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  • Separating the Fake Apple Criticisms From the Real Ones

    September 26th, 2012

    Opinions are definitely a dime a dozen, and maybe worth two dozen because there are so many these days. With Apple’s still-amazing record growth, there appears to be a whole category of critics that believe that the hit counts for their sites will be suitably inflated when our favorite fruit company becomes the target. So off they go.

    Now it’s quite true Apple’s “exalted” status invites criticism, and some of it is even deserved. When OS X Mountain Lion came out and apparently seriously reduced battery life on some Mac note-books, I suppose some were justified in wondering why Apple didn’t discover the problem ahead of 10.8’s release. Or maybe they did, and hoped to fix it later on. When it came to the poorly-implemented return of the Save As feature, maybe the developer team just didn’t think it through, or made the decision at the last minute without considering the consequences when it came to leaving the original versions of documents well enough alone.

    With 10.8.2, which arrived shy of two months after Mountain Lion’s release, both problems appear to have been addressed. Well, officially, Apple doesn’t say anything about poor battery life, but I’ll accept the published benchmarks as accurate, having not seen any that contradict the claim that the issue is resolved.

    With the release of iOS 6, I understand the frustration with Maps, although those who yell the loudest seem to forget that navigation systems have traditionally been imperfect. But time and lots of work have allowed Google Maps to be less imperfect than Apple’s. Some might suggest that Apple could have held off with Maps, but there are deadlines and products to be released, so perhaps Tim Cook and his team concluded that it was best to ditch Google Maps as quickly as possible, and endure the early complaints. I will accept Apple PR’s claim that things will get better, although the online forums are polarized. Some people don’t believe they should become unpaid beta testers for Apple, while others are happy to file the problem reports. Don’t forget that Google also depends on crowd-sourcing  to refine their mapping service.

    All told, the reviews of the iPhone 5 are quite favorable, though some assert that Apple didn’t add enough new features. Considering the gradual refinement of Apple hardware and software in general, the scope of the iPhone 5’s improvements are in keeping with tradition. But it’s also true that Tim Cook is being held to a higher standard compared to his legendary predecessor.

    When it comes to that “other” platform, one blogger has been very vocal in his reasons for deciding to dump Android. The complaints are typical. Multitasking performance is awful, with some apps able to hog resources and slow the system down. There are frequent freezes, the need for frequent restarts, not to mention various and sundry interface problems. The writer in question, who will not get a link for reasons you’ll see shortly, compares today’s Android to Windows 98, another OS known for inconsistency, poor reliability, and performance lapses.

    About halfway through the piece, you discover that it’s about tablets, not smartphones.

    But when it comes to trying an iPad instead, we get this curious response: “And become one of the mindless ‘sheepie’ hanging out at the local Starbucks, trying to look all ‘hip’ and ‘deep?’ Puhleeezzz!”

    This seemingly deranged mindset clearly ignores the known virtues of the iOS, which has good multitasking, stable and reliable performance, and an easy-to-master user interface. Sure, maybe the power user blogger in question isn’t going to be able to tinker with custom ROMs and overclock chips, but that’s not Apple’s game. The iPad is meant as a computing appliance, not a tinker toy. It’s not designed for the sort of customization that was in vogue in the PC era, but shouldn’t be necessary on a mobile computing device. But I understand that a preference is a preference.

    His solution? Well, it appears he has doubled down in relying on Android apps, only he decided to run them on a BlackBerry PlayBook which uses the QNX OS that is apparently also capable of using them. He concludes that QNX offers “class-leading web browser standards support.” Really? I did notice an article on the PlayBook last year that recommended a WebKit browser named Torch Mobile, which reportedly “fixed up BlackBerry’s traditionally poor web browsing experience.” Or maybe he’s referring to the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 and RIM’s claims of offering a browsing experience that’s superior even to desktop browsers.

    But he’d better hurry, since it’s not at all certain just how long RIM will be around. However, if he wanted a tablet platform with few users, he’s made the right choice, without having to worry about using a product that you can find in abundance at the nearest Starbucks. Indeed, he’d be lucky to find anyone using a PlayBack at any Wi-Fi hotspot, considering how few have been sold.

    Understand I’m not attacking the blogger in question for preferring a different product, a different platform. But the reasons for objecting to Apple are lame, without any factual basis, and that’s an understatement.



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