(You're reading all posts by Mike Elgan) Mike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
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FaceTime just keeps getting better. The recent addition of audio calls in iOS 7 is great news, right? Well, sort of.
There are plenty of apps in the App Store that let you make calls over your data connection rather than through the carrier’s phone network.
FaceTime audio calls are great — something that Google+ Hangouts have had for a long time. (Hangouts actually lets you add a voice call to a group video Hangout.) They enable free international calls, for starters. The protocols underlying FaceTime enable high-quality audio calls.
More importantly, they give users one more reason to get into the FaceTime habit.
Unfortunately, FaceTime has a fatal flaw. It’s still — inexplicably — an exclusive phone system for Apple customers to call each other. What kind of phone system is that?
The din of offhand, dismissive criticism from the Android fan base that Apple never innovates should be silenced, at least for awhile, given that Apple now sells the only dual-tone LED flash; the only 64-bit mobile CPU; the only 64-bit OS; the fastest touch-screen performance phones by far; the only wide-scale deployment of Multipath TCP; and the only useful, usable and widely used fingerprint scanner ever placed on any consumer electronics device.
Yes, there’s plenty of petty grousing. And who knows what competitors will ship tomorrow?
But today, it’s clear that Apple rules the smartphone market.
The Android fan critics now also have to contend with a razor sharp, concise rebuttal to the cacophony of general criticism of Apple by Apple VP Craig Federighi: “New is easy. Right is hard.” He said that after referring to Samsung by saying that Apple “didn’t start opportunistically with 10 bits of technology that we could try to find a use for to add to our features list.” Ouch!
Unfortunately, iOS 7 is going to cause some huge problems that nobody is talking about yet, but will do when the unwanted bricking epidemic starts.
Apple disappointed Wall Street by announcing an iPhone 5C that isn’t cheap. As a result, Apple’s stock price took a hit.
That’s the polite way to say it. Let’s usher all the financial industry people out of the room so I can tell you the blunt truth. Ready?
Wall Street has systemic blind spots and institutional biases that make it incapable of appreciating where Apple is headed. And they demonstrated all that this week by focusing on all the wrong things.
In general, analysts were expecting a $400 iPhone 5C. But Apple announced one starting at $549 — not a budget or low-cost phone by any measure. Apple’s stock price dropped about 5% and stayed there.
Overemphasizing the wrong information — whether or not Apple would compete in the budget smartphone category — speaks volumes about Wall Street’s myopic, misguided and clueless understanding of consumer electronics and Apple’s role in it.
Here are the five reasons why Wall Street is wrong about Apple.
Everybody likes whining about Apple. The company doesn’t innovate anymore, critics say. Their new phones are boring, the same old wine in a line of colorful new bottles. The “S” releases are always just tweaks of yesterday’s iPhone, and are not fundamentally different. Android phones dominate global market share, and have caught up to and zoomed past Apple in every relevant way.
The naysayers can say nay all they want: Apple’s iOS market share numbers are about to explode like an iPhone 5 plugged in with a cheap Chinese charger.
Apple was found guilty in July of conspiring with publishers to fix the price of eBooks. As punishment, Apple must delete existing contracts with publishers and negotiate new ones, one at a time to avoid new conspiracy. The government is also pushing for Apple to let Amazon and others sell their books from Apple’s iPhones and iPads.
The whole story is framed like this: Apple and publishers are the bad guys, conspiring against victim Amazon to screw readers out of reasonably priced eBooks. So government, the hero, steps in and sets it right. Everyone lives happily every after.
It sounds like a bad fairy tale. Unfortunately, the true story that nobody is telling is actually something of a Shakespearean tragedy.
Here’s the true and tragic story of how Apple ended up helping Amazon become the Mother of All Monopolies.
Apple is still moving forward to build its $5 billion, 176-acre campus Cupertino “spaceship” Campus 2 headquarters, expected to open in three years.
Critics have been attacking it since Steve Jobs first proposed it to the Cupertino City Council.
And since that poignant moment, which was Jobs’s last public appearance, the campus project has evolved and changed and, as I write this, the old HP buildings on the property are being demolished.
Here’s what we know about the spaceship campus so far, and also what the critics have been saying.
The most vocal and active iPhone and Android fans scoff at the notion that Moto X is the new iPhone. But it’s true.
The iPhone used to represent the most elegant, innovative and fun-to-use smartphone for everybody. That status has now been taken by Motorola’s new “Google phone,” the Moto X.
The new Jobs movie hits Friday, August 16th in theaters. And it’s not going to be pretty.
The movie covers the life of the late Apple co-founder and CEO from 1971, before the founding of Apple, to 2001, when Jobs announces the iPod, thus setting the company on the path to glory and dominance.
You’re going to hate the movie. Here’s why.
It feels like Apple is falling way behind. But I don’t think that’s true.
I believe Apple puts enormous brain power and good judgement into envisioning the Next Big Thing. It takes them a long time to get it to market. But once it’s there, they iterate to perfect the original vision.
In the year or two after Apple launches an iPhone or an iPad, everybody falsely believes Apple can do nothing wrong.
But then, as we get further away from the last launch and closer to the next one, everybody falsely believes Apple can do nothing right.
Completely separate and unrelated to false perceptions about Apple, Google lately has been on fire. And lately they’ve been kicking butt not only in their traditional role of algorithm-based Internet services, but also in Apple’s sandboxes—namely design and hardware.
Apple has never been the kind of company that copies out of a lack of vision. Nor have they avoided copying.
What’s great about Apple is that they develop an ultra-clear vision about how to maximize the user experience, then they make that experience happen regardless of whether the solutions have to be invented, copied or—most commonly—Apple’s own unique spin on something invented elsewhere.
There are many ways in which Apple should not copy Google. But there are six ways Apple should copy Google and, in doing so, make Apple a better company with better products.
I’ve written a lot about Apple’s ability to create new markets, which may be among its chief contributions to the world.
In several cases, from media players to multi-touch phones to tablets, others in the industry have tried to get a market going without success.Then Apple came along with a bold, killer information appliance and not only dominated the market, but created it.
I’ve notice a new trend lately: Now markets are being created based substantially on nothing more than the expectation that Apple will enter it with a killer product.