Back when Steve Jobs released the original iPhone in 2007, he said that the operating system was “at least five years ahead of its time”. If any of you were using the Motorola Q9h or BlackBerry Pearl that I was using back then, you’d agree with me in the fact that the guy was right. Sadly it seems that nobody at Apple remembers that anymore. Those five years are up, and sadly nothing that was released at WWDC has prepared iOS to leap ahead of its time again.
5 key points posted to Mashable about how/why the iPhone and iOS are not ahead of their time anymore, and that Apple need to shake things up to remain good.
It’s a stupid article to begin with because after a huge revolution like that, you don’t revolt again until it’s necessary. The iPhone is hardly a stale piece of hardware, and iOS is still evolving while being one of the top platforms on the market. No one cared about mobile before iOS, and now iOS is turning mobile into a bigger industry than desktop development. Arguably the concept behind the original Apple computer is the same as the latest-and-greatest retina display MacBook Pro. Evolution, not revolution.
Point 2 is about apps and features that play catch-up. The argument is that Apple usually leap-frog the competition with their new features, and in iOS6 (maps, FaceTime over 3G) this isn’t the case (i.e. Maps is no better than Google maps and FaceTime over 3G is something third party apps can do anyway). Rubbish. Maps is as good as, if not better than Google maps on the iPhone. This is down to the great features for drivers and the TomTom integration. There’s more I could talk about, but the argument is so flawed it’s not worth the e-paper.
Point 3 nails the stupid home…
I do understand Apple’s purpose in keeping the grid of icons all over, but why not figure out some way to have UI profiles. If you’re a first-time user, you get the grid, and if you’re a power user, you can customize it differently. Hey, if Cydia could figure that out, I’m sure all those thousands of Apple Engineers can do better.
Power users use the iPhone because it “works”. They don’t use it because they want to have terminal command windows and Xcode. Cydia is fun but it’s certainly not as good an experience as anything the vanilla iPhone offers in terms of stability, reliability and usability. The iPhone is in the hands of millions of users worldwide, and the 1% of people who want to tinker with it in a meaningful way aren’t worth catering to. The notion that engineers in Infinite Loop can’t figure out how is madness.
Jobs and Woz made a computer that had mass appeal and cut out the modders & hackers. That’s the ethos Apple still has.
as of beta 1, Siri is not supported by the iPad 2, who’s guts are almost identical to what we find powering the iPhone 4S. And if the iPhone 4 and 3GS are getting iOS 6, why isn’t the first-generation iPad getting it? None of these technical decisions make logical sense, unless you add dollars into the equation.
A lot of these decisions probably are down to money. It makes sense. It also means Siri doesn’t destroy Apple’s back-end server infrastructure by having so many extra people trying to use the system. More control means less points of failure. It means the engineers can develop a clean system for the new users of the new devices and make it the best experience possible. They might technically be able to make these features work on older devices, but that loss of focus might be more deterimental to the experience overall, so why bother? Plus, you can coax users into buying new systems with new features. It’s good business to have everyone on the new hardware.
Point 5 is also dumb…
Using a device that’s no longer ahead of its time, boring or no better than competitors isn’t easy in our times, but knowing that it won’t change for another 18 months is torture. Even if Apple released a new iPhone in the fall, which runs iOS 6 with some minor enhancements, nobody can switch phones every couple of months in this economy. Apple has slowly pushed users into adopting newer hardware just to get this new feature or that one, and it’s really not a good way to drive additional loyalty towards the platform.
No one wants to upgrade every 6 months. They want to keep their device. I know a lot of people still on older hardware. They can’t afford the new stuff, or are tied to contracts. That’s not Apples fault. The 18-month cycle is down to the way carriers subsidise the hardware.
What major electronic device changes more often than Apple hardware? I literally don’t know any company being as iterative as Apple. Yearly cycles are common across their line. Very few people do this kind of cycle. New versions of the same thing, sure, but nothing like Apple.