This post here at ijailbreak4s.com is dedicated to the Hurricane Sandy victims and their struggle to recover from the hurricane as well as the subsequent Nor’easter that brought snow to many portions of New Jersey and New York as well as other states. Before I get started, let me say that, if you are a victim of Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter, our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. I have relatives in New York and New Jersey, not to mention Maryland and Pennsylvania – so I have some idea of what has been going on in the Northeastern section of the country.
First, a little sample of benevolence is in order. Tim Cook and the Apple Corporation decided last week to donate $2.5 million along with employee and customer donations totaling $2.5 million to the Hurricane Sandy relief fund with the American Red Cross Society. Tim Cook’s letter to the employees this past week stated the following:
“For the past week, our thoughts have been with those affected by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. And Apple employees and customers the world over have raised millions of dollars toward the relief effort so far. But we can always do more.”
You can read the rest of Tim Cook’s letter here.
Cam Bunton of todaysiphone.com makes a great point about Apple: at times, we point our fingers at the company and chide them for the mistakes and errors it commits. I do this on a daily basis here at the jailbreak sites. At the same time, however, Tim Cook did something that Steve Jobs failed to do – he took some of Apple’s wealth and donated it to those who stand in need of food, clothes, shelter, and other supplies. For that, I want to thank Tim Cook for his generosity in giving. It is in times like these that one sees the character of a company and the character of its CEO. If you are reading this and want to donate to the cause, you can visit iTunes and click on the white box that says, “Superstorm Sandy Relief: Donate Here” or go visit The American Red Cross.
Apple’s benevolence this past week was matched by a scam surrounding the company’s products. Sources say that a woman, Jalonta Freeman, was the target of an iPad scam by a man on the street who claimed that he had one to sell for only $200. How many times have you been to Apple’s website, seen the 16GB WiFi iPad for $399, and wished that Apple would lower its tablet prices? Jalonta Freeman had the same desire, but to no avail. When she was approached by a male individual and sold what she believed to be an iPad, she jumped at the opportunity and purchased the iPad. When she arrived home to open the package, however, she found, in the words of Cameron Buchan:
“she paid through the nose for an iPad-sized mirror, that was simply duct taped to be (roughly) the same color as its Apple counterpart, and featured an Apple logo, that had been penciled in using a stencil” (Cameron Buchan, “Scammer Sells woman a mirror for $200, claimed it was an iPad).
There have been times when all consumers have become victims of fraud; nevertheless, please keep in mind that Apple’s products will never come cheap. If you want to purchase an Apple iPad, go to a legitimate retail store or purchase it directly from Apple.com. Even if you purchase the iPad from a store that appears legitimate (a lesser-known store), the retail store does not have to honor a return policy, nor does it have to offer you some sort of product protection plan. You take a huge financial risk to obtain a tablet from a store or individual that you know little to nothing about. It is better to be safe than sorry.
If iPads are not objects of scam, they have become torture victims in and of themselves. Walmart employees in Kentucky have been fired and prosecuted as a result of their incriminating video footage of throwing around and smashing iPads while on the job. For whatever reason, these men did not consider their jobs to have more value than the iPads they smashed on the floor while in the stock room.
Apart from the benevolent acts of the company, or its products (whether new innovation or product scam), the Apple Corporation received an honorary award this past week while also being involved in additional patent lawsuits. The consulting firm Booz and Co. named Apple the “Most Innovative Company” for the third year in a row, despite the fact that companies such as Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft, IBM, and Google spend more on research and development than Cupertino. Booz and Co., however, determine the top innovative companies based on “how those R&D [research and development] funds are invested in talent, process, and tools” (Chris Hauk, “Apple Named ‘Most Innovative Company’ Third Year in a Row.” Mactrast.com. September 11, 2012).
Although Apple was named the most innovative company by this consulting firm, I think this conception of Apple is starting to wane in the tech community. This past week, there was one admission from a tech writer about his departure from iOS and entrance into other operating systems and devices that he thinks are of better quality than the iPad and iPhone. Henry Taylor-Gill of Mactrast.com writes in his article that he is leaving Apple products for a few reasons, despite the fact that the company’s products will always be top-notch “from a build quality and design perspective” (Henry Taylor-Gill, “Bad Apple: Why I’ll Be Ditching IOS and Switching to the Dark Side.” Mactrast.com). What are Taylor-Gill’s reasons for leaving iOS?
- Software vs. hardware: Apple has always been adept at providing great hardware. Now, Henry wants better software (Apple’s terrible 3D maps are evidence). Google, for instance, has the best 3D mapping application, but has taken eight years or more to perfect it. Apple’s newly-released maps have a long way to go before they even hold a candle to Google’s.
- Advanced technology and affordability: The Nexus 4 is Google’s response to Apple’s new iPhone 5. It has both more advanced technology and a more affordable price than the iPhone 5. The Nexus 4 has Near Field Communication (NFC), wireless charging (or induction charging), and panorama mode. The Google Nexus 4 is also $299 unlocked, in contrast to Apple’s $699 unlocked iPhone 5.
- Vision: Apple has always been on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. With Scott Forstall’s release and Steve Jobs’ demise, it seems as though Apple’s products are mere tune-ups rather than newly-innovated creations. What vision for the future does Apple provide? Not much.
All of Henry’s reasons above are legitimate reasons to depart from iOS. He still thinks that Apple makes terrific products; however, he has come to believe that other products are just as good, if not better, than those of the Apple Corporation. It is amazing when I read statements such as Henry’s. There are so many tech writers in the blogosphere who are so in love with Apple that no other company comes close to what Apple can do. No matter the product, price, or features, Apple’s products will win every time when you read blogs that belong to “Apple fanboys”.
I watched a demonstration video that compared the Google Nexus 7 to the iPad Mini this week from a reputable site whose name I will not mention here. Throughout the video, the guy that compared the two tablets said that the iPad mini was “hands-down” the best tablet, saying the phrase “hands-down” several times in his video.
I sat there and watched the video on my Samsung Galaxy S3, thinking to myself, “this guy is only drinking the Apple Koolaid he’s been fed throughout his life.” I’m 28, and this tech writer can’t be any older than me (maybe 30 at the most); yet and still, he is so in love with Apple that he either is too in love to see the truth or has no idea that the tide is turning in the tech world in favor of Apple’s competitors.
My Galaxy S3 phone has not had any problems since I purchased it some 5 months ago; when compared to the iPhone 5, my phone looks like the epitome of perfection. The iPhone 5 has had a string of software defects and hardware errors, some of which pertain to purple haze appearances in photos, easily-scratched exteriors, glitches in software, and so on. I have had none of these with my S3, despite the fact that most Apple fanboys call my S3 a “plastic” phone. Maybe plastic is actually better than Apple’s use of Gorilla Glass. I’m just sayin’…
Henry’s article states his reasons as to why he wants to explore other options outside of Apple and iOS. While I do write for a jailbreak site and love iOS, I encourage you to get out and explore other companies and operating systems. Henry is right when he points out the technological and pricing advantages of Apple’s competitors; while Apple is good, there is “better” and “best” out there in the world and your bias (or love) of Apple products should not deter you from giving other companies and their products a try. I had never tried an Android product until my Samsung Galaxy S3; now that I own an S3, it will take an ocean of improvements to iOS and Apple’s iPhones before I consider purchasing an iPhone. You cannot make an accurate assessment about the strength of Apple’s products until you have other products that you have tested and tried to compare with Apple’s.
Henry is not alone in leaving iOS and Apple; according to Parmy Olson, Strategy Analytics, a Massachusetts Survey company, long-standing iPhone customers are less likely to replace their older iPhones with newer ones than usual. Parmy Olson writes:
“2012 is shaping up to be the year when the glow surrounding Apple’s mobile products suddenly got dimmer – first from the technology press, now from a survey. According to recent research by Boston, Mass.-based Strategy Analytics, fewer people who own iPhones are planning to replace them with newer models from Apple, marking the first decline since Apple released the iPhone in 2007. In Western Europe, just 75% of users will buy their next phone from Apple, down from 88% in 2011, while the proportion among American users has slipped to 88%, from 93%, according to the research.
Whither the fall in loyalty? If you’ve been following Apple headlines for a while, you’ll know. Strategy Analytics director Paul Brown blames ‘negative press’ surrounding Apple in the last year, but also a ‘perceived lack of recent innovation’ from the company” (Parmy Olson, “IPhone Loyalty is Waning – Are You Surprised?” Forbes magazine. November 5, 2012).
Negative press and lack of innovation are responsible for the decline in iPhone loyalty with Apple’s customers. The negative press Olson mentions here pertains to the tech world and tech writers. It is no secret that companies such as Forbes Magazine and yes, even CNET (credit: Molly Wood) have been vocal about their disagreement with Apple’s legal strategies regarding standard industry patents. While companies criticize Apple for its patent insanity, consumers criticize Cupertino for its lack of innovation. As Olson writes,
“Apple, the company that was the first to bring touch screen phones and tablets to mass market, has been iterating rather [sic, should be “than” after “rather”] innovating in recent years, for example, making relatively incremental changes on size and form factor with the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini. As a result, the media’s reaction to the release of the iPhone 5 was more skeptical than it had been towards the iPhone 4, with Wired’s Mat Honan summing things up well by calling the latest phone, ‘Completely Amazing and Utterly Boring’” (Parmy Olson, “IPhone 5 Loyalty is Waning – Are You Surprised?” Forbes. November 5, 2012. Underlining mine).
Instead of providing new technology and showing consumers how much more the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touches are worth, Apple has simply made small changes to them (such as substituting an A5X chip with an A6X chip in the iPad 4 and updating its 30-pin connector with an 8-pin “Lightning” connector). The iPad Mini, one of Apple’s newest products, comes in a 7.9-inch diagonal display (a neat dimension), but offers the customer the same 1024 x 768 screen resolution found in the iPad 2. Apple created the iPad 3 last year; why then, would it return to the second-generation iPad’s screen resolution when it could make products better? As of this week, it has been stated that Apple will create an iPad Mini with Retina display, according to Brian Tong of CNET; if Apple does this, however, the company has done nothing more than implemented another incremental update to its iPad Mini. Why didn’t the company create the original iPad Mini with Retina in the first place? It did not do this so that next Spring (2013), it can emerge with the Retina technology on its iPad Mini and call it “innovation.” This was a statement made by a commenter at CNET. I cannot remember his name or his username, but he spoke prophecy with regard to Apple’s so-called track record of innovation.
In a prior article, I discussed Phil Schiller’s response to NFC and why Apple did not include it in its newest iPhone. Schiller’s response seems to make a claim without providing any evidence as to why the claim is true. Then, in the next breath, Schiller affirms “Passbook,” which does not solve problems, either, as a solution to NFC. These are the responses that you can expect to receive when Apple does not want to do something; instead of saying, “We chose not to do it,” the company invents an excuse to criticize the new technology instead of admitting their stubborn refusal to implement the growing technology in their products.
When Apple is not iterating in its product line, the company is forced to shelve out millions of dollars in a new lawsuit for infringing upon patents that belong to other companies. The new patent lawsuit Apple faced this past week is as follows:
Virnet X is a Texas Internet security software company that holds four patents related to virtual network technology. The patents all allow Virnet X to set up virtual, private networks based upon a domain name and interact with other individuals. Apple’s FaceTime application allows this very thing and violates four of Virnet X’s patents, according to Bloomberg. The result of these four violations was an awarded settlement to Virnet of $368.2 million, to be paid by the Apple Corporation. To make matters worse, Virnet has filed yet another lawsuit against Apple. The first lawsuit pertained to Apple’s older devices; since the iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPod Touch 5G, and latest Mac Mini and iMacs have been created with FaceTime installed, these new devices also infringe upon Virnet’s four patents. The lawsuit ended on November 6, but did not pertain to these newer devices. Virnet has won against Apple earlier this month, and it looks as if the Texas company is certain to win again – which means that Apple will lose more money to Virnet X.
What the Virnet X lawsuit goes to show is that Apple is just as wrong as it claims other companies have been (Samsung among them). When Apple went to court and sued Samsung, the company put on a dignified, moralistic front and claimed that Samsung was ethically wrong. Now, how does it feel for Apple to have the shoe on the other foot? When a company stands in moral judgment of others, it must be prepared to have moral judgment placed upon itself by other companies.
With all of this news in front of us, let’s reexamine Booz and Co.’s claim that Apple is “The Most Innovative Company”. Is it true? Not according to products and lawsuits. Rather, Booz’s statement is typical of those who are in love with what Apple once was, those who cannot seem to accept that Apple is no longer “best,” but “good,” in the tech world. As Dan Lyons says in his ReadWrite article titled “The GOP, Apple and the Power of Magical Thinking”:
“There’s also a form of magical thinking that takes place in technology, when people confuse what they wish to be true with what actually is true…And now there is Apple, whose legions of supporters continue to believe that what happened to Apple in the PC market (cheaper rival comes along and grabs all the market share) won’t happen again in mobile.
But it will happen. It is happening. Heck, in some ways it already has happened. The latest numbers from IDC show that Google’s Android operating system now has 75% share in smartphones, up from 23% two years ago.
And Apple? Two years ago it had 15% share. Today it has…15%…If you start believing that we aren’t seeing the sequel to Windows-vs.-Mac, if you start ignoring the fact that Google’s platform now outsells Apple five-to-one, or pretending that this doesn’t matter – well, you might as well believe…that Mitt Romney is President.
Good luck with that” (Dan Lyons, “The GOP, Apple and the Power of Magical Thinking.” ReadWrite. November 13, 2012).
In the words of Dan Lyons, to believe that Apple is still the great “untouchable” company it once was is to believe that Mitt Romney is President – something that obviously contradicts reality. And I have to agree. Now…what was that label that Booz and Co. gave Apple again?