Apple and I

after spending some time reviewing the Ipad 2 recently I though I’d consolidate my thoughts and conclusions about the world of Apple in general on digital paper

Some Iphone & Ipad Love

Revolutionary? A Trend setter? Absolutely. There is little doubt in my mind that Apple is leading the way with it’s i devices (Ipad and Iphone). As a result they enjoy an unrivaled status amongst consumers – in my humble opinion. Here in China I hear the device referred to in it’s English name – “Ipad” or “Iphone” dotting long stretches of Chinese between friends or over the phone. It seems here in Shenzhen, and dare I say in all of China, the device enjoys a categorization in people’s heads outside of “normal” phone’s and tablets.

The devices are generally, more or less, slightly ahead of the curve when it comes to technological advancements (not the camera on the Ipad 2 of course :) ). Another advantage, unique to China, is ownership of the latest and greatest Iphone or Ipad usually carries with it a bonus “status” enhancement. Chinese society is big on status and I would argue classes – Iphones award their owners face – as odd as that may seem to outsiders. These are a few of the general, and some China specific, positives I would feel remiss if I didn’t acknowledge about Apple’s Idevices

Idevice Anger and Frustration

I’ll just come out and say it, I despise the creation of this separate world of Apple. For me it stands in the face of logic. It seeks to stand out by ceasing to conform, which in many sphere’s of life I would admire except when…. there is really no advantage outside of being different. Name for me one advantage for using a proprietary port for transferring your display data instead of the industry standard VGA – besides forcing your consumers to buy additional equipment and manufacturers to spend millions implementing necessary changes to include compatibility with apple devices. I guess conceptually I’m not against a separate world where their are significant albeit subjective differences and/or improvements but I hardly feel it’s the case with many of the aggravating differences I’m highlighting.

They refuse to place a USB on their devices, they refuse to employ Flash on their devices, They insist on forcing people to interface and communicate with their device via Itunes (let me use my damn flash card!!!), they refuse to let you change the battery… easily. I fail to see any significant technological advantage to these decisions – and evaluating these factors as a humble consumer that is very into electronics and the latest and greatest – I’m epically frustrated.

Sure I get it, keep me in apple world, but last I checked even the most ardent Apple fan didn’t have apple logo bearing electronics occupying every department of their life. It’s a barrier not an advantage – a limitation in place of an advantage. Technology, in my opinion, is about integration and compatibility, not about exclusion and individuality. I want my devices to easily integrate with MORE of my other devices around me, and require less of me to accomplish such goals, I don’t want to take steps backwards because Apple’s definition of being better than everything else requires a sort of limiting uniqueness.

This self-limiting uniqueness permeates the world of software as well. Ever tried to customize an application in a fashion that wasn’t anticipated by apple technicians – well I hope your a certified technician with some coding experience because otherwise tough noogies your stuck with what they give you. For all their uniqueness apple does seem somewhat hypocritically hell bent on conforming your experience and interaction with it’s software. I’m not talking about making major functionality changes to software packages – this requires a coder in the world of windows and apple – I’m just speaking to the fact that generally speaking the world of Apple doesn’t cover anywhere near the sort of freedom to customize as you find the world of windows. That’s just me however, some of you may enjoy someone else deciding what is the best way to complete tasks on or interact with your devices and software, I desire more flexibility.

I understand that much of my software beef is at best debatable. However I would argue, quite convincingly, that the hardware limitations are just that – limitations. If apple employed USB connections, allowed for users to use memory cards, and allowed easier battery changes to be made I would have a very tough time even considering alternative devices. I’m not well read on the subject but as a user with a variety of experience with various devices and platforms I can’t help but wonder and be aggravated with the extra steps I have to take and hoops I have to jump through in order to use an Iphone or Ipad.

I’m not a sheep!

It’s a feeling I get when considering the totality of my experience with Apple products. I’m a sheep, a dumb-dumb that is incapable of making decisions about controlling my own experience so a pre-programmed solution is provided for me. All the options for customizing your experience with this software are already included in this software – don’t worry you don’t need any other customization options outside of these *big smile*. I suppose one of Apple’s defining marketing ploys is ensuring you it’s better that way but I despise being boxed in. I’m not very satisfied when I have to spend hours and days customizing what I can very easily customize on non-apple devices. I want to integrate my Idevice with a lot of other non-apple software and hardware that’s out there but it’s very difficult to do so – it shouldn’t be.