Is this really a Gaffe?

Like many others I await the new iPhone, not because I am one that want the latest and the greatest the day it is released but because my phone plan was due for an upgrade and given the choices, the iPhone5 seemed like the best option.

The new iPhone5 is still going to sell millions of pieces but this time it will not be as coveted as the iPhone4 was or the 4S was. As a developer, I had access to iOS 6 while it was in ß and thankfully I had not flashed my iPhone with it. I got to try the various features of iOS6 on the iPad instead.
The new tall design, the faster CPU and the thinner design was something that I wanted to look at. While I was at the stores (We do not have an Apple store in our city) and the salesman at JB-HiFi gave me a unit to play with. It was on a plan from Telstra. The first few moments with it were awkward, it seemed to popout of the hand almost as if it was going to fall out of my hands any moment. It did feel quite nice and sleek, but the black back is painted metal and the slightest of scratching would reveal the white sheet of metal underneath. This is hardly the quality that is expected from an Apple product.

The Lightning connector and the adaptors that folks have to purchase at the cost of $35 AUD would relate to about $70 million in sales (@approximately 2 million sales). Scale this up to the world, just by changing the charging port and adaptor, Apple makes a couple of million dollars

Lastly the Map features on iOS6 that have got a lot of people talking and agitated about the quality of the software. In fact I even saw a facebook post from someone in the UK "Saw a Huge Que. of ppl outside Starbucks...waiting to get the i Phone 5 ... thanx to the ios6 map update ..."

When Apple released their Intel based computers, I did move to the Mac OS X platform and my initial experience was (coming from a Windows and Linux environment where there are literally millions of softwares to do stuff) that the Mac OS X was lacking utilities out of the box. It grew on me as I used it and found several places where I could get software. However searching for the same was not fun. Still, MacUpdate has one of the better collation of software apart from the App Store. Since then I have owned more Apple devices than ever. I have even recommended the same to friends and family because the quality of an Apple Product is something to go by.

Under all of these points, it makes perfect sense to go all out and get an iPhone5, right? Well not exactly. The specs of the device are amazing but from a functional point of view. It is almost that with the demise of Steve Jobs, the quality demanded out of an Apple product is almost dying out. While many sat to hear the announcement of the new devices, it was nothing impressive. The new iPod Nano's look ugly almost like a cheap MP3 player knock off. The new iPod 5th generation with a protruding bit for attaching a loop handle, what what that? While Steve tried to keep the devices all flush and clean in terms of the device lines, with this new design, it is almost breaking away from the Apple design that we have come to appreciate.

While there are jokes that taunt Microsoft on the many versions of the procut that they release, like Windows Home, Windows Professional, Windows Ultimate, Windows Embedded and so on, while in contrast Apple was known to have just one option and minimal sales pitch on the packaging. However now it seems that Apple have also fallen into that trap, the device resolutions are fragmented, be it the iPhone/iPod touch or the iPad or the Desktops. While retina is such a good concept, it is a pain with 320x480, 640x960 and 640x1136 for the iPhone/iPod, 768x1024 or 1536x2048 for the iPads. A universal application if downloaded on an iPod touch would end up with huge hi-res assets for the new iPad which would be of absolutely no relevance to the iPod user. As a developer I have hated Android for the fragmentation and here we are with Apple doing exactly the same. This would never be considered the standard in resolutions so there will be more devices in the near future and the resolutions will change causing more fragmentation.

Given that the trading price of Apple has touched $700, it is doing exceptionally well and from the sales of the lightning adaptor alone, Apple will make huge profits more than revenues of some companies. The point is that despite the decline in quality of Apple products, even if people suddenly stop buying Apple products, the complete slow down would take about 4-5 years and Apple would have to continue to make crappy products to achieve this, which looks like an impossible situation. Even then the cash reserves and money from the App stores etc would see them there.

So now it is Microsoft's time to see if they can capture the market, but it seems that they the Surface which could have been an iPad killer or at least would have tried to be one will be shooting itself in the foot with the speculated price ranges of over $700 USD and the changes that they have made to their OS restricting the users and alienating their partners. It almost seems that even if these two were to release "Nothing" it would hardly make a dent in their earnings.

Nothing lasts for ever and I hope that they do know that, it might not change in my lifetime but then the speed with which technology changes can affect these pretty intensely. So the question is was this really a Gaffe, the iOS6 and the iPhone5 design or is it Apple testing the fact that even if they were to create the crappiest product, people would want to buy it and even queue up for it. Was Steve Jobs really that much of an influence on the design of the Apple products that we have come to love?


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