Like Christmas day, the Let's Talk iPhone event has come and gone, leaving behind a sense of Boxing Day-esque anticlimax. Paul Schiller's 10:55 reveal that the new iPhone would not be a 5 but a 4S model was greeted with a nearly perceptible slumping of shoulders from disappointed Apple fans the world over.
But hey, hold on a minute - all the shattered and broken dreams of an iPhone 5 aside, the features revealed this morning weren't half bad. After all, what did we get with the new 4S?
The new phone sports an 8-megapixel camera with HD 1080p video, has worldphone capability, will download twice as fast and boasts of a great battery life.
On the software side, iOS 5 is rolling out 200 new features, including: updates to Notifications, group messaging client iMessage, centralizing digital subscription reader Newsstand, location-based Reminders, integrated Twitter, vastly improved Camera features and hardware, Safari tabs, PC-Free set-up as well as Wi-Fy Sync and iTunes Match, formatted emails in Mail, Game Center additions, and AirPlay Mirroring for broadcasting onto your TV.
It also includes iCloud, which is all its own category and replaces MobileMe and allows free syncing for iOS5 and Mac OSX Lion users. Two apps mentioned in today's speeches, Find My iPhone and Family and Friends use the cloud for location sharing.
Arguably the most significant feature of today's presentation - and the one that will certainly get the most ink - is Siri, the voice-controlled assistant. In his presentation of Siri this morning, Scott Forstall, Senior VP of iOS, said that what we really want to do is just talk to our device, and it's an unanswerable point. Anyone who's spent three minutes trying to use their car's Bluetooth voice-controlled calling system will attest to the excruciating torture of successfully inputting a phone number on the eleventh try only to be disconnected for answering with a colloquial yup instead of proper and decipherable yes. Why, we ask, don't these devices just work? It's too early to tell, but Siri appears to be the first voice-controlled feature intelligent enough to cut through these little misunderstandings. During the demo, instead of struggling through an enunciated What is the weather forecast today?, Mr. Forstall asked Siri a more natural, What's the weather like today? If Siri turns out to work as well as Apple would have us believe, we may be looking at fully-hands-free capability as a standard for the next generation of phones.
So pull up your footie pajamas and start clearing away the wrapping paper. It may not be an iPhone 5, but the iPhone 4S does have some pretty cool features. If you want, you can even dictate your wishlist for the iPhone 5 and send it to Apple for next year's event.