App-Chasing: Fast Times on an Apple Fanboy High
October 2nd, 2010 by ravi

The fanboys have moved on. As they always do.

Just this last 2005 you bought one of the most expensive laptops in the world, a MacBook. For a year or two it was glorious. You read all the top Apple blogs, Daring Fireball, TUAW… you were part of the in crowd and with them you basked in the luxury of gorgeous hand-crafted Mac apps (like Delicious Library and Cha-Ching). It didn’t matter that you had already spent dirty dollars on grungy old Windows tools. Microsoft Office, Norton thingummy, all that icky stuff. Apple was worth it.

Then 2007 came and the iPhone happened. The fanboys moved on. The desktop became so 2006. Mobile was the future and you were the past. Lack of multi-window multi-tasking or a real screen with enough space for application content or toolbars — these were features. Revolutionary new features. Magical. Darwinian logic stepped in: app developers either adapted by sacrificing their Mac app on the $99 Developer license App Store electric chair (see: Tweetie for Mac)… or they died.

In a freakishly serendipitous development in late 2007, your trusty Blackberry device had lost all of its sexiness… as if you had gone to sleep watching A Streetcar Named Desire and woken up to Godfather. That brutish hard keyboard! That barbarous user interface! It was time, you were certain, to move on; and time as we know is money, and money… it was time to spend it on an iPhone. Promising your left kidney to AT&T you followed the fanboys to the new paradise. Oh was it joy to spin the wheel on Where To? to find a place to destress with your hipster friends. Or stay informed on worldly matters framed in consumable bits within the sweet Tweetie for iPhone (the same one you had been jilted by, on the now dreary old MacBook). And guiding you on this giddy ride was the reassuring arm of the golden fanboys.

You weathered the turbulence of the 3GS when video and HD left you motionless. You lived through the rumours of the iPhone 4. But there is but one God and that God spoke decisively in April 2010. The iPad had arrived and the followers did what they do best. They followed. “What?”, they scoffed smiling sweetly, as only an Apple fanboy can, “NetNewsWire? Tweetie? What are these primitive things you speak of so endearingly?”. A world where beings trod the ground unaware of the splendour of Flipboard on an iPad was one they found quaint and charmingly implausible. The fanboys, you see, had moved. Are you coming?

This, at length, is the new normal. The new Kierkegaardian rotation method, sans the need to rotate your pleasures. One, Infinite Loop, delivers a new pleasure every three years. The app universe and blogosphere shifts in lockstep. And all you need to keep up is a deep pocket and a quick leap of faith.

The Blackberry Apex
August 9th, 2010 by ravi

You know that old saw: “first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win”? It occurred to me that it applies quite well — except for the ‘then you win’ part — when it comes to technology and the attitude of business jocks. Every bit of technology created and embraced by geeks is ridiculed by men in suits as, well, geeky, upto a point where it’s value becomes apparent to them; shortly after which they turn ridiculous in their addiction to it. This second point (of addiction) in the life of that technology, almost always identifiable by the near-hysterical adoption of a totemic device, we refer to as the BlackBerry Apex.

The chart below depicts this finding for one technology: electronic mail or e-mail.

Corollary: not every BlackBerry Apex has a corresponding iPhone Recovery.

Disclaimer: I attempt to kid! Some of my best friends wear suits!

Apple’s bar hopping shennanigans
July 2nd, 2010 by ravi

In his translation of Apple PR speak to human language, John Gruber offers an interpretation, of Apple’s placing blame on the bars calculation formula, that I too have strongly suspected to be the case.

Apple writes:

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars.

Gruber interprets (and I agree):

We decided from the outset to set the formula for our bars-of-signal strength indicator to make the iPhone look good — to make it look as it “gets more bars”. That decision has now bit us on our ass.

I think this and a few other recent events point to a state of above-the-law hubris on the part of Steve Jobs’s Apple. A distinctly unpleasant turn.

// From Daring Fireball: Translation From Apple’s Unique Dialect of PR-Speak to English of the ‘Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4’

The iPhone is a Mac app killer
January 15th, 2010 by ravi

Doseido, makers of Headline have announced that they have something new on the way. Hope is low that it’s a new version of Headline that fixes some of its minor annoyances. Why? Because if you are a Mac app developer, you know which side your bread is buttered these days. (The answer, if you are not an iPhone developer: it’s the iPhone side. When’s the last time Tweetie updated their Mac app?)

Detail and survival
January 12th, 2010 by ravi

From John Gruber today, a quote from MG Siegler on the superiority of the iPhone:

MG Siegler on the Nexus One MG Siegler: Perhaps the single biggest reason that I like Apple products, and their software, in particular, is the attention to detail the company puts in. In my mind, that’s exactly what still separates the iPhone from all the Android phones. It’s the little things. The things that are almost too small for you to even notice, but which make the experience subtly better.

Which is all fine, but it seems to me that history (even Apple’s own) has demonstrated that design, “attention to detail”, and so on have rarely fared well against buzz, FUD, user entrapment, collusion and other tactics (different subsets of which are the advantages enjoyed by Apple’s two primary competitors: Microsoft and Google). The difference in the “smartphone” market is, of course, that Apple for once is the most successful and advanced device, but let us see how this pans out three years from now.

[ link: Daring Fireball Linked List: MG Siegler on the Nexus One ]

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