Bridging the Apple Community and Keeping Tabs on the Rumor Mill.

Ditching the iPhone? I'll Bet WinMo Has What You Want

As of late, we have three prominent names publicly ditching the iPhone. Om Malik, from GigaOm, Michael Arrington from TechCrunch, and one person who's inspired me for ages, macintosh developer Steven Frank from Panic, inc. here in Portland, Oregon. While I have no qualms with their decisions to ditch the iPhone, I'm having a tough time understanding what the hell they're talking about.

stock1The iPhone is a big deal... Period. It radically changed the entire mobile industry. Since its launch in 2007, Apple has clobbered sales records and the iPhone revenue bomb continues to explode. This single piece of technology and the services around it, including the thriving developer community, close the gap even further between human nature and technology. The vision that good technology should be indistinguishable from magic has clearly shown through with the iPhone. In fact, it's so intuitive, so easy to use, and so powerful, that when people consider leaving the device due to whatever reason(s), they second guess themselves so much, that they ultimately settle on announcing a personal ban against Apple and AT&T. And you know as they hit that "Publish" button, they regretted it.

Why not just jailbreak the device? Does the need for one app make you ignore the years of work that have gone into this thing? Without the iPhone, you wouldn't even have a second, comparable device to switch over to! So perhaps you're bored with it? Perhaps the arrangement of icons on the homescreen is driving you nuts? The dropped calls, poor reception, constant ludicrous prices... Perhaps you hate AT&T with a passion! I do too! And still, NONE of these reasons are good enough to even consider ditching the iPhone.

Some of you may swear this off as just another Apple freak gushing about his toy... So if that's the way you take this, just stop reading. But for those that can actually sit down and relate with what Apple has done time and time again, and what they've publicly said (time and time again), you'll see that these public denouncements of the iPhone, and these "I'll pay $175 to leave AT&T" are just people with personal gripes, a large audience, and a little too much time on their hands.

When Apple released the iPhone they were all singing a different tune. They were willingly hopping on the Apple train, ditching Verizon, t-mobile and everything in between to snatch up iPhones. Even though everyone knew how incredibly shitty Cingular's AT&T's service was before the iPhone was even released. Through a little bit of common sense, anyone would know that the network would only degrade as millions of content heavy devices were sold to everyone you know. And now with the App Store, Apple has said time and time again that it's their store and they'll do what they want with it.

The problem with these public outcries, is that maybe the tiniest sliver of people who Apple actually gives a shit about reads these articles. You think the millions of people around the world buying iPhones know who Michael Arrington is? Or Om Malik? I don't think so. Apple doesn't care who does and doesn't use an iPhone. All they care about is the masses seeing Alec Baldwin hold it up in 30Rock. You think Google Voice is such a big deal that you would leave the iPhone for it? I personally know people who use Google Voice, and it's not a walk in the park. In a nutshell, if you love Linux and searching for the proper drivers for hours, then you'll love Google Voice! And the explanation Michael Arrington has outlined for porting your phone number, is akin to calling up an outsourced ISP and setting up managed hosting... A fucking nightmare.

There have been no good reasons as of yet to ditch the iPhone... Perhaps if you were on a call with the president, talking about Iran's nuclear initiatives and the call dropped, that would make sense. But none of these people's calls are so important that they can't communicate via SMS. They're all on twitter, they're used to it! One app? A few dropped calls? Poor reception? To leave the single greatest technological advancement in our time since the macintosh? What it is... Is sad.

Whether you love or hate Apple or AT&T, the iPhone is absolutely hands down the best mobile device in the world. Yes, it sucks that we have to deal with bullshit surrounding our service, reception and now the app store, but as long as ANY mobile carriers are involved, it will never change.

For fucks sake, if you have such monumental issues with the thing.... jailbreak it... It's not that hard.

21 Responses »

  1. So if any of these folks' hard drive crashed, would they ditch their macintosh?

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  2. i was so close to buying a palm pre. then realized there was nothing i could use it for. no apps. nothing. bogus.

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  3. "Why not just jailbreak the device?"

    Because people never know when Apple will release an update that will brick the jailbroken iPhone. There is also no warranty for jailbroken iPhone. I want my iPhone to be reliable and have no problem.

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    FreeRange @ February 21st, 2010 at 3:58 pm
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    Duh - so don't.

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  4. I'm not sure what your criteria for "best mobile device in the world" is, but as a WinMo power user (AT&T Fuze) and even with the well-known WinMo headaches, whenever I go head-to-head with an iPhone user comparing device capabilities, features and even software (making my phone a Wi-Fi hotspot, for instance...now using an on-board Google Voice app), I crush them. Admittedly, the 3GS has closed the gap in some key ways, but it still doesn't match top-of-the line WinMo phones. In the hands of an average user, the OSes are probably equal so I can see why they'd favor the iCandy, but for true techies...please.

    That aside, the problems with your POV:

    1) Apple has damn near made it a business cozying up to the tastemakers, the techies, the gadget elite. Word from on high Mount Geek is critical in its marketing strategies. If enough of these influential people bolt, Apple and its customers will notice. The insignificant Michael Arrington has over 1 million twitter followers and more than 3 million people get TechCrunch's RSS feed, according to reports. Add in those that have also bolted, David Pogue (if he gets fed up), others contemplating leaving, the ENORMOUS amount of negative mainstream press this is generating, and long-term it could be a problem for Apple.

    2) You're being short-sighted. Most of the people bolting say this latest decision is just the final straw. Like you, they've put up with AT&T's network, iPhone shortcomings and App Store nonsense for years. But they did it with the thought - hope - that there would be some relief, some end in sight. But Apple's choice to make such rash decisions about a product that is increasing geometrically in popularity - and not even explain itself to the public, consumers or even developers - is ridiculous. And it hints at things to come as the grip on the App Store gets tighter, not looser as is the way of all things in nature. So people are supporting platforms open to innovations and continuous development. My next phone will be an Android phone, personally, because Google has the cash and incentive to fund massive ongoing development with only the tiniest restrictions (tethering). (Prediction: Android will in the near-future be the dominant mobile platform.) Now, I don't use Apple products so maybe that's the way it always is with this company, but if so you Apple guys must really get off on that S&M relationship.

    3) You view Apple with reverence and that's fine, but not everyone is willing to put up with whatever this company decides to dish out....especially without constructive dialogue from the company. Everyone has a breaking point, and one day, the iPhone will hit yours when something you want or need is denied capriciously and your reexamine the backwards logic of the App approval process. The day is fast-approaching when Apple's toy won't be the shiniest - or the only shiny thing - on the block. Guaranteed, it's tune will change, along with yours.

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    FreeRange @ February 21st, 2010 at 4:03 pm
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    Excuse me but you have no idea what you are talking about. WinMo is an absolute joke from an absolute joke of a company that has continuously screwed their customers over the years with their buggy, bloated, overpriced software. And you want to sing their praises???? Yes you are a techie of the techtard variety. And if you don't use Apple products, don't try to sling mud at products and a company you know nothing about.

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  5. @D: Thanx for the great insight. Coming from a WinMo power user, I expect nothing less than intelligent and clever remarks. Using that operating system must keep you sharp on your toes... Can't press wrong buttons or the whole thing might implode ;)

    Anyways... I see what you're saying... Everyone has a breaking point, but I just can't fathom how anybody who was so in love with this device, so willingly joyous with glee when it was announced, then hounded it for 6 months until it shipped, can now, because of ANY of the shortcomings it has, can simply leave it for something else, and then publicly denounce the platform.

    It's a shame, because like you said, Arrington is not insignificant, in fact, he's DAMN influential, but that still doesn't justify bailing on the device in such a way.

    "The day is fast-approaching when Apple’s toy won’t be the shiniest - or the only shiny thing - on the block. Guaranteed, it’s tune will change, along with yours." - I just can't agree with this anymore. The iPhone revenue bomb is proven, it grows friggin exponentially over time and the sales are insane! It's truly a global device... We saw what Apple did with MP3 market share, probably going to go the same way with the iPhone OS and the diversity in that product line.

    Microsoft, is an entirely different bag of worms. They aren't relevant in the slightest anymore. In fact, I don't even feel comfortable talking about them here because they are so much removed from what matters these days, nobody reacts to any of their moves... Contrary to a company like Apple, who when they wipe their ass, it makes global headlines.

    The iPhone OS cannot be compared to Android, Palm's webOS,or WinMo... I'm sorry... Forget about the eye-candy, forget about the slick UI. You ever tried to play any games on that WinMo device of yours? What about GPS? What about video? What's your favorite twitter client? And e-mail? How's that treating you?

    I understand your position... and I respect what you're saying... but it still doesn't address the fact that these people would be singing a different tune if their personal little dilemmas were solved.

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  6. Agreed. Everyone has their personal annoyances and Apple isn't under any obligation to address the desires of every individual. Now, if we're arguing sales and influence, you win. The iPhone is a global success (getting in China would be even more massive). But I'm a device user and not really focused on sales and mass appeal.

    I don't want to turn this into another WinMo vs. iPhone vs. New OS post, so I'll stick with Apple's business practices. What business decision, in your mind, would justify bailing on the iPhone? Arrington was willing to put up with AT&T and all the iPhones shortcomings....but he didn't want to put up with that AND an even more restrictive App store that will likely get even more strict (abusive, depending on who you ask) in the future. It was too much. Others, who also put up with certain issues for years, also bailed after whatever their last straws were. Granted, they did it in part to make a statement to Apple, who may or may not be moved. But some people actually vote with their dollars and don't want to just bitc online. They actually want change. Funny enough, the same reason people are bailing on WinMo - a staunch giant who, no matter what the complaints, insisted on doing things its own way. Blind support isn't the path to innovation and openness. Finally, are you saying no matter what Apple does - or doesn't do - the iPhone's sheer greatness can overcome it?

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  7. No, I'm not saying that the iPhone can or will overcome every single obstacle thrown its way. But what I am saying is that these influential people in all their greatness, are bailing on the most important platform and piece of technology this world has seen, arguably since the mac.

    How does that make sense?

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  8. You gotta be a real Chaiwalla to be using Google voice on your cell phone anyways.

    Chchcha chi chch chi chch chi chi walla.

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  9. Seems like the FCC is getting involved in the Apple, AT&T, Google imbroglio. Doesn't mean they'll side with Google but based on some of the questions they're asking Apple and AT&T, they seem to be leaning in the direction of Google, especially since Google Voice apps are available on other phones on AT&T's networks and drew no concern. And all of the functionality in Google voice - potentially VoIP, SMS, visual voicemail, etc. - can still be done on the iPhone and with apps currently approved. Do you think any of this would have happened without Arrington and the outrage of the others or if everyone just said "the iPhone is still the best phone EVER. just let this slide?" Apple will ultimately cave, the App store will be better without the heavy-handed tactics and customers will benefit. No thanks to the legion of Apple apologists.

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  10. I just got a VERIZON BLACKBERRY TOUR.
    I really wanted the iPhone but I'd NEVER go with AT$T for numerous reasons.
    I really like my BB now too.
    Maybe if Apple ever wakes up to Verizon and stops their crap with messing with the apps, I might get one.

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  11. A lot of iPhone users started out (or ended up) as Mac users. As such, it's surprising to me that someone like Panic's Steven Frank would ditch the iPhone over what it CAN'T do vs. what it does better than anything out there. Being an Apple user has always involved a certain amount of compromise. Want to play the latest and greatest games? Get a PC, not a Mac. Want a version of Quickbooks for your business that doesn't suck ass? Get a PC, not a Mac. Hell, want to tamper with the guts of your computer and install a buttugly neon fish tank and 1,001 overclock ready jet engine fans? Get a PC, not a Mac.

    Speaking as someone with an iPhone 3G and a BlackBerry Bold, yes - there are some things that other phones just do a little bit better. I can type the crap out of a long email on the BB, my iPhone emails are shorter and sweeter. IMHO the BB makes a slightly clearer phone call and I can dial it without looking at it. And that's where the advantages end.

    I had the misfortune of finally getting to play with an Android G1 the other day and the experience left me wanting my old Palm Treo 650. WinMo? Uh huh - that makes sense. A full decade of failure in the palm of your hand. Sign me up.

    My guess here is that there are a certain amount of people in tech-blog-land that see the iPhone becoming the mobile device of choice, see 12 year olds walking about with them, and suddenly feel like they themselves aren't very high-tech anymore. I get it. We were special people when we all have the first iPhone, now we're all just another asshole with an all-too-common phone. Bummer.

    Damn you Apple. Damn you for being successful.

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    Give ItUp @ August 15th, 2009 at 2:05 pm
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    You have just proven why the iphone and apple are in fact inferior to others. Are you proud that 12 year olds are on a cell phone getting fat instead of playing in the park? Are you proud that as a consumer you are willing, no want to, compromise because you are beholden to apple for some reason?

    Oh, let me point out something else to you: The ONLY positive reason you gave for loving the iphone is not liking the G1 and Treo 650. All your other reasons were reasons to get a pc, not a mac:)

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  12. @RobertWagner: "A lot of iPhone users started out (or ended up) as Mac users. As such, it’s surprising to me that someone like Panic’s Steven Frank would ditch the iPhone over what it CAN’T do vs. what it does better than anything out there" - you are so absolutely right on with this sentence.

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  13. I'm with Aviv on this one.

    I've had my loyalty with Apple tested on a number of occasions. My first taste of the burn was the additional costs levied against touch users, of which i was one, for the email software update. As someone with a good business head and a decent understanding of accountancy, I was only too aware that this was profiteering akin to dipping into my childrens money boxes-I was disgusted.

    The second occasion involved a number of 3G iphones with severe cracking on the rear of the case. After 2 quick successive cracks appearing on replacement iphones, my third phone was supplied to me with a note explaining that Apple were billing me some £395- oh how nice i thought when reading the curt generic note issued to all would-be iphone abusers.

    When I queried this on the phone I was shouted at for questioning the note and was eventually told it was because the phone returned was water damaged. They also kindly returned this original iphone loose in a plastic courier bag, beaten to pieces from no protective box or bubble wrap, which I also thought was nice!

    After threatening to go down the legal route (basically when Apple asked me to prove I hadn't caused it, I asked Apple to prove it wasn't like this when they'd sent it out as a replacement) I had someone senior in the PR dept call and offer me £100 store credit and apologised. Sure I'd made threats to out this finest hour of Apple customer care to the media, pointing out the £24,000 I'd spent with Apple over 2 years.

    Now I can assure you, I'm not a sadist i didn't endure this fustration for fun, but put simply this is the most amazing device I've ever owned. I lived with a WinMo phone for 3 years and bar it falling to pieces on me (O2 Atom by HTC) it proved to be the biggest cause of daily frustration, far worse than the incident with Apple. The difference being Apple had hurt my feelings and disappointed me, the WinMo phone was just out to piss me off, trying to beat my logic with that of it's own befuddled OS. I'd spend at least 2 hours a week with our inhouse IT support trying to fix something and feel it directly contributed to me leaving.

    I think the true issue here is not Apple's iphone but Apple's approach. It needs to become more glasnostic...christ I'm a child of the 80's and a bit of openness never goes amiss. Their current position, which I'm sure has numerous legal advantages makes it easy for them to fall into a position of contempt with the heartland of fans who being honest have helped them weather the storm of the 90's.

    I appreciate Apple needs to remain secretive on some fronts,especially around innovation and new product development, but is someone really telling me that they couldn't produce a simple one page PDF showing what new Apps are judged on? I've always challenged systems which I felt were idiotic and never accept the bureaucratic "Computer says NO!" styled excuses. Apple it quite clearly doesn't work right now so fix it! Programmers are not mind readers, they do not know you're developing functionality X behind closed doors. Don't penalize people, they're either invited to the party or their not. I'm a big boy, I can cope with shit and fuck appearing in apps, if a 7 year old has an iphone and has access to this, isn't that a parenting issue?

    But back to the iphone. I'm sticking with it because it enriches my life, makes things easier and gives me joy. No mobile device has ever come close to this digital nirvana for me personally but I will respect the rights of others to 'Think Differently'.

    Matt

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  14. You are one ignorant id10t. Yes the iphone is a shiny piece of technology. But it in no way revolutionized anything more than a new excuse for people to do something other than drive when driving, depersonalize personal communication, and advance the gaming world to yet another platform.

    You want to talk about producing something that actually changed the way every person in this country functions: Windows. Yes, I know, Microsoft stole the whole OS GUI from you Apple freaks. But it affected the way virtually every business ran. It has in someway affected 100's of millions of people from Wall Streets ability to globalize our economy to the people in Kenya that make $1.25 a month but can now get their voter registration card on the side of the road in the middle of now where because of the Windows based laptops now available.

    You want to compare Apple and Microsoft? Apple is better at keeping secrets. Apple is better at selling you something you don't need. Apple is better at avoiding antitrust lawsuits. Steve Jobs should be proud.

    And are you angry at Google for offering a quality free service or are you mad at Apple for preventing you from using it on their product? Don't make a judgment about a product when all you know is that Apple doesn't like it.

    Oh, don't forget, Blackberry and Palm revolutionized the smartphone. Apple added a shiny screen, miniaturized multi-touch screen, a way for people to spend money they don't even realize they are spending by buying applications and games so they can crash their cars/trucks while not paying attention and walk into people in the streets because they are looking at their iphones instead of where they are going, a culture where people will pay for promises instead of deliverables, and created the Gucci bag of the decade that for some reason people think they need to have to be 'cool.'

    You should stop being angry and insulting people because they have woken up and no longer need the iphone to prove to others they are deserving of attention. People jump off the bandwagon when they see what things really are and luckily for those who still have a need for all the iphone like features, there are other options.

    BTW: I have a G5 and an iPod that I have stopped using when I was introduced to superior products that use open standards and give me control of the device instead of an Apple executive.

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  15. @ Aviv

    "these influential people in all their greatness, are bailing on the most important platform and piece of technology this world has seen, arguably since the mac."

    The flaw in your main argument is that just because a piece of technology is important, groundbreaking, or whatever, does not mean that all of its ancestors will not be as good. I'm willing to bet that you do not drive a Model T Ford to work every day.

    The market is catching up and soon there will be phones that outshine the iPod...but perhaps you are blinded by the iPod's once brilliant allure.

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  16. Wow, this is just the most biased, untrue article I have EVER read. Apple lost the PC war for a REASON. The iPad? what a friggen joke. Keep drinkin that kool-aid fanboys. There isn't ONE thing an iPhone can do that Android or WinMo Can't do, and Android/WinMo do them BETTER. And guess what, WE CAN DO MORE TOO!

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