iPhone 5: Comedy and psychology

The average consumer doesn't know his iPhone from his elbow?
Darren Allan

September 17, 2012
iPhone 5

Apple unveiled its new iPhone 5 last week.

And the reaction has been a mixed one – some are saying that once again, the iPhone 5, like the iPhone 4S, doesn’t really do enough to make it stand out. And we’re in the camp that believes Apple is playing it too safe.

Others think that the handset boasts some good improvements all round – and certainly, the bigger screen is a welcome evolution. Although in all honesty, it’s a necessary evolution – there’s no way Apple could have kept putting out a 3.5 inch phone, when Android has moved up to the 4 to 5 inch levels.

We’d agree that the iPhone 5 definitely does more than the iPhone 4S – which let’s face it, was pretty disappointing on the hardware front.

But still, it seems like Apple is losing its grip, being too conservative, and allowing Android and Windows Phone 8 to push forward with more innovation – and possibly take more market share. Yes, Microsoft’s OS could be a beneficiary of the iPhone 5.

Or that’s one theory. Another is that to the average consumer, none of this matters.

All Joe Consumer cares about is the fact that Apple has put out another iPhone – and it looks nicer (it does; the aluminium rear is very slick, by all accounts) – and so it needs to be bought.

And the consumer imagines that the next iPhone will be better, so when they get the device in their hands, it will be. It’s their expectation, as US comedian Jimmy Kimmel illustrated when he took the new iPhone out on the streets to show folks.

Well, he told them it was the new iPhone 5. In actual fact, it was a plain old iPhone 4S. Yet these people marvelled at the new device – even those who owned a 4S, and held it in their other hand to compare it!

Comments included: “It’s definitely noticeably better,” and “It’s a little thinner,” along with “It’s definitely faster.”

Take a look at the video on YouTube here. This just shows the psychology of the consumer – it’s the new iPhone, therefore it must be great/faster/thinner; therefore I must buy it.

The iPhone 5 will sell bucket-loads, no doubt. Folks have already started queuing up for it in New York over the weekend. Apparently pre-orders have sold out ahead of the phone’s availability at the end of this week – although there are those who question whether these stock shortages are engineered by Apple to stoke demand.

No matter. The iPhone 5 will sell. But if the iPhone 6 keeps going along the same lines, consumers will start to wake up, wonder, and look at alternatives such as the Galaxy S or perhaps even the Lumia.


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