Will the iPhone 5 'WOW' us today?

Today could be a big day for Apple -- or it could be the first sign of a chink in the armor.

Consumers are eager to see the next iteration of the iPhone. They want something new to look at, after seeing the iPhone 4 and, its doppelganger update, the 4S, everywhere for the last two years.


It's amazing that a company can milk so much profit from one (er, two) devices for that long, particularly in the consumer electronics industry, and especially in the field of smartphones.

But Apple's done it. Yet, are the diehard fans and loyalists now ready for something new to ogle at?


Heck yes. We all would love to see something new and mindblowing.Who wouldn't?

The word is that we can expect new hardware: a bigger screen, LTE coverage, and a thinner device profile. But what about the software? So much of the iPhone experience is in the software. Apple has to wow us with that, too -- perhaps even moreso than the hardware. And, in some ways, Apple's top competitor, Android has made great strides in smartphone software.

Even Windows Phone offers a nifty smartphone software experience that is actually quite appealing, despite it's small market penetration. Microsoft took a lot of risks with its smartphone OS -- more than Apple has taken in recent years.

The reality is: there's only so much variation on a theme you can do a with a touchscreen smartphone, in terms of hardware. It's flat. It's got a nice screen. It's got a couple buttons. And it's got a speaker, dock connector and headphone jack.

You can make it out of newfangled materials, like kevlar. But really, I think most consumers see that stuff as icing on a cake.

How the user interacts with a smartphone? Now that's an area still ripe for innovation -- whether its new ways for voice and touch control, or motion control.

This much is certain: Siri needs to get better.

If the iPhone 5 is great -- or just mmmm...okay -- I'm sure it will still be a blockbuster seller. But its challenge is to inspire consumers -- and, equally important, developers -- to continue to want to stay committed to the platform. To buy more apps, to build more apps, to create more opportunities for joy and even wealth creation for developers who drive the platform forward.

Stay tuned for BaltTech's liveblog of Apple's announcement of the (alleged) iPhone 5 today at 1 PM Eastern. Come back soon!