Posted in Apple, Rants, Technology

My Problem with Apple Fanboys and the Company as a Whole

 

I want to be very transparent right up front. I used to be an Apple iPhone guy, an Apple iPod guy and even now so, an Apple iPad guy. I can say without hesitation, Apple STILL makes the best tablet, as of January 2019. I have had a Samsung tablet and even read some of the most recent debacle issues that the current Google Slate is having. I still use my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 as my “daily driver”, though, not in tablet form, but in full on laptop mode, if you will, because I have FULL Windows on there, and tablet mode just seems to ‘maim’ it and I don’t like that version of it. All of that aside, let me get you to where I am with Apple and Apple products.

Way back in 2006, I was carrying the Motorola RAZR V3i. This was the variant of the wildly popular Motorola V3 RAZR phone that had iTunes on it. Apple had recently partnered with Motorola to release the Motorola ROKR(a poorly received, yet rehashed phone from 2003 called the E390) which was the first phone with iTunes that was announced a few months before the V3i, but was a HIDEOUS phone. It was the “dream” phone, because you could carry your iTunes library (albeit only 100 songs max) from your iPod and also have your phone on you at the same time! You have understand, back then, you had to have your iPod as a separate device and carry it separately (and the reason for the modern AUX jack in your radio) from your phone. Smartphones were not yet ubiquitous. Blackberry was the dominant player of the day in the smartphone market, which held the nomenclature of ‘crackberry’.

So back in January 2007, when Steve Jobs got up to announce the iPhone and that we could get this ‘magical’ device in 6 months, the world was EXCITED! (The Motorola ROKR was silently killed off.) I have to admit that the iPhone was the first of it’s kind and definitely changed the smartphone market from then on. I even video’d the event on my RAZR V3i (very poor quality) as I waited for my first iPhone to get shipped to me through Cingular Wireless.

I did several short videos on this, as back then, you could not ‘live-stream’ the way we do now. I had to do this via short clips, as the V3i didn’t have a lot of storage to store videos and I couldn’t use the live-streaming app Qik that I would eventually start using with the iPhone. As you can see, that this phone drew a lot of new people to the smartphone market, including myself.

So I had the original iPhone 2G (named because it only had Edge network capabilities on the Cingular, soon to be At&t network) and was able to sell the phone unlocked and jailbroken a year later to some guy in Italy for more that I originally paid for it! You also have to remember, this was back when the wireless companies subsidized the full cost of the phone because you were agreeing to a 2 year or more contract, so I had only paid $299 for it! You can see the video I used on eBay to sell the phone still online:

So I purchased the iPhone 3G, as it was obvious that many other phones that weren’t smartphones had 3G capabilities and was limiting the first iPhone from ‘high speed’ internet. Apple’s biggest argument was that 3G was a battery hog and could kill the performance that they wanted from their first foray into the smartphone market. As the first iPhone was such a smash hit, they pushed forward with the second iteration, known as the iPhone 3G. Then, in their 2009, 3rd generation iPhone, they released their now known update as the ‘S’ year, the 3GS. This was basically a simple update to all things on the previous version, which usually doubled all the performance over the previous version. Since this was an ‘S’ year, I skipped and held on to my 3G for the full 2 years and waited for the iPhone 4.

The iPhone 4 was an AMAZING upgrade and introduced us to the ‘Retina‘ display and showed to us that Apple still could hold the consumer market in ‘awe’ as they continued to innovate on the original design and capabilities of the iPhone. They had added a front facing camera for the then unknown Facetime chats, but would soon just become the ‘selfie’ camera. Even though it had been leaked ahead of it’s launch, the iPhone 4 was wildly anticipated and hyped before we were ever able to purchase it! Apple is a company known for it’s secrecy and even hunted down the people who were implicated in the ‘loss’ of it’s prototype device. All of that aside, it was an awesome phone for 2010, so I made my purchase and sold my iPhone 3G, though this time, for a little less and didn’t make a profit.

Though, I did have this weird vibrating issue with the phone when I first got it, but that ended up being a REALLY small fluke issue that only affected a small number of people and you can see that video here:

I mentioned it in passing in this video, but it affected quite a lot more people than the vibrating issue that I ran into and that was one of the first MAJOR ‘gate’ issues, known as ‘Antenna Gate’. There have been plenty over the years, but this was the first one that I became majorly aware of. It was such a pivotal moment for Apple to take a hold of the issue, but the way they illustrated it to us, was that it was our faults. Even though they did provide ‘bumpers’ or discounts on cases, with the idea that we were supposed to buy MORE items from them to fix their issue, it was painfully obvious that Apple was blaming the users. I even had a rant about it, when it all went down. You can see the full event here (sans the Q&A afterwards, which you can find in pieces on Youtube):

The funny thing was, that after the press event, it didn’t take long for someone to show that their answer was a bit flawed.

yourholdingitwrong

Even though, this was one of the first ‘cracks’ in the armor that I saw in the ever growing popularity of the iPhone and Apple as a whole, it was a little disheartening to see they were blaming the users. Obviously, this was a real attenuation issue with how the antenna received signals and the human hand could kill it, but to say that it was the user’s fault and not really admit that his was a design flaw was a little disingenuous in my opinion, but I held on and continued with the iPhone 4 throughout it’s life cycle.

The same continued for the ‘S’ year cycle again for the 4S and I again, skipped; now seeing that Apple would continue this format of new design, update old phone with new specs and then redesign again. So I figured that by the time the iPhone 5 would come around for the 2012 release, I would be more than happy to upgrade and be WOW’d again. Unfortunately, this did not happen. The iPhone 5, was a rehashed version of the iPhone 4, but this time and for the first time, had the screen size increased to an almost 16×9 ratio with still carrying the ‘Retina’ display moniker. Yes the phone was thinner and faster than the 4S and even had LTE for first time, but this wasn’t as enticing as the change was from the 3GS to the 4.

Also at this time, the Android market had begun flourishing and many companies had already had their freshman and sophomore tries at smartphones and were releasing phones with better specs and features than what the iPhone 5 was carrying. So I began looking around and found a nice alternative with Samsung and the Galaxy S3. This phone had a 1280×720 display, whereas the iPhone 5 only had 1136×640. The overall screen size was larger at 4.8″ over the iPhone 4″ screen, which was one of the major reasons why I left. Apple was getting stuck in their idea that 4″ was the magic number and that no one wanted anything bigger. This wasn’t the only reason, but was a major factor in my decision to switch from iOS to Android.

Which also brings me to the idea that iOS was getting stale. No matter what Apple did to the iPhone, no matter how many times I jailbroke the iPhone, I could see more options on the fledgling Android side of things.  I was getting tired of the software on iOS and at this point, the iPhone was starting to be owned by anyone and everyone. I didn’t want to be a part of the crowd and I wanted to stand out.  I had researched phones like the Motorola Atrix or the HTC EVO 4G for quite some time, but due to network availability, I had to end up choosing the Samsung in the end and I was happy that I did. The funny thing was, that the S3 ended up being a very popular phone for Samsung as well and I was loving their bigger screens and ended up the next year, upgrading to my first ‘phablet’ phone the Galaxy Note 3. This began my obsession with larger screens.

I stuck with Samsung as they kept making things more awesome every time I upgraded and I felt like they were the company that was making me have that WOW affect every time. I followed my 2 year cycle, as I was still on At&t contract scheme and skipped the Note 4 and went to the Note 5. Even though, the Note 4 Edge was a REALLY cool design, and I seen the prototype at CES a few years prior, they only put the curved edges of the glass on the back of the Note 5. It was really cool to see the curved edges finally make it to the front of the phones with the S6 Edge, earlier that year, but I still wanted the larger screen phones. They eventually made the S6 Edge+, which was basically the size of the Note 5, but had less features than the Note series.

I won’t go much further in my history with Samsung and why I continued to stick with them, but you get the basic idea that it Apple continued to be ‘stale’ to me, even with the change to the design of the iPhone 6, which wasn’t really, all that much different. Then they continued on with that design through all versions of the ‘S’ years through to the iPhone 8 and still some of that design is in the iPhone X and XS. All the while, Apple kept cultivating a ‘fanboy’ status among their fans and was becoming of a cult status.

Over the years as issues went on and on, it was all in how Apple handled their ‘faults’. I think this is one of the biggest reasons why I continue to obstain from Apple and have disdain for their products, even though, some of their products are great. I can attest that iMessage is an awesome idea that Android still really hasn’t mirrored. AppleTV and iPad are in my opinion, one of the best products in their particular markets. I will even admit that MacOS from time to time can be quite helpful, but it isn’t enough to sell me over into the ‘walled garden’ aspect of their entire ecosystem. Especially when there are great alternatives out there, that are cross platform and don’t really care what system you are on. Web services, platform agnostic, to be honest are the best and should have always been the way, as Steve Jobs really wanted from the beginning. (Remember web apps, before we had the iTunes App Store???)

All of that aside, I think this guy kind of puts all of my feelings toward Apple in a nice 22 minute video. Thanks for reading my ramblings and rants. Feel free to comment below. I’ll leave you with the video below:

 

Posted in Apple, Rants

The prices are ‘great’ for black friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As many people will know, I am not a big Apple person. I have been a PC guy since before I can remember. I have admittedly owned an iPhone for the last 5 years and had an iPod since the 4th generation iPod Photo. I have recently changed over to the Android side of things for my main phone and loving it! Now, with all of that out of the way, I want to get to my main point, about my distaste for Apple and their pricing. I will say this on the front end. Apple makes GREAT products, don’t get me wrong there. My problem is, the pricing that they apply to their products, claiming their superiority over all things, based upon their design and quality. I get that, in a sense, but after seeing the latest black Friday promotion from Apple (and many other pricing issues) and seeing their “discounts”, it just disgusts me. They think they are doing the Apple FanBoys a favor by giving them such a small discount on their products, and they are STILL making, I am assuming, a sizable profit off of the product.

So let me show you what I am talking about. Black Friday is suppose to be about deep discounts on items that are either meant to get you in the door or to buy multiples of one item. And when I say deep discounts, I am talking about a 50″ LCD HDTV that is going for $298. I am talking a 32GB SD Card for $15.99. I am talking an iPad 2 for $399 with a $75 gift card. Now the latter is what I was really getting at. Apple is holding their own black Friday “event” as well. Just not as much of a discount. So lets compare the Walmart deal and the Apple deal. You can get an almost 2 year old product for the GREAT LOW price of $399 direct from Apple today, right now with no discounts or anything like that. They just released the 4th generation iPad back a few weeks ago if you didn’t know. So worldwide retailer Walmart has added in a nice $75 gift card with their iPad deal. What has Apple done? $31 off. Let me repeat that. $31 off. Walmart is beating you by $44. Now don’t get me wrong, that isn’t $44 cash, it is a $75 gift card for you to spend more at their store, because the idea is, that you will buy more than $75 worth, and see the gift card as a discount. It’s a psychological thing that they hope that you do after you get the card. Even all of that aside, it seems the place to get your iPad 2 is Walmart. Apple? Why not offer more off and do it as a gift card, or just take more off of your 2 year old tablet, without Retina display, I may add.

There are many more instances I can speak of, but this was the only one that really sparked my interest. Apple thinks so highly of itself, that basically, they don’t allow their retailers to go much cheaper, or give much of a discount in their own store. I just don’ think they should call their sales, a black Friday event. More like a , “hey, we know you want our stuff, and everyone else is doing better discounts, but c’mon, you know you want us” event.

 

Just a thought that I had today on this day of giving thanks.

-Rusty G

Posted in Apple

iPad 3 rumors and updates (pre Official Announcement)

So with the iPad 3 looming, a lot of people are wondering and speculating what is going to happen this Tuesday, March the 7th. Apple has always been a company of secrecy since the beginning, all starting with Steve Jobs. It seems though, as the years have gone on, and Apple incorporates more and more manufacturers in the process of building their products, it makes it even harder to keep things under wraps. We are now under 3 days away from finally getting the official announcement from Apple, and it seems we already know all about this tablet. Many of the rumors are still in speculation, but four of them seem to be up in the air. There are apparently going to be 3 flavors of this new iPad 3 (as well as a new Apple TV, not the iTV). We currently only know of two for the two carriers, wifi only and the wifi +3G versions. The third one is where the rumors start to really separate themselves out, and we won’t know the truth until March 7th.

Rumor #1

iPad 3 has a third version and it is going to be a 4G iPad, both for Verizon and At&t. (Wall Street Journal reporting)

Not only 4G, but Quad-Core as well (CNBC reporting, but there seems to be differing processor as well, the A5X and then the A6.

 

Rumor #2

iPad 3 has a third version and it is going to be not an iPad 3. It is going to be an 8GB iPad 2 for the lower end market. Possibly to fill the iPad orders that all of these schools are going to order for their new text books.

 

Rumor #3

iPad 3 has a third version and it is going to be a smaller iPad, somewhere between 7″ and 8″ to compete with the Amazon Kindles or any other small sized tablets on the market. This also can get them down in price as well.

 

Rumor #4

iPad 3 has a third version and it is not going to be an iPad 3. It is going to be an iPad 2S. Along side the iPad HD (3).

 

Any takers on what it will be? My guess, is going to be the new iPad 2 with 8GB that is cheaper and more deploy able in the schools and business districts. Also helping keep the cost down for those schools or businesses that want to mass deploy these things, they really don’t need a 64GB (or 128GB) iPad, especially if they are using iCloud to backup their data. I can even backup my guess because the US Airforce has just put an order for 18,000 iPad 2’s. No one ever said what size they were. Running at $9.4 million dollars for the 1 year contract, let’s see here: $9.4 million/18,000 iPad 2’s=$522.22 per unit. But according to the report, they got a discount. So you could speculate this to be the $599 iPad 2 32GB. Now that I think about it though, the math doesn’t really help the case that it would be an 8GB iPad 2. We’ll skip the math part. Just act like you never read that. I’m just saying that who puts a year contract out there, on a product that is already about to be phased out, and by times end, it will be time for iPad 4!

Either way, I am sticking with my guns on that one. Let’s just hope that Apple doesn’t jack up the price though, since these screens apparently are going to be more expensive. It could be though, that iPad 2 sticks around much like the iPhone 3GS is still loitering around for $0.99 with AT&T. Apple may want to keep its iPad 2 as a backup, that they can sell at a cheaper price and still make huge amounts of money. Heck they were doing it with the MacBooks for a little while. They were able to market having a portable laptop for $999, but since then, the Macbook Air has taken that spot. The MacBook Air rumors are even more fun!

Now with all of that out of the way, it seems no matter what the rumors are, we do have the parts floating around out there, but they can’t all seem to match up in the same hands. The iFixit team, seems to have gotten their hands on the new 2048×1536 screen from the “iPad 3” (as she will do many times in that video). You can see the reports here or here. If you don’t like reading very much, you can just see the video here below:

There is another “leaked” team from MIC Gadget that says that they have the casing and the front bezel and glass. They will even show you the full video here below as well. Just watch, it looks like the Smart Covers will still work, which is good for those of you that have invested into those. It is quite possible that these may NOT fit into the iPad 2 cases though, because they look to be thicker and more tapered. Again, if you don’t want to read the report, feel free to watch the video here:

it does seem however though, that iPad is already out there running iOS 6, but it is doubtful that we will see it in the iPad 3, maybe just a glimpse of it, like Apple has always done before. My bet is the iPad 3 will be loaded with iOS 5.1 with only minor changes to possibly include some of the new features that will allow it to do SIRI (along side the iPhone 4S), chat with iMessage users on OSX Mountain Lion or something to incorporate the new display all together. While we are waiting though on iPad 3 to be announced, it seems the people who brought us the iPhone 5 Concept video, has now brought us the iPad of the future design concept video as well:

If you have any desire to stay up-to-date like this on all of the rumors, feel free to check out Mac Rumors, Apple Insider or just follow my blog!

but no worries… This coming October will be a lot more fun when we get to finally see the iPhone 5!

Cheers!!!

Posted in Apple, Rants

iPad 3, the future classroom textbook?

With the iPad 3 on the imminent horizon, there are plenty of rumors floating around. A new Sharp screen and some new case leaks. The only problem I have with this new release is, we just watched Apple talk about iBooks 2 and how they are going to revolutionize the text book industry and start keeping the educational system up-to-date with these interactive books and signing on the 3 BIGGEST producers of these textbooks. The other thing that seemed to be revolutionary was the price, with “most being priced at $14.99 (USD) or less. This overall is a wonderful idea in my opinion, and helps compact the 40 pound backpack that these poor kids have to lug around. This is great as far as the weight it relieves from the kids and how quick these text books can be updated. The two fold problem as far as the consumer and the educational sector will have to deal with, is price and availability/upkeep.

Price

Will the price of the iPad hinder many school systems from being able to use this great technology? The cheapest iPad is $500. Just imagine, that is one per student. Can you imagine sitting in a budget meeting for oh say, 2014 and there is a new sector: iPads (I would hope that it replaces hardback textbooks part of the budget all together though). This would be expensive! Let’s just say we have a school of 1200 kids.

The next step for me, would be, how do we implement this? Does every student get one for the school year? ($600,000) Do we add this to the school fee? Do we buy these and keep them in the building? Do we have one for every teacher? There are many more questions that come along with implementation, but just imagine trying to get all of these questions answered and then seeing how much it would cost the local school system. Then whether or not they could afford it!

My thing about it, would be: Why isn’t Amazon capitalizing on this market? They have a $200 tablet and it works! They could kill Apple in the educational market. Plus, the Kindle Fire doesn’t have any cameras on it or 3G, which helps keep down the cost of the final product. So for this fact, kids aren’t trying to use cameras in class or able to use these things on the go. It would only be useful around wifi, which for a typical kid (not all) these days is at home, school and the library, and the occasional restaurant.

I see Apple taking over this market, because no one has really come out with the “iPad killer”, but the Kindle Fire, I would say has given it a run for its money. The money issue just seems to hinder some of these schools that need technology like this, from being able to chime in on this. So if Apple works out a deal where the schools get a discount for ordering so many for their schools or even districts, then I would be more prone to say that price isn’t an issue, but who’s to say, it will be many, many years before we see iPads as the norm for textbooks.

Availability/Upkeep

The other problem I foresee is Apple has historically updated these things every year. Can the school systems keep up with that? What’s my opinion? NO! Schools like to make an investment and see ROI. I just don’t see the school systems trying to keep these things up to date. Apple on the other hand likes to keep the new, old. By that, I mean, they are constantly updating, the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPads have all been somewhat close to a yearly refresh rate. Most schools and businesses are either on a 3-5 year plan. They like to see more use out of the product than they are worried about refreshing it. I could see in the future that like iPad 7 is out and some schools still using iPad 2.

As far as a bleeding edge consumer is concerned, this is great, get a new toy every year. Even the non-bleeding edge, because they are usually right behind the bleeding edge and getting last year’s model at a reduced price. Schools and businesses are not worried about being on the bleeding edge. Shoot, the business I work for currently still massively supports Windows XP (original market release 8/24/01) and have a very little amount of machines on Windows 7, which coincidentally is almost 3 years old. (original market release date 10/22/09) This is how companies work, that are not technology based. They want to be able to use their investment for a very long time, which Windows XP has proven to be.

In Conclusion

Will Apple be able to keep these iPads up to date with just software? Will they pressure these school systems (and businesses) to have to update every other year? I have found personally, that every other year is good with Apple. For example, I bought the iPhone (2G), then the 3G, because of the speed increase on data. I skipped the iPhone 3GS, a year later, and look what I got for an upgrade, the iPhone 4! As previous, I skipped the iPhone 4S, and who knows what is coming for the iPhone 5. Again, historically, the iPhone has been good for me, to follow this pattern. The pattern may not always be that way, but for the last 5 phones that Apple has produced, I have stayed with it and it works for me. Will the schools have to start following that same pattern? Will Apple always follow an AWESOME Product then a speed bump, no hardware changes, then AWESOME Product change format? Who knows? Only time will tell, but these are just my thoughts and musings.

Posted in Apple, Technology

Siri Has an Attitude (and knows the answer to ultimate question of life)

Well it seems as the iPhone 4S starts to trickle down to the rest of us over the next 24 hours, (or later) there are others who are already having some hands on time with the SIRI beta inside the iPhone 4s. I saw an article yesterday in which Jason Snell of MacWorld.com got to play with the SIRI beta in about an 11 minute video. If you go to about 5:18 in the video, you will see a funny reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book/movie.

Continue to watch, because just after that, it seems the SIRI programmers have added some quick wit to the digital assist as well. It’s a pretty funny little bit to watch. It’s pretty cool to watch exactly what SIRI can do on the iPhone 4S, and because it is still in Beta, there is a lot to be done. I do think, on a side note, that SIRI will come to the iPhone 4, eventually. Either way, as more and more people get their hands on the iPhone 4S, they are all trying out the new digital assistant to see what all it can do. There is even a few videos out there showing us what happens if you tell SIRI “I love you“. So as the days come and some of you start messing with it, let me know what you come up with. In the mean time, I think that this is the best one yet, and it happened just before iFixit started to do the teardown of the phone.

iFixit: “Siri, may we disassemble you for all to see?”

iPhone 4S (Siri): “42”

iFixit: “I didn’t ask for the meaning of life, Siri…”

iPhone 4S (Siri): “42 is the number of seconds you have left until I initiate the self-destruct sequence…”

iFixit: “Message received.”

-Rusty G