Subjective opinion about the last event Apple, innovations Apple Watch and new iPhone 7. Looking at the presentation from the other side of the barricades …
Fake Christmas tree decorations have appeared in the shops of our city. They look like real ones. Only there is no joy from them.
Every year at the start of the presentation Apple I have the feeling that this is a fake. Fanfiction, a fanfiction based on a feature film about Jobs with a famous but completely inappropriate actor. Tim Cook honestly follows all the established canons, says the right things from the stage, breaks the applause of the obedient audience after each phrase … nothing seems to have changed, everything seems to be the same. But the feeling that these Christmas tree toys are fake does not let go until the end of the presentation. And contrary to all logic, for some reason you expect that a man in a famous turtleneck will appear on the stage and finally do everything right.
Under the hackneyed phrases about the greatness of the company, the constant improvement of its services, the popular love of users for iOS, millions of developers who cannot imagine their lives without it, you almost fall asleep. Once they sounded truly sincere, it was clear that the speaker himself believes everything he says, and not just reads a text memorized from a piece of paper, and this really won over. And today it is just a standard part of the program, hackneyed advertising slogans that must be listened to before we are shown something really interesting. And only Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Mario) who appeared on the stage somehow revives the event. It is his old, and now also noticeably simplified toy that gets the first sincere applause from the audience in the hall.
Since Jobs' death, Apple has been diligently pretending that things have remained the same for the company. After all, there are no irreplaceable people, and the death of one person can in no way affect a huge corporation. And Tim Cook was forced to try on someone else's role, to fit into it, as if into someone else's jeans that do not fit in size, press and interfere with walking. And then also run a marathon in them. It doesn't work out very well for him, but everyone diligently pretends that everything is going as it should. Only for the sake of no one doubting that everything really remained as it was.
To be honest, I'm still not sure if it was worth it.
If there is no starting point, then everything loses its meaning.
Sergey Lukyanenko, Labyrinth of reflections
Someone thinks Apple Watch is a success, someone is a failure, but what makes all these people in common is that the overwhelming majority of them did not use this watch anyway. And it may very well be that they saw only in the pictures. For many commentators, this is a virtual product that has no meaning to them in itself, but is another reason to praise or scold Apple.
Without a reference point, all further measurements are really meaningless. The company is diligently trying to give it to us, telling about the success of their watches against the background of competitors. But most of all it resembles a record of victories in some village football league, in which one football team honestly beat another, but at the same time did not become more interesting for the TV viewer. We learned about the success of iPhone or iPad not at all from official presentations, all this was obvious even to the most remote person from technology. With Apple Watch, as with any other smartwatch, the situation is different.
Apple Watch continues to evolve and this is welcome. But for some reason I can very easily imagine people who, having bought the first generation of watches, put them on the shelf in a month or two and are unlikely to want to change them to new ones. But those who did not buy the first Apple Watch, but now happily run to the store for their second generation, is harder for me to imagine. There are many improvements, but nothing that would radically change the situation with smartwatches is not among them.
New sports features, emojis, built-in GPS, water resistance, Nike partnerships, and more and more. Probably all this is great. But why, then, is so much time devoted to the game Pokemon GO?
Why, at the main presentation of the year, the emphasis is once again on someone else's product, and not on your own? Is it because Pokemon GO is much easier and clearer for viewers than all this wearable electronics put together, and the best way to sell Apple Watch is to call them the most convenient accessory for this game?
At some point, the presentation began to resemble the dreams of a schoolboy-gambling addict, despite the fact that they were voiced by a quite respectable man: 'Look how easily I got the gold medal! How quickly the egg hatched! Oh, this is Pikachu himself! Can not be! Hurray, hurray, hurray-ah !!! Thank you Apple, thanks to you I became the best! '.
It is said that once the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu dreamed that he was a butterfly, flitting merrily from flower to flower. When he woke up, he could not decide who he really was – a philosopher who dreamed that he was a butterfly, or a butterfly who dreamed that she was a Chinese philosopher.
This part of the presentation Apple left a similar feeling. Either we were shown Pokemon GO for Apple Watch, or Apple Watch for Pokemon GO.
iPhone 7. Five facts out of ten
There is nothing more obscure than an obvious fact.
A beautiful video about the creation of a new corps iPhone and Jonathan Ive, who once again created the best iPhone in the entire history of earthly civilization.
Then Philip Schiller, Senior Vice President of Marketing, takes the floor. The presentation is in the '10 facts' format, which in itself is a little alarming. Most often it is not used because of a good life – it is not possible to compose a coherent and interesting story for the viewer about every device, but you can quickly throw in 'ten impressive facts' even about the Nokia 3310. For a short note, this format is good, but for serious reviews or presentations it seems to me unsuccessful. I will not dwell on all the facts, I will briefly go over the main changes.
First, there is a story about the design, which, as expected, boils down to the fact that the old iPhone has turned into a pumpkin again. Body bends, logo, antenna inserts – everything is very cool, very beautiful, very technological. And if someone heard the same words a year (two, three, four) ago, they just heard it. Among the colors shown are black, another black, silver, gold and pink, all extremely politically correct. According to rumors, a blue iPhone was also supposed to be presented, but either the leaks did not correspond to reality, or they decided to save it for later.
Next, quite expectedly, we focused our attention on the Home button. The round key under the screen is one of the most recognizable features iPhone, many different functions are tied to it, from calling Siri to unlocking the device with a fingerprint scanner. This year, it has been redesigned even more with touch and feedback support. It is not yet clear how this will work in practice, but the idea is interesting. And I don't know about Philip Schiller, but I was tempted to add – 'wait for it in a year, in all flagships on Android …'.
Protection from water is the very function that Sony was promoting with might and main. And then it was burned on it when disgruntled users carried a lot of 'drowned' to the service centers. For the rest of the companies, everything went somehow less violently, and less attention was paid to it, and there were no loud misfires here.
Many commentators complain that IP67 by the standards of 2016 is not at all great and the new flagship should have at least IP68 protection. To be honest, I doubt this is important for a smartphone. Splash and dust resistance is one of those things that will always come in handy, but which is completely unimpressive on its own. And its task is to protect the smartphone from rain, and not at all allow the buyer to take underwater photography or wash the smartphone in the washing machine, as some sometimes think.
Camera. At one time it was considered the standard of quality, the best solution that exists in mobile devices. I do not know to what extent all this corresponded to the real state of affairs, but users were sure of this. And in the reviews, cameras in other phones were compared with the device Apple.
In recent years Apple has no advantage here, the camera is quite good, but it hasn't caused any “wow” for a long time. The company is clearly trying to remedy this situation, and this time a lot of big words were said about the camera. Everything has once again become even better, even faster, even more modern. It was repeated several times that this is the best camera ever in a smartphone Apple. But at the present time this argument is rather weak, and how everything will turn out in practice, again, is unknown.
I think everyone who watches smartphone presentations from time to time has developed a useful habit of dividing the promises of manufacturers about the photographic part of devices by about ten. Because they promise with three boxes absolutely everything here, and if you believe the fiery speeches from the stage, then even a 4 MP camera in the old HTC One 'tears' any competitors, like Tuzik a heating pad. Moreover, the photographs shown during the presentation confirm this every time.
iPhone 7 Plus received a dual camera, this solution is not new at all for the market, but it still looks interesting. This gives users a 2x optical zoom and a combined 10x digital zoom with high quality. If such a camera in the classic iPhone would be really great, but Plus is too niche model in itself, and the dual camera simply won't be able to attract special attention of users.
Literally a couple of words were said about stereo speakers. This is one of those things that I personally like very much, although it is not particularly popular with buyers. And it's good that the new iPhone has it.
iPhone 7. We are missing
– Throw away ballast!
– The last bag has just been emptied!
– Is the ball going up?
– I seem to hear the splash of waves!
– The basket is over the water!
– To the sea no more than five hundred feet!
An imperious voice rang out in the air:
– All heavy overboard! Everything!..
Jules Verne Mysterious Island
But this cannot be said about the expected rejection of the standard 3.5 headphone jack. Under the deathly silence of the audience, Philip Schiller talks about how the company cares about the interests of its users and how great it is to connect headphones via the Lightning connector. For all the time – not a single clap of his hands, although in especially epic places in his speech Schiller is clearly expecting them. At the end – the phrase that the company has released a special adapter for the owners of obsolete headphones with a standard jack. Moreover, I decided to put it in every box with iPhone for free! And here the audience really bursts into applause … Apparently, the suspicion that a new adapter would have to be bought for $ 30 was not mine alone.
They say that Apple is not the same and under Jobs there was no such extravagance in the company. In my opinion, everything is much simpler – it's just that Jonathan Ive finally had the opportunity to have a full blast. In addition to the famous mouse and the equally famous stylus, the 'Assemble me!' Adapter designer has now been added. But until recently, the unofficial motto of the 'apple' technique was the phrase 'It just works' …
Fans Apple have already started to get used to the fact that the old headphone jack is very bad. It is morally outdated, it takes up a lot of unnecessary space, its mere existence is capable of stopping all technical progress forever. And this despite the fact that no one bothered them before from using 'modern' audio devices with Lightning – as we were carefully reminded during the presentation, there were already about a billion of them on the market. But those who wanted something were not particularly visible.
With a well-hung tongue, you can pass off anything as innovation. And even though Mr. Philip himself does not belong to these people and the audience sitting in the hall was clearly not convinced, many “apple” extremists will gladly take up his cry. Previously, there were two connectors, and it was difficult and incomprehensible, but now there is only one, and this is correct and good. If only in Apple the obsolete volume control buttons were removed, otherwise, honestly, it's a shame to get such an outdated smartphone out of your pocket. They were still in the old Nokia! And it's time to get rid of the battery, it takes up so much space in the case – it's just awful. Anyway, everyone always has external 'power banks' with them, so what's stopping you from abandoning it?
Some companies believe that devices exist for humans. And some that people exist for their devices. Thinking about what is convenient for these same people and what is not is not necessary at all, they will not go anywhere, they will cry in the corner and continue to eat the cactus. Much more important is how much money can now be earned from partners.
Although I must admit that this time the palm in the competition of dubious innovations went not to designers Apple. Some manufacturers Android of technology have already managed to get ahead of them, being the first to 'come up with' abandoning the standard audio jack and replacing it with USB Type C. Presumably, the motivation here was even simpler – albeit stupid, albeit inconvenient, but we are the same trendy, like Apple. After all Apple is always on top, isn't it? At least a little they are excused only by the fact that USB Type C is still a much more common solution than Lightning, and is found not only in smartphones of a single manufacturer.
Nothing is done just like that. It's just that we don't always know the motives.
Apple has always had two main motivations for doing anything. First, to show something so cool that everyone around them opens their mouths in amazement. And secondly, to earn more money on these very “all”. This Apple compares favorably with many other companies focused exclusively on the second point.
The ideal balance was achieved in Jobs's time, when the phones were so bright and interesting that they were forgiven for everything that the company willingly used. To some extent, the products Apple were out of the market – they simply did not apply the rules and requirements that everyone else was forced to follow. This is the same 'magic Apple' that has ruined the careers of more than one analyst.
For Jobs, iPhone was more than just a commercially viable product to make a ton of money. It was a dream phone, and when he talked about it from the stage, you could feel it. He did not arrange social surveys, did not follow blind fashion, was not afraid to lag behind competitors. He did only what he considered necessary himself (or – forced others to do it), and it was this approach that led mobile technology Apple to success.
Now Apple is ruled by a more pragmatic approach. I don't know about social polls and focus groups, but at least the fashion and actions of competitors in Apple are monitored very closely. And do not hesitate to adopt all popular ideas, regardless of whether someone specifically likes them or not. Each move is calculated and calculated, like in a chess game, there is no more room for random impulses of one person.
Probably, the company thinks that the new device turned out to be cool enough to afford such an innocent prank as abandoning the standard audio jack. And that potential shortfalls in revenue from dissatisfied users can be more than offset by royalties, accessories, and other 'nice little things'.
If we take the decision with the audio jack outside the brackets, then iPhone 7 has become a pleasant, but very calm device. We can say that the two-year cycle Apple is really broken, there is no fundamental difference between the one-year and two-year updates now. This is neither good nor bad, you just need to take the situation for granted and not wait for miracles according to the once established schedule. This is how all other companies work, the same Samsung announcements can hardly be called a template break.
The question of how users will perceive these changes is still open. It seems to me that the company itself is not completely sure of this, and that is why they are in no hurry to share the first figures. Maybe a slight disappointment of users will really take place, but for Apple this only means that there will be an opportunity to win back on the next smartphone. Interestingly, in all the leaks and rumors, it does not even appear as iPhone 7S or iPhone 8, it is simply called iPhone 2017. Once again emphasizing that there is no anchor to a two-year cycle now, in fact, no.
In the end, I would like to note one more thing. Many fans Apple continue to claim that iPhone 7 has no alternatives, that it a priori has no worthy rivals and that on other OS (read – Android) they are all will not be able to cross. Amateurs Android no less categorically object that for them any iPhone is obviously uninteresting, that the gap between these two OS is simply huge and get used to the 'flawed' iOS they have there is neither time nor desire.
I would very much like to advise the holy paladins on both sides to finally get out of their trenches, look around and see what is going on in the world. Maybe at least then they will pay attention to the fact that it's 2016 in the yard, their Holy War is over long ago and people freely switch from one OS to another and back. And the controversy iOS vs Android is as relevant as the Vista vs. XP battle. The operating system is just one of the components of a smartphone, and should not be given so much importance.