Sunday, 23 September 2012

They Don't Know What They're Doing

I've got a new iPhone 5.  

I really like it of course, but I feel quite a bit differently about it than I did about buying the very first iPhone.  It is, of course, a completely different animal now than it was then... but so is Apple... and so am I.

Since, the iPhone arrived, the world has changed.  We now live in the future (read this brilliant speech if you don't believe me).  The things that we take for granted, we would have given our right arms for just a few years ago.  As Apple kick-started the smart-phone world, it has managed to keep a more than slender but increasingly aggressive lead.  

For the first time, in the run up to the iPhone 5 launch I consciously considered acquiring an Android phone for the first time as my main phone (I used an HTC Wildfire S a couple of years ago as a test phone for a project... it was lousy).  However, whilst I like the look of, and the reports coming back about the latest Samsung models, it is the use of the Google Nexus tablet running Jellybean that has turned me round to the possibility that Android might actually be capable of running a decent smartphone... but then I was standing at the bar the other night musing about this possibility to a friend and a stranger standing alongside us felt compelled to chip in that her experience with Samsung was the worst ever and that I should avoid this prospect like the plague!

So I'm sticking with the iPhone for another couple of years... I tend to keep a model for two years and skip the 'S's in between... but the company's arrogance and domination of its suppliers and partners is beginning to get dull.  The 'Lightning' connector is nice, but not only have users got to buy extra cables/chargers for the office (because lets not forget iPhones struggle to make it through the day without a charge even now, five years after launch, and this model is no better), if they've invested in a fancy speaker/hifi which allows you to mount an iPhone on it they've either got to ditch it or fork out for an ugly adaptor.  Same goes if the they've bought an additional powerpack like a Mophie Juice gizmo.

Also, Apple's paranoia which lead to Antennagate when they launched the iPhone 4 a couple of years ago (i.e. not letting enough of the things out of their sight to allow for decent User Acceptance Testing) tips over into simpler things such as the complete lack of available cases and accessories on Day One.  I actually managed to buy a really cheap case on iPhone 5 launch day from a market stall and, whilst it'll do for now, it's far from ideal.  I like to use the cases that have a belt-clip but there are none available yet.  Unsurprisingly, to me anyway, my phone - in its case- fell out of my pocket when getting out of the car earlier.  It afforded little protection and I managed to chip the black aluminium rim a little bit (something that would have gone unnoticed on the 4/4S).  Frustrating.  All these people walking around with expensive iPhone 5s tucked into spare socks and the like to stop them getting damaged.

I have to say that even thinking about walking away from Apple would have been unthinkable when the iPhone 4 came out, as I was shackled to my iTunes library, but my move to Spotify Premium about eighteen months ago means that I rarely trouble my pretty extensive iTunes library on any device.  This, more than anything else for a music fan, makes it easier to contemplate walking away from Apple at some point.  Let's see how they continue to wind us up over the next two years... a lot can happen.

I haven't even mentioned the new Apple maps, but you know, they'll get that right soon enough... I used the turn-by-turn directions this morning and they worked really well.  And anyway, if Apple has crept up my little axis of evil chart, then Google and their superior mapping product are also there or there abouts these days.

And don't get me on Twitter's ongoing lurch towards unpopularity...  mainly because I need to think of another post to write.


  1. The Spotify angle is quite significant, and as you say the tie to Apple is weakened as the tendency to rent content continues.

    1. Yes, I agree Paul... I would say that that is the one thing that has weakened Apple's grip on my life. Whilst I have surrendered again this time, I feel I've bought an iPhone on as near to my own terms as possible and do feel, for the first time, that there may be something out there on the market to sway me in the future.

      I have never got round to upgrading my gen 1 iPad which now sits resolutely unsupported by iOS6 only two years after purchase. Instead I picked up a Google Nexus 7 for a third of the price and, whilst it isn't an iPad, I am more than a third pleased with it as a replacement.

  2. I was a big Apple fan about 15 years ago when the option I had was Macs or Windows PCs. But over the course of the iThings revolution, Apple seems to have become very Microsofty in its attitude.
    Knowing they have a huge captive market that seems uncritically impressed with anything in a nice shiny package, they're not actually delivering innovation any more.
    Change and innovation aren't the same (viz lightning interface, every version of Windows compared to the previous one). Innovation also isn't reproducing other people's technology and pretending you thought of it first (eg FaceTime, everything Microsoft has ever done) even if Apple's fanboys genuinely believe they invented everything from video calling to "rectangular things with rounded corners".

    1. I agree. I feel about Apple now the way I felt about Microsoft fifteen years ago.