Less than a week from today, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook will take the stage at the obnoxiously named Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to drop yet another bomb on the U.S. mobile phone industry: The so-called iPhone 5.
If the rumors are to be believed — and this year, they are — the only major difference between the iPhone 5 and the two previous models is a slightly bigger 4-inch screen. That’s it — a change of just 0.5 inches. Yes, there will be some hardware upgrades, battery-life improvements, and other nuts-and-bolts tweaks. But as far as a “wow” factor goes, it looks like we’re going to have to settle for a screen size that Android devices have had for years. And you know what? People are going to buy the crap out of it.
As bored as I am by the new iPhone’s purported growth spurt, I’m not particularly interested in any of the other realistic features Apple might add to some “dream phone” either. NFC? Yawn. Quad-core processor? Psh. Wireless charging? Whatevs. All these features would be great, I suppose — but they have been done before, and will be done again and again and again by the time the iPhone 6 makes its way into the world around this time next year.
No — what I really want to see from Apple is something so mind-blowing, so thunderously outrageous, that it would send shockwaves around the globe and immediately earn a place in the history books.
I want to see Apple announce absolutely nothing.
You heard me — nothing. I want to watch Tim Cook stand before the entire world and say, “Good morning, folks. You’re probably all expecting us to announce an extraordinary new iPhone packed full of life-changing innovations that will add excitement and energy to lives of millions of people around the globe. But we’re not going to do that — because we don’t have to. Our iPhone business alone is — get this — bigger than all of Microsoft. We have $117 billion in cash just sitting around. That’s enough to put an end to world hunger four times. We could find a cure for cancer with that kind of loot. But that’s just not our style. Instead, we’re going to sit back for a year and laugh at the peons as they try their very best to out-design and out-sell us. So that’s it: The iNothing, or whatever you idiots want to call it. Thanks for coming. Exits are to your rear. There’s punch and pie in the lobby.”
That’s what I want to see from Apple on September 12 — the will to simply not give a damn.
I say this not because I dislike Apple and wish for it to commit suicide — an entirely possible outcome of such a move. To the contrary — I am an Apple fan, through and through. I am writing this on a brand new MacBook Air, which is connected to a massive Thunderbolt Display, which sits next to my iPhone 4S. If Apple made pants, I’d probably wear them.
Rather, I say this out of tough love. As I see it, Apple sits on the brink of losing its greatness. Not because Steve Jobs is gone and Tim Cook is screwing things up (though he very well may be), but because people are simply worn thin by this Apple-dominated world we live in. We’re tired of Apple winning year after year, whether it deserves to or not. We’re tired of its lawsuits and its “most-valuable” status. We’re tired of minor refinements sold as innovation. And we’re tired of Siri not knowing how to properly look up directions to the nearest liquor store.
What I’m saying is, Apple needs some time off because we need some time off from Apple.
Giving up a year of its product life would give us time to miss Apple, to wonder what it’s up to, like a summer vacation fling. And it would make whatever devices the company releases after its hiatus that much more anticipated and appealing.
Alas, Apple will keep releasing iPhones, and people will keep buying them. It will keep suing companies to maintain its competitive edge. And its stock price will just keep going up and up and up. It shouldn’t — but it will.
One of these days, however — maybe as soon as next week — Apple is going to release a flop just as a rival comes out with something that genuinely deserves our adoration and hard-earned dollars. Crowds at the famous Apple Stores will begin to thin out. Geniuses will stand around twiddling their thumbs. The torrent of rumors will slow to a trickle. The stock price will fall. And there will be poor Tim Cook, slouched on his white Peruvian alpaca leather couch, sipping a glass of neat brandy, slowly caressing the head of his precious Ashera cat. And he’s going to think, “Shucks, if only I’d listened to that
bald bastard jackass Andrew Couts, then maybe we’d still be on top.”