Counterpoint: Apple's iPhone 3.0 Software
Daniel made a very cogent point in the previous article, articulating the spectacular advantages Apple has in the smartphone sphere. I would like to offer however, a counterpoint to his article. Although I do agree with many of the points he has made in his article, I would just like to supplement with some thought-nuggets that may serve to complement his views.
1) Apple’s Closed Ecosystems
While Apple has made an incredible effort to open up their OS to outside developers, remember that this only happened later on in the development cycle with Version 2.0. Version 3.0 is a completion of this opening up but this is something that we must remember of Apple, their first instinct is usually to protect rather than allow the world to take and play with. Apple’s famous paranoia may have been toned down at the moment, with seemingly every other application being allowed, but there are still restrictions that come with a closed market, there are still things that the iPhone will not do unless hacked. Much of these have been removed again with 3.0, but I wonder if history should serve to teach us a lesson here. I think tethering (using your phone as a modem for your computer) in particular is one that is quite interesting, it will not be enabled unless the carrier allows it. Most other phones have such capability out of the box. Why not the iPhone? And why only allow it now, with carrier approval?
Another problem with a closed ecosystem, is that it usually takes longer for features to get implemented. What shocked many people is that copy and paste took so long to deliver. Seriously. 3 software iterations to get right what any other phone has in its first iteration. Not impressive. Albeit Apple had to work out the technicalities in the first place but that is hardly an explanation. I could go on. But there is a bit of light shining here. The wait is over. Apple will bring all these toys now and we can bask in the glory that is Apple. The only questions I want to raise here is: What of the future? Will all things continue in the same vein or will it progress slowly but surely.
2) Apple’s very particular worldview
Apple makes amazing products. Everyone knows that. Perfectly engineered, gorgeously designed, brilliantly conceived. But sometimes that genius throws out something completely Heh? The latest iPod Shuffle is one of those design decisions. The thing about Apple is, and it is probably something the Fanboys *myself included* love is the very esoteric way in which they view the way tech should work and how humans should work with tech. You either LOVE it to bits, or hate it but buy it anyway because that’s the only thing that works, and you somehow fit your life around it. The iPod is an example of such tech. It works because it is so simple, but let us be honest, it is also radically different from any product out there. No one else can emulate it with such precision and perfection. The iPhone is yet another example of such design ideology. No one can make it work like Apple, and no one has succeeded so far because it’s just so far out of everyone else’s design ideologies. The only thing that even comes close is the Palm Pre; and that’s from an Apple Alum!
3) Apple’s Self Confidence
Apple knows what it is doing. They know they basically rule the market and their arrogance shines through their products. They don’t need to offer cutting edge, or even top of the range. Their survival is based almost entirely on one thing and one thing alone. Design. Apple has built it’s empire on design and this works in the world where everything is built overloaded with stuff. Simplicity triumphs in such a world because it’s simply less taxing on the brain to use a product. This can serve as a foil however, when Apple has a bad product, because they will try to fix it no matter what. Even if the fundamental conception is flawed.
I believe that Apple will continue to survive, even thrive in these times. I just want to point out some of the longer term struggles Apple may have and how it should attempt to deal with these issues.