Large, black handsets; flat bodies with curved edges and wrap-around screens: just a few of the predictions that made up the usual clamour preceding the latest iPhone launch. And it was guesswork that - for once - seemed to undershoot the reality. Seriously, if large screens and curved edges are the best we can come up with, then it's a good job we're not in charge of Apple development. With the world's first ever smartphone-operated 64-bit A7 processor, as well as finger print 'touch ID' on home button, the 5s looks like an impressive step forward, to say the least.
So, how far off the mark were the tech soothsayers this year? During the early part of this week, an interesting article appeared on Three Mobile's website looking at what the social media world expected of the new iPhone ('A New iPhone: What Social Media Has to Say'). The research makes for interesting reading, and shows that the denizens of Twitter and Facebook seemed, en masse, to make reasonably accurate predictions. 51% of the social chatter surrounding the launch, the research reveals, backed '5s' as a name, with 8% nudging towards '5c'. Granted, 41% talked up a storm around 'iPhone 6', but we can't all be right all of the time. At least they'll have had the number+x=name rule worked out in time for next year's reveal.
From the research, we also learnt that the social media world were fairly taken with the idea of a gold iPhone (the colour featured in 34% of online chitchat, compared to the 4% dealing with silver), and that the area of the world most keen to join conversations on this subject was Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh. What's astounding here is not the city itself (it's one of of East Asia's big tech hubs, after all), but the sheer volume of chatter required to knock New York, LA, London and Chicago into the following four positions. The research doesn't give exact figures, but Apple must be pretty sure of a positive response in Vietnam if this chart is anything to go by.
Most interesting, perhaps, were the 'concept videos' and images that attempted to pre-guess the launch. Three's research shows that only one of the five most viewed videos released this year accurately referenced any of the new features of either the 5c or the 5s ('the plastic iPhone could still look gorgeous'), with the rest obsessing over design details and generally missing the mark by quite a wide margin.
One video, dealing with a supposed virtual keyboard, managed to clock up viewing figures of above 12million, which perhaps hints more at what the viewers hoped for rather than what they expected. This in itself is an interesting notion, considering that the rest of these 'concept videos' put basic design features ahead of wizard-like future tech. Competitors, take note: you can fit the best camera the world has seen, but if you've not given due attention to those crisp white curves, then you're on a hiding to nothing before you've even begun.