Tech Talk: Is Apple boring?


Is the ipad Mini a sign that Apple is boring?


By Jordan O’Brien

I remember the days when Apple would create something really exciting that would completely surprise us. It wasn’t necessarily what we thought we wanted, but it’s what we wanted when we saw it.

Nowadays though, with Steve Jobs gone it seems Apple’s lost its ability to vision into the future, instead giving customers what they ask for, and not creating products truly exciting that are both awe-inspiring and a surprise.

 When the iPad Mini rumours first surfaced, I disbelieved them.

The reason I disbelieved them was because Apple wasn’t into giving consumers exactly what they wanted, because Apple was the company that thought consumers didn’t know what they wanted, until Apple showed them.

Another reason was because Steve Jobs famously said that 9.7-inches was the “sweet spot” for tablets.

Steve was also a famous critic of the miniature 7-inch form-factor, he even went as far as calling it “dead on arrival.”

Without Steve Jobs Apple has lost its ability to ‘think different’, like it’s famous motto says, instead resulting to becoming an ordinary tech company who think within the box, not outside.

It’s not just the iPad proving that Apple has lost its touch to innovate, even the iPhone 5 has proven that Apple are unable to come up with anything remotely more exciting that what consumers were asking for.

The iPhone 4 and 4S were both using 3.5-inch screens, a size Steve Jobs seemed to like very much, and Steve was an innovator and visionary.

But along came Tim Cook, who is very much a businessman, and Apple starts to copy the rest of the field, such as the Samsung’s, HTCs and the Nokia’s, by implementing larger screen at 4-inches.

Now being a businessman isn’t a wrong strategy, given that Apple once again reported record profits of $8.22bn in Q4 2012, but even that disappointed Wall Street, who were expecting $8.3bn and more iPad sales than Apple achieved.

Apple’s iOS hasn’t drastically changed since version 1, yes it has an App Store, and yes it has iMessage, oh and not forgetting that you can now change the background, but compared to the first iOS device, there’s not that much more you can get out of it now than you could then, in terms of software.

When compared to the likes of Android and Windows operating systems, you see Apple has failed to innovate instead choosing aspects of their competitors to use on their own OS.

Take for example notification centre, which is essentially a direct copy of Android’s notifications, in fact you even pull down from the top, just like Android.

 I fear Apple has taken the backseat in innovating for the tech industry, they’ve decided to let other companies such as the Google’s and Microsoft’s push the boundaries instead, while they play catch-up.

One thing that hasn’t left Apple though, is the reality distortion field.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s Apple’s ability to make people fall in love with their products despite better products being on the market.

You’ll still see the Apple faithful queuing up in their droves even though a better product may be on the market, and could even be cheaper.

I spoke to one person who said: “Apple’s iPad Mini is a cost-effective way to get a tablet.”

 I disagree wholly.

If you were to spend £269 on a tablet, what’s an extra £60 to get an iPad 2, which by the way has the same resolution screen as the iPad Mini, since the iPad Mini is not retina.

You could even go and grab an Amazon Kindle, which is also 7-inches and you can grab as low as £129 or for the HD version £159.

Even Google’s Nexus 7 is £169.99, some £100 cheaper than the iPad Mini.

He went on to add: “It’s for people who want a tablet to be extra portable.”

While the iPad Mini may be lighter than all of its competitors, it’s much wider, something that I would say sacrifices the ‘portability’ for people who already find it difficult to hold the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire in one hand.

I’m not a massive fan of the 7-inch tablet market in the first place, I don’t see how much more portable it is, sure you can barely hold it in one hand, or in my case can’t hold it in one hand, but what more is it going to give you than that?

Steve Jobs famously said that 7-inch tablets were 45% the size of the iPad, so is it worth losing 55% of a device just because you may be able to fit it in one hand?

I’ve seen people get on with the iPad just fine and never moan about portability, you could slip it in your bag or under your arms easily and just walk away.

One company has bucked the trend of shrinking their tablets and instead gone the other way and made it’s tablet slightly bigger than the default 9.8-inches, opting for 10.81-inches instead.

 That company is of-course Microsoft with the Surface.

 This is a device that’s truly satisfying and innovative, it’s a premium product with double the capacity of the iPad yet still costs just £399.

Many people already have a problem with Microsoft’s Windows 8 RT due to it not having the sheer amount of apps required with an OS these days.

Of course the desktop version doesn’t suffer this problem, being able to run traditional apps just as usual.

But can you really complain about Microsoft’s lack of apps given that it launched yesterday with 7,873 apps, with more being added all the time.

This may sound like a low number in comparison to over 700,000 on the iOS App Store, but that store only launched with 500 apps, so Microsoft are well on their way to gaining momentum.

Apple could become innovative and relevant again if its heralded Apple TV finally launches and really does ‘crack TV’, as Steve Jobs once said, but until then, I wait with bated breath.

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