Category Archives: iPhone

That’s a lot of iPhones

What more can you say about Apple’s stellar quarterly figures? Over 74 million iPhones sold in three months is staggering. Apparently that breaks down as 34,000 iPhones sold every hour for three months.

Addressing analysts after the call, Tim Cook said the Apple Watch would start shipping in April (read the transcript from Six Colors).

A couple of things pop out of the transcript.

The first is the little nugget that Apple has now sold over one billion iOS devices:

“It was truly a momentous quarter for iOS. On November 22nd, we shipped our one billionth iOS device. It was a Space Gray 64GB iPhone 6 Plus, which we’ve saved here at Apple. One billion devices is an almost unfathomable milestone, and we are all incredibly proud to be a part of it.”

I recall reading that Sony had shipped around 200 million Walkmans when the iPod was in it early days and this seeming a huge achievement that would never be matched.

I also love the way he offered a little insight onto how the company defines ‘early’ as in ‘available in early 2015’.

“And just to clarify, what we had been saying is early 2015, and we sort of look at the year and think of early as the first four months, mid as the next four months, and late’s the final four months. And so to us, it’s within the range. It’s basically when we thought.”

And with that the next slew of articles demanding to know why the Apple Watch was late and why this was bad news for Apple was quietly spiked.

Nope, still not sold on Siri

I’ve given Siri the benefit of the doubt in the last month since I’ve owned a 5S but I’m largely underwhelmed.

Yes, it’s clever and when it works, it works fine. Most of the time it works well in what you might call ‘test conditions’. In other words, I’m sat down in a room with wifi and relative peace and quiet, speaking slowly and clearly into it.

Most of the time this isn’t the scenario.

Off wifi and relying on 3G it normally posts a pregnant pause before apologising and telling me it can’t do or understand whatever it was I asked it to do.

It’s unusable when there’s any sort of significant ambient noise. Asking it to call my wife while I’m on the bike is never successful.

As I wrote in a recent post, there are compelling reasons I haven’t bought into Siri. Here’s another: reliability.

It doesn’t work well enough and consistently enough for me to rely on it.

Here’s’ an analogy: MobileMe’s iDisk worked perhaps 80-90% of the time when I wanted it to back up files. However, most of the time I emailed a file to my Gmail as well, just in case.

If Siri even worked to anywhere near this level I might use Siri more but it doesn’t. I’d estimate that about half the time it fails to do whatever I ask it, either because of lack of connectivity or because it doesn’t understand what I’ve asked it to do.

What I’d ideally want is something on the same level of consistency as Dropbox. Something that never lets me down. Something I can trust. Otherwise, what’s the point? The alternatives get the

At the end of the day, it’s just too beta.

earbuds

Goodbye, old friend

We’ve been together since the summer of 2010 but this weekend I’m backing up my data and blanking my iPhone 4. Next week I’m recycling it as part of a trade-in for a 5S.

I’m not going to get all maudlin about it. It’s a phone, a combination of metal, glass and silicon, but it’s one of the best devices I’ve ever used.

It’s a bit knackered. It got a bit damp on a run during the Summer (water oozing out from around the home button) but still it worked. Kind of.

It’s got chips and scratches, the audio jack doesn’t always work, the speakers sometimes give out and iOS 7 brought the processor and RAM to their knees.

But I still love it. Continue reading

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:

Usability

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.

Accuracy

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.

Awkwardness

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.

The cheaper iPhone

A plastic iPhone 5 costing roughly half the price of the standard Apple smartphone is due to launch soon, it has been claimed.

Source: Telegraph

Remarkable if true. According to the Isaccson biography, Jobs shied away from plastic on the iPhone because it was easily scratched. Plus, it’s naturally going to feel cheaper given that the materials aren’t up to the same standard of the iPhone 5 or 4S.

Apple could clearly manufacture this kind of device if it wanted to and needed to. Do either apply?

The people most obsessed with Apple gaining market share are the press, analysts, bloggers and pretty much everyone else and not Apple itself. The obsession with getting the biggest market share isn’t something that Apple has ever seemed to be very concerned about. Especially if it compromises its self-avowed commitment to quality and superior user experience. 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

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

A little perspective on the iPhone

I love hoarding snippets of information and obscure bookmarks that I rarely end up using again. Since the advent of social bookmarking and delicious tagging my data lets me create order from chaos.

In recent years, I’ve also used a great little application called Yojimbo to store and tag websites, recipes, ideas and pretty much anything else.

This morning, I was looking through older info snippets in the app and stumbled over an old Fortune article by Jon Fortt published in 2006, a few months before the launch of the iPhone in January 2007.

Three reasons an iPhone could actually suck was actually a good article and considered the three biggest barriers to success apparent at the time for an Apple mobile phone. A device which had yet to be confirmed by the company.

Firstly, Fortt suggested the control US carriers had over the marketplace meant that Apple would struggle to sell the iPhone on “its own terms”.

Secondly, he said the the additional control carriers exerted over the user interfaces of handset manufacturers would be a tough compromise for Apple to swallow. Historically, carriers insisted their logo appeared prominently during start-up and that prominent links to their ‘value adding‘ mobile content littered screens and prominent menus. A company like Apple with such a fanatical focus on user experience wouldn’t sit for others dipping their oars or, God forbid, their logos in their interfaces.

Finally, he questioned whether the company would be able to carve a profit out of the crowded marketplace.

With the benefit of perspective, it’s like looking re-reading a pre-match review for an un-fancied football team playing away against one of the European superpowers with the knowledge that they actually trounced them three-nil on the night.

One thing he does get right is his assertion that the biggest innovation about the iPhone won’t be the device itself but the way it “crafted partnerships in a way that it could keep control of the customer experience, and still manage a profit”.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Fortt wrote a good piece and I think I probably saved it because I agreed with most of his ideas.

Today, it’s just another yardstick to measure Apple’s success in sweeping aside the old hegemonies.