By ADAM FALLUJI – STAFF WRITER
When the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, it was marveled as a revolutionary piece of technology. Heralded as a product inspired by “thinking different,” the product was actually a combination of existing technologies. Mp3 players, handheld web-browsing devices, and high end phones had already been around for years. Apple’s true contribution was compiling these technologies nicely into one device.
Sophomore Ben McKernan, a connoisseur of gadgets and avid tech forum participant, agreed that although this development put it at the forefront of the smartphone market, the iPhone began to lose its competitive edge when Android began rivaling iOS with their own smartphone operating system.
“2011 is really when the iPhone started to lose consumer base to Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich OS,” McKernan said.
Apple’s operating systems are often regarded as unique by their users; however, Mac OS was developed almost entirely from Linux.
In fact, Mac OS 10 is based a version of Ubuntu, an open source Linux operating system, from over a decade ago, which is where it acquired many of its trademark features, including the Dock containing apps.
Not only is Mac OS the furthest thing from unique, but it’s constantly repackaged and resold in each new Apple product, with each version dropping support after only two years.
Windows XP maintained support since its introduction in 2002 until this 2014, totaling twelve consecutive years. There was even a full Windows tablet running Windows XP in 2002 that made its advent eight years before the iPad came about in 2010.
Even the name ‘iPhone’ was in use previously by Linksys, resulting in a lawsuit which Apple paid off. The ‘pinch to zoom’ feature shown off in iPhones came from Mitsubishi. In fact, virtually every supposed innovation Apple has introduced in its products has come from elsewhere.
The greatest irony of Apple lies in its promotion as being the most unique and innovative company on the market.
Their slogan of “thinking different” couldn’t, in fact, be more untrue. Apple’s hardware and software is locked down like no other product, offering users the minimum potential for any kind of customization. Where other products allow users to personalize their devices and replace or add components, Apple products allow for no hardware to be replaced or customized and their operating systems essentially present a constricted version of Linux.
“Android is open-source which means you can customize every single bit of Android. If you don’t like something, you can change it. In iOS 8, if you don’t like something, that’s too bad,” McKernan said.
Most consumers have no idea of their limitations, probably because of Apple’s superb marketing.
The company has created the façade that their products fit into the hipster-esque image, and many buy into this illusion. Employees in Apple stores are selectively chosen to reinforce this image by dressing like abstract-minded intellectuals, whether they know what they are talking about or not. Steve Jobs presents an example of the image Apple tries to cultivate for its products. A true businessman at heart, Jobs alluded to this shallow marketing and was quoted in Fortune in 1996 saying “If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all its worth–and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.”
While the original iPhone was a cleanly presented product that was certainly a game-changer for the multi functionality of smartphones, Apple has done very little to progress beyond this first invention.
Each product they release looks nearly identical to the last, and, in fact, the last several iPhones have used almost the exact same processor, with only names and slightly adjusted clock speeds setting them apart. Companies like LG, Moto, and Lenovo on the other hand are constantly presenting vastly different products.
“The Lenovo yoga–a touchscreen, tablet, and laptop convertible- is $800. A Macbook is $2000. You can get a better computer for less than half the price,” McKernan said.
In competing with other companies, Apple has frequently made stances against the implementation of certain features, only to retrograde to the exact same features later, all the while convincing their following that they were the pioneers all along.
The iPhone 5C is a perfect example of this as a product that was virtually the exact same as their last phone save that it was made of plastic, a feature they had criticized other phones for repeatedly.
In addition to lacking in innovation, Apple lags behind in integrating even the most mainstream features into their devices.
Macbooks were not equipped with HDMI input until roughly a year ago, preferring outdated DVI ports, which were effectively useless since no consumer televisions used them.
Even when presented with all the information listed or the countless other points to be found on the internet, the average Apple consumer will simply frown and shake their head.
This is because there is a following of Apple products that is so blind and uninformed that Urban Dictionary has described them best with their definition for the word “iSheep.”
“I think people get Apple products because they don’t do any research, the products look nice, and Apple has good marketing, and some of it is that they’re used to the interface and don’t want to try something else,” McKernan said.
So deeply does the public believe in the unfounded superiority of Apple devices that they’re willing to purchase the latest product as soon as it comes out, an obsession only reinforced by the fact that Apple hardware and software is built with the intent of expiring after a few years of use.
In the past Apple products were relatively uncommon. This contributed to the popular myth that Macs don’t get viruses, when in fact the only reason you don’t hear about them often is because the targets were fewer in abundance.
As it turns out, Apple users appear to be resigned to staying the minority in the future.
Lately, Apple has come under fire for its frequent software crashes, the numerous bugs in iOS 8 that go unresolved for weeks, and the flimsy material the iPhone 6 is made of that has in numerous instances resulted in the product bending and breaking.
Furthermore, Apple still lags behind in the integration of several features that have become common amongst almost all other smartphones. NFC, for example, has only just been made available on iPhones, yet only a constricted version specifically for making payments, rather than the full NFC features other phones have.
A photo comparing the 2012 Nexus 4 to the iPhone 6 has recently gone viral, showing that the iPhone 6 has either the same or inferior capabilities to the 2 years old and significantly cheaper product, all under the caption “Dear iPhone 6 users, welcome to 2012!”
Even the marketing team appears to be running out of ideas, with their slogan for the latest iPhone being “Bigger than bigger.”
As numerous YouTube videos and Samsung commercials continue to mock the iSheep, iOS-running products are seen to only have a significant pull on the market in America; Android dominates overseas. While Apple products aren’t popular in use overseas, the human rights atrocities committed by their electronics contractor manufacturing company Foxconn have become infamous.
While Apple is far from the only company using Foxconn’s services, they are their biggest clients.
Foxconn has been involved in numerous controversies involving the working conditions of their employees in China, garnering special media attention when the public was made aware of the suicide nets erected outside their factories to prevent workers from killing themselves. Still these laborers continue producing Apple products for a fraction of the price they’re sold for.
All in all, Apple products are more expensive, less cool, less innovative, and less ethical choices, so when the iPhone 37 comes out, do a little research before replacing your 36S.