For the past year, we’ve endured a near-daily slew of rumors about a device called the iPhone 5. When Apple delayed its release of a new phone until Fall 2011, it only heightened expectations. Surely, if we were to wait more than the usual year between versions of the iPhone, the result must be something spectacular.

Now, at the last minute, we discover that what the company was preparing all along was the iPhone 4S — a faster, smarter, world-phone upgrade to the iPhone 4. It’s on more carriers. It has a better camera and supposedly great voice recognition. But it is, as Tim Cook all but admitted, merely an iPhone 4 with more advanced innards. This isn’t the new, iconic, must-have device that a redesigned iPhone 5 would have been. (Which also means that Apple just lost a lot of potential iPhone 4 upgraders. Why buy the upgrade if no one can tell the difference?)

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