

    The ONLY thing that will make or break Tuesday’s event is whether or not Apple introduces a redesigned iPhone 5. Major fail if the new phone turns out to be a updated iPhone 4.

    Everything else is secondary.

  • Anthony M Perez

    I think you’re pretty far, far behind… G+ is gaining pretty darn fast.

  • twitter-17237140

    Facebook has a tablet app for the touchpad. Just saying

  • lb51

    Agreed. While others are racing ahead, an updated iPhone feels like someone ( Tim? ) is playing it safe.

  • MikeBeas

    “Most twitter accounts are dead” only if you don’t follow anyone. My twitter is FARE more active than Facebook. I have a ton of friends on both, but twitter is MUCH faster and easier to use for communication than Facebook.

  • Morgan

    Facebook has a crappy app for the TouchPad, which in and of itself is a crappy device without a company.

    I thought that for $99 how could anyone go wrong in buying one…. boy was I wrong.  Even non-iPad users find the TouchPd to be a lame device.  If it had come out first – tablets would still be a non-starter.

  • SJ

    “The Artificial Intelligence Phone Era” – sorry, I disagree.  I think the “Assistant” feature of iOS 5 will turn into another FaceTime.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think FaceTime/video calling has its place, regardless of all the naysayers and haters out there.  But just when everyone thought front- and rear-facing cameras and video calling would be wicked-awesome on the iPhone 4, it turned into a novelty – and I doubt it was only b/c it was introduced working on wifi alone.  I’m thinking Assistant will end up going down the same road.  (Still looking forward to it personally though.  But an “Era” – I’m skeptical.)

  • blackops142

    I think 1 phone release a year is starting to look a bit old hat. Sure I think the iPhone is the ultimate phone but it needs to come in more flavors. I’d love to see a 4s and 5 on Tuesday. Wasn’t Apple supposed to be targeting PRE-PAID? They are not going to do it well with only 1 phone at $700 off contract.

    Idk, I’d be happy with iPod touch 4 specs plus a better camera and 3g only for $399 off contract. 

  • Mile L.

    It’s funny to read these articles… Apple has been working on Siri like tablets since the late 80’s, the difference is, the technology has finally caught up with what Apple calculated would be needed to perform these tasks. I have nearly endless examples of the early work here:


  • Mile L.

    It’s funny to read these articles… Apple has been working on Siri like tablets since the late 80’s, the difference is, the technology has finally caught up with what Apple calculated would be needed to perform these tasks. I have nearly endless examples of the early work here: (remove spaces of course)

    snipurl. com /z0kfe

  • lumpia91791

    Would you rather see another iPhone in 6 mos with a slightly higher resolution camera, slightly faster processor, and maybe slightly bigger screen or wait for a phone that takes a great leap forward in design and features? That’s Apple’s current problem. Let’s face it, Apple will ALWAYS be lagging behind Android in bleeding edge technology and catering to the people with the “first on the block” mentality.

    If Apple starts to “copy” Samsung you might just get your $400 phone. Plastic everything out and screw quality control. Releasing a new phone a month with ONE new feature or customer specific demographic will quickly add to the bottom line.

  • blackops142

    2 phones a year is asking too much? I am a potential Sprint customer. We do not get preowned or refurb deals. It’s new or nothing for us so yes a 2nd cheaper offering would be a nice alternative. $700 is a lot to pay.

  • gregbraddock

    There is a Facebook app for touchpad but it’s denied use of facebooks API’s. Which makes it lame.

  • Alfiejr

    We’ll see in less than 72 hours. how big an AI (artificial intelligence) breakthrough will Assistant really be? will it finally bring really sophisticated technology into the consumer product mainstream – you will feel like you are have a conversation with your device – it asks you questions to clarify/help – and then it does complicated things for you? or will it just interpret more elaborate one-sided voice commands for relatively simple tasks like appointments and reservations?

    the latter would be impressive (and i expect no less). but the former would be sensational.

  • CharliK

    We aren’t likely to get another iPhone in 6 months. This Oct move is likely a permanent one. Get the iPhone sales at the top of the fiscal year rather than just the end. Especially when iPods aren’t the big ticket item they used to be

  • Mile L.

     yes, it’s conversation based… you can get a taste of it here:

    siri. com /about/

  • Marco Ortiz

    I hope they apple announces a new redesign. if not i see a lot of sad faces.  

  • FalKirk

    Maybe. But I also heard people just like you say similar things after the launch of the iPod, iTunes, Apple’s Retail Stores, the iPhone, the App Store and the iPad.

  • Asdf

    you’ve obviously never been away from anyone you care about. As someone who travels constantly, Facetime has enabled me to see my wife on the go when I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. I’m sure I’m in the smaller demographic but facetime still means something to me. 

  • Hilton979

    Perhaps in the midst of starting all these cultural waves, Apple to take a few minutes and put together a cloud email and calendar program that people can actually have confidence in. 

  • FalKirk

    “I think 1 phone release a year is starting to look a bit old hat.”-blackops142

    Interestingly, the iPhone 4 is the only iPhone that INCREASED its sales numbers in its 4th (and, of course, its unprecedented fifth) quarter of existence. Also, the 15 month old iPhone 4 has the highest user satisfaction ratings of any phone, by far. Far from looking old, the iPhone 4 keeps selling and selling and selling….

  • Zlatic

    You hit the nail on the head, Mike. Great article. IF the new iPhone is what Apple and Steve Jobs have, for ten years or more, been aiming for — a natural language interface — this Tuesday will be “that moment in time” we all will remember. Advances in computer interfaces, Steve Job’s ultimate legacy, have again and again given birth to “the next big things” in computing. Punch cards, keyboards, mouse/menus, touch and now natural language.  Computer’s past consisted of our hands interfacing with the computer and text (our eyes) being the information route back to us. Those won’t go away,  but much more than in the past we will be communicating to machines with our voice and they to us via our ears.  This is truly revolutionary … Steve Job’s long-term stated goal, his swan song and, perhaps, greatest gift to humanity. How fitting that he be alive to see this day! Thank You, Steve!

  • Steve

    homo sapiens

  • lumpia91791

    There is actually preowned/certified phones on Sprints website. Just not much of a variety but they are there. Hope you like Blackberries though lol.
    Although we might have to wait for the preowned/certified iPhone section from Sprint. Plus there is ebay for Sprint – just be sure it has a clean ESN.

  • blackops142

    Blackberry LOL, thing is that I don’t want to come home to a angry wife. I’m committed to purchasing what ever iPhone is made available to Sprint users. I would like to get a matching pair but 700 each and I’m sleeping in my car for a few days.

    I’m not eligible for an upgrade but I’m not going to miss out on the launch day fun!

  • baby_Twitty

    man i don’t understand, What has facebook gotta do with the next Apple event?
    C’mon please, alot of people don’t use facebook. I personally hate it.

    Please leave FB out of the equation. IT’S POINTLESS.

  • Wes

    Great article. ‘Nuff said

  • Gereon

    I do the same using skype.
    It’s not necessarily better, but it actually has users.

  • atimoshenko

    Neither point really feels right. Facebook (and indeed all off ‘Facebook-style’ social networking) is beginning to feel to busy, bloated, and over-the-hill, the same way MySpace felt ’04-’05. Digital interactions will necessarily deeply integrate community aspects, but I have a feeling that the final model settled on would be quite different from the current one.

    As for digital assistants, we should stop dreaming of using computers to faithfully recreate pre-computer experiences. For instance, I would rather use Google Flights service than a travel agency from the 1980s. The computer-mediated experience is fundamentally different from the pre-computer one, and it is superior. Likewise, I would much prefer a system that condenses the schedules of me and my colleagues into one rich, interactive infographic than simply tell my phone “postpone my meeting to next week”. The latter would make sense with a human secretary, but only because humans are bad at producing rich interactive infographics on demand.

    That having been said, Tuesday’s Apple event *will* be one of the most important ever. It will be the first post-Jobs. It will be the first ‘delayed’ one for both the iPod and the iPhone (and may well see an effective end-of-lifing of the iPod line – one of the first big steps in Apple’s rejuvenation). It will be at a time when Android on phones is going from strength to strength. It will be at a time when Apple is actively embroiled in many IP battles. It will be at a time when Apple’s content ecosystem is seeing its first major challenger in the Kindle.

    You know how in sports you sometimes have these incredible athletes who are, for a time, on seemingly unstoppable streaks (e.g. Roger Federer ’03-’08)? And how sometimes during those streaks there are challenges that feel critical to whether the streak continues or not? This is what Apple’s event next week feels like to me, and for the first time in over a decade. I deeply admire the company, so I really, really hope it pulls it off.

  • Figurative

    Drawing the conclusion that the little “1” on the invite means only one phone is a real stretch.  Since this is an invite, it could simply mean that you have one new message to join the event.

  • Cold_dead_fingers

    I just want the iPhone 5, none of this iPhone 4S bull.

  • John Branham

    You wrote this entire article without debating an iPhone 4S versus 5?? Those are HUGE differences in how “important” the event will be in my opinion.

  • Unis Zuurmond

    The “1” could also mean one (dual mode) phone for the world. As it could mean a phone for everone (pre-paid and contract). Or it could simply mean one available “today”. I still think both 4S and 5 will be announced, with 4S available immediately and 5 available early next year.

  • Julio Mourão

     I don’t’t know if there is an iPhone 5 or not but  there is an iPhone 4s for sure. You guys can check this post http://gizmodo.com/5845797/giz
    This is real, the iPhone 4s is ready to be shipped in Brazil. 
    Lets just cross our fingers to see 2 iPhones on tuesday!!! 
    BTW how do i know that? Well i’m from Brazil and… never mind, i can’t tell.   

  • Buster

    who is “racing ahead?” what phone is better than an iPhone 4?

  • Alex

    Really trying hard to get page views with that headline Mike ? Unfortunately your article doesn’t live up to the hype.

  • GingerNinja

    I for one enjoyed the article.  Nice op ed piece.

  • baleara

    This post made me think of when I called the apple store last night. They have a new answering service thing that says something like “Thanks for calling apple. I am an automated system than can handle complete sentences” etc etc. It did pretty well with everything I asked it, until I asked it to order me a cheeseburger and then it directed me to an operator.  XD

  • Muenzenhamster

    “This is truly revolutionary … Steve Job’s long-term stated goal, his swan song and, perhaps, greatest gift to humanity. How fitting that he be alive to see this day! Thank You, Steve!”

    The darn thing hasn’t even been announced yet! Save your praise and lifetime achievement awards for AFTER the big show. Sheesh!

  • Richard Mears

    Can’t agree with all of your premises or conclusions – But regarding Assistant – I think you might just be right. 
    After the event I think there’ll be lots of people commenting on how it can’t do x, y, or z – but as you say, I think this will be a major inflection point that we’ll look back on – just like the iPhone.P.S. The iPhone’s impact was even larger than you mentioned – who would ever have predicted that it would ultimately lead to Microsoft overhauling Windows in order to stay competitive with the touch world that that iPhone launched us into? If you’d predicted that at launch, you’d have been locked up.

  • daniel

    This! —————–> http://video.google.com/videop… p.s. not spam i promise

  • RanjanKurian

    “(You’ll notice I said iPhone, singular, not iPhones, plural. I know this because as an Apple invitation Kremnologist, it’s clear that the little 1 on the phone icon means Apple is launching only one phone. I think.)”
    For me the one seems like one call or Admit one.

  • rattyuk

    It only needs to have the users you care about. If you’re 4,500 miles away from your kids then as long as your kids have access to Apple devices that’s all that matters. 

  • Chris

    if only they can get it right in all languages

  • Chris

    that would be the worst event…unless iOS get’s the SAME functionality like OS X, and not the other way round

  • nizy

    Regarding Facebook, I couldn’t disagree more. Yes Facebook for iPad will be massively popular, and likely live at the top of the app store charts forever. But that’s just because it’s Facebook, and it’s massive user base. But calling the Facebook iPad app the start of a social tablet era? Come off it that’s stupid. The Facebook app, which was accidentally leaked a while back is little more than the iPhone app – a simple portal to your Facebook account.

    If Facebook actually is at the event I reckon it’ll be more likely for Facebook integration into iOS much like what Apple has shown with Twitter. That would be a far superior solution than what you suggest – a jack of all trades Facebook app, that somehow offers a superior experience to any single-purpose app that Apple designed for media playback (I.e. Photos, Music, movies etc) yet is still the portal to your Facebook account. Need I remind you that Facebook itself followed this same strategy when it launched the messenger app as a standalone app for the simple reason that this works better on mobile and probably iPad too. Instead, I suggest much like iCloud being incorporated to those same existing apps, I think Facebook would be too.

  • Acai berry for cuties

    The iPhone 5… duh

  • mugpet

    The invitation Said “Let’s talk iPhone”… I Think TALK is the leding word here.

  • Packetback

    I disagree that the world will change due to the Facebook App and don’t believe voice recognition will be that great. I DO AGREE THIS EVENT WILL BE HUGE IN HISTORIC TERMS. But it’s because of icloud. If they do it well (unlike mobile me) it can be as important as a new OS release. It can take what Dropbox does so well and make Dropbox all but disappear.

  • Arn ain’t happy

    Sadly, Apple will try and put a positive spin on Tuesday’s keynote, making the new iPhone 4S out to be so much better than reality. Apple has held up this phone’s release due to overrated iOS 5 with iCloud, Assistant and Twitter/Facebook integration. How boring! While an A5 and possibly better camera are okay, this is seriously shaping up to be all quite dull. Seriously now, am I supposed to get all excited because I can now give talking commands to my phone, like it’s some trained monkey? I don’t care about that. iOS 5 beta works perfectly well on my current iPhone 4 (with no Assistant). My iPhone 4 is quite snappy with its current processor AND takes great photos with its existing camera! So we waited almost two years for useless crap.

    Hey Apple, stop being so pompous and complacent and let’s keep up with your Android and WP7 neighbors. Hey, maybe after almost 2 years, what users REALLY want is an overall new design. Not a measly spec-bumped version of the same old phone. I’m actually offended at Apple regarding it users as simple-minded children, being spoken down to. Go ahead Apple keep sitting on your hands.

    Not happy about no iPhone 5.

  • Stefangrela

    I don’t think the “1” means that Apple are only releasing one iPhone. That’s probably reading too much into it. Even if Apple do release just the one new iPhone, why make it a feature? There’s nothing special about that. If the invite had “2” on it, then maybe we could read something into that.

  • csman

    No wonder this site is called cult of mac. I find exhilarating the way the author predicts the total overtake of social networking on tablet computing. 

  • Damir Grbic

    … or two iPhone 4, temporary :)

  • Joshua Davis

    Theres just as much evidence that there will be an iPhone 5! Don’t rule it out yet.

  • Joshua Davis

    I hope that Facebook isn’t anywhere near the event. Sure if its one of those app demonstrations at the end of the damn thing, but it isn’t a big deal. Facebook are stupid for not releasing an app immediately, and will pay for it when Twitter, its biggest competition is baked into one of the biggest mobile operating systems ever.

  • Illwillpbn

    God your like the other android idiots. Crying over what moving wallpapers. If assistant is anything like people are speculating that is enough to trump any others. If you want moving wallpapeers get and android phone and stare at the home screen allday. When people are on a phone they have either an app open game running music or video or on a phone call. There fore nothing wrong witht the format now. The new notifications try is enough for anything.

  • Illwillpbn

    Lol damn that would have been sweet.

  • Derek Martin

    You might also want to mention that it’ll be the first TimNote.

  • Rav

    The 1 on the invitation is for 1phone for world CDMA and gsm both .

  • Reginald Watkins

    My girlfriend lived 500 miles from me.  We used Facetime all the time.  We could have used skype, but why download an app to do what your phone can already do.  It works.

  • kavok

    I disagree.  It is clear from their choice of icons for the invitation, and the information they display, that they indeed have special meaning.  Now what the 1 on the phone icon actually means is up for speculation, but there IS a reason it is there.

  • Reginald Watkins

    Absolutely agree.  Huge disappointment if it’s just a 4s.  

  • Clay Chase

    Android idiot? Moving wallpapers? What are you talking about?

    I think all he was saying is that he (along with millions of others) will be severely disappointed with Apple intriducing a spec-bumped iPhone 4S.

    I have a feeling that Apples unveilng of its iOS 5 “bandaid” will be to help shake the underwhelming phone announcement. Still, it would have been nice if Apple were to surprise us all with a freshly designed phone — especially after almost 2 years. Otherwise, it looks bad in people’s eyes.

  • ddt

    to me it reads like 1 new phone which could be the update to the phone itself (which is expected) or more likely, 1 additional new phone.  my guess is a second form factor or function factor. i.e.. a new combo gsm/cdma/LTE device and a lite version.

  • ddt

    I for one welcome our new assistant overlords….

  • banjoonmyknee

    I’m not sure I understand why the voice rec is really considered revolutionary.   VLingo and Google Voice Recognition have this pretty well covered.  Two of the 3 examples you’ve given for “5 years from now” are things that can be done already on smart phones.   The third, “postpone” is something that I’m sure could be done sooner than 5 years by any inexpensive smartphone, not just iPhone. Where’s the beef for Voice?

  • Mac

    I think the “1” refers to the person invited as in admit one person. You might be right about Siri, but you seem to forget that once you get beyond high school, your “friends” don’t share your tastes in media so their “frictionless” recommendations will be useless. More helpful will be better artificial intelligence recommendation systems based on yourself.

  • Richard Mears

    It’s not the voice recognition that’s revolutionary – it’s the combination of the advanced artificial intelligence AND the typically thoughful/simple Apple UI.

     So you’ll be able to ask your phone to complete tasks on your behalf [ie find a good chinese restauant nearby & book a table, reschedule a meeting for either Wednesday or Thursday, etc] – it then talks back to you in natural language to clarify exactly what you want, then completes the task for you. I think we’ll see it only handling simpler tasks initially, with more complex tasks gradually rolled out.

  • GFYantiapplezealots

    Have you ever heard of twitter for iPad? Sorry Mike “You’re Fired!”

  • firesign

    Seriously? You must be using some different Twitter than the rest of us.  I actually have to drop people from my feed because stuff goes by so fast. Just because you and your friends don’t use it and re married to the p.o.s. that is Facebook doesn’t mean it’s that way for everyone. I’ve never had a Facebook account, never will. Somewhere down the line, G+ is going to steal Facebook’s lunch money.

  • dale2000

    That’s a bit rough, but… yeah, not only is there a Twitter app for iPad, Twitter itself will be an integrated part of iOS5.  So… Facebook is the headline??  Really??

  • Nickstg1

    What time is the iOS 5 keynote supposed to be taking place?

  • Douglas Metcalfe

    It’s like you have one message coming, nothing more… But that message will be big.

  • CharliK

    You could be right. Rumor has it that Gizmodo got an invite with a big fact zero on it. 

  • mjtomlin

    Agreed. The “1” on the phone just means there is a pending phone message. Which can be interpreted to mean, they’re going to talk about the iPhone, just as the message states, “Let’s talk iPhone.”

  • androo79

    I think the 1 means a unification of the iPhone and iPod product lines. Oppenheimer said in July that there will be a “future product transition that we will not talk about today”. iPods are not selling very well anymore so they will cut it down to the nano and possibly replace it with an iOS based smaller iPod. iPod touch will be renamed.

  • CharliK

    “Seriously now, am I supposed to get all excited because I can now give talking commands to my phone, like it’s some trained monkey?”

    My legally blind brother would disagree. 
    also, you are not happy about something that is rumored to not being happening after several months of being rumored to happen. Seems like you might need to go back to school to learn what a rumor is versus a fact. Get your expectations reset 

  • CharliK

    The techno snobs that hang out on sites like this proclaiming their hopes as if it has to happen to the result is utter crap and the company a failure will be talking about what is lacking. 

    the other 99.9% of the world that hasn’t had a clue all this time about the rumors will be clapping over what they are getting and making plans to line up on day one. 

  • CharliK

    It won’t be available same day. That would require staffing set up for the release which would be leaked to the blogs already. Unless they are planning to only sell it online for the first few days.

  • CharliK

    Why don’t you wait until Steve is dead. or at least truly and fully gone from the company before you label something as his swan song

    Besides we all know that this isn’t his big goal. Mind controlled devices is his big thing. He actually retired as CEO so he can devote his time completely to the project. After it is released, he and the rest of the Apple bosses will use their newly built MotherShip to return to their home planet.

  • CharliK

    Who says they haven’t. We haven’t see iCloud in actual release yet. 

  • CharliK

    I think you mean “while others have to toss in everything and the kitchen sink and  change up their form every six months to try to get sales, Apple keeps setting higher and higher records with minor changes and only a single release a year”

  • CharliK

    a fair chunk of the games that are on Facebook went iOS app years ago. So the lack of flash hasn’t been an issue

  • CharliK

    Of course Tim Cook doesn’t have the same stage presence as Steve Jobs. He’s Tim Cook and Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs. 

    That he isn’t the same person means nothing. the point is the product not the song and dance guy

  • Alberto Hernandez

    I’m far behind? G+ has ~30 million. Facebook has more than 800 million. 
    How does your brain work?

  • Alberto Hernandez

    You have never used Facebook and call it a p.o.s.? Why would I even care what you have to say?

  • Martin KK

    Great insights. Agree that both these are coming, and both will ignite a change in how we do things.

    And there’s one more area for serious innovation which Apple knows it must tackle … entertainment content of all types … globally … and changing the ways we consume it. Looks like the labels may be ready to extend beyond the US now … that’s big news today. But the bigger news would be video content.

    And … just maybe ? the studios are ready to make a similar extension … not on the old dogs they give Netflix, but on their newer and more valuable content. iTunes and Apple TV are ready for the implementation … when the studios are ready for a distribution channel which is more reliable to them than Netflix, Amazon, Vudu and the rest.

    Probably too soon this time, but mid 2012 … and an iPad 3 with 1080P screen resolution … may be the time. But bringing video to our mobile platforms without compromise is the third leg of the coming revolution of mobile device utilization.

    Looking forward to the driver of it all continuing to be Cupertino.


  • TylerHoj

    Yeah, but when Steve Ballmer went wacko on stage at a presentation, I can honestly say I’m proud not to own anything that guys trying to sell me. 

  • TylerHoj

    Yeah, but when Steve Ballmer went wacko on stage at a presentation, I can honestly say I’m proud not to own anything that guys trying to sell me. 

  • Dilbert A


  • GJNilsen

    Its just gonna be ONE phone. If it was just one message, they would have used the speech bubble. If it was one person admittance, it would be the contacts icon. But no, its the phone icon, with a badge of ONE. So on tuesday we will see just ONE phone for now.

  • Mike Winters

    Who cares?!  Go to Cult of Google or Cult of Facebok or Cult of Twitter to argue.

  • FlacVest

    So like what fantastical and pretty much all programs like that are doing, just on the phone?

    It isn’t that revolutionary. All it has to do is take key points out of your speech and apply it to a specific program which would be chosen based on key words you use.

    It isn’t revolutionary. It isn’t even new.

  • FlacVest

    …. obviously? That’s like saying, hey, we don’t know the meaning of this Japanese character, but it’s there, so it means SOMETHING.

    No ****. It’s an iPhone event, it’s going to have a number on the phone. Logically, the picture would be bland without it and any number higher than 1 would just be stupid.

  • firesign

    Just because I don’t use it does not mean that I have never been exposed to it, or seen how it works, seen plenty of friends use it extensilvely, etc. All that is the reason I don’t use it.  Whether you care or not is absolutely irrelevant to me.

  • jaime m

    if there’s not a redesign, at least add more features to iOS 5… I have an iPhone 4 and I love the design of this device so if they will redesign it to look like the iPad 2, I think i’ll pass on that one

  • jaime m

    12 I think…

  • jaime m

    That’s one feature I’ll never use, I don’t even use voice control on the iPhone I find it ridiculous 

  • Geemeyseven

    i can now dictate my Facebook Status…hands-free social networking…

  • Nickstg1

    In what time zone?

  • Admlostsailor

    “The second reason is that both social networking and touch interfaces, the iPad being by far the most compelling example of today’s touch experiences, tap into our homo sapien hardwiring for how we want to spend our time. People are designed to socialize with other humans, and also to explore the world with touch.”

    -Eloquently put.  

  • John Branham

    ….staffing set up? they’ll have two weeks after the announcement

  • CharliK

    Oh so you work for Apple. What position was that again. 

    You must if you can say for FACT that the release is 2 weeks after the announcement. 

    Oh wait, you don’t and you know nothing. It is, as I said, unlikely to be the same day or someone would have leaked that all days off were cancelled. Same perhaps if it was the day after. But could it be the very next week sure. We have no idea how far out they post their schedules or even if they run Sunday-Saturday or some other system. For all we know they start their week on Fridays and Come this tuesday everything will go to heck and everyone will be told they are working because it is launch day. Anyone signed up for a workshop etc will be emailed and told it was cancelled on Tuesday night etc. 

  • CharliK

    IF  the product was really that totally awesome you wouldn’t care about the whack that was on the stage. You’d be buying anyway. 

  • CharliK

    more like doing the same move the ANALyst do and talking out of the orifice in his pants.

    Mike and his ‘wisdom’ is about as annoying as that twit on TUAW that has been posting nothing but poll articles for the last month

  • Colin

    Mike’s suggestion is assuming that voice control is a good concept, and it also assumes people want it?     Has anyone ever asked for it?  I think he has made a naive assumption, perhaps based on a 1960’s sci-fi film he saw once.
    How much time do you actually spend talking on your phone (to someone), compared with doing other stuff?  And of that other stuff, how many people would you be disturbing if you were talking instead?In my opinion, people dont want to talk to their phones.  They already can but nobody does, and the reason is nothing to do with the technology not being mature. The reason is cultural.  Maybe Americans want this but they don’t mind disturbing the peace (shouting).  Imagine if EVERYONE in an airport was talking to their phone instead of using the interface!  It would be deafening.  And for what gain?  Natural speech and language is ambiguous and as long as this is the case, your phone will on occasion interpret you wrongly and do the wrong thing. Then you’ll have to quickly get involved and cancel it’s actions. This only needs to happen a few times before you decide not to use voice control again.Even in the established executive car market (BMW, Mercedes, etc..) where it is commonplace to be able to talk to the vehicle and even ‘train’ it to understand your accent, very few people actually do. Language, pronunciation, and actually peoples grammar are so diverse that you will never solve mis-interpretation.

  • Ross Nicholson

    I’m waiting for a transparent on command, copy, and print I pad.  Annotations ap for books.  

  • Janne_o

    Well, iPhone 4 is a totally new design when compared to the earlier iPhones… And what do you want, really? “new design”? What does that even mean? A phone that looks different? Why would you want that? iPhone 4 is a gorgerous device, and I would have zero problems if Apple released a phone that looked exactly like that. What matters is the functionality.

    “Hey, maybe after almost 2 years, what users REALLY want is an overall new design.”

    Since sales of iPhone 4 are going through the roof, I think it’s safe to say that you are utterly wrong. And iPhone 4 was released a bit over 1 year ago, not “almost two years” ago… And I for one don’t understand this “let’s change everything for the sake of changing it!”-mentality. If the design works and looks good, why change it? Does iPhone 4 look old? No it does not, it’s still miles ahead of competitors.

    Hey, look at laptops. Since when have we had a “totally new design” in those? All we have had for over 15 years now is just spec-bumbs after spec-bumbs. Yet no-one is whining because laptops look like… well, laptops.

    So, let’s hear it then. You (and few others) want a “totally new design”. Give us some examples what that means. Do you want change for the sake of having change, even if that change was utterly pointless?

  • Janne_o

    What’s the difference between iPhone 5 and Iphone 4S? The appearance?

  • -hh

    Mike, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed again.

    Sure, there will be some interesting stuff, but stuff like native support for Facebook isn’t earth-shattering for decades to come.  Similarly, various forms of ‘voice control’ for cellphones (such as for dialing) have been around for a decade.  Sure, there is that old Apple concept video that was done back in the 1980s, and it would be neat to see it…but unless Tuesday’s presentation literally starts with that video, I’d not get my hopes up.


  • freediverx

    In a fraction of the time it takes to exchange in a dialog with the phone to get something done, the user could have accomplished the same thing manually without having to speak, without disturbing people around him and without getting instructions garbled due to background noise.

    This Star Trekkie idea sounds cool on paper, but I really don’t see much real life value in it.

  • freediverx

    Totally agree. Not only is Facebook ridiculously late to the game, but I can’t say I’ve ever been impressed by ANY of their user interface designs. I use Facebook begrudgingly – only because everyone else is on there – but I hate the experience. The interface is frustrating, seemingly designed to have me to give up as much of my personal information as possible while making it as difficult as possible for me to access my own  information.

    The only thing that might sound enticing would be if Apple was allowed to tap into Facebook data and create their own front end – much as how they created their own superior Map application leveraging Google’s mapping data. But given all the hoopla surrounding Facebook’s work on an iPad app, that doesn’t sound likely.

  • freediverx

    Please do not associate Apple fans with this writer in any way, sake or form. Elgan is a long time Windows fanboy/shill who has now “converted” to writing about Apple. He didn’t “get” Apple then and he doesn’t “get” Apple now. His writing is best described as that of a Windows fan attempting to mimic what he feels is the position of a Mac fan, having never understood the true appeal of Apple products.

  • freediverx


  • freediverx

    What’s up with the sprinkling of “great article” comments? Obviously there’s nothing great about this article, just as there’s never been anything great about any of his past articles. And it’s also telling that while most of the comments have something very specific to say about the article or the story, these congratulatory comments have absolutely nothing to offer besides a pat on the back for a pretty crappy article.

    Elgan’s homies are kinda obvious, don’t you think?

  • freediverx

    What exactly do you find lacking about the iPhone 4’s current (barely over a year old) design? Or do you just want a new flavor of the month that lacks any real value? If it’s the latter, may I suggest you consider the Android platform?

  • freediverx

    No matter how impressive the voice interaction demo may be, I simply don’t see this having a big impact in real life. I woke up minutes ago and the last thing I feel like doing now is having a spoken conversation with my phone. Later I’ll either be out on the street or at work, neither ideal environments for a verbal dialog with an electronic device. Just look at how mobile phone user behavior has changed over the years. People are using voice calls much less while using text messaging a lot more. I think it would take a giant leap in voice recognition and artificial intelligence to get people to want to interact verbally with their mobile devices.

  • freediverx

    Yes of course, since Apple’s track record comprises one failure after another. With such brilliant insight, you should work for Microsoft.

  • freediverx

    Wow I didn’t think there was anyone left still fighting the Flash war. Give it up already.

  • freediverx

    Comparing Apple to Elgan… Now I’ve seen everything.

  • Wane Creasey

    The symbol on the invitation should tell you, 10am in California.

  • Wane Creasey

    Pretty much.

  • J

    Realistic, only true AI can solve the language ambiguities, and by then, we are not needed anymore.


  • Karolynaz

    Google count all gmail users as G+ users, but they never use or just used G+ once. It’s another fail from google with +

  • MacGoo

    I’m at a loss for how voice recognition equates to AI. Integrating it into an operating system (to the level that Assistant is allegedly integrated) is truly revolutionary, but as the milestone that launched AI? I’m not sure you’re entirely clear on what true AI is.