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Last post Author Topic: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple  (Read 35858 times)

Renegade

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2010, 01:39:50 AM »
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

andykeating

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2010, 02:26:28 AM »
Generally people mind its high prices but it always develops something innovative while rest others are are the followers ..

Renegade

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2010, 03:15:19 AM »
Generally people mind its high prices but it always develops something innovative while rest others are are the followers ..

My take on "Apple innovation". :)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

Target

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2010, 04:26:16 PM »
how about this one from slashdot this morning -  the last line amused me no end, and I particularly liked the idea that a second run of the figurines was termed 'an update' ;D ;D ;D

Quote
Apple Sues Steve Jobs Figurine Maker Over Likeness
Posted by CmdrTaco on Tuesday November 30, @09:34AM
from the false-idols-before-me dept.
 eldavojohn writes
"Techdirt brings word that China-based MIC Gadget, the maker of a four inch 'SJ figurine,' is being sued by Apple to stop making the product. The fairly well detailed figurine went for $80 and the manufacturer offered updates as it quickly sold out of the first 300 and was subsequently sued before starting a second batch. The glasses, the black turtle neck, the salt and pepper beard, the blue jeans and the new balance sneakers — that is Steve Jobs' look and you don't even have to consider the smug look or the iPhone 4 in his hand while standing in a classic press event spotlight pose. So far, this notice for copyright infringement only exists for the 'SJ figurine' (no mention of Apple or Jobs in the store listing) but it appears other companies are allowing MIC Gadget some leeway with trademarks or perhaps they just haven't noticed yet. Could it be that Apple is just concerned that their followers are purchasing lead-painted false idols?"


40hz

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2010, 05:27:03 PM »
Bloody! I really wanted one of those Jobs dolls.

I was gonna get one to keep my Lil Cthullu figurine company.

Eldritch Horrors need to stick together.   :Thmbsup:


superboyac

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2010, 05:37:19 PM »
Well, I've been playing with my ipad for the last couple of days.  I've been pretty impressed so far.  It's a very well built device, with a great screen.  All the touchscreen controls are amazingly responsive, and I've been pretty happy with the few apps I'm using.  In a sense, because there are so many ipad users, there are a lot of apps for it, and you can usually find something you want.  What little I've tried using with Windows 7 tablets is not very nice simply because Windows 7 is not built for tablets specifically.  So it takes a lot of fiddling to get everything tablet-specific with regards to icon sizes, font sizes, multi-touch stuff (which isn't as smooth as ipad).

Now, I still have MAJOR beefs with certain things that are very Apple-ish.  For example, you have to wait for Apple to fix bugs and stuff related to their OS.  With Windows, I am used to finding solutions to problems immediately online.  So Apple's restrictions are both it's strength and weakness.  Sure, by Apple controlling everything (hardware, software, store, delivery, syncing, EVERYTHING) they are able to provide a very simple and streamlined solution to MOST users.  But people like me need to be able to tweak, to experiment, to do little things that are not common.  Like now, I can assign a specific function to the mute-lock slider on the side.  Apparently, before the latest OS update, you could use it to lock the rotation of the screen, which is very useful.  Now, it's used as a mute slider, which is not as useful considering there's another way to do it by holding down the rocker next to it.  So the end user can't choose to switch that function, until Apple decides to let you with a future update.  With Windows, you'd simply download some third party thing or code something yourself to take care of it.  This is partly why i may look into the whole jailbreaking thing soon.  So these little things are what makes Apple very annoying to people like us who use Windows very heavily.

Of course, there's no USB, which is kind of lame.  I have to pay for all sorts of adapters if I want usb or to plug into the tv, and they are all a little on the expensive side.  So that's a bummer, as usual.  Again, typical apple stuff.

But you know what?  None of the other companies have made any tablets nearly as nice as this one.  Do it already!  But it's going to be hard to compete with that build quality and that screen with the great multi-touch responsiveness.

So, this doesn't mean I'm an Apple guy.  Not at all.  My heavy duty computing will be Windows for a long time, I'm guessing.  My Windows Desktop is my computing headquarter.  There's no way an Apple device can do what this baby can do.  But it does take a lot of expertise and customization, which I am used to and good at.  But as a portable gadget, I'm very happy with the ipad and it is better than anything else I've seen out there.  I use it for great GPS, an amazing alarm clock, a great portable pdf reader, a decent music player (I haven't tried the video playing and tv out stuff yet).  It's really great for those little things.  But Apple will never be able to replace the hardcore Windows user and probably never will, because to do so, they'd have to let go of all their proprietary control over hardware/software/stores.  One company will never be able to do all of those things the best way.  Never.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2010, 05:54:29 PM »
 :huh:
Um... Are you sure you're in the right thread?

zridling

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2010, 08:30:56 PM »
But as a portable gadget, I'm very happy with the ipad and it is better than anything else I've seen out there.  I use it for great GPS, an amazing alarm clock, a great portable pdf reader, a decent music player (I haven't tried the video playing and tv out stuff yet).  It's really great for those little things.

We're losing him. Quick, bring the tasers and tranquilizer rifles!

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zridling

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2010, 08:32:31 PM »
Just joking superboy. Use what works for you.

superboyac

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2010, 11:14:44 PM »
haha...don't worry guys.  I'm not a fanboy.  I will say this:  for people outside of our circle here at DC (and others like us) Apple provides the best solutions for computing...by far.  Yes, they lock you in, but if they didn't, it wouldn't be simple enough for most of these people.  I've been thinking a lot about this...just downloading and installing programs from websites is a headache to the average user.  AVERAGE, people.  The little things that get on my nerves simply do not cross other people's minds.

Just to prove I'm not a fanboy:  if anyone ever shows me a comparable device, I will buy it in a heartbeat and get rid of this thing.  That means:
well-made (nothing cheap feeling about it)
Nice screen
Great multi-touch responsiveness
Lots of apps, lots of options (don't really care about the price if reasonable)
Minimal configuration, minimal problems

So, I'll be waiting.  Believe me, this was a pretty weird purchase for me.  I went to the store with my friend and actually paused outside the store entrance before walking in.  I took a sigh, shook my head, and walked in.  I know the ipad 2 is going to come out soon, and I will be angry.  I can already tell that certain things bug me a little.  BUT...there's no better option right now.

Darwin

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2010, 11:37:24 PM »
But you know what?  None of the other companies have made any tablets nearly as nice as this one.  Do it already!  But it's going to be hard to compete with that build quality and that screen with the great multi-touch responsiveness.

I suspect that this is because nobody but Apple can get away with charging the prices that Apple charges for their devices, irrespective of the quality and design (EDIT: and it follows that achieving Apple's build quality would be a money losing proposition). Sony builds premium notebook computers, but I don't see many of them in the wild - just too darned expensive. Samsung is giving it a go with the Galaxy Tab, which I briefly played with the other day, but I don't see them catching Apple. In fact, I think that they've made a blunder and should be marketing the thing at least $100 cheaper...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 11:39:49 PM by Darwin »

superboyac

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #36 on: December 01, 2010, 12:20:23 AM »
I don't know, Darwin.  I want to very respectfully disagree with you there. :)
I believe that the other companies can get away with charging high prices..IF...(big if)...the end result is as nice all around.  People will easily pay $700 for a tablet as nice as the ipad if there were not glaring issues.  The problem is that Apple has the head start.  The bigger problem is that Apple has all the hardware/software/OS being controlled in house.  They can fine tune everything to be just right and smooth.  Look what's happening in the PC world.  Android is not yet ready for the tablet form factor.  Windows is not really tablet friendly as far as resource use and just general UI.  I mean, Windows is much too hardcore for a tablet.  And all the hardware parts, can all these companies really work together to get the right balance of battery life, resource use, form factor...it's too much.  Sony has a hard enough time getting things right within their own company, let alone cooperating with others.

So in the end, we get competing products like the Galaxy.  It's essentially the same price as the ipad, but inferior in just about every way.  So now we have millions of ipad users, and a handful of other inferior products.  So there's a bunch of apps for ipad that work well with a large user base, and a bunch of android apps not really built for tablets, with only a few users using them on tablets.  There's such an uphill battle here.

A company like Sony has the most chance to compete.  They have the amazing hardware technology which is significantly superior to Apple's in my opinion.  But they have horrible UI issues, stubborn marketing, klunky features, and no motivation to innovate in a good way.  Look what they put out last year, the Sony Dash.  It's just about the stupidest device I've ever seen.  That's Sony for you.  A bunch of freakin morons with all the potential in the world right in their laps.

I tell you, God forbid Apple ever developing hardware technology as good as Sony.  When that happens, it's over for Sony.  They will have nothing left.  All of these companies better be afraid of Apple, because they are coming on strong.  If a guy like me bought an ipad, fighting every fiber in my body, then it's trouble for the other companies.

JavaJones

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #37 on: December 01, 2010, 12:45:35 AM »
I wrote up this big old long post as a response to an Apple rant here a few weeks ago and IE8 lost it for me before I had a chance to post it. So I've been reluctant to contribute to any of the Apple threads since as a good majority of my thoughts were well expressed (I felt) in the lost post. Oh well. One of the points I made though is relevant to this topic, and it's one of my biggest sources of frustration: people seem to assume that just because Apple succeeds at doing things the way they're doing them, that somehow means that you *must* do it that way in order to achieve the same benefits (e.g. good user experience, smooth UI, etc.).

The fact is that Apple simply makes some very specific things a top priority, and those are things that few - if any - other companies focus on. Apple's prices aren't really that high these days when you take into account the industrial design and materials. Another company could choose to make a similar quality product with similar materials, and they would need to sell it at a high price to do so of course, but the quality would justify it. Granted Apple gets away with it a bit more because of their brand strength, so it's a bit tougher for others. But that's a "spell" that needs to be broken. There are plenty of people who will pay for quality, plenty of people I know who have bought an Apple laptop not because of OSX or liking Apple at all, but simply because they're well-built machines with great battery life and decent features. It's *hard* to find a comparably well-built PC laptop for *any* price! And that includes Sony equipment, Thinkpad, and the rest.

But the important thing to remember is that these are choices that manufacturers make. Manufacturers can *choose* to make industrial and UI design a priority. They can choose to use better materials and charge accordingly. They can choose to create a more cohesive end-to-end experience and not bundle crapware for a few extra bucks. And if they do they'll be competing for the same (or similar) market that Apple does, or at least a portion of it. But most manufacturers either choose to compete on price/features, or they compete in the business market on reliability, support, and other aspects. Few, if any, focus on UI and physical design, both aesthetic and functional. Apple does this and they have succeeded largely on the strength of this; well, combined with some very effective marketing. But that marketing would not be nearly so effective if it weren't half true a lot of the time. I don't think PC hardware and software manufacturers are doing themselves any favors in the way they often develop their products and set their priorities, at least not if the market that Apple targets is desirable (which it definitely seems to be).

Is it impossible to have a Windows 7 tablet that is as nicely designed and works as well as an iPad? NO. It just takes a manufacturer giving a sh*t, spending time not just on the hardware specs, but on the design of the unit, the aesthetics and feel, being willing to put money and time into battery technology so that they get better battery life, opting for higher-level components - even though they're more expensive - so that things work better, feel better, batteries last longer, screens look better, etc. And it takes spending some time on the software side too, customizing the Win7 install to optimize it for tablet use, maybe developing a few key utilities of your own that enhance the experience. It's not impossible, it may not even be *that* hard, but everyone is afraid to do it I think. Probably they fear trying to compete directly with Apple, but they're having to do so anyway whether they like it or not - they might as well be doing it *right*.

I think maybe it's kind of like the TV thing we were talking about in another thread, or what's happened with the music business: entrenched business models are painful and slow to adapt to a changing market. The PC manufacturers are used to competing on price, that's been the PC differentiator, ever since the "clone wars" of the IBM/Tandy and the rest, and and back then buying a Mac really was a lot more expensive for what you got. That continued for a decade or more. But these days there's less and less to differentiate a PC from a Mac spec-wise, after all it's the same basic platform, and meanwhile Apple's got aces in hardware and UI design, and isn't *that* much more expensive. Buying a tablet at $400 or $500 (PC/Android) vs. $600-$800 (iPad) is *not* that big a difference. It's not like the old days of Apple where a lesser-speced Apple product cost literally twice as much. Apple is reinventing the game and pushing ever further into other markets, while doing it *their* way and making higher margins than almost anyone in the process. This is not an ability unique to them. I'm waiting for a manufacturer to realize this and do something about it. Waiting...

And if you thought that rant was long, just imagine how long my original (lost) post was where I made 3 or 4 other major points! :D

- Oshyan

JavaJones

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2010, 12:52:19 AM »
Damn, heh, superboyac with basically the same thing I'm saying, and beating me to it, hehe. Well at least I'm not the only one who thinks so! But I have to say I don't understand what's so great about Sony's hardware, at least these days. And while Win7 in a base config might not be ideal for a tablet, imagine if PC manufacturers customized things more. Imagine, just for one tiny example, if a PC manufacturer would turn off the default Win7 file contents indexing (something I've done recently resulting in tremendous performance gain and way less disk thrashing - I thought they finally got disk indexing right in Win7?). That may not even be something you'd think of to tune for a tablet, but it makes a lot of sense from a battery life and performance perspective, and it could make a noticeable difference. But you don't see manufacturers tweaking with deep settings like that. Why the heck not!? Maybe MS forbids it, I don't know, but I'd like to see more manufacturers getting their hands dirty with the OS to customize it for whatever machine they're on. MS just doesn't do a good enough job. If I got a netbook today with Win7 Starter, I would not trust MS to tune it well enough for me to be satisfied with the performance. It's not like Macs don't require tuning to have good performance either, the difference is Apple *does* do a good job of tuning the OS *for the specific device*.

All of this stems, I think, from the level of control that exists from top to bottom at Apple, pretty much led and enforced by Jobs himself. Or at least that's what everyone keeps saying, so I believe it. Hehe. But it makes sense. The key is that Jobs, unlike Ballmer, is smart, savvy, and has a good eye for design, as well as a good sense of functionality and the needs of the market. Ballmer just doesn't "get it", that much is clear.

- Oshyan

Stoic Joker

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #39 on: December 01, 2010, 07:31:41 AM »
Okay, so the fruit pad is a sparkling work of art ... Well that's just Jim Dandy if the object was to hang it on the wall so folks could ogle it at parties. But what if you have to actually do something with it? Like (Um...) print a report that you worked on for all 10 hours of its (alleged) battery life. Best option, Email it to a Windows machine. Apple's network printing is a total train-wreck functionally speaking.

...But then again it's a "Media Consumption Device" so I guess you're not supposed to be able to get anything back off of it.

Renegade

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2010, 07:47:55 AM »

...I use it for great GPS, an amazing alarm clock, a great portable pdf reader, a decent music player (I haven't tried the video playing and tv out stuff yet).  It's really great for those little things. 

GPS, clock, reader, music player. Little things.

It's funny that you mention that they're all little things. (See below for comments on input.)

That's pretty much what I use my phone for. Minus music and GPS though (GPS/map on odd occassions -- I already have 2 dedicated units).

I've only had my phone for a bit, so I'm still finding new things, but I don't see it as being much more than that.

The tablet form factor is rather limited, so it's kind of hard to do much on it anyways.

Still, a flexible keyboard can easily turn a tablet into a productivity tool, provided you have a stand for it and actual software that lets you be productive... Not just games and porn. Ooops... Sorry... No porn on iOS. You'll need to get an Android for that~! :P

(Couldn't resist.)

Okay, so the fruit pad is a sparkling work of art ... Well that's just Jim Dandy if the object was to hang it on the wall so folks could ogle it at parties. But what if you have to actually do something with it?

Hahahaha~! :D

Like (Um...) print a report that you worked on for all 10 hours of its (alleged) battery life. Best option, Email it to a Windows machine. Apple's network printing is a total train-wreck functionally speaking.

You've got a flair for understatement.

Apple printing is a train-wreck? Ahem... Apple connectivity is a train-wreck.

External USB drive? Stay connected? HA!

...But then again it's a "Media Consumption Device" so I guess you're not supposed to be able to get anything back off of it.

I thought it was an "Apple Store Consumption Device". ;)

But back to some previous comments -- they are very sharp looking devices.

But "consumption device" is perfectly correct. That's all they are really capable of at the moment. I expect that to change though. CPU will make all the difference. Once they get decent CPUs, speech regognition and voice recognition and identifying a voice amongst background sounds will become possible, which will entirely change the device input -- it will be a paradigm shift.

Also, if Microsoft would get off it's butt and make some of its technologies available at the consumer level, we'd have vast leaps in input technology, e.g. tactile screens.

Apple didn't start the tablet market -- but they did breathe life back into it.

I still have a lot of work to do before I can justify buying an iPad. But, it will come.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

rgdot

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #41 on: December 01, 2010, 08:29:45 AM »
I am not sure where the idea that Apple is indeed superior comes from, the material and design may be modern and admittedly superior in the specific components used but problems using it is not less if you take into account its market share (100 people using PC you hear 50 complaints...10 people using Apple you hear 5 complaints)
In my experience any way, I don't do Apple tech support or anything but I hear about this and that issue pretty often. I am referring to Mac vs PC and not iPad, iPod or iPhone

Darwin

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2010, 09:00:36 AM »
Interesting responses, superboyac and oshyan. However, I don't see how there is that much disagreement between us. Apple gets away with their pricing - and I respectfully disagree about the gap between Apple and non-Apple products; feature for feature you pay more to Jobs and co. for similarly spec'd equipment than you do to a non-Apple manufacturer - because people are willing to pay a premium for the name. As Oshyan notes, this is due to the strength of their brand.

My argument above was that manufacturers can not get away with pricing their products the way that Apple does. Why is the iPhone 4 $800 or $900 vs $450 to $500 for a WP 7 device or an Android device (thesee are current non-contract prices in Canada)? Even differences in the quality of materials do not account for such a huge price difference (and some of the Android based HTC devices I've handles are close in terms of build quality; I'll leave GUI out of it as I've not used Android). The same observations are true of PMP's and personal audio players. Apple's pricing for their products in these categories is astronomical in comparison to the competition; the only place the competition is willing to try pricing their products in the same "range" as Apple is in touchscreen PMP devices, including the iPad (I'm thinking of the Galaxy Tab). Sony and Samsung are the two main competitors here, with both products that have already been released and those that have been announced. Microsoft has been unsuccessfull in trying to market the Zune HD as a competitor to the iPod Touch with a comparable feature set, nice build quality and more bang for the buck (cheaper pricing for capacity). However, they don't seem to be having much luck. I don't believe that people aren't willing buy these products because of inferior quality in either materials or design. Rather, the vast majority of people are unwilling to consider buying non-Apple products in particular niches (personal audio, PMPs and tablets - though it's early days yet), which is perhaps a clearer statement of my original thesis.

You both mention the corporate will to change as being key. Again, I don't see where we disagree that much. My argument is that most technology companies that have tried have failed, and in failure they have to answer to their investors. This makes risk a daunting prospect. Samsung, Microsoft, and Sony are three of the biggest companies on the planet. Smaller companies don't have the resources. Samsung is the only company that looks to me to be willing to take Apple on directly and they seem to be gearing up to do so agressively. I still maintain that the Galaxy Tab is overpriced...

One point to note with respect to the dialogue is that I my thinking and comments are specific to tablets and media players. To a large degree, I no longer think about Apple as a PC manufacturer but as a technology company.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

superboyac

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #43 on: December 01, 2010, 09:22:37 AM »
Darwin has some good points.  The Zune was a well made product.  It's an uphill battle, for sure.  Once Apple created the ipod, everyone started playing catchup.  And nobody has really caught up yet, and it seems as though the gap is increasing.  If another company wants to make a dent, they have to innovate and they have to go beyond the expectations of the people.  At this point, you can't merely create something of equal value.  You have to out-Apple Apple.  That's what Apple did with the ipod.  They waited and waited and years after other companies started making mp3 players, they came out with the ipod.  And that has changed everything.  So companies now may have to create equal or better quality products and sell it for cheaper than Apple if they want to compete.  That's the risk they have to take.  That's the price you pay for playing catchup.  Sony?  Dell?  Where are you?

Dell just came out with the Duo convertible tablet/laptop.  The big complaint on Engadget is the screen quality.  You see?  They just can't do it.  It's going to fail.

Renegade

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #44 on: December 01, 2010, 09:42:23 AM »
Kind of off-topic, but funny...


I took my mom & dad to Saigon Market today (I'm currently in Ho Chi Minh City), and we had a spin around looking at stuff.

I dropped by a booth that had some iTouch devices, and figured I'd ask how much they were... An 8 GB and a 32 GB model...

"300" for the 8 GB and "360" for the 32 GB models, respectively, she types into a calculator and shows me.

So I think, oh, 360,000 Vietnamese Dong (the currency here). Keep in mind that $1 USD = 20,000 VND...

That's about... ummm... $18.00 or so.

Meh. What's $20 or so? That's about what they're worth... I pull out my wallet and start to count out 360,000 VND.

"Dollars," she says. "360 dollars."

"Oh," I say. "Forget it."

:D

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

superboyac

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #45 on: December 01, 2010, 11:12:16 AM »
Haha!  Crazy.  I was going to have you get one for me!

JavaJones

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #46 on: December 01, 2010, 02:27:57 PM »
Sony had a lot of opportunities and horribly, horribly squandered them. I think they *did* have many chances, I just don't think they *took* them. They doggedly stuck to old business models and limitations (Memory Stick, Walk Man, proprietary audio compression schemes, etc.), while Apple brought something modern, intuitive, appealing, and built an ecosystem to go with it.

Zune? Yes, true, it's a pretty nice device. There are two problems with it though. First, it's from Microsoft and, for better or worse, MS just isn't "cool" or frankly even a brand many people want to be buying for an entertainment device period. This is a problem *somewhat* unique to MS however, despite the success of the Xbox. When people buy an Xbox, they're buying an Xbox, not a "Microsoft Xbox". MS had a whole generation of billion dollar losses and huge marketing of the Xbox to gain traction. 5 years worth to make the 360 the success it is today. The Zune hasn't had nearly the same push behind it, so it has to contend with the MS association all the more since its brand in itself is not that strong. By the time 1st gen Xbox was old news, people already thought of Xbox as a thing, separate from MS. Sony has a brand that is still considered pretty "cool", and if Sony had put out the Zune and promoted it like Apple does I think it would have done better.

But the other perhaps equally or more significant problem is Zune didn't really do much that iPod didn't already do, so there wasn't much incentive to get it instead of Apple's hardware with a by-then huge existing ecosystem. Especially the first gen Zune was not all that impressive by comparison. Usually when Apple comes out with a "great new thing!" it does at least have some distinguishing qualities from what came before. iPod? Easier to use, nicer hardware than anything that came before. iPhone? Way easier to use, great touch screen, good industrial design. iPad? First real tablet/small device oriented OS (iOS), app ecosystem, great touch screen, etc.

I still contend then that few manufacturers have really tried to compete head-to-head with Apple. You can find some examples of companies that have done good hardware, or good software, but seldom both in the same device. Having the ecosystem behind it is something Apple has built-up over time, but they *have* built it up, and with fairly significant strides each year, especially in the early years, from no iTunes, to iTunes, to a huge catalog of music, to TV shows and movies, from no apps to a huge app store, etc. And if it's true that their prices are still comparatively high even with build quality considered, then surely another company doing the same thing should be able to compete on price...

- Oshyan

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #47 on: December 01, 2010, 02:40:36 PM »
Good point about the Zune and it not differentiating itself from the iPod Touch. Overall, I think that WRT the "next big (non-Apple) thing" whoever releases it is going to have to control all aspects of the product from hardware, through software, through marketing. MS is in a position to do this right now but haven't been able to capitalize (likely for the reasons you mention, chiefly there's the MS stigma associated with their products). Google could still surprise us all and capitalize on their Android success by releasing some killer hardware... I'm not holding my breath, though.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

superboyac

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #48 on: December 01, 2010, 02:44:05 PM »
Very very true, oshyan.  The other companies are playing big time catch up.  You are exactly right; it's not enough to offer equal quality now.  They have to offer something that is significantly different and better than what Apple offers.  Something that can be described in a few words that is "it" for that device that the equivalent Apple device is lacking.  Granted, this is easier said than done since Apple's done pretty well on that front.

In the Zune's case, I can think of a couple of things to distinguish it, if MS chose to do so.  One, make the file transferring to/from the device completely open.  No proprietary software.  Drag/drop files like you would for any USB drive...MTP/UTP whatever.  Do it.  Next, make sure the UI is awesome.  Not good...awesome.  You're going up against the itouch, it needs to be superb.  Next...allow support for just about every format out there, no restrictions!  mp3, flac, ape, avi, mpg, mp4, divx, xvid...everything!  Yes, they will step on some corporate toes by doing so, but how else are you going to distinguish yourself from Apple?  Creating an inferior itunes-like store is not going to work.  Create the device in a way where all most bugs and issues can be fixed EASILY using firmware or software updates.  Do it!!  That's the only way to attack.  You have to choose the few weaknesses that Apple has (which I just listed a couple of) and be the innovators and problem solvers for that stuff.  So when guys like me don't want to get Apple stuff because of their restrictions, we have another option to turn to that doesn't make us compromise on all the other stuff that Apple does well.  That's how you compete.  It's simple economics, business sense.

But i don't see that happening at all.  So year after year, we're going to see Apple get bigger and bigger.  And we will continue to have this debate.

JavaJones

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Re: Five Reasons Why People Hate Apple
« Reply #49 on: December 01, 2010, 06:55:59 PM »
I honestly don't think it's actually that hard to do this though - to leap frog Apple and everyone else. It just takes either A: picking a device category that no one has really made *the* device for yet or B: figuring out a pretty major innovation or other differentiator in an existing category.

One real-world example of this might just be Microsoft's Kinect, actually. They are apparently doing really well in sales right now, and this despite the fact that the current software line-up for it is not that great. They have at least one "killer app" (the dance game), some actually rather nice and innovative hardware that looks decent, and a good existing ecosystem (Xbox). Granted Nintendo did *similar* stuff already, and Sony likewise just debuted theirs (and it's doing alright as well), so maybe it's not quite a good example, but it's close, as close as MS has had since the debut of the XB360 itself.

Another random idea might be to revolutionize the home oven or even the refrigerator. Totally outside of the realm that Apple and most other device manufacturers are in right now, but if you make either one of them more like a computer, their expertise come to bear. Imagine an oven with recipes built-in, Internet connectivity for updates of course (and remote start/stop if you want), a nice easily cleaned touch screen, built-in internal temp sensors (wireless, just press into your roast and the oven detects it), self-cleaning, etc, etc. None of this is particularly difficult or high-tech for the computer industry, but if any such oven does exist today, it probably costs $5000 or more. Ridiculous. A PC manufacturer ought to be able to do something like that, say based on Android, for maybe a $500 premium on the base oven cost, $1000 at most. This is really just a random idea, so it might be silly or impractical, but it just shows that there are plenty of unfulfilled tech needs that might not be *that* hard to tackle.

But let's consider a more normal, perhaps more realistic possible example. Remember this is off the top of my head so it's not likely to be a genuinely *great* idea, but hopefully it illustrates that even with a minimum of real thought you can come up with possible ways to really differentiate a product, *provided* you're willing to spend the time and money and focus in the right areas, primarily user experience (which encompasses industrial design).

Let's say you wanted to revolutionize the desktop computer space, something that really hasn't been done yet (even by Apple), and especially not in the PC market. OK, so how do we do that. What do modern consumers (who aren't already Apple customers) want in such a device? Well, they want good hardware (easy), nice design (slightly harder, but still easy - just hire Lian Li's people :D), an operating system that works with the majority of software out there, they want a well-setup and intuitive user interface with a good suite of existing and functional tools (e.g. iLife and/or iWorks), and they want good user input functionality, plus great connectivity with all their other devices, the Internet, etc.

Now how many of those are already covered by one or more existing vendors? Good hardware? Yep, plenty of that out there. Good industrial design? Less so, but there are some pretty nice all-in-one or small form factor machines coming around from PC manufacturers, not to mention the obvious Apple iMac and Mac Mini systems. Operating system? Win7 and OSX are both decent, with their own sets of quirks, etc. Windows is more broadly compatible. User Interface? Here's where it starts to get less clear. Many people would argue OSX is a better, more seamless UI than Win7. I wouldn't necessarily agree with that, but if nothing else OS X is out because Apple won't sub-license it. So we're left with Win7, which is not so bad (or Linux, but that's out for compatibility reasons for now).

I think something most of us would agree on is that Win7 is not necessarily setup out-of-the-box for the best user experience, so it could do with some expert tweaking of settings. Simply *not* installing a bunch of trialware/adware/crapware is a huge step up from many PC manufacturers these days too, but we're still nowhere near revolutionary territory. How about nice alternative shells and/or themes? Could be some real value there, depending on how they're configured. How about a carefully selected and/or customized suite of software, freeware, open source, and even commercial, to handle all your computing needs, e.g. a highly capable and easy to use (simple) media player, music player, music store, etc, etc, etc? Pick things based on merit alone, not marketing deals and payola. How about pre-installed, pre-configured, well-documented, and clearly available enhancement utilities like FARR (maybe a simplified version, kind of like the Firefox "Awesome Bar" or Google Chrome's address bar), or having Everything (search) installed and available by default, or Circle Dock. Yes, these are all potentially complex programs to setup, and sometimes to use, but you pick based on ease of use, and you *do the configuration for the customer*. Setup good defaults, extend CircleDock to automatically add items to it perhaps, etc. What we're talking about here is basically creating a DC-user-tweaked system *out-of-the-box*, but with a focus not on power but on intuitiveness and ease of use. If you took something like Everything and replaced the default Windows search box, it would have the intuitiveness needed *and* the speed and capability. Just a small example, and I thin it's hard to understand just how powerful this could be if done right, but I'm confident that if the focus were on intuitiveness and ease of use, a good team of people with broad awareness of great tools like the DC community, could really put together - in essence - a great "slipstreamed" OS install.

Still, not revolutionary. What about the input device? Here I think is where the real magic might happen. There was a whole discussion on DC about this a while back, so I won't bother repeating the details here. But long story short, there is great potential in various permutations of touch screen, tactile feedback, and other technologies, to create a new, more intuitive, more powerful, faster and more precise input system from various technologies mostly already developed. It would just take a good amount of in-depth testing and research to really make something great, just like Apple put lots of research time into Apple's famed "click wheel".

So what's the end result of all this? A user gets a beautiful computer, they open it up and it's well packaged and attractive (think Apple packaging but less pretentious?), it has a paper copy of the Eula, with a 1 page simplified real-English version (gasp!). The computer itself is small, sleek, attractive. They plug it in, it requires minimal wires (maybe just power cord - use wireless Internet, pre-paired bluetooth input devices), they turn it on, it boots quickly thanks to an optimized services and drivers list and appropriately timed/delayed startup software options. It doesn't ask for security software immediately because it already has a good, low resource option bundled in (free, won't nag them). It has shortcuts on the desktop to only what they need, or no shortcuts at all if that's determined to be the most intuitive approach and instead apps pinned to the task bar, or maybe CircleDock comes up by default, or some Welcome Screen, or whatever. But the bottom line is it's easy.

Then they want to listen to music, for example. They easily find a clearly labeled Music system, it has a library with some included music, maybe Creative Commons or some singles from major artists, the music has a clearly associated player and it opens to an intuitive music management and playback system, with an integrated store (yes this could even be a tuned Windows Media Player, but could be something else like SongBird too). They go to buy some music, the process is easy and seamless, using merchants/processors they're familiar and comfortable with (e.g. Paypal, Google Check Out, whatever).

Now they want to write a document. They find that a fast, efficient, and intuitive word processor is included, with all commonly used functions easily accessible. Maybe this is Office 2010, maybe it's Libreoffice, maybe StarOffice, maybe something else, but the focus is on efficiency, intuitiveness, and the brand/publisher doesn't matter. It "just works". They save and their default is set to commonly-used and cross-compatible formats - maybe it prompts them asking whether they're distributing the document solely for viewing, or want others to be able to edit it (PDF vs. DOC/ODT output), or maybe it asks if they want to publish to the "cloud" (Google Docs or whatever). It's all built-in.

Now obviously, with the mention of Google Docs above for example, this requires making some choices for the user about what services and software to go with. But that's entirely the point. Set them up with their photos using Picasa and pointing automatically to Picasa Online and they don't have to worry about figuring out where to put their photos. It may not be the single best option for everyone, but it will work for the majority of people very well. This is what such an experience is about. Not marketing partners and adware or trial versions, it's about giving people the tools they need to do what you know most people want to do, quickly and easily.

And all of this of course goes through your fancy new input device, a combination of keyboard, mouse, touch pad, multi-touch, pen input, and more.

Ok, it's all very theoretical and maybe the benefits don't seem huge, but then if you told someone a mere 3 years ago that Apple was going to create a touch-screen phone with nice design and a great UI and a few nice new features (e.g. visual voice mail) and end up ruling the market only 2 years later, when other phones had things like front-facing camera, physical keyboards, and a lot more going for them, people probably would have laughed. Even more so before the success of the iPod, which was really one of Apple's first majorly successful forays outside the core computer market and into "devices". Before the iPod, who would have believed Apple could do this? Much less *how* they did it. How many of us still look at the iPod and go "Why was *that* so successful when these other devices supported 10 times more formats, had no DRM, had FM radio built-in, didn't have overpriced accessories, had bigger capacities for less money, etc."?

The point is these things are often more than the sum of their parts, so even though what I've described above may not sound that impressive, especially to DC veterans who are used to setting all this up from scratch (and it may even sound restrictive in itself - I mean who wants to have their office suite chosen for them, right? :D), nonetheless this is a part of what's appealing about Apple's products: they "just work", out of the box, everything is there and integrated. This is *totally possible* to do on a PC platform base, with the right mix of software, hardware, and services.

Create an excellent user experience, even if it's "cobbled together from lots of customizations to existing systems", and it will impress people. Bundle it with a great ecosystem of services and media, in an attractive package, and then market it well, and you've nailed it. Granted those are a lot of things to get right, but the key is that most of those are well within the capability of today's device giants. Marketing is often the hardest part! But I think companies just don't focus on those kinds of products and experiences. Apparently they'd rather have 20 similar - but slightly different - models, for example. Apple's line-up is simple, clear, powerful, and appealing because of all that. Someone else can do it too, and should.

- Oshyan