This post is a little different than normal. I don’t typically weigh in on tech specific issues, but I feel like it might be worth it to contribute my voice to the dialog surrounding Apple’s release of the iPhone 5… also, I am aware that I’m way late to the game.
I’m just getting tired of all the anti-Apple folks griping about Apple fans being “iSheep” as Mark Prince recently called them on Google+, while being just as dogmatically anti-Apple.
Before I get into this, I just want to say, I was actually disappointed with the iPhone 5 release for the most part. Apple really did no serious innovating, which has been one of the driving focuses of their business (that and pillaging other companies for using similar technology). If I had to start fresh, I’d probably be going for the Nokia Lumia 920, a Windows phone that is set to release here soon. Regardless, I don’t have an upgrade for a while, and I’m still MORE than pleased with my iPhone 4S.
I have a couple areas of beef with the anti-Apple apologists (affectionately referred to hereafter as the AAA).
Their continued assertion of:
1.) The notion that more features equals better phone
2.) The notion that Applites have no real reasons to stick with Apple
3.) That Android/Windows Phone are clearly superior
One continually parroted thought by many in the tech community, and particularly the AAA is that more features means a better phone. For instance, Paras Valecha (@ParasValecha) went on a nice tweet stream about all of the features that the Lumia 920 has over the iPhone 5, going so far as to cite color options. The number of articles floating on the web comparing features is simply astounding. Features, though important, aren’t the metric we ought to judge a phone by. Features are merely marketing techniques to sell people on a product and are only valuable if they add something significant to the user’s experience. For example, when Apple introduced Siri, it was supposed to be this monumental thing. For the most part, it’s only been used as a joke conduit (though sometimes I do want to know where to hide my dead bodies…) and I only really use it to set reminders. The newest iteration seems geared towards being a more usable feature… which brings me to my point.
Features only matter in-so-far as they enhance our experience. Who cares if my phone doesn’t have NFC and wireless charging? Honestly, it’s just as easy to plug my phone in to an outlet (via whatever stupid connector I’m using) as it is to set it on a charging station. I only want wireless charging if it comes to the point where I can charge over the air anywhere I am (sounds dangerous too). The AAA continually asserts that iPhone is less superior because it doesn’t have these features which at this point don’t particularly add anything to my experience of using a phone.
My second beef with the AAA is that they pretend like Apple has nothing good going on. I wholly disagree with this simply in terms of fit and finish being the best of any phone on the market. But furthermore, I think the AAA is missing one of the most compelling reasons people continue to buy Apple products… because they already own Apple products.
I’m not talking about brand loyalty here. I’m talking about straight up cost-efficiency. For such a long time, Apple was the dominant player in the phone/mp3 market that people went with Apple for quite a while. And while they owned their early generation Apple mobile devices, they started purchasing a library of apps. Many people have spent in excess of $100 on apps, and have loaded them to their preferences. These apps transfer across various iterations of Apple products (which is one of the reasons I went with iPhone in the first place… I already had a bunch of apps via my iPad), and so they don’t have to purchase them again. In order for a person to leave the Apple ecosystem, they are giving up more than just the monetary value of the phone- they are giving up a library of apps, and probably losing a SIGNIFICANT amount of money. This was perhaps the most brilliant marketing move Apple ever made. They didn’t just make a phone. They made a lifestyle.
And finally, the AAA seems to think that Apple’s products are inferior in almost every way. Beyond the whole user experience being highly polished and optimized for human usage, Apple has by far the best ecosystem across their products. Their laptops, iPads, and iPhones are pretty much extensions of each other, and eventually extensions of their users. My first Apple product ever was my iPad 2. Now I own an iPhone 4S and my church bought a MacBook Pro for my use. I went for my iPhone because of its ability to sync with my iPad (and already owning a bunch of apps), and to be a smaller extension of my iPad. Apple products may not be as loaded feature wise, but they dominate in the overall synergy their products provide.
So my point here is this- AAA please, stop saying that people who are going for the iPhone 5 are simply fools that just follow Apple blindly. It might make you feel better about yourself, but there are some compelling reasons to go with Apple/stick with Apple right now. You have problems with Apple? Make a better product, market it better, and give me a better experience. Until then, I’m going to use the best possible tools to enhance my life, which was Apple during my last purchase cycle.