Monday, October 1, 2012

Apple might not approve a Google Maps app

As others are realizing that a Google Maps app for iOS is not a given, they seem to miss the relevant consequence. I mean mapping/navigation is one of the critical functions of a modern smartphone.

So what do you need not working to come to the conclusion that you might want to buy something that works?

I mean, the iPhone 5/iOS 6 offers:

  • An insult when it comes to Maps. That's not even pre-Alpha, they knew it, and they still decided to go ahead with it, without thinking about user experience.
  • Then we've got scratching. I mean, a premium device that scratches more easily than any cheapo tracfone. And if you have to put it in cover, all you get is something that looks and feels like any cheap Android phone, because covers are the great equalizers here. Does not matter what's inside, you still feel and see primarily the cover. And 4" is not exactly a highend screen for current phones. Add to this light leakage, and you get a quality picture that is rather sad.
  • But as any Apple lover will tell me, having a deeply scratched phone is just about become highly trendy and cool, and Apple was so nice to prescratch a good part of the currently available iPhone 5s, considering that someone trying to replace his iPhone5 for an unscratched one did not manage to find such in 30 boxes in the Apple store he was at.
  • The iPhone5 has a mediocre battery at best (if I believe certain German consumer watchdogs, it's 2.5 hours standardized surfing via UMTS, shorter than the 4S, and much shorter what the Samsung S3 manages), and you cannot change it on the fly. My T-Mobile G1 years ago had a somewhat small battery, but at least I could change it for a full battery anytime.
  • iOS features that have been common on other phones for over a year. Wow, so you can take panorama images. I can relate I just discovered that my phone can do that too, never bothered to figure out the features of my phone. Twitter/FB intergration. Wow. What about Dropbox. Your own home server? (Photostream is cool, but I prefer to keep my photos private by default so they are directly uploaded to my PC at home.)
Obviously it works "well enough", because while Apple does have a number of cultist followers, most of the 5 millions iPhone5s were not sold to people waiting in line outside. OTOH, if I think about my family, there are certain effects that can explain that lemming-like buying behaviour (like I already know how to press icons and I don't know anything else, hence it's working. I once observed a secretary printing a certain preprinted form multiple times, because she never realized that the system was meant to reliably to find the left upper corner on every print, and as reprinting the form once or twice was still much faster than doing it by hand. Hence that printer was replaced only when I noticed it for myself, the regular user found the bad printer "good enough"). OTOH, 5 millions on one weekend and running out of stock is rather poor performance, it's kind of the number of Android activations in a normal week.

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