Here at SME, we love Apple products, and not just because as an app company the App Store is very important to us. Within the team, we have a few iPhones, at least 4 Macs, a couple of iPads and an Apple Watch. Personally, I have been using Macs since 2000 when it could be so tricky to find compatible software that you had to really want to use a Mac. As somebody who bought the first iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch on release day I was probably at one point a bit of an Apple fanboy. But is this love affair over? Recently there has been a feeling that Apple is slipping, other companies are releasing products that are, if not better, perhaps more interesting than what Apple is coming up with, think of phones by the likes of Oneplus, or Huawei, or the Microsoft Surface Range.
The recent catalogue of faults and issues haven’t helped this perception either, whether it’s the startup fault that meant Macs could be logged into without a password, or the iOS 11 clock bug that could cause phones to crash. When Apple has an issue it becomes very public very quickly.
The HomePod has just been released, Apples first move into the home audio and smart speaker market and it has been praised for its sound quality. What most people will have noticed from reviews though is the criticism, Siri on the HomePod is a stripped down version of what is already sat on your iPhone and doesn’t compete with Alexa or Google Home. Whilst you can use the likes of Spotify by using AirPlay to get full use of the HomePod you need an Apple Music account, and you need an iOS device for setup meaning any Android users using Apple Music won’t be able to set it up. I am sure most of these issues will be fixed in later software updates at the moment the HomePod doesn’t feel like an attempt to woo new customers instead it’s aimed at those already swimming happily in Apples pool.
We are just getting past batterygate, the revelation that Apple slowed down the performance of older devices. Whilst this was just an attempt to preserve battery life and avoid unexpected shutdowns the fact that Apple had impacted the performance of peoples phones in a software update caused a lot of publicity, to such an extent that they were forced to slash the price of their battery replacement program, and from iOS11 this feature can be deactivated.
Even the first Apple Watch was barely usable when first released. Apps took an age to open, so rather than being able to glance at the watch to get the info required it was almost always quicker to pick up your phone and find what was needed on there. It wasn’t until Watch OS3 that is becoming a genuinely useful device. I am not sure if this would have happened a few years ago.
Have things truly changed that much? Was there a golden era when Apple truly was a perfect company? Certainly, the Steve Jobs years for all of the remarkable products released was not without its problems. I still remember receiving a free bumper to wrap around my iPhone 4 because holding it a certain way could cause calls to fail as the antenna was placed around the edge of the device, and the first version of Mobile Me (later iCloud) was so bad that Jobs publicly fired the lead engineer. Even the first iPhone one of the most important pieces of tech ever released was a barely finished product released without 3g functionality or the ability to copy/paste text amongst other things. But we didn’t seem to mind then, all we saw was the ambition of Apple, what they were trying to do, they were giving us a tantalising glimpse into the future.
Maybe we just expect too much of Apple, rather than admire them for releasing truly brilliant pieces of technology we can’t help but feel a little let down when a new release isn’t groundbreaking, the thought that they are just another tech company feels a little disappointing. Maybe we have moved on, perhaps it is down to the likes of Tesla to provide the real thrills now. I will still buy Apple products, regardless of any faults or problems they are still in most cases the very best you can buy, but I don’t think I will ever feel the buzz of genuine excitement I felt when I opened my first iPod or iPhone and to me at least that’s a little bit sad.
Comment below what you think of Apple…