Why is the iPhone 5 like the Duchess of Kent's breasts? by Peter Judge
It seems like the Duchess of Kent’s breasts are the new iPhone 5. Last week, everyone wanted sneaky photos of the new iPhone. This week they all went paparazzi shots of Kate Middleton.
On TechWeekEurope I haven’t been offered any Royal candid images, but a colleague slipped me a stack of leaked photos of the iPhone 5. It was only hours before the actual launch but I thought “What the heck” and ran them.
More surprisingly, several days later, with Apple’s publicity shots everywhere, the leaked photos are still getting more hits than the actual report on our site.
And this is happening, despite the fact that we now know from Apple’s launch that this is not a ground-breaking, earth-shattering phone. It’s a newer, slightly thinner version of a consumer product, with a slightly larger screen.
Let’s be honest, that was obvious even in the leaked images.
Media frenzies are like that. I’m sure the Duchess’ dumplings will turn out to be equally unremarkable in themselves.
We tend to get excited about stuff that isn’t actually that remarkable. I might make an exception here for the Olympics. Millions of us watched that over the summer, and we were dazzled. Lots of us watched on for the Paralympics, and were amazed again. These were the first Paralympics to achieve a mass audience, with sell-out crowds in the stadiums, and they deserved it.
But all too often, we focus on the wrong thing. Hundreds of journalists packed into the Yerba Buena conference centre for the iPhone 5 launch. Fortune alone sent five reporters!
On the web, others followed every movement, blogging and tweeting about something they could only follow indirectly, from the blogs and tweets of the lucky journalists inside the building. I’m embarassed to say that, yes, TechWeekEurope also ran one of those blogs).
And yet, as Tom Foremski comments, just down the road at the Moscone Centre, the Intel Developer Forum was in full swing, with real announcements about the development of the next chips that will power servers, laptops, and (if Intel gets lucky) phones. Fabrication at 10nm looks a reality, and Intel is talking about moving to an unbelievable 5nm.
We covered it, and some people got it, but all too many looked the other way.
In the world of phones, I think the iPhone 5 is far less interesting - and in the long run less significant - than FirefoxOS. It’s a phone operating system that runs on cheap hardware using all-standard open source software. And it’s being launched first in the emerging market of Brazil.
Mozilla is putting the Model T of smartphones out there, and it could get billions of new users, all operating in a more open paradigm. Now, that would be a game changer.
All this is good news for data centers of course. The Olympics broke records off the track for the numbers of viewers, and the amounts of bandwidth and processor cycles consumed, and the iPhone 5 launch probably had a significant impact on data centers round the world.
Intel’s new chips (and AMD’s) are powering servers to get this stuff to us, while Facebook and others are making sure that gets done as efficiently as possible. There are phones coming that will give more people than ever before, the ability to take part in it all.
Media frenzies might make no sense, but at least we can make sure that we handle them as best we can.