Wednesday, October 5, 2011

These are not the Android killers you're looking for.

Bear with me; there's a Korea connection to these two news items to ponder.

First, Apple finally came out with its latest iteration of the iPhone. But instead of the iPhone 5 that was supposed to be teardrop-shaped and wafer thin, run 4G, work as a near-field communications device that could pay for your latte, and fellate you after a hard day at work, they merely got a monstrous speed boost, a far better camera and optics, and a very cool voice-activated assistant named Siri that will help you navigate the phone and find things out (using the Internet) while you're driving.

But since it looks exactly like the iPhone 4, released in June 2010, Apple fanboys and Android users pretending to be Apple fanboys have flooded any and all Mac-related sites and posts with nasty comments about what a disappointment this was. In short, they were disappointed.

And then there's the Occupy Wall Street movement. By design, it has no leader, no list of demands, and no ideology, but they're mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore. Meanwhile, in another key development, the Obama administration is extremely close to having the free-trade agreement with South Korea ratified.

So here's what I'm wondering. About the first story, just why didn't Apple come up with a wholly different iPhone 5? Sure, the iPhone 4S follows the pattern set with the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3Gs, but those were a year apart, not a year and three months (think of smart years as being like dog years).

Is it possible that Samsung's and Apple's increasingly nasty legal brouhaha forced Apple to wait on a new phone design and greater capabilities? Did Apple hold back this time around because of fears that Samsung cold take Apple to court if they came out with a new design? Is Apple waiting for resolution of their issues with Samsung (and perhaps a few others) before they come out in full force with a new design and major new features? Are their problems with Samsung forcing them to find a new supplier of some of their components, resulting in a slowdown in the New Products Pipeline?

And then, what about the KORUS free-trade agreement? Obama is going to get Democratic votes for the FTA primarily because he acknowledged that some Americans will lose their jobs even if there is a net gain, and they need job training. For now, the FTA's ratification seems a done deal, also because the less palatable FTAs with Colombia and Panama will be considered separately.

But is it possible that the gathering crowd of malcontents on Wall Street will turn against the Obama White House when the president starts pushing for passage of the FTA? I wonder if this will hold things up, enough that the FTA won't be ratified by the time ROK President Lee Myungbak comes for a visit.

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