iPhone 6 Is Old Technology But No One Cares
I saw a tweet earlier today with this picture:
The author may or may not be credible, as some of the responding tweets point out. Whatever the case, I had two reactions.
Lol. It’s true!
I’m enough of an Apple nerd to have kept an eye on MacRumors live text updates of the event today, to have switched to the live video feed when the watch part started, and to have dreamed about fancy new Apple products last night (no joke; it felt weird).
While following their updates today, it struck me in a fresh way:
Apple is a conservative company
For their reputation of setting trends and being the first into new markets, Apple tend to stay cautiously behind the curve with almost all new technologies.
The “innovations” we do know them for are better labeled as “popularizations.” In all the cases, the world was screaming out for the technology, but no other company stepped in to tackle the problem with grace. There are also few such “gambles” in Apple’s history:
- The mouse (had been in use for years, but not in a particularly consumable consumer product)
- Digital music (all other market offerings at the time were just terrible)
- Buttonless, all-touchscreen devices (why hadn’t anyone else done this yet?)
- Multi-touch (had been in in use for years, but not in a particularly consumable consumer product)
- Tablets (all other market offerings at the time were just terrible)
- Smart watches? (other people have been doing it for years, but Apple’s take on it seems like it could be more graceful. It might not be as “revolutionary” as the other things on this list, but it will probably sell way better than its competitors.)
“The copy and paste was just an apology.”
Five years ago, when Apple introduced iOS 3.0, they finally added copy and paste functionality. This incredibly obvious feature had been missing from iPhone since it’s birth in 2007. They talked up the feature in a flashy press event like it was something special. But of course it wasn’t.
I have a friend who described Apple’s addition of this feature as “just an apology”. This wasn’t NEW! EXCITING! INNOVATION! This was Expectable. Necessary. Obvious. No one could doubt that the market demanded it, and so Apple felt confident dedicating precious engineering time to making it work well.
And, after all that waiting, Apple made it work better than any other company would bother to. Better than anyone was expecting. Which brings me to my second reaction to the diagram above:
It misses the point
At the risk of sounding like a good ol’ fanboy (one who even dreams about exciting new Apple products), I’m going to tow the party line here.
I don’t think about my iPhone
I still use a 4s. I use it with Ting, and will be upgrading to a 5s at such a time that my nation’s laws (purchased by network providers and device manufacturers) allow me to. I may or may not upgrade to a 6/6+ in a year. By and large, I’m happy with what I’ve got and don’t care enough to search for something new.
Before the 4s, I used a Droid Incredible. Before that, I used some slidey feature phone (with a camera!) and an iPod Touch. For the two years that I was contractually obligated to use my Droid Incredible, I hated it. I wished every day that it was iOS.
Maybe it’s just because I learned iOS first, on my iPod Touch. I talked to someone who used Android first, and he said that when he used an iPhone for a while, he spent each day wishing it was an Android phone. It might all be what we’re used to.
But for me, when I use iOS, I don’t think about my phone as much. I don’t constantly think about how to improve the experience itself, or research new skins, or any of those things that I did on Android. Yes, occasionally the walled garden is incredibly aggravating to me (no changing default apps; no Siri integration with 3rd party apps; banning bitcoin apps). But mostly, I don’t spend my time wishing my tool behaved inherently differently.
I’ve discovered few tools that have been like this:
- iOS vs. any other phone OS
- Google Chrome/Chromium vs any other browser
- OSX vs any other operating system
- Macbook Pro
- Mailbox App (if you want an invite to the OSX beta, tweet at me)
Before I switched to these technologies, I did things like:
- read tech sites like MacRumors or TechCrunch to see what new things were coming down the pike that would ease my pain
- constantly search for new Firefox themes and extensions to make it suck less
- install new versions of linux every few months, and fiddle constantly with themes, keyboard shortcuts, etc
But now I do such things infrequently. I almost never read MacRumors or any other gadget-related sites. I’m happy with what I’ve got (even a 3-year-old phone). It all works 95% of the way I’d like it to.
Of course, my preferences aren’t better than an Android or Linux fan’s. Or even a Windows fan’s! But in general, I find that Apple puts together product experiences that are a good match for my preferences. I don’t want a device that is a big grab-bag of the latest features. I want Apple to think long and hard about the way that they would like those features to work together, and then present their decisions to me. Most of the time, their take on all of the complex interplay simplifies the grab-bag of features into a sleek package that I actually like to use. And, more importantly, that I don’t have to think about in order to use.
Yup, it’s true. My phone is old. Even older than “2012 technology”, because I don’t care enough to upgrade. Apple’s outdated technology has me content enough to not even care that much about the new stuff they have.
I don’t lust after new features. A phone is a tool. I’d like it to solve the problems I need it to solve and then get out of my way. For me, so far, iPhone does this much better than Android.
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