Not so long ago, I purchased Apple’s third generation iPad. Although, it wasn’t called that. It was just called ‘The New iPad’. The public, being the public (i.e. stupid) referred to it as the iPad 3. Technically, this was wrong and, had Mr Jobs been alive, he’d no doubt have grabbed a mic, booked Wembley and explained why everyone was wrong. Alas Steve, god rest his soul, was dead, and with only the interminably dull Tim Cook to take his place, Apple decided instead to replace it with the ‘iPad with Retina Display’. This replaced the one I had, which has been deleted from history. The Ghost iPad, if you like. Confusingly, the new, 4th generation iPad (which isn’t called that), had the exact same body and Retina display as the old 3rd generation… sorry, New iPad. The only difference was a new, smaller charging connector which costs £3,000 to replace and a faster processor, which would be useful for the three people that play – and enjoy – games on their iPad.
If you’re confused, you’re not alone.
Regardless, for some reason I continue my wallet-sapping love affair with the world’s most valuable tech company. The only tech company in the world, in fact, that could get away with producing a television advert about copy and paste. No, really. A company which knowingly released a phone that put design before function. That function, in this case, was the ability for a phone to make a phone call.
Apple are, without doubt, one of the most flawed, yet brutally clever firms in existence.
This becomes ever more apparent when you first lay your hands on an Android device. I have recently, with the addition of a Samsung S3 Mini to my work toolbox. And what a tool it is.
There’s no need to build up to this statement, because it is unavoidably true: the S3 is a better phone than an iPhone. Hands down. No argument. If they were to have a fight, the S3 would knock out the fancy-pants device from Cupertino with a single punch.
The hardware is fairly irrelevant. Both are nice phones to hold and look suitably posh (although the iPhone is clearly the more expensive device, such is its engineering brilliance). No, it’s all about the software and it is now an unavoidable fact that iOS is about as current as a twenty minute guitar solo; we all loved it once, but now it’s faintly irritating.
Of greater concern is that Apple appears to be steadfastly sticking to their plan of small increments in functionality. This will be the undoing of them if they continue on such a blinkered, arrogant path. iOS 7 needs to be significantly different in order for them to maintain their user base. Locking people into iCloud, which only just works, and attempting to confuse them to death with iTunes Match, isn’t enough.
I’ll say it here and now – if Apple don’t develop a better mobile operating system which at least matches the functionality of the competition within the next 18 months, I will switch to Android and buy myself an iPod.