For any of you that know me, you are blatantly aware of how much I love my Droid, which is especially true if you’re one of my many friends that has an iPhone
shoved insofar where the sun doesn’t shine that you fail to recognize more convenient technology because your Mac elitist behavior won’t let you. In fact, I’m fairly certain that if you own an iPhone, we’ve probably gotten into a fight about it at some social setting, in which we’ve had to agree to disagree that our relevant phones are better than the other because I get tired of wasting my breath on someone who reasons like a 12 year old that still believes in Santa Claus. Example of this behavior can be found here: http://bit.ly/muxsXM.
Convenient for me, however, was a nice little post that appeared today on my favorite social news outlet, Mashable. The article talked about the latest news from Google/Droid Chief, Andy Rubin, who boasted how Google now has over 500,000 new activations per day. If you dig a little deeper, it will not only share that the Android platform has surpassed Apple as the number one mobile platform in the US for quite some time, but that there’s no way (iPod Touch and iPad included) that Apple could ever recover those statistics.
The broader question, however, is why? Why is Apple losing marketshare for a device that many of my iPhone friends will say to the death is the “best phone ever invented?” Well, here’s my take:
- Shoddy Craftsmanship.
Yeah, I said it. It’s not well crafted. Aside from the typical antenna bumper issues, dropped calls, and everything else my friends always have wrong with their phones but will never admit that it’s an actual issue, the reality is that dropping a phone is inevitable. Our friends at iFixyouri did a few drop tests on the iPhone 4 and its glass durability claims, and they shattered, quite literally. After only two drops from 1 meter, the phone failed to respond to commands. Don’t believe me? Check it out here.
Contrast that with my personal experience, where a few weeks ago, I dropped my Droid from the bleachers at a Roller Derby match over 30 feet high. The screen shattered, but it still works like a charm. There’s not a single area that didn’t respond to touch, and the casing had absolutely zero cracks, bumps, or bruises in it. Now this is a well built phone:
- The Apple Marketing Machine.
Apple products, overall, are incredibly innovative. However, releasing a new product every few months with a new feature that is barely worth a re-issue is nothing more than a marketing ploy to get brainwashed constituents back in the store for the next shiny thing on the shelf. And let’s not mention the overly expensive coverage and training forced on you by salesman that are starting to model after a used car lot.
Don’t get me wrong–it’s genius capitalistic marketing, but a far cry from what Apple used to stand for, which was taking care of the customers. Now, we’re just another number. Maybe you like that, but I don’t.
- Proprietary Technology.
We all remember the massive battle between Apple and Adobe. Apple refused to find a way to use Flash on its devices because it “used too many resources” and bogged the system down. You can debate the real reasons all day long, but I find their involvement in pushing HTML5 to be skeezily intriguing. Whether you side with Apple or Adobe, the reality is that they can only piss off developers and constituents for so long before they abandon ship. You should really read this article on VentureBeat, if you want a deeper look into the strategy behind Apple’s fight with Adobe and how it effects developers and the future state of the industry.
- Apple’s Way or the Highway.
Apple only makes one iPhone. They release different versions of the phone, but they manufacture it. You can’t unlock it, and until recently, you could only use it on AT&T (which we all know is terrible). You can’t use the OS on a different phone platform, and you’re forced to use the phone as they planned you to use it. And that’s exactly how they want it: their way.
This is not the way the Android platform was built, which is why Google, in my humble opinion, did it the right way. Instead of limiting their OS to one phone manufacturer or one mobile carrier, they worked with multiple. So no matter what, if I like slide out keyboards or touch phones, I can find one on the network I want (especially important because I will never leave Verizon). This is the primary reason why the Android OS is up to 500,000 activations per day, while Apple is fizzling in numbers.
As much as Apple says it’s about ease of use and efficiency, any one who has ever used a Droid and an iPhone will point out rather quickly that the Apple OS is incredibly cumbersome. Let’s say I’m in my Mail app, and I want to change my signature. Instead of just being able to select that application’s menu while I’m in it, I have to go back to the home screen, find the settings icon, find the application within the settings menu, change it, and then find my way back to the application I was in. By the time I’ve changed one stupid setting, I’ve probably forgotten what I was doing in the first place.
I don’t need to do that on my droid. I can change my settings or configure options within each individual app within one or two clicks. Also, because I can customize my home screens (all six of them) to display the exact content from widgets that I configure, I don’t have to waste time searching or reconfiguring my application icons. My data is there, where I want it, and when I need it. This gives the droid the ease of use and simplicity of the Apple OS with the customization of a Windows OS. Who doesn’t want to have their cake and eat it too?
- The Apple Ego.
Apple has started to believe its own hype. Like many of the major record labels, film studios, and social networks over the past decade, they’ve begun to think that their “innovation” and “superiority” is unbeatable (*cough* myspace *cough*). Unfortunately, as MySpace taught us with Facebook, if you don’t bend and merge to your customers and the marketplace, you won’t continue to grow and succeed. Apple is winning insofar that they’re pushing users to buy in to all of their iProducts, but forcing consumers in a down economy to repurchase every few months for little innovation, forced sales, and no customization, which will ultimately lead to their downfall. But as Google releases more of its technology, and merges it with things people already use for FREE (i.e. Gmail, Google Docs), Apple fandom will start to wane. Just like it did for MySpace because Facebook had a better offering that gave people what they wanted. Apple customers just have to realize there’s something better out there, first. Maybe if Google made things sexy in chrome, perception would change.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still love Apple products, but I refuse to be a part of their machine. When they truly innovate and create another great product, I will certainly give it a shot. But pardon me if I exercise a bit more scrutiny in the products and companies I’m willing to put my money into, and so should you. Apple is not God (nor is Google, or any company). We live in a world where amazing technological innovations occur every single day. That means that there are better options and solutions that are more cost-effective and that solve our problems better and faster. We just have to get over ourselves and go look for them.
Oh, and just so you know–just because I love my Droid, doesn’t mean I won’t be looking for the next great innovation in mobile technology. That’s a piece of advice to my Apple friends.
So–iPhone, Droid? Why do you love your device? Comments welcome!