Apple iPhone Launch – Awesome

July 12, 2008 at 8:42 pm 4 comments

Running Apple hardware and software on an AT&T network…can’t say I’m really that surprised by this. 

“Hi.  I’m Apple.  Everything about me will be more difficult than it needs to be, and costs more than it should.”

It starts with Apple still maintaining its proprietary (read “frustrating”) stance on its products.  It got into a proprietary deal with AT&T to run its product solely on their network (think of the opposite of Blackberry) and then took it to the next level by forbidding you to activate your new phone from anywhere except an AT&T store.  The AT&T store then uses it’s network to connect to iTunes to activate your phone.  Haven’t used iTunes?  It’s a tremendous beating on its own but now only the go-getter behind the cell phone counter can get you rolling.  It does sound like a good idea!  

The Apple systems (and the AT&T network they partnered with) couldn’t handle the load, which paled in comparison to the first release, anyway.  By all reports the process slowed – not to a crawl, but it ground down to a complete halt. 

Its not like they didn’t know (a) How many people would want to activate based on last year’s launch (this year was far less) or (b) How many phones they sold to AT&T shops.  You know you’ve got “x” amount of phones on shelves and you expect “x” amount of people to buy the product.  You know that activation takes “x” amount of resources and takes “x” amount of time.  Maybe they need to get some MCSE’s and MCDBA’s in their organization. 

But the fun doesn’t stop there.  For the people with generation 1 of the iPhone, they weren’t left out of Apple’s glorious software SNAFU.  The generation 1 owners were told they could go to iTunes to get their new firmware upgrade.  The exact same iTunes problem affecting the new iPhones was also affecting the old iPhone.  Now that’s just…amazing.  That wonderful iTunes platform was crashing all the iPhones!  It’s so hard to believe that the Apple platform isn’t more popular, isn’t it? 

Lines of angry Apple customers unable to turn on their phone.  By contrast most phones require a 30 second phone call to activate…if that.  And you can activate it anywhere.  Order online and the phones are activated when they arrive, I just take them out of the box and turn them on.  Apple – always the contrarian. 

This is similar with MP3 players.  My Creative players plug in to any PC with no software required – zilch. And this is with any PC made this century.  You just plug it in and 3 seconds later it’s ready to use.  You can synch with any software media player. Or…you can just drag-drop from within the OS. 

An iPod is no good unless you first load Apple’s proprietary software.  You can’t even charge it over USB without loading their software.  A non-iPod player transfers files in both directions with no hoops to jump through and no caveats.  iPod – not so much.  A non-iPod appears to your PC as a drive and therefore can store not just media files, but any file (it doubles as a jump drive).  Around our house we have 4 or 5 Creative media players and all of them have more features than an iPod, are easier to use than an iPod, and are about 2/3 of the price of an iPod. 

I’ll give it to Apple, they’ve got great marketing and funny commercials.  But horsepower behind that technology?  Not a chance.  There’s a reason only 4% of the desktops in the world are Apple and this iPhone launch illustrates why.  When it comes down to it, (1) the people behind the company continually make the product hard to work with and (2) when it comes to heavy lifting, Apple just can’t get it done.

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Pay-to-Use, a Great Idea Telemarketing on Cell Phones

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. metroxing  |  July 13, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    No problems here. Looks like a few loud complainers got in the early word but everything went smoothly for most people. Got a new phone – activated in minutes – updated my old phone through itunes. Bought and downloaded like 15 apps – for some reason, YELP didn’t work but that’s hardly Apple’s fault. Everything works great – getting PUSH enail now, playing Monkey Ball and watching baseball video clips with one push. I think my experience is like most – smooth and awesome.

  • 2. JS  |  July 13, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    If you use Windows on anything you are using the most proprietary software on the planet. WMA, WMV, WGA, Internet exploiter, Direct X, Janus, Plays-For-Sure, Windows mobile the list goes on & on. All brought to you by MS to maintain a monopoly.

  • 3. Brent  |  July 14, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I bet this story got you a lot of hits. Congrats.

    Have you ever used an iPhone or a Mac, or are you just pandering to the lowest common denominator to get the hits? Just curious.

  • 4. goearth  |  July 17, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Hey all, thanks for reading and posting. Will try to answer JS and Brent briefly.
    JS: We can play WMA files on a host of different platforms (not just Windows) from in-home CD players, in-home DVD, car stereos, 50 or so makers of mp3/portable media players, and many software media players. Not so with Apple’s format – their music file is restricted to their proprietary players made by Apple. WMV is similar, plays on multiple hardware players and is not restricted to MS only. There are several browsers to choose from. DirectX programming API’s were built to allow other companies to use the platform (allow others to program on your platform is not proprietary). Janus is the DRM implementation from MS – Apple has its own DRM implementation. (Thankfully, DRM is on the decline and a couple of places off DRM-free files, including iTunes). Plays for Sure is a certification program to weed out the crappy vendors (like Coby). This is helpful because MS has SO many vendors who sell eqipment to play WMA’s – this is the opposite of proprietary. Windows Mobile – that’s an OS. I’m going to have allow that the maker of the most popular OS…is allowed to create operating systems, right? (That’s their business). Like the browsers, there are several other choices in mobile OS platforms (though none from Apple). To say that Apple is less proprietary is…well, you see…they are built on “proprietary”.

    Brent: Macs are part of the network and support them. But…You are correc – I don’t use a Mac. I have a slew of hosts on an international network and I can’t manage all that on an Apple Mac (unless I use the Mac to remote into a Windows machine, of course). If I replaced 250 PC’s with 250 Macs I would have to double my support staff. At home I use a PC because they are more flexible, have more applications, and cost far less. The lower cost allows us to have several of them in the house.

    I’ve never used an iPhone – looks like a cool interface. Interfaces don’t make the machine and just as before the interface will be copied and placed on top of a system with more horsepower, more features, and a lower price (like – the Samsung Instinct, $130 w/ contract, rec’d 8 of 10 from CNET).

    My experience with Apple was solidified after owning a Nano for a month…What a beating! That’s the best media player on the market like Jose Cuervo is the best tequila on the market. But at least Jose doesn’t overcharge you. I gave the Nano to my kid who used it for about the same amount of time before going back to a Creative Zen (those things are 100 times better than an iPod at a fraction of the cost).

    I think the whole proprietary activation system with iTunes and AT&T was/is funny and the firmware failure on the old models at the same time…good stuff. If you love your iPhone like Metroxing, that’s awesome! To each his own, no doubt. I’m not ripping on people who purchase the iPhone – if you like it, buy 3 of them. I’m laughing at those who designed the network/applications behind it and implemented it thinking it was a good idea to limit the activation to the AT&T stores.

    Thanks again for the posts!


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