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Apple Still Doing Some of What Steve Jobs Did Best

Stocks in this article: AAPL VZ

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Over the last several months, Apple (AAPL) has sold a considerable number of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S devices. In fact, Verizon (VZ) reported that it sold 2 million iPhone 5 units in the first quarter and an equal number of the older model iPhones.

At first blush, this triggered concern. It prompted some folks to call for a cheaper iPhone, which we did not get at Tuesday's event. Others (like me) called for more innovation. If millions of people decided to save a couple bucks and buy the 4 or 4S, iPhone 5 clearly didn't bring enough to the table to move the needle in a meaningful way.

Fast forward a couple quarters, however, and this dynamic might open the door for massive sales of both new iPhone models -- 5S and 5C.

If you bought a 4 or 4S at launch or shortly thereafter, you're likely eligible for an upgrade. If you passed on iPhone 5 because you didn't see it as a significant upgrade, you have put yourself in prime position to pick up a subsidized iPhone 5S or 5C if you're willing to sign a two-year contract.

While it remains to be seen where the 5C will fall with consumers, it's not going to hinder sales of the 5S. As I told Jake Tapper on CNN's "The Lead" Tuesday, Apple did just enough to remain the best and most relevant smartphone maker in the universe.

The 5C may or may not fill an important gap (it could end up the fashionable choice for somebody looking for something different and slightly less expensive, particularly newcomers to the Apple ecosystem). But current iPhone owners, namely those who can upgrade at a discount (or swing a trade-in), will see enough evolution in the 5S to make them want it.

I have about a year left on my wireless contract with Verizon. I love my iPhone 5. However, as Tim Cook was speaking and details about the new phone emerged, I got that feeling best encapsulated as I want it. Steve Jobs used to spark that same sort of materialistic thirst.

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