But *my* phone already does that…

Today was the iPhone OS 4 announcement/meeting/thing – Basically a press conference for Apple to tell the world how awesome they are. This is not an uncommon thing and the reaction isn’t uncommon, but I am getting tired of it. It goes something like this:
Me: “Hey Cool, iPhone OS 4 has multi-tasking in it”
iPhone Detractor: “[Android|Palm|WinMo] has had multi-tasking forever, iPhone is lame, and you suck.”

Or possibly:

iPhone detractor: “Apple fanboys are so thick-headed. They always talk about how awesome the iPhone is, but [Android|Palm|WinMo] has been doing since version x.x and it has feature y…(ad nauseum)”

Yes. I know that whatever platform you use/prefer has had feature X and now the iPhone is getting it. Despite what you think, most of us already know that the iPhone isn’t the first to have feature X. Go out right now (out, not on the internet) and find an iPhone user who thinks that multi-tasking is a new, unique feature to the iPhone. I bet you can’t do it. If you can, I’m willing to bet that the person you’re talking to has very limited experience with any kind of smartphone. On the surface, it may seem like you’re trying to be helpful saying “This feature has been around for a while on my platform, you should see what it’s like, I think it’s great.” Or if I want to paint you in a more pessimistic light, you’re saying “Your phone isn’t so great, my phone already does this, watch me do my multi-tasking dance of triumph! Sucker!”

I wish you were genuinely trying to share your preference with me. I might take the time to look at it with you and maybe you could persuede me. I wish you were gloating, because then I could ignore you. But you’re not doing either of those things. What you’re really saying is “I’m mad because in spite of my platform having cool features, your iPhone keeps getting the spotlight. It’s not fair!”

You try to hide it behind psuedo-logical arguments, and blaming my supposed “fan-boyism” (fanboy has really become the beating stick of the anti-apple folk), but when it comes down to it, you’re just unhappy because you’re not getting your way. I don’t blame you. If I cared about sports, and my favorite team lost a game, I’d be upset too. When it comes down to it though, the iPhone isn’t amazing because it only does stuff that no-one has ever done before. We know that Multi-tasking, and app organizational folders are not new ideas. The iPhone is amazing because it blends things together very well. Android is an impressive operating system, WebOS is cool, I haven’t spent a single second interacting with Windows Mobile 7 but I’m sure it’s cool too. The one thing I’ve seen that they lack is the cohesivness and smooth experience that makes up the iPhone. The experience comes largely because Apple holds the cards on all sides of the equation. It hurts Apple in a lot of ways, like the app-store approval process, but if you look at the industry you’ll see that virtuall everyone else is trying to replicate Apple’s pattern. Apple certainly wasn’t the first to build an app store or make a touch-screen phone, but think back to before the iPhone. Do you remember going to an app-store like interface? How about using a touch-screen phone? What were the all-in-one smart phones like then? What are they like now?

Regardless of how you feel about Apple, they still make one heck of a device, and they’ve changed the face of the mobile industry. Because of that, you can bet I’m going to be excited about cool features being added to my favorite phone.

  1. And that’s from a developer’s perspective. I agree- iPhone is a great device. I just wish they’d embrace (or at least not try so hard to actively block) open development.

    • Yeah. Sometimes I’m not sure how to take it. The most obvious perspective to me feels like Apple is just trying to protect an amazingly powerful revenue stream. They make money off apps, they get developers to buy Macs, they know what goes into the app store. Allowing cross-compilers doesn’t strike me as anything other than a simple statement: “You have to develop with our tools.” I’m not sure I blame them in that regard, they don’t want you to go talk to Adobe when you want to make an iPhone app.

      Apple has had a reputation of being the maker of products for the Free-thinker, but they lock down their stuff tighter than anyone in the industry. I could easily see them simply saying “Our way or the highway…”

Comments are closed.