Apple’s new iPhone 4, unveiled moments ago, is easily Apple’s best yet. But it won’t stop Google’s surging Android operating system, and doesn’t address some of Android’s new strengths that are becoming weaknesses for Apple.
This is important because Google has quickly become Apple’s archrival in the mobile industry.
And while Google is quickly updating Android to add neat features that Apple doesn’t have, Apple isn’t countering those features. It’s growing in a different direction.
First, Apple’s new iPhone 4 is super impressive. The new display and camera look fantastic, and we’re excited to try out the new FaceTime video calling feature. The new hardware is sexy, and the extended battery life is going to be very helpful. In short: Steve Jobs convinced us today to stick with a new iPhone for two more years and not buy an Android device.
But what Jobs didn’t do is convince us that Apple is doing addressing the “cloud” improvements that Google has made to Android, which are looking increasingly nifty.
- We’re talking about those new Android “Froyo” features that let you zip web pages and map directions from your computer’s browser over to Android phones.
- We’re talking about streaming music from your computer to Android phones. Isn’t iTunes supposed to be Apple’s strength?
- We’re talking about the Google calendar/mail sync stuff that Android users drool about to us all the time, which Apple could have replicated by making a lite version of MobileMe free to iPhone buyers.
It’s not that Apple isn’t keeping up feature-for-feature with Google — it’s that Apple doesn’t even seem to be THINKING about this stuff.
Instead, Apple focused today’s announcements on new hardware and software features, such as a new iMovie app for editing video, FaceTime video calling, a front-facing camera, new screen technology, iBooks, and iAds. These are fine features, and in many ways, Apple is leading where Google is nowhere close.
Perhaps the stuff Apple is working on will prove to be vastly more important for selling phones and iPod touches and iPads than the stuff Google is working on. Perhaps people aren’t buying Android because of Google’s innovative cloud services, but just because it’s “good enough” and available on all the carriers Apple doesn’t yet work with.
Maybe the cloud is overrated. Apple had better hope so, at least until it has an answer.
The new iPhone 4, with its new AT&T data plans starting at $15/month, is going to sell like hotcakes this summer, and Apple will have another hit on its hands. But look out for Android. Google is doing very cool things that Apple isn’t countering, and it has stronger distribution in the U.S. than Apple does.
Steve Jobs made the iPhone better today, but he didn’t make Android worse.