It doesn’t take much to be a typical journalist. Beyond the basics of good grammar and vocabulary, it seems like all you have to do is pick a topic readers want to read about and then come up with a persuasive argument. So many people are easily swayed because they are looking for validation of their own opinions. It’s not hard to persuade these kinds of people, especially when it comes to dichotomous views. So it is with bi-partsan politics.
So it is with the new Apple iPhone or the new Samsung/HTC Android phone. I found a lot of the tech news surrounding the release of the iPhone 5 intriguing. So many haters. So many people saying they are let down. “It’s basically the same phone.” “Apple is copying Samsung.” I must admit, I too found myself caught in the wave of disappointment at first, mostly due to the early leaks. When you’ve already seen the leaked videos on YouTube and then you watch the actual release, you feel like the birthday guy/gal showing up to the surprise party you already knew about. Nobody likes that. Everybody feels let down.
It’s tough to put a cap on all that when there’s so much hype about your product. IMO, few other companies have been able to pull-off what Apple has done in the past, building up significant hype about their product. Notably, this can be good or bad, depending on how people take it. In the past, it seems like it’s been mostly good. This time around, not so much maybe.
One reason why there’s so much hype is because Apple has such a cult-like following in addition to the cult-like opposition which only adds to the attention. These audiences have only become more polarized over the years. This may be my biased point of view, but I haven’t been as impressed with other companies’ product releases (e.g. Microsoft Surface). Honestly, I’m stoked to see the Surface in the hands of consumers. As an aside, I think the new Windows Phone is pretty sweet. Hopefully they can gain some traction in the marketplace and bring developers on board. To me, that means Microsoft made a worthwhile product. More power to them.
Your average consumer is great at what they do: consume. Consumers demand the best. They demand a consistent return or better. If you deliver amazing results once, you better deliver even better the next time.
Consumers are also superficial. They don’t think about what goes into product. They only care about what the product does and what it looks like. Most consumers don’t even understand half of the technical mumbo jumbo, they just want to see bigger numbers (3.5″ –> 4.0″ or A5 –> A6 or 4 –> 5 and don’t you dare think about adding an “S” to the end of my product because that means it’s just an upgrade and it should have been there in the first place!!!). Most consumers can’t even fathom what goes into the development of a product. I’m pretty confident the designers at Apple put a lot of thought into the changes they made. It’s like doubling your processing capabilities and making the screen bigger isn’t enough anymore.
Maybe we should demand more of Apple. Maybe they can do better. Sometimes I wish they would change more myself. Everybody loves a cool, new look. But I’m not sure how realistic that is. Sounds more like being a typical consumer.
Some times I wish they would change iOS up a bit and (going back to the old PC argument) make it a bit more customizable. I feel a bit overloaded by icons and the screens. I don’t like the groups much some times either. Regardless, I don’t see Android as a way better alternative. Windows Phone just seems fresh, different, and newer; not better necessarily. There are plenty of other things I like about the iPhone anyway.
I think Apple could have stepped up their game in some aspects. Why didn’t they have turn-by-turn navigation 1-2 years ago? I don’t know. I’ll tell you how much I’ve missed it once I have it. Otherwise, I’m over it. Whenever I’m with people that have it, I find it annoying and obnoxious. Maybe I’ll change my mind. Why is Apple finally going bigger on the screen? There’s many answers for that depending on who you ask. Is Apple boring? Is Apple a copy cat? There’s lots of answers to those kinds of questions too. Dan Lyon says Apple Has Become Boring. John Gruber says Apple Is Still Exciting. MG Siegler says it’s all in the Turn. You can also look at the lawsuit results or who had the bigger screen first. There’s an answer from both sides. It’s all subjective.
Overall, I’m sure the iPhone 5 will be another great success, just like the iPhone 4, which continued to sell like hot cakes despite the antenna issues. Is it better than the latest Android phone (or the new Windows Phone for that matter)? Meh, that’s subjective. Are its tech specs comparable? Yes. Am I going to buy a new iPhone 5? Probably. I’ll probably sell my iPhone 4 for $300 and get the iPhone 5 for $300. I’ll break even and get a sweet new phone? Why not!? I got nothing against Android. I’ve never owned one. You like Android? You think it’s better? So buy one. You like PCs? So buy one. I’m more of a fence sitter when it comes to technology. I mostly fall on whichever side I like and stick there until I find really compelling reasons to switch. I venture out and try out the new stuff, but if it’s not blowing my socks off, I see no need to switch right away.
One of the most amusing conversations I had surrounding the iPhone 5 went something like this:
Dude: So what do you think of the new iPhone 5?
Me: I don’t know. It seems pretty cool. I’ll probably get one.
Dude: You should just get an Android phone.
It was as if the disappointment surrounding the new iPhone 5 was so universal that it clearly meant it was an inferior phone, that it was a no-brainer to NOT buy one, and he was expecting me to say that I wasn’t impressed and that I wasn’t going to get one. Well truth is, I wasn’t jumping up and down when I first saw it, but that’s because I was sucked into the perspective of a typical consumer…and I wasn’t surprised. Happens.
It’s like people are looking for validation that their phone (or some other device, methodology, practice, sports team, or whatever) is better so they tell you to make the switch, or they tell you all the reasons why your _________ is terrible and theirs is better. Takes me back to the put-downs that are so profuse in grade school. Classic way to make yourself feel better. It’s a good tactic really. For those who need that kind of self-reassurance. Check yourself. I know I’ve been guilty.
Fact is haters gonna hate. Typical journalism. Typical consumerism.