The iPhone 5 and the Commiditization of Brilliance - 1

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The iPhone 5 and the Commiditization of Brilliance - 1
Is it me or did all the fanboys call in sick yesterday?

Look, I'm not a hater. I pride myself on continually looking for and being impressed by the new new thing. I used Windows for years, but it didn't take me long to get used to a Mac when it became the better option. I had an iPhone for a few weeks before deciding I just plain liked Android better. I've even got empathy for the BlackBerry.

I'm not a brand guy, I just know what I like.

But yesterday I actually made a conscious effort to get all of my hype junk out before 1:00 p.m. and then stay away from social media as the iPhone 5 announcement circus got underway. It's not the same disdain I have for politics, which just makes me cringe, but more of a not wanting to have to thumb through dozens of similar tweets/posts about how this feature or that on the iPhone 5 is brilliant/genius/life-changing/the-end-of-android and then all the me-toos and the screw yous.

Not that I disagree with these sentiments, just that I would catch up later, so as not to be swayed to rush out and turn in my loserphone for the next Siri.

Actually, Siri was a total letdown in practice. I guess I was looking for more of a friend.

Anyway, my point is that my channels are finely tuned, I would think, to pick up all the iPhone chatter.

But then when I finally did surface yesterday to see what I missed, I saw... nothing.

I'm not kidding. I know the iPhone 5 is thinner, lighter, wider screen, the 30-pin connector is gone, they fixed the headphones... and that's it.

I know there's more. I'm certain I'll read an article today that will make me regret not waiting another couple months to upgrade my phone (actually, Verizon forced my hand with their unlimited data deadline).

But yesterday was no iPhone 4. Hell, it wasn't even iPhone 4s. Where was the love? Where was the hate? Where was the cult-like admiration? Where was the knee-jerk flaming over the one feature they didn't slam in there?

Even you fanboys have to admit, it was quiet.

I've concluded one of these things happened (spoiler alert, probably the last one):

The Cult of Jobs has Leveled Off: Although I doubt it. The iPhone stopped being about his genius (and I don't use that term loosely) after the initial handset was released back in 2007. The hype around these releases has squarely landed in the design/feature camp. Like I said, I'm not a hater, but I know what hate looks like. You can't hate the iPhone.

They Missed: Also highly unlikely. I know this because the analysts were going nuts about this model selling tens of millions of units immediately. Plus, if they hit a sour note, I believe the noise would have been louder than the Netflix debacle.

Everyone is Still in Shock Over Automated Fantasy Football Recaps: Come on. You kind of knew I'd stick that in here.

The Commoditization of Brilliance: Every phenomenon and every startup goes through a point where it stops being cool (Facebook) and starts to sharpen its focus on the bottom line to maintain its valuation (Facebook). The iPhone has reached this point and, honestly, all those features I mentioned above are "fixes" forced by what has stuck from the dozens of other handsets released since the iPhone 4s.

Maybe, model number be damned, the iPhone 5 was the point release. Now the question becomes, will Apple be able to out-innovate and beat the patents off of Samsung, Android, Microsoft, and all the other second-stringers by the time they get to the 5s?

Or maybe my comments section is about to get flamed back to the feature-phone age.