25 Reasons Another Tech Pundit Doesn’t Get It

July 12th, 2013

Maybe it’s David Letterman’s Top 10 list, but some people just can’t get away from making lists. The 10 Worst, the 10 Best, the 10 Most Annoying Things — you get the picture. Sometimes the lists will have different quantities, but when you hit 25, you must have an awful lot of material that you regard as of important. So when I read an article entitled “25 things my new Android phone does that makes my iPhone feel like it comes from the 1990s,” I had to wonder just what Apple has done wrong. Isn’t Apple supposed to be on the cutting edge of technology?

Indeed, the title itself is the dead giveaway. I won’t give the writer any publicity by mentioning his name, nor will I post a link to the site where this misguided article was posted. The premise is simply outrageous. It almost seems as if he created some PowerPoint bullet points of features that are not on an iPhone, and thus concluded that it makes the product reminiscent of technology that’s 20 years old. I wouldn’t suggest he used Apple’s Keynote, since it’s clear that he doesn’t understand Apple or its design philosophy.

I’ll cover just a few of those reasons, but the focus of this hatchet job will be obvious. To be fair: Yes, some of the complaints may even be valid, but they represent design decisions that some accept and some don’t. It doesn’t mean Apple refuses to embrace new technologies.

So there’s the familiar complaint that you cannot just pop open the case and replace the battery. Actually this complaint covers two parts, since there’s a complaint that you can’t easily remove and replace the back of an iPhone. Of course, Apple isn’t the only company to embrace the sealed box philosophy. Ask HTC. But it has nothing whatever to do with whether the technology is current or not. Besides, as Apple finds more and more ways to extend battery life, the need to easily replace a battery becomes less relevant. Clearly they aren’t relevant now to hundreds of millions of “retro” users of iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Yet another complaint is the inability to insert a memory card. Well, I assume if Apple was inundated with such complaints, it would respond appropriately. But the lack of such internal expandability doesn’t make the iPhone ancient. Apple makes the iPhone and other iOS gear available with different memory configurations. You can just buy the one with the capacity you need. However, the liberal use of iCloud does noticeably reduce the amount of storage you require on the hardware. You can also sync content with a Mac or PC via iTunes, wired or with Wi-Fi. So there are ways to deal with the inability to add a physical card with which to transfer content.

And, yes, the use of iTunes is, to the writer in question, a negative, though it’s no longer necessary for syncing.

Apple is also dinged for not supporting NFC, a near-field networking scheme with very little support, or with wireless charging, another scheme that has yet to demonstrate a crying need. These represent more examples of looking for missing feature sets as bullet points, but failing to see if they are truly useful.

Two more complaints: That you can’t see files and move them somehow, via drag and drop or another method. Since there are iOS file management apps, some free, I’ll just suggest the writer is misinformed on this score. The complaint that the iPhone lacks a 1080p display is absurd, since it’s unnecessary. Apple’s “lesser” Retina display, with 326 ppi resolution, is not visibly inferior to the Samsung Galaxy S4’s 441 ppi resolution. Indeed, text and other content often seems sharper on an iPhone due to Apple’s superior handling of fonts and better integration with the graphic chips. All things being equal, what’s the good of boasting about a spec you can’t see?

I could go on, but I’ll just summarize briefly. Most of the rest of those alleged 25 Android advantages relate to spec and feature differences, or to the fact that you can customize an Android gadget more than an iOS gadget. That’s good or bad, depending on your point of view. If there’s a way you must customize your smartphone that Apple doesn’t support, you can either jailbreak the device and get some unapproved app, with the attendant security risks, or choose a different platform. Simple as that. If you imagine that having better specs somehow enhances your user experience, at least in theory, so be it. Buy what you like.

But to suggest that Apple’s decisions about which features to include and which features to avoid somehow makes an iPhone seem ancient just doesn’t make any sense. A company’s design and engineering choices do not necessarily mean one product is necessarily more advanced than another. Only different.

Besides, if the writer in question doesn’t like his iPhone, then why not just sell it and just stick with his Android handset? I fail to see why this merits of most of those 25 alleged complaints (yes a few are valid), unless, of course, it was done strictly to attract Web traffic. That being the case, I’m glad I’m not providing a direct link to such an ill-informed rant. Unfortunately, such articles are fairly typical for Apple’s critics.

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One Response to “25 Reasons Another Tech Pundit Doesn’t Get It”

  1. Robyn says:

    Superb column! Well written, clear, and persuasive.

    I’ll add a couple of supporting observations.

    Those anti-Apple arguments are so tiresome. There were around at the launch of the iPhone and iPad, and tossed around along with the 100% confident predictions that they would both fail. They obviously did not.

    We could even go back to the original Macintosh. The IBM PC crowd crowed that it was going to fail because it was too expensive, lacked slots, used this weird thing called a “mouse”, lacked color, etc. All the IBM PCers who mocked the Mac were simply, utterly wrong.

    It happened again last fall with the iPad Mini and it’s going to happen again with the iWatch. You just watch! 🙂

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