Here we go again. Apple introduces a new iPhone line and customers line up at the company trough (or Apple Store, or nearby Apple Town Square, or wherever finer products are sold), and someone points out that Apple just introduced antique technology that competitors have had for decades?
Decades? Sure, it’s such a lame argument that, well, why not? Somehow or another, Apple cobbled together old technology parts and assembled them in such a way that customers don’t know they’re getting something that’s been available elsewhere since the Pilgrims landed. Or, so Nick Moley’s argument goes.
Parts Is Parts
I understand the need for perspective. Differentiation is a key in technology and it works with technology writers, too. It’s not easy to provide detailed analysis on a product one has never touched, but that’s what Nick did; and it’s done all the time. Hell, I do it, too.
We know, we know. Apple takes its time to do new technologies “right,” not “first.” But if you watched Apple’s September 12 announcements for the iPhone 8, iPhone X, Apple TV 4K and Apple Watch Series 3, you might be wondering just how long it takes to perfect an animated 3D turd.
Uh huh. iPhone X and iOS 11 has a cute new turd icon. And, thanks to the phone’s built-in Face ID system, your face can animate an emoji. You know, like a cartoon. Oh, by the way. The Face ID works better than Touch ID so you get a cute Messages feature with improved security.
Who else did that? Samsung? HTC? Motorola? Lenovo? Huawei? Xiaomi? Anybody?
Remember 2001? The world was populated by a gazillion stupid-assed media players before Apple figured out how to do it right. No CDs. Hard disk drive. Yes. It was hard. And the iPod was Mac only and yet in a few years it dominated the industry with iTunes and iTunes Music Store. On Windows, even.
While Apple acolytes inside the newly minted Steve Jobs Theater breathlessly applauded new “features” paraded on stage by Apple VPs, the rest of us were feeling a wave of déjà vu. OLED screens, wireless charging, 4K … haven’t we seen this stuff before?
Yes, we have. But not really working too well, and definitely not in a polished package like iPhone X and iOS 11. OLED screens? Hey, Nick. Do you know why Apple didn’t jump onto the OLED bandwagon? Maybe Samsung couldn’t make one that met Apple’s standards but was good enough for all the also-rans who are so up to date they couldn’t sell their devices and make a profit.
Even by its own standards, Apple dredged up some almost embarrassingly dated technologies for its latest round of refreshes
Embarassing? Not at Apple. Not for Apple’s customers. Not for the millions of Android smartphone users who may have had some of what Apple cobbled together for iPhone X. What is embarrassing is the lack of novelty in such analysis. Isn’t this the same article you wrote last year for iPhone 7? Or was it iPhone 6s? I forget because I read the same rubbish year after year.
Apple gets some freshness points on its edge-to-edge screen, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Xiomi’s (sic) Mi Mix did that first too back in 2016.
How many of those did Xiaomi sell? As with all of Apple’s competitors, they won’t say. That’s embarrassing. Oh, wait. Didn’t you say “old technologies?” We’re talking 2016 tech here. That was, what, nine months ago? Time flies. Or, as Kermit the Frog would say, “Time’s fun when you’re having flies.”
Soaking up electricity through the air may still seem like magic, but it’s pretty simple technology, and the Palm Pre had the same ability out of the box way back in 2009. That device is now an obscure relic, but Samsung’s Galaxy phones have had it built in for generations, third-party manufacturers have been cranking out wireless charging accessories you can get for as cheap as $20, and Starbucks has even offered wireless charging since 2015.
Uh huh. How’s Palm doing these days? How many people do you know that have a so-called wireless charger for their smartphones; Galaxy Fireball or whatever? Nick, it’s not wireless. It’s conductive. It’s also 2017. Let’s get with the program.
The iPhone X does away with the classic Home button and Touch ID, so Apple introduced FaceID as a way to unlock your phone just by looking at it. Cute. But Android owners were unlocking their phones with Face Unlock on the Galaxy Nexus all the way back in 2011. Unfortunately, so were non-owners, since that version was easily fooled by a photograph. We’ll give Apple credit for staying away from that generation of technology, except Microsoft nailed it with Windows Hello back in 2015, when Apple was just getting around to patenting its own facial-recognition technology.
See, Nick? That’s how it’s done. Others flock to new technology like flies to a flame, but Apple has sufficient discipline to recognize shit on a stick and knows when to drop in with something that actually works well enough for customers to use. Fingerprint sensors? They’ve been around for years and the only place they worked well was in a Tom Cruise movie (think Mission: Impossible). Oh, Touch ID. Face recognition? Yep. Been there. Done that. Didn’t work too well. Face ID? It’s so good Apple was happy to ditch the much beloved Touch ID with an improved replacement. I can’t wait for it to show up on future Macs and iPads.
Our entire office cringed when Eddy Cue took the stage to explain the benefits of a strange and mystical new technology called 4K, as if the entire audience had just awoken from cryogenic sleep they entered in 2010.
Yeah, but you guys need to do some analysis before criticizing something that hasn’t happened yet. That’s the 4K revolution. It’s coming. But it’s not here yet and even though it’s been around a few years it’s the early adopters who get burned because now it’s going to be done right, help spur the industry forward. How many people have 4K TV’s Nick? 12? 137? Statista took a suppository and came up with some numbers. How does 25-percent sound? Other suppository users determined that 4K video– the stuff you’ll watch on a 4K TV– will hit 10-percent penetration (in the market, not where the suppositories go) in 2021.
That means 90-percent of anything available to watch on a 4K TV will be old video standards like 480p, 720p, occasionally 1080p, but just a few percentage points for 4K.
How is Apple late to a party that hasn’t really begun yet?
Nick, stop writing contrarian drivel, go different and point out the obvious (which has been pointed out for decades)– Apple seldom arrives at a technology party ahead of the crowd, but almost everyone is wowed by what Apple wears, wowed by what Apple brings to the party, wowed by the latest product Apple brings, and we’re all wowed by their satisfaction levels.
Antique technology in Apple’s new products? Not hardly. However, writing contrarian notions with invalid comparisons is a time honored profession. Unfortunately, you get paid for it.