[F]or all that it offers, the iPhone has always been plagued by serious drawbacks. The “phone” part of the iPhone has never worked very well, dropping calls with annoying regularity. Even when the phone works, the sound quality is often substandard. You would think in an age when fewer people are using landlines this would matter. Apparently not.
Meanwhile, the iPhone’s lack of a raised keyboard makes it next to impossible to do serious e-mailing. And users have to worry constantly about battery life; if they’re not judicious, the iPhone’s battery can be drained by noon. …
Apple’s chief operating officer, Timothy D. Cook, was asked why Apple wasn’t going with [Verizon’s] faster, newer 4G LTE network. Mr. Cook replied that doing so required “design compromises” that Apple was unwilling to make.
They never make design compromises at Apple. They make consumer compromises. Yet consumers have always been willing to overlook those compromises so they can claim they own some of the coolest products on the planet.
“People so love their devices from Apple that they are willing to put up with the stupidities,” said Larry Keeley, president of the innovation and design firm Doblin. “For many users,” he added, “especially the ones Apple loves the most, the fact that the battery gets balky is how you convince yourself to get a new one.” …
The Apple-AT&T marriage has been a public relations disaster — for AT&T. Its network was quickly overwhelmed, in part because it was subpar, and in part because iPhone owners — with a mobile computer at their fingertips — used astonishing amounts of data: 15 times more than the average smartphone user, and “50 percent more than AT&T itself had projected,” according to Fred Vogelstein, who wrote about the problems for Wired magazine.
Mr. Vogelstein went on to note in his article that the troubles that ensued — the dropped phone calls, the frequent network crashes and so on — were not entirely AT&T’s fault. His Apple sources, he wrote, confirmed to him that “the software running the iPhone’s main radio, known as baseband, was full of bugs and contributed to the much-decried dropped calls.” But since Apple walks on water, and AT&T doesn’t, it was easy for Apple to place all the blame on its wireless carrier. Which it gleefully did. …
Here’s the shocker, though. According to Gartner, in the second quarter of 2009, Android sales constituted 1.8 percent of all smartphones sold, compared with Apple’s 13 percent. By the second quarter of 2010 — just a year later — Android was actually outselling Apple, 17.2 percent to 14.2 percent. This must have been a shock to the system at Apple — it was being outdone by an uncool competitor.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Joe Nocera on the iPhone
With Verizon, iPhone’s Flaws May Become More Apparent - NYTimes.com