I'm listening to a recording of Buzz Out Loud's live coverage of Apple's announcement of the iPhone 4s and I'm reminded of how many people, myself included, were so disappointed that it's "only" a 4s, not a redesigned iPhone 5. All the changes are incremental, not revolutionary. A better camera, faster processing, voice commands, nothing terribly exciting.
Then I watched the keynote.
Suddenly that camera rivals the finest DSLR, the games spring to life as glimmers of light shine off of dust particles in games, and Siri is my own personal Jarvis from the Iron Man movies. I don't know where Apple gets their magic sauce or how they make it, but man, they've got it. If you haven't watched the keynote, I highly recommend it, if only to learn how to make a good presentation, but be prepared to exert a little willpower or you might find yourself at the nearest Apple store.
I haven't preordered and I don't actually plan on buying one, but not because I don't want it. I'm just waiting for my contract to expire before I jump carriers. By then the 5 will be out, or almost out, so I'll wait.
Reality distortion field aside, it actually seems like a pretty good update, not worthy of the complaints I've heard. The only things it's missing are true 4G (LTE or WiMax), NFC, and a change in form-factor. I'd be willing to bet the reason it's not 4G is battery life. Current chips suck down power pretty quickly and I don't think Apple wants to compromise on that front. NFC isn't very widespread and I could see Apple wanting their own payment partnerships rather than going with Google Wallet or similar services. As far as changing the design, since the retina display has so many pixels, they could probably get away with having the same pixel count in a slightly larger screen. I don't foresee Apple changing the resolution since one of their biggest strengths is that developers only have to work with one layout for a phone and one for an iPad. I couldn't see them introducing a third standard. Because of that, a larger screen wouldn't really get you anything since you couldn't display anything more on the screen, everything would just be bigger.