|Friday, June 18, 2010
09:42 - Cult of personality
Is it hypocritical to defend and applaud Apple's recent acts of anticompetitive behavior after having spent so many years skulking in the shadows decrying the same behavior in Microsoft?
Michael Comeau says no:
Dear Mr. Jobs,
Under your leadership, Apple (AAPL) has recently committed the following unreasonable acts:
[recent examples snipped]
Thanks! Because if it weren't for you, technology would be way too boring to write about.
PS: When is Aperture coming to the iPad?
You may be wondering why I'm thanking a person I just called unreasonable.
Well, the answer is simple: The human race wouldn't be flying to outer space, creating wonderful art, and transplanting organs if not for the work of unreasonable people willing to push forward.
Critics have their place in the world, and I often act as one myself.
But for the life of me, I can't understand how some people wake up in the morning and expect Apple to follow some arbitrary set of rules that would make the world a better place, if only that damn Jobs would listen to reason.
No one is obligated to use any Apple product, and in fact, few people actually do. Less than 5% of the mobile phones and computers sold each year are from Apple. So if you don't like Apple's behavior, you have an easy way out -- just be part of the 95% that doesn't buy Apple products!
I think most of the nerd objection against Microsoft over the years came from the segment of the population that didn't so much begrudge Microsoft its dominance, but only the fact that it had achieved dominance using such mediocre products. We all knew that someone would have to be on top, and every corporation is going to behave all corporation-y simply by necessity. What didn't have to be true was that the status quo was made up of shoddy, annoying trash. We could do better.
Still, I don't think anyone agitating for a better way ever thought that the entire world of technology could be raised up to a higher standard. It's only sustainable at the high end, where customers are willing to pay a bit more for the products that eschew the cost-saving shortcuts that lead to mediocrity.
To use the ever-popular car analogy, the question may be whether it's possible for everything on the road to be a BMW, or of commensurate quality. Probably not. Someone has to make econoboxes, because BMWs aren't getting any cheaper, nor is BMW interested in making low-end, entry-level cars that would cheapen the brand.
The discussion of Apple's "monopolistic" tendencies and Jobs' thus-far-benevolent dictatorship is a luxury only available to people with extra money to spend and a vested interest in the trajectory of the industry. To people inhabiting the low end of the market, buying Apple stuff is still going to be seen as an upgrade, something aspirational. People who can afford to care about what apps run on an iPad are a pretty small slice of the overall market.
I don't think we'll ever reach a point where Apple and Microsoft will have traded places and we all have to start singing "meet the new boss, same as the old boss". Apple doesn't want that. Jobs just wants the high end of the market to be as good as it possibly can be, and doesn't at all mind if everyone else tries to follow suit in their own way, because at least then everybody'd be a little better off. That's why nerds will forgive his idiosyncracies: this is what we wanted all along. A better choice.
UPDATE: Then again, sometimes the knockoffs are so shameless that you feel like if you were Steve you'd go all DOCTOR OCTAGONAPUS BLAAAAHHH on them yourself.
If a snapped circular is to be believed, Best Buy Mobile will soon be carrying a white version of Sprint's popular EVO starting July 11th.
PhoneArena.com took a picture of a purported Best Buy circular (right, full sized, below) which seems to indicate that Sprint's EVO 4G will be coming in White. The white EVO is expected to be a Best Buy Mobile exclusive until August, and orders are supposed to begin today.
Pricing is expected to be the same, $199 with a two-year Sprint 4G plan.
With Apple's quick sellouts and limited options, will prospective iPhone 4 buyers stray?
|Wednesday, June 16, 2010
12:57 - AT&T: Your world delivered...to the wrong person.
Title stolen from the comments of this Gizmodo story, which sounds like something out of 1996:
The first iPhone 4 pre-order day was a total disaster, with collapsed AT&T and Apple servers unable to take any orders, multiple incorrect purchases, reservations that didn't reserve anything, physical stores closing or having to take order with pen and paper, and, the worst of all, people entering into AT&T's account servers and seeing different customers' information on screen.
By itself, that's a major security problem. But it gets worse. According to emails sent by readers, the ordering system is mistakenly showing and using the wrong customers' personal information. Not only that, but the problem is affecting other systems: Reader Christian du Lac saw his credit card information changed to another person in his AT&T Wi-Fi Premium account...
Wrong credit cards showing up in your profile, iPhone 4 order confirmations (sometimes multiple) sent to people who never ordered one, failures to place a preorder... geez, AT&T is getting better and better at this "being on the cutting edge of the tech industry" thing.
Pretty soon they'll not only be seen as the weakest component of the iPhone ecosystem, but a branding boat-anchor that actively delegitimizes Apple by association.