A thread was recently started on a forum I frequent that discussed Apple's new power cable for the new iPhone and the conversation, as per usual, became a troll haven for comments about Apple and all of Apple's products....once again leaving the subject at hand to learn about someone's personal irrational feelings.
Some of the new comments are similar to the old:
1. Apple's customer service is a joke: While one person's experience is their experience, you have to look at these things in total because some customers may be idiots that demand things that are irrational. Articles from last year:
Apple tops in customer satisfaction for 8th year
Apple ranked highest in customer satisfaction among smartphone manufacturers
Given the surveys above, it shows that they still lead the industry in satisfaction for computers and smartphones.
2. Apple has a the highest customer satisfaction rate in the industry because their users don't know how to use a computer (this is the summary of one very long post): Apple's users are like any other user base. They want a product that works with little headaches. The user base is made of people that are tech geeks (ever heard of jailbreaking?) and people that just want a reliable device for their basic needs. There are similar people that use Windows and Android, but their customers are not as satisfied.
3. The iPhone lacks features of other phones: The most quoted missing feature is Flash. Personally, I am glad they didn't support it. It forced websites to move to HTML5. Here is an article on why this change is for the better. That being said, Apple has allowed browsers in their app store that support Flash websites. I have tested the Photon app on my iPad and it ran Flash. Needless to say, I won't be needing it for Flash very often since most sites have an app or HTML5 available...thanks Apple!
4. The new iPhone 5 is not revolutionary, it is evolutionary: Let's be honest, the last revolutionary hardware in the smartphone market was the original iPhone. Just because Samsung apparently stole the blueprints and then made a bigger device, it doesn't make it revolutionary. It is a tweak to what was already on the market.. a touchscreen interface with apps. Given the size limitations that require the phone to fit in a pant pocket (for most people), it limits the ways you can fundamentally change the form factor. I think back to The Office (television show) episode where they were using triangle phones. This is a perfect example of a revolutionary change, if you don't mind the small inconvenience of 3 pointy ends and a holster that would hold such a device. Not really for mass public consumption.
In addition to allowing for Flash in apps, Apple's ecosystem has gotten more sophisticated. Siri, Photostream, iCloud, etc.. are all major changes to how I use my iPhone. Here are a few examples:
a. I want to set a Reminder: I simply pick up the phone, push a button and tell it the time and date I want to be reminded and I am all set. It also works for alarms and calendar entries.
b. I want to take photos on my iPhone and edit them on a Mac: I simply take the photo and it automatically puts it in my Photostream. When I sit down at my computer, it is already there waiting to be edited. I also use this with an Eyefi card, so I am not limited to the iPhone's camera.
c. I want to backup my very large music collection: I subscribed to iTunes Match, so my ~23,000 song collection is now on the web in 256k format. This is great (so great that Amazon has copied the feature) for backing up a collection in case of a catastrophe at home. I know it is not lossless, like my home collection, but it is better than not having any of the collection I have built over the years.
d. I want to access the music I backed up in iTunes Match: I simply push a button on the iPhone and tell it to play an album. It will then go out to the cloud, find the album and start playing. This beats shuffling through my collection to find an album or artist.
e. I want to play that music over my speakers: If I am at home, I simply push the Airplay button on the iPhone and pick the Airplay device I want to use. If I want to play it over my main system, it will turn on my Denon receiver and allow me to control volume from the Music app. It works with most audio apps in my collection.
f. I want to take a photo and see it on my AppleTV: Since AppleTV is hooked up to Photostream, my photos automatically show up. It also works with iTunes Match for when my Mac Mini is off.
These are just a few of the important new features that make it hard to leave Apple. With IOS6 around the corner, I am sure there will be more.
Read below for the old post I was referring to above
Why not feed the trolls?
My canned response related to Apple products that I own
Back in 2003, I bought my first iPod. It was the 2nd Gen version that had a firewire port and predated iTunes on the PC. It was one of the few models out at the time that had 20GB of storage space. Over the course of time, I have gathered a few more products (Shuffle, iPod Classic, iPod Touch, iPhone 3GS, Airport Express, and iPad, respectively). In my quest for more information related to gadgets and audio, I participate in a few online forums. What amazes me is that whenever I mention any Apple product, I get some ludicrous comments from one or more members. As a result, I am creating this blog entry to put in my signature link that can respond to these comments without derailing every thread in which an Apple product is mentioned into a debate about Apple.
Below are some of the most common comments and my reponse to them. If you want to add further comments, use the comment button, send me an email, or PM over your issue using the forum where you got this link, and I will try to answer the comments here:
1. You are an Apple Fanboy - this is by far the most common comment to any of my (or others) posts related to Apple devices. The comment is meant to imply that I only like Apple products because of some sort of blind loyalty to the company. This would make sense if I did not also own two portable players by Creative and own several computers running Windows.
2. Apple products are gimmicky – I think some people confuse ease of use and cutting edge devices as gimmicky. iPod hit the scene back in 2001. By 2007, over 100 million iPods had been sold. A gimmick is a “quirky feature that distinguishes a product or service without adding any obvious function or value”. Most people do not think of ease of use, apps for everything, 160GB hard drive space, etc.. as quirky features.
3. Faddish - A fad usually means that it is a product that is fashionable for a short period of time and then disappears. The iPod is not going anywhere. Also, I would argue that other players are much more faddish. An iPod is about as common as wearing socks. A SanDisk player (for example) is much more likely to be faddish because of their small market share and its flavor of the month status in some circles.
Edit: Woot had a deal on SanDisk Sansa Fuze and I bought one for comparison purposes. It was cheap, which is its main benefit and has decent EQ choices. Personally, I don’t think portable devices and EQ work that well together unless you live near a subway or have to take a bus and just want to mess with settings. I still prefer the iPod Touch because it is much better at a lot of stuff. Also, I don’t think it needs EQ out of the box like the Sansa. From what I understand, there are very good EQ apps available at the Apple app store, but I have not tried them.
4. Trying to look cool - Many have their own interpretations of “cool”. However, if owning an exceptional product is part of being cool, then I guess some buy them for the coolness factor. However, they are only cool because the product is viewed by the buyer as an exceptional device.
5. Trendy – How trendy can something be when 100 million+ devices have been sold? Once again, iPods have been around for 10 years. If they are still trendy, it is because of their exceptionalism when compared to the rest of the market. There is also news out that the iOS devices have now sold over 100 million, too.
6. Build Quality is suspect – I am sure every brand of electronic device has had an example of it being broken or just stopped working at some point. I still own a fully functional 2nd Gen iPod. So, from that perspective, I would say that this iPod is exceptionally well built. My 1st gen shuffle also works like it did the day I bought it.
Also, the fact that the popularity has not diminished seems to point to the fact that people are happy enough with the product to buy a new version of one. This is extremely common for iPhones and iPods. If people were miserable with the build quality, why would they buy the new version when it came out? There are many other options…many that appear to be copied directly from Apple. The fact is that the build quality is good enough for most people.
Sound quality sucks – I think that this is marketing hype put out by companies trying to get some market share. The fact is that sound quality is in the ear of the beholder. I would not argue if someone claimed that they prefer the sound of a Fisher Price record player to a VPI Scout. It is their opinion. The fact is some like tubes, some like solid state, some like analog, and some like digital. Its not an absolute. However, Apple makes some of the most flexible players if you want to improve on the small amps and DACs in a portable player.
There are many LODs (line out docks) that skip the internal amp to send the sound to a better portable amp (PA2V2 and Fiio E5 are two products I own). Also, if you want to spend the money, you can get a Pure, Wadia or Onkyo dock that will allow you to dig out the digital stream and send it to a better DAC (digital to analog converter). Most portable players have no way of doing this.
For the iPad, you can get the camera connector and send out a digital signal to a DAC via USB. Once again, this is not possible on most devices. While some people may appreciate Sony’s tweaked sound (for example), the fact is that most of their players do not even support compressed lossless formats (FLAC, WMA Lossless, etc..). As a result, the source file is lossy and I would argue garbage in/garbage out.
Edit (1/9/11) For the record, the iOS devices will now play FLAC if you want to download the FLACPlayer or one of the other apps in the Apple Store that make it possible. Personally, to me, lossless is lossless and I have no problems with ALAC.
Edit (1/9/11): Apple has made the USB a little more of a pain to use with unpowered devices. It now requires a T3hub (which tricks it) to work with my uDac. However, they added Airplay which gives it (and iPhones and the iPod Touch running the latest firmware) the ability to stream audio from the the iOS device to the AppleTV, Airport Express, certain receivers and speakers. I did an update for my Denon 4311CI receiver and I just tell the iPad to send the audio stream to my receiver and it will turn on the receiver and begin to play music. It also has volume control right on the iOS device. What other company makes devices with this type of flexibility? Also, best of all, this update from Apple was FREE!
(Edit) Apple is great at marketing – Yes, they have features the other guys don’t (or didn’t before they were copied), so it is easy to market them. Also, no one is saying Sony can’t market its mp3 players, but somehow they can market the PS3. Maybe marketing works better if you have a unique device that has features no one else has?
While the above are general comments that appear in any discussion of any Apple device, here are some popular comments related to specific products:
The iPhone requires a jailbreak to be useful - OS4 should have put an end to this complaint. With it, you now have multitasking…which is the reason I jailbroke my 3GS. While many gadget fiends like myself will jailbreak, mod, and push a product past its basic commercial limits, it does not mean these products are useless before geeks get ahold of them.
There are better phones on the market - I don’t think there is a better phone for me. I like to have functionality across platforms. For instance, I download the Orb app to my iPhone. I then sync it to my computer. After that, I sync my iPad and iTouch to my computer and now I have Orb on all three devices. It is simplicity at its best. I also like the way the “Remote” app integrates with iTunes on my computer.
Here are a couple to address some concerns:
Its a big Touch – umm…yeah…that is why I wanted it. If someone wants to argue that a 3.5 inch screen is better than a 9.7 inch screen for anything visual, I would just have to say they are a liar. Fortunately for the iPad, the 9.7 inch screen makes it better for Netflix, Orb, ABC, USA Today, Pulse, Zinio, Pandora, etc.. The Touch is only more portable…but comes in handy when you need a pocket device and don’t own an iPhone.
A netbook does more – Who cares? My laptop does more than a netbook. My swiss army knife does more than my butcher knife. The question is what you use it for and how well it does those tasks. Have you tried chopping meat with a swiss army knife? Most people have netbooks for quickly getting on the net. They like them for their portability and battery power when compared to a laptop. However, it has a keyboard that takes up half the space. As a result, the iPad is easier to read on, carry from room to room, and it is faster to boot up. In other words, a netbook may do some things that iPad doesn’t, but I would use it much less… We own an MSI netbook and I would gladly trade it in for another iPad. At this point, I also use it A LOT more than my fairly new laptop. Form factor is everything!
iPod Classic 160GB – I rarely post about this product, but I have a good reason for selecting it instead of Cowon (which I also like). My car has a plug in that works with iPods. It allows the user to control what is playing (via genre, playlist, album, artist) using the head unit or the steering wheel controls. There is not another brand that will work with it, so it is what it is. However, the fact that so many accessories (I also have a Sendstation pocket dock for attaching my iPhone to my car’s USB input) are made specifically for Apple devices makes them more user friendly than other devices. I should also mention that I wanted 160GB, so I could use lossless files.
Ipod Touch – I got one of these while I was locked into using a Treo on Sprint. The apps and the wifi capabilities are incredible. While I rarely use it since I got an iPhone, it is what got me interested in apps and the iPhone. It also has an LOD output that allows it to be used with outboard amps. The new version also works with airplay.
Airport Express – Inexpensive music server. Unlike the Roku Soundbridge I also own, it does not take up any desktop space. It can be controlled using the Remote app. Edit (1/9/11) It also supports Airplay which means I can fire up audio on my iPad and it will play it back on this device.
While I am not saying that Apple devices are perfect, AT&T for the iPhone in the USA is an issue (Edit..obviously, Verizon now has the iPhone, too), I am saying that making a bunch of ignorant comments about them anytime they are mentioned serves no purpose…other than derailing threads to a point that the original post is no longer being considered. Admit it, Apple makes some decent products.
(Since I lost all of my old articles, thanks to moving to a new host, I am reposting some of my old articles…Thanks to Google for the ability to get the old articles from their cache.)