With the looming keynote tomorrow where the new Apple CEO will have a phone related announcement (either a 4s or 5 from the chatter) I thought it fitting to briefly articulate why I’m not a fanboy.
Master of the Upsell
This is really the core of my issue with apple. Yes they are the most valuable company in the world for the time being, yet their user base is relatively small compared with the others at the top of that list. They sit in the top ten with companies like Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell (top 25 list) who sell to hundreds of millions of people every month whereas has sold far less. The biggest change that Steve Jobs brought to Apple, in my opinion, was the ability to create loyalty and then resell the daylights out of those individuals.
In my opinion this was the whole purpose of iTunes and the App store, it was to draw more funds from their user base. Apple has not successfully built a walled garden that far to many are content to play in. A garden where apple controls everything, and gets a piece of every sale. As I understand it even apple accessories must pay a royalty to apple. It isn’t that isn’t bad business (it does make a lot of money after all), but it has changed the technology game from being a more open, free, democratic process (where a great idea can take hold and change lives) to a more locked down regulated one where Apple has become a gatekeeper to success. Even the whole application craze fits into this notion by wooing individuals into a smaller environment without the openness and freedom of the web.
Not going to spend a lot of time here, but their consumer level devices (phones, tablets, and MacBooks) have failed to keep up with the technological progression that well. The specs are just lack luster. The plus side is that since apple doesn’t license their OS (like windows does) they optimise for these weaker specs and generally get comparable results… but I just wonder why they wouldn’t put in better hardware and have superior machines.
Cradle to Grave Mentality
Instead of mastering a product like a phone (thing HTC) or a product category (like Samsung, LG, Toshiba, Dell, Microsoft) apple has built their company to control every aspect of their product from production through its entire life cycle – from purchasing in their own stores, to selling you applications and music through their app store. It isn’t that this convenience is undesirable (in fact many have been calling for it and attempting to replicate), it is that they do not allow competition on their devices (Android and Windows desktop do in contrast). It used to be that you could buy hardware and it was yours to do with as you pleased, this mentality has worn away at that reality. After all why would you create a device that if tampered with could make the device non-functioning (a bricked iPhone for example).
I do own a 15″ MacBook Pro (2.5 GHz) along with an iPad2.
I have also owned a 12 Powerbook G4, and a G4 Mirror Door tower.