Category Archives: iPad

Apple ‘oversells’ Siri

Interesting find via the Guardian. A poll of Americans has found that Apple has oversold Siri.

The research asked 2,000 iOS 7 users what they thought about Siri’s capabilities and specifically whether they thought the voice recognition software had been “oversold” by Apple.

Putting aside the fact that asking users a loaded, negative question is likely to skew the response and that 54 per cent said “no” the resulting 46 per cent of ‘oversold’ users is still a lot.

From personal experience I have to side with the Siri-sceptics. I’ll accept that many people find it useful and use it on a regular basis, I’m just not one of them. John Malkovich and Martin Scorsese may find it a delight but not me.

The three reasons I don’t use it are:


Telling my phone/tablet to do things just seems a stupid thing to do when the existing user interface supports the swift creation of messages, finding contacts and searching for stuff on the internet.


By accuracy I mean both the results and (more commonly) in getting Siri to recognise what it is I’ve asked it to do – by which point I could have just typed or swiped whatever it was I want to do anyway.


I find it difficult to think of things I want to say to it. I can quickly start a text message, find a contact or search for something after more than five years of smartphone use. It just takes that little longer to make the cognitive shift to thinking about how to verbalise what muscle memory knows to do instinctively – by which point I’ve wasted time again.

(Plus I suspect there’s the British thing of not wanting to embarrass yourself in the public place by braying commands into a mobile phone.)

I should qualify that I don’t have Siri on my iPhone 4 just on my iPad. When I upgrade to an iPhone 5S, I may give it another go. Sure, I played with it a fair bit on my iPad when I first got it but never use it now.

Actually that’s not true, I frequently tell Siri is to *** off when I press the home key down for too long by accident.

Is the iPad Air “good enough”?

The new iPads look great. I’m particularly impressed by the hop, skip and jump the iPad mini has done with its A7 processor.

Yet I’m still surprised by the fundamental lack of understanding some writers have about Apple’s strategy.

This from an otherwise good article for the Telegraph on competitors issuing cheaper devices on similar ecosystem models (underline by me, not the author):

“There’s no guarantee that such an approach will succeed in the long-term – but Apple must be wary that consumers will deem cheaper rivals good enough. If market share continues to fall, even if Apple continues to make enormous profits, shareholders may yet demand cuts in prices to sustain Apple’s dominance.”

If Apple has considered that consumers would or have considered cheaper rivals “good enough” then the Mac would be dead on its arse.

I don’t think Apple gives a damn about people who think that something cheaper is good enough. Someone who says: “That’ll do,” isn’t the target audience.

The “good enough” ethos doesn’t come across in the company’s product or marketing strategy, it doesn’t come across in the way its CEO describes Apple’s mission to deliver great user experience.

PC World: where tablets go to die

mockup-863469_1280I’ve had a fairly ambivalent relationship with Apple Stores over the years. Less so with PC World. As part of the Dixons stable its weary user experience makes Apple’s decision to hire and then fire John Browett all the more bizarre.

I spend more time than I’d like to in PC World trying out new Android kit. The number one problem I have with PC World is that they don’t seem particularly interested in selling you anything.

This isn’t to do with the mostly pleasant staff, it’s to do with the way they lay their wares out. No more is this shoddy, half-arsed approach to retail evidenced than in the the way tablets are displayed.

Let’s head back to the Apple Store for a second. Each iPad is wiped regularly (I guess each day) to clear all the data input by customers (e.g. Photobooth images or test Word documents) and reinstated with a pristine set of images, videos and apps.

When you pick up an iPad in an Apple Store you can do two things. Continue reading

The price of innovation

Just about the best thing Apple could do right now is to stay away from innovating, especially in new markets.

Despite hitting the jackpot with the iPod, iPhone, iTunes and iPad, apparently the market is still hungry for new stuff.

Really? I suspect the market is quite happy with Apple. Its share price has taken a tonking but its cash registers are chiming with sales and its profits are pouring more dollars onto its lofty cash mountain.

The people who are actually hungry for more are tech writers and analysts, who since 2010, have been cruelly denied the opportunity to write about Apple’s latest grand foray into a new market.

The ones who have also, and cruelly, found their predictions of Apple TVs or wristwatches, unrequited. At least so far. Continue reading

Steve would never have done that!

Apple has had a drubbing over its Maps debacle and rightly so. However, the media perception that Apple never shipped poor products during the Jobs era is laughable and revisionist.

A list of things that Steve would ‘never’ have done:

  • A cube-shaped computer with dodgy plastic and little expandability that cost too much. Looked great, sold like a dog
  • The iPod hi fi. It took Ive almost a minute to design this. He rushed it
  • iPhone 4 antenna. The closest the ‘form over factor’ drones have got to the truth even though it wasn’t really that much of a problem
  • iMac G5. The ugliest Mac ever, bar none. I know, I had one. I was almost relieved when it vanished in a burglary
  • .Mac. Mildly crap, but a precursor for…
  • MobileMe. “So why the fuck doesn’t it do that?”
  • Ping. Ponged.
  • The fat iPod Nano. Come on… Continue reading

Competition at last

Breakdown of the top five tablet manufacturers globally for the last quarter, according to IDC last week:

Apple Inc, maker of the iPad, 14 million shipped worldwide, 50.4 percent share

Samsung Electronics Co., maker of Galaxy line, 5.1 million, 18.4 percent. Inc., maker of Kindle Fire, 2.5 million, 9 percent

AsusTek Computer Inc., maker of Transformer line and Google’s Nexus 7, 2.4 million, 8.6 percent

Lenovo Group Ltd., 400,000, 1.4 percent

Others, including Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook Tablet, 3.3 million, 12.2 percent

Competition at last.


Thank you, Mr Forstall

Ever since Apple announced the iOS software boss Scott Forstall was leaving the company there has been a tsunami of articles explaining why Tim Cook had no choice other than to show him the door:

    Lack of social/corporate graces with other executives
    Lack of humility
    Lack of a sense of place within the company (note Om Malik’s observation – he forgot he was Steve’s guy and not Steve)

Yet, Forstall was responsible for the hugely successful rise of the iPhone, iPad and the iPod thing nobody can ever bother to mention. Continue reading

Thoughts on the iPad mini

I like this from John Gruber’s review of the iPad mini:

The iPad Mini is not a device you need to spend a lot of time with to understand. My snap reaction from a week ago remains unchanged after a week of daily use.

I don’t (yet) own an iPad mini but I’ve spent a good few hours playing with one. It’s not a revolutionary device, but it is a smaller form factor of an existing revolutionary device.

The smaller iPad makes a whole lot of sense. The ability to hold it one hand is genuinely a big UX boon. Likewise, the weight is a refreshing change from the larger iPad. I still love the larger iPad. It’s my main computer now.

There’s been a lot of talk about the mini being the true realisation of the iPad. I can see why this is the case. It’s neat, convenient, portable and feels far more durable than its larger cousin. An iPad is essentially a large piece of glass, making the glass smaller gives you more confidence that it isn’t going to shatter if you don’t carry it around reverently on a velvet cushion. Continue reading