Why I Wish I Could Love Apple

Apple has been a bastion of innovation, if not always commercial success (reference Lisa), for years. The renaissance they have enjoyed under the second coming of Steve Jobs is undeniable. They make sexy products that work – and not just work, but work exceptionally well. Apple is better than most at integrating form and function.  So what’s not to love?

Closed Architecture
This has been a cornerstone of Apple since the beginning, and an attribute I believe is most linked to Steve Jobs. Remember Mac clones form the mid 90s? They were gone within 90 days of Jobs’ return to Apple as a result of their purchase of NeXT. The iPhone platform is no different – great OS but despite numerous complaints of hardware shortcomings the only manufacturer is Apple. They further compounded it by denying network choice with its exclusive agreement with AT&T.

Group Think
This is the only answer I can come up with when I ask the question why the iPad?  Not just the name which is just horrible, but why release a product that is nothing more than a supersized iTouch (or is it iPad Nano now)? The iPad’s shortcomings have been discussed by many more tech savvy than me, but how they could ship a device without 3G standard and a video camera and still say they are dedicated to mobile connectivity is beyond me. The opportunity was to create a device that had all the functionality of the Macbook Air in tablet form; what we got fell far short.

Over Protectionism
The iPhone is a great product – but it’s not alone in the market. Palm Pre, RIMM Blackberry, and (especially) Android are all viable competitors. How does Apple react? Protectionism. First Apple denies the Google Voice app in the Apple App store with the reasoning “it replicates the core dialer functionality” of the iPhone. Controversy (and an FCC probe) has taught them little–they are now reportedly restricting apps form the App Store for merely mentioning the name “Android”. They have also developed a really awesome location based social networking function that allows the parties to a phone call to ‘discover’ each other’s location with a click of a button. How did I first hear about it? Not in a product release, but in a patent filing.
I like my iPod, and my girlfriend just asked me to put together a hackintosh netbook for her. Beyond that, for now, my relationship with Apple will have to be one of hopeful longing.

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