What? Another Apple iOS Device ‘Doomed to Fail?’

The New NyPhone! With Wretchina Display!
If I worked for Apple, I would already have been fired for this.

With Apple’s latest product about to be finalized, I am left wondering: Will the tech pundits ever give up and simply admit that it doesn’t matter what they say, the next Apple iOS device — even if it sucks — will sell millions upon millions? No matter what legacy technology Apple makes the “mistake” of not building into the device, millions of regular users won’t care, and a third party will make an accessory that takes care of its function.

Hopefully the sixth iPhone — what everyone is referring to as “the iPhone 5” — will not be called “The New iPhone,” but I wouldn’t bet against it. Sure complicated product names such as “The Infinorator ED-209 IV S” are unwieldy, but trying to search for specific, current information using the words “New iPad” or simply “iPhone” is an exercise in frustration. Either way — a silly name or lack of a tech-pundit-declared “essential” feature — the new iPhone and its rumored sibling will be popular.

Sure, it will have a faster processor and wireless throughput, a better screen and longer battery life. It might even have Near Field Communication (not that it will matter within the next year), or a larger amount of RAM. But the most important thing to the image-conscious majority of people who buy them will be the “new” feeling. As truly novel features are added, a greater percentage will never be used by a majority of users. I don’t fall into this category, but I realize that in order to get these killer new features that others will discover in three or five years, we have to bling up the marketing speak: “4G,” “carbon fiber,” “near-field,” “WiMax,” “WiGig,” “B Arthur!” (Okay, that last one is a joke, but you get the idea.)

‘We Have The Technology’

The new iPhone will be a virtual Six Million Dollar Man of a phone: guaranteed to be “better, sleeker, faster.” But still, articles about executives turning to their blackberries to get “real work” done will crop up — completely ignoring the plethora of inexpensive third-party Bluetooth iPhone keyboard cases that will also give tactile feedback. Such takedown pieces won’t put a dent in sales.

As always, the lack of some “essential” feature will be addressed by some innovative company. Only 64GB internal storage? There’s Seagate’s GoFlex Satellite. No SD slot? (See previous remark.) No HDMI output? There’s always Airplay Video Mirroring, and Cables “kind of suck” once you are used to streaming audio across the room via WiFi using AirPlay or Bluetooth using its A2DP. Frankly, I say good riddance to the plethora of physical connection standards. That’s why I am pretty stoked about the new 802.11ac (draft 3.0) devices and the upcoming 802.11ad standard.

I can only hope that Apple was also waiting with baited breath for 802.11ac devices. Who needs Gigabit Ethernet ports built in when you have 1300Mbps 802.11ac at your disposal. And next year I will be talking about how awesome direct point-to-point 802.11ad is at 60GHz with its mind-blowing 7Gbps  peak throughput. But that discussion is for later. Will Apple have 802.11ac in the next iPhone? Hopefully. Is it absolutely critical that it have this or any new feature? Not until a tipping point of people have it.

At this point in the popularity bell curve, Apple could Photoshop in the new iPhone in place of nyan cat and have a hit product. XKCD could lampoon this “portamanmeme” and still not make a dent in the sell-through. (In fact, I just took a few minutes and made one — the image up top. I think Apple should run with it. As SNL’s obnoxious tech, Nick Burns, used to say: “You’re welcome!”)

Despite the ad campaigns detailing how cool this or that phone is, the important thing to do is to get a product that suits your needs — not the image you want to project. Don’t buy something because someone else bought one, and don’t get caught up in the hype. If you run only Macs at home or like the easy interface, then an iPhone is a logical choice. If you are going to tinker with your phone for fun, Android is the logical choice. Blackberries are still great if you only care about email and good time management. If you want something easy, skip the “smart” altogether and just get a dumbphone. Seriously, you’ll save hundreds on not having to pay for a data plan. I haven’t gotten my hands on a WP8 for more than a few minutes, so I can’t say who those would appeal to.

Front Page Image: Gizmodo

5 Responses to “What? Another Apple iOS Device ‘Doomed to Fail?’”

  1. Yes in the short they will have success but their is too much competition to come out with a “bad” iOS device. Android is too good and Windows phone is no longer bad. Apples iPhone refresh cycle is too long to survive a bad iOS device. They’d risk Adroid’s continued momentum making any iOS device following a “bad” iOS device unable to live up to expectations.

    • Even a “bad” iOS device is better than a majority of the competing devices out there right now. Android is getting better, but still has more interface and integration tweaks needed to be a true competitor in terms of fit and finish to iOS. The real momentum that Android has is that it is perceived as “new” and open. Most people who buy it either don’t know what “OS” means or they know and want to tweak it, modify it and play with it. However, given Google’s closing down of parts of it, the perception of it being open might wane. The latest quarter’s sales figures show that consumers are tiring of the hip image Android has bandied about.

      Perception of quality is much more important a factor than actual quality as far as brands are concerned. Android is no longer the new kid on the block, so it is important that the next Android OS really close the gap. Also, the perception of iOS is so stellar, that one bad product would only hurt it a bit.

      On the flip side, there are a lot of crappy Android devices. So it will take a lot to repair its image among disappointed Android owners that are now looking to upgrade away from— what one of my friends referred to as—“that horrid phone.” From my personal interactions, people tend to move from one platform to another if they are unhappy with their first choice or forced to thanks to their platform being end of life (such as WebOS). The difference is that more people that pick Android first are unhappy than people that pick iOS first. When you have a weakness, it will be exploited. And Android owners are constantly told, “dude, just get an iPhone”almost every time they complain about some bug in their phone to someone with an iPhone. The reverse is also true, but much less common.

      And pulling out my magic 8-ball, I predict the next iPhone will not suck. It will probably have the “.0” blues, but once the bugs are ironed out, it will be pretty rocking. I know a good number of people planning on upgrading to it. Currently, about 75% of the people in my circle of friends use iPhones. Usually when they complain to me about some iOS shortcoming, I either agree and say “I hope Apple fixes/adds that,” or tell them how to fix it.

  2. Most definitely. I am not saying Apple has not had failures. They have had quite a few: Apple IIIgs, Pippin, the Cube & the 20th Anniversary Mac {both arguably}, OpenDoc… However their product failures are mostly in the past.

    Specifically, iOS devices have never flopped. The last mobile apple device to be widely panned was the first iPod, and we all know what happened with that.

    One point of this article is that Apple could coast and return to the Dark Ages Apple — run by a board out of touch with its own market, releasing products that fracture its own market into shards, etc. However, it won’t. The management is too strong, too focused. The product road map is still there for at least the next year. And iOS devices are on rails just as the laptops are: incremental feature and hardware advances on he bleeding edge, old product becoming the second tier, and solid price points.

    Since OS X was released Apple has been on a ramp up. First only 2 cylinders were firing (OS X & iMacs). So some things had to go: Newton was ahead of its time actually & Power Computing had to be killed for its cannibalization. Then 4 cylinders were firing: OS X, iPod, iTMS, MacBooks. Now we have 2 more cylinders in the form of iPhones and iPads. There are still a few more cylinders Apple could tap, but they will be niches for sometime.

    Hey, I heard AppleTV now has Hulu Plus built in…

  3. James E. LaBarre

    Yawn, another grossly over-hyped “smartphone”. iPhone, Android, WinMobile, etc; don’t care about ANY of them (well, I *do* like Android as a Tablet OS, just not a phone one). I’m doing quite well with my LG VX5800, have no need for anything more (heck, for that matter the camera in that phone is entirely *useless*, since you can’t get the pictures off the phone anyway)

    • Then that last paragraph was for you. If you do not need a smartphone, don’t buy one. Seriously, save your money if you have no need of mobile internet, apps etc. But my smartphone has saved me many many times its price and a good portion of the data fees thanks to apps mentioned in my article about saving money here. Price matching stores—especially ones that will price match vs. the internet—are your friend.

      About your LG “Chocolate”:
      Have you tried pairing the VX8500 with your computer via bluetooth and then trying to browse the device or sending the file via bluetooth? If you do not have bluetooth on your computer, an inexpensive Bluetooth adapter can be found online. If you figure out how to transfer pictures it might bring new life to your old phone. Reviews said that the camera on those is decent. (Do not pay more than $20 for a BT4, or $10 for a BT3 or less. Personally, I like B&H Photo, NewEgg and monoprice for electronics and cables, but I do not think I can officially endorse any of them since I am not sure who the sponsors are. {I never see most web advertising thanks to heavy filtering of the ad networks.})