I'll be the first to tell you that I'm not an Apple fanboy. At the same time, I'll also be the first to tell you that I am not an Apple hater. I like technology. I like gadgets. And I have no real brand loyalty, aside from maybe Nintendo. I'm willing to go to whoever happens to have the most appealing product (to me) at the time.
Which is why I don't own an Apple iPad. I also don't have a MacBook or an iPhone. It's not that I don't think they're good products -- they're good for what they claim to do -- but I don't think they're anywhere near where the hype may lead us to believe they are. They're not exactly groundbreaking either.
A lot of people that I meet seem to think that the iPod was the first MP3 player ever released. Some of these people don't even know what an "MP3 player" is, but they're perfectly familiar with the iPod. In like manner, these same people seem to think that the iPhone was the first touchscreen phone and the iPad was the first tablet device. Wrong.
Like I said at the top, I'm not an Apple hater, but the collective ignorance of many consumers irks me. Long before the iPhone was revealed, many cell phone companies were already producing touchscreen phones. From HTC to the Palm Treo, there were lots; they just weren't popular for one reason or another. Even now, the iPhone is more popular than something like the Nokia N97 mini, though Nokia still ships larger volumes overall.
What about tablets? The iPad was preceded by the less popular UMPC and MID devices from companies like OQO. They were too expensive and ran full operating systems, making them less appealing that something more accessible like the iPad.
And I think that's where Apple is really providing its "innovation." Apple doesn't really do anything all that novel when it comes to the hardware side of thing. They don't push the envelope with new form factors, new features, or new specs. The iPhone 4's FaceTime? Video calling has been offered on international phones for years. Where Apple pushes the envelope is accessibility, almost to a fault.
When your Windows PC crashes, you get a blue screen of death (BSOD) with a cryptic error message. This can provide some information about how to prevent such an error in the future. When an app crashes on the iPhone, it just boots you back to the home screen with nary a mention of what exactly went wrong. That's both a good thing and a bad thing, I suppose.
It's all in the marketing and the culture. People line up for hours to buy an iPhone 4, but they don't line up to get a new BlackBerry Bold. Take that for what it's worth.
Just my two cents.
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