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Apple Takes Some Col-Lateral Damage

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Did I try too hard with that pun?

Apple has been taking a beating for their recent release of their new Maps app for iOS 6. Most of that beating has come from trigger happy tech journalists, but some of the criticism is well-deserved.

If you ask me, Apple was prepared for this to happen. You don’t throw shit at a fan without expecting a little blowback.

It seems as though Apple was ready with a well curated collection of mapping apps for the iPhone and iPad, which is now featured in the App Store.

[via Mashable]

 
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An Open Letter to iPhone 5 Users

Published on October 2, 2012 by in Apple, Commentary, iPhone

Dear iPhone User,

You and I are a lot alike, you know. We both appreciate quality craftsmanship, usability, and service and support when it comes to our mobile electronics. And that’s why we both got an iPhone 5.

But there’s something you need to know about your iPhone 5. It scratches and scuffs. Yep, I said it. A long-time Apple fan, advocate, former employee, and writer of all things Apple has admitted that the iPhone 5 will not remain pristine throughout the course of your usage.

And guess what? That’s okay. It’s okay to pay $199-$399 for a smartphone of Apple’s quality and have it get scuffed up while you use it. It’s not a manufacturing defect. It’s not “Apple’s Fault”. It’s definitely not #ScratchGate or #ScuffGate. It’s metal. And when you mix this metal with your keys, a rough table top, a short drop on pavement, or anything else that involves a hard surface or impact, you’re going to see a mark.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but do BMW owners flip their lids when a rock pops up off the road and scuffs the paint on the undercarriage of their 525i? Does every automobile blogger immediately take to the Web to accuse BMW of making a crappy automobile? Does the issue get a #BMWfail? Of course not — even though you’re paying tens of thousands of dollars more for your BMW.

The point is, take it easy. In the grand scheme of things, a scratch on the aluminum back of your iPhone is not going to make a difference. iOS 6 will still be amazing. The speakers will still pump out your music. The microphone will continue to allow you to say dumb things to Siri. You’ll still be able to take crystal clear photos and muck them up with Instagram.

We all want a perfect anything that we purchase, be it an iPhone 5 or a BMW, but our expectations should be better — and that starts with us. Sure, we could blame Apple’s marketing department for leading us to believe that the iPhone 5 is infallible, but what would that say about our personal ability to make an educated purchasing decision?

If you feel like you’d buy an iPhone and complain about a scratch, you might want to consider buying a different phone and seeing if that will scratch. Chances are, any phone you buy will have a scratch or two on it within the first weeks of using it, no matter how careful you try to be.

So I’ll leave you with this — stop thinking of your iPhone like some sort of major investment and start thinking of it more like a tool. After all, you use an iPhone, you don’t just sit it on your desk to look at. Tools get scuffed and scratched, but that doesn’t mean it ceases to be a hammer, does it? No one says, “Woah, sweet hammer! Too bad it’s scuffed up though, your ability to pound nails into wood is totally shot now, huh?”

Of course not. No one cares if you have a scuffed iPhone. No one but you. So why worry? Instead of taking to the Internet to complain, take to iMovie and create a cool short film. Take to iPhoto and make your vacation photos look amazing. Take to Pages and write a novel.

I wish every iPhone 5 owner the best of luck and may your device never scratch or scuff. But, if it does, consider it a mark of experience and let it go. That way you can continue creating (and hopefully sharing) — things that will only serve to make our world a little bit better.

 
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Non-MacBook Air Ultrabooks Have Failed, Just Like I Predicted

Published on October 1, 2012 by in Apple, Commentary, iPad, Mac, News

It was April of this year, while writing for CNET’s iPhone Atlas, that I took issue with two Intel executives claiming that new Ultrabooks would make people forget about the MacBook Air and iPads.

Unfortunately for Intel’s line of thinking, a key aspect of consumer buying habits has become the user experience. The entire Mac lineup, as well as the iPhone and the iPad, has demonstrated this over the last few years. Despite Apple being considered a luxury brand with prices that seem to outweigh the features available when compared with cheaper PCs, it continues to dominate profit share in the mobile space.

Now, John Biggs over at TechCrunch has some numbers to prove my prediction:

An IHS report has estimated that 10.3 million Ultrabooks shipped (not sold) worldwide in 2012, a considerably change from their original forecast of 22 million sold this year. 2013 should be OK, though, right? Wrong. IHS is expecting sales of 44 million in 2013, down from a forecast of 61 million.

Despite Samsung and others outright copying Apple’s MacBook Air design, their versions aren’t selling. What the PC manufacturers failed to understand is that copying Apple’s style is not cheap. In fact, prices of Ultrabooks are in the $1000 range, exactly on par with Apple’s MacBook Air and considerably more expensive than the new iPad.

The difference is that PC manufacturers are cutting corners to save on production which results in junky products. Consumers are smarter than they have ever been and know (and want) quality more than ever. Side-by-side, now that price is not a factor, Apple is winning.

 
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Apple: A Company with a Sense of Direction

I got so worked up over Gina Smith’s assertion that Apple has “lost its sense of direction” that I just had to break her article down and set the record straight. Looking further into it, does this look like a product release from a company that doesn’t know where it’s going?

 
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Apple’s iOS 6 Maps Issues Blamed on Jobs’ Absence

Did you hear? Apple released a major software update for its mobile devices and included as one of the features is a ground-up rebuild of its Maps app. As it turns out, creating a Maps app from scratch when the reigning king of mapping software (Google, of course) is the other option (and a good one at that).

So, those of us with half a brain are aware of the situation and have a certain degree of latitude when it comes to these things (not that we’re excusing Apple’s misstep, we just understand the bigger picture).

Then, there are those morons that feel the need to bring in the S.W.A.T. team to handle a purse-snatcher — I’m looking at you, Gina Smith (sfgate.com).

Apple’s got a problem. And it’s getting so big and so bad that Internet users are dubbing it MapGate.

No, it’s not. And no, they aren’t. The only people calling it MapGate are moron tech writers that assume they’re the first ones to think of it.

The new app essentially replaced the popular Google Maps app users expected to find there as well.

The only users that were “expecting” to find Google Maps on their iPhones after the upgrade were the ones that blindly installed the update without reading, or hearing, anything about it previously. And since this stuff is scattered all over the Internet well in advance, and Apple itself publicly demoed Maps for iOS 6 a couple times before the public got it, I’m fairly certain the number of people assuming Google Maps would still be a default app on their iDevice is pretty small.

Google’s YouTube, it’s worth noting, is also missing from the upgrade.

Also worth noting, which Smith conveniently did not, is that YouTube is now a standalone app available for free from the App Store. I guess that nugget didn’t register as a pageview-grabbing tidbit.

The maps app, and other buggy problems with iOS 6, which was released Sept. 19, have tech experts wondering whether it may signal that Apple, known for top-quality system software releases, has lost its sense of direction.

Apparently Apple has “lost its sense of direction” which I’m sure was a proud moment in Smith’s day — coming up with that play on words. This is the same Apple that is the most valuable company on the planet and just debuted a new device that sold out in 1 hour and is expected to sell 170 million devices this year, right? Sense. Of. Direction.

And now, the gem:

“This is the second time Apple has unleashed a beta product on the public post the death of (late Apple CEO) Steve Jobs,” Londis said. “Apple Siri was the first,” he said, referring to the iPhone’s voice-activated assistant.

He pointed out that Apple used to have a rule forbidding release of beta software when Jobs was in charge. “Apple is letting the public vet the software. This is something Jobs never would have done.”

Piece. Of. Crap. Apple forbade beta products? Mac OS X beta. FaceTime for Mac beta. iWork.com beta. All while Jobs was alive and kicking.

And, to say that Jobs (or anyone for that matter) would or would not have done something if they were alive is completely beyond the scope of responsible reporting. Sure, it’s a great soundbite and headline, but a total waste of space otherwise.

Is the Maps debacle overblown by snarky tech journalists or a real issue that real people actually care about? Let me know in the comments!

 
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