Like many people, I have a love hate affair with Apple. Their marketing is constantly outstanding, from use of imagery and typefaces, to the perfect timing as they thrust a solution in front of a disillusioned world. Apple’s detailed double page spread advertisements in the 1980s for the Apple II and Macintosh were outstanding. The iPod TV spots today substitute detailed technical explanations with an exciting and hip energy. And that initial “5000 songs in your pocket” campaign – perfection! (THE elevator pitch!)
My problem with Apple is they do not carry through. Why are the iPhone and iPod docks white? Why not blend in with the device as Sony would do? Why only one keyboard design for the iMac? Why such an appalling camera on the iPhone – despite the fact the device is all about the enjoyment of digital media? Why didn’t they continue with the fantastic PowerBook DUO (dockable laptop) just as Ford continue to produce and improve the Focus and other popular automobile models? Why on the iPhone can’t one swipe through calendar months? (You have to touch the little arrows at the top of the screen instead.) And why can’t one swipe to erase an iPhone calendar entry? Instead one has to touch [Edit] and then scroll to the bottom and touch the red [Delete] button half visible at the base of the screen? So frustrating!
Friday 18 July 2008
The technology behind this device is phenomenal, yet to the person in the street, the content on the iPhone will be what most people focus on once they have finished having their socks blown off by the multi-touch interface. Anyway, no matter how impressive the phone is, the clever but flawed on screen keyboard makes it too difficult (and painful) to type anything for a lengthy period of time. Parallax error mean that small touch screen keyboards are and always will be unreliable. The brain refuses to guide the fingers to the correct location on a 2D surface, preferring to ‘lock on’ to a 3D object. If you pickup a device with a mechanical keyboard the same size as that on the iPhone, you may be able to type faster. Try it on a Nokia E71! Once Apple provide a larger on screen keyboard and/or or a 3rd party release a spiffy external mechanical keyboard, we will be rocking! (I have some ideas on this. Should O’WONDER produce one? Surely Belkin, Griffin and Logitech must be on the case!?)
Controversially I believe this to be one of Apple’s most valuable, well conceived and under exploited products. Whether it is limited marketing, the price VS less compact and attractive PC alternatives, the MacBook/iMac focus or what, but the Mini is perfect for cash strapped small businesses or home users. And a great platform with which to grow a media hub that retains full OS (X) functionality. The sofa friendly Front Row GUI built into ALL Macs is best suited to a Mac Mini powered household. Why on Earth Apple wasted time with the poorly named Apple TV is anyones guess, mind you, Stevie did say it was an experiment, so kudos for bravery.
Apple TV should be a software product, not a hardware platform.