All eyes were on Apple today, as the company hosted its first product launch event since Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO.
But investors, at least, didn’t like what they saw.
After the company’s announcement, Apple’s stock started falling, dipping as much as more than 4 percent in late afternoon trading. (It closed just .56 percent down from the previous day's price at $372.50.)
While the tech community held high hopes for a redesigned iPhone 5, Apple ultimately unveiled a less-exciting iPhone 4S.
With a faster chip, enhanced camera, voice-activated “intelligent assistant” Siri, and “world phone” capability, the new iPhone is a definite improvement over last year’s iPhone 4.
But it’s not the iPhone 5 many were hoping for. And, with Jobs no longer leading Apple, some think today’s announcement is a sign of more disappointment to come.
“The bloom is off the rose,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group. “Apple lives on this image that they can’t mess up . . . This was a swing and a miss.”
Not only did newly appointed CEO Tim Cook show that he doesn’t have his predecessor’s showmanship skills, but the announcement also revealed that Cook may not match Job's execution expertise, he said.
Enderle said Jobs would have been able to micro-manage his way to an iPhone 5 in time for the event or, if not, he would have had the iPhone 4S ready to ship the day after its launch (it won’t ship until Oct. 14).
It’s also possible that staff departures are taking their toll on the company, he said.
“They may no longer have the team that can execute at the level Jobs was driving them to execute,” Enderle said.
Facing competition from increasingly sophisticated Android phones and Microsoft phones that run on the faster 4G network, Enderle said, Apple only appears more vulnerable when they make “misses” like this.
But not all industry analysts were bearish on the news, especially given the fact that Apple announced that Sprint would join AT&T and Verizon as an iPhone carrier in the U.S.
“While investors may be disappointed by the lack of a redesigned iPhone, we believe the iPhone 4S will meet or exceed unit expectations, as it represents the first iPhone launch at two major U.S. carriers (Verizon and Sprint) along with KDDI in Japan,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Others also said that their expectations were met and that Apple may have attempted to temper expectations by holding the event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, instead of a San Francisco event space.
As for Siri, the voice-activated “intelligent assistant” revealed by Apple today, NPD analyst Ross Rubin said it was the event's “showstopper.”
Still, impressive as Siri might be, for those expecting the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4S is likely not enough.
“iPhone 4S,” tweeted Search Engine Land editor Danny Sullivan. “The S stands for sh*t, if you were expecting awesomeness, apparently.”