Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Don't "Get" It...Apple Edition

Hello, all. I'm a big fan of Apple and their products, but not everything they touch turns to gold. I'm sure they're stocked with some of the best and brightest talent and they have an enviable track record, to be sure. However, some of their offerings - both past...present...and forthcoming - seem to miss the mark for me. Here are a few of the more recent:

Apple Watch
I'm not Dick Tracy - I don't need this.

I'm sorry, Apple, but I just don't get it - $350 for a device...with an unknown (but likely short) battery life...with a limited input method...that requires another device in order to work? Why would anyone buy this? I hear people calling it a "game changer"...but I must be missing something, because I can't see why very many people (other than those that want to show it off) would buy one.

Perhaps if it was only $100 I'd consider it, but starting at 3.5x that price point, I don't see the value. I don't need a screen on my wrist. I don't need to reply to a text message from my wrist. In fact, I currently don't even have a watch on my wrist - if I need to know the time, I simply LOOK AT THE STINKIN' SMARTPHONE I ALREADY HAVE WITH ME! It's not as if I'll be able to leave my smartphone at home and use its diminutive sibling instead; indeed, the Apple Watch *requires* an iPhone for full functionality.

Before you call me a luddite or an Apple hater, understand that I'm a network engineer...and all of my personal computers, phones, and tablets are Apple devices. In fact, I even worked for Apple back in the 1990s. I understand technology. I love gadgets. Moreover, I'm generally an early adopter. That said, I'll readily admit to having some blind spots. When the iPad was released, my thought was: "It's a big iPod Touch. So what?". I was wrong - I'll admit it. To that end, I try to keep a more open mind, but I'm still not understanding the point of a $350 wrist computer that requires another $600+ computer in order to really work. What am I missing?

iTunes Radio

A big sack of 'meh'
This is another "what were they thinking?" offering from Apple that I can't bring myself to care about. Though it has an impressive library (27+ million songs, I believe... compared to Pandora's 'paltry' 1 million), its features are lacking. Sure, I can create a myriad of stations - each with relevant songs - but I can't shuffle the stations I create. This is such a basic feature that I can't imagine why Apple has yet to implement it. Pandora allows for a station shuffle, and it's excellent.

Additionally, I've spent YEARS curating my stations on Pandora. I'm fairly-well assured that Pandora will play a song I like at this point. I do NOT feel like going through all those steps again with another service. I guess that's not so much of an indictment of iTunes Radio as it's a statement about my laziness. Regardless, it doesn't help.

iPhone 6. Kind-of.

Camera 'pimple'
OK, I have an iPhone 6, and I love it. It really is a great smartphone. But there are a few annoyances that seem like a no-brainer and should have been addressed. First is the asinine camera 'pimple' on the back of the phone. What gives, Apple? Could you not have made the iPhone just a little bit thicker so the camera didn't protrude from the body? Maybe you could've shoehorned in a bit larger capacity battery...or made the body a little less bendy. You know - useful stuff.

Another issue is the relatively worthless 16GB model. Apple, storage is CHEAP. Really, really cheap. No one wants the 16GB model, they just settle for it since the wait for the 64GB model is interminable. Sure, one can get the 128GB model (as I did) within a reasonable timeframe, but I really didn't want (or need) that much space. However, unless I wanted to wait 25-35 business days for a phone...or get the anemic 16GB model...the only real choice was 128GB. Yes, I know: first world problem...but I live in the first world - what other kind of problem am I going to have?

I'm sure that the 128GB iPhone is Apple's most profitable model, so they're crying themselves all the way to the bank as people opt for it rather than wait for the 64GB model. This would also help to explain why Apple isn't making a 32GB iPhone 6 - they know that's the one people REALLY want, so they'd cannibalize 64GB and 128GB sales if the 32GB unit was ever made.

Another niggling issue is the mute switch. It feels cheap - less solid - than the iPhones of past. To make sure it wasn't just mine, I checked with a coworker that also has an iPhone 6 and his had the same low-rent feel. Not what I expect in a premium handset. Of course, at least it *has* a physical switch unlike the craptastic Samsung Galaxy S4 that I have at work. THAT phone is junk.

Your Turn
What say you? Anything you'd add to the list? Do you take issue with anything I've said? Let me know in the comments below.