Missed opportunities

Everywhere the Macalope looks this week he sees missed opportunities. Mobile platforms could have better accessibility options, and advocates could try targeting companies other than just Apple. Conversations about wearables, meanwhile, should probably not start from the presumption that Microsoft will own the category. Finally, posting a loose conversation about diversity at Apple was probably not a good idea.

Responsible parties

By now you’ve surely heard about how Android is “winning” (offer valid only in terms of market share, void where prohibited). So, naturally, when there is a problem with modern smartphone technology, all the onus falls on Google to fix the problem and hahahahaha are you new here?

Reuters says “Advocates for blind, deaf want more from Apple” (tip o’ the antlers to The Loop).

Just Apple?

Rival Google Inc, whose Android operating system drives more phones than Apple, is also under pressure, but as the creator of the modern smartphone and a long-time champion for the blind, Apple is feeling the most heat.

Well, of course, that just makes sense, because …

Wait, why does that make sense?

Apple hasn’t been a steady champion.

Has Google, the company that’s in a position to make the largest difference since it has the largest market share? The question is never asked nor answered in this piece. From the words of accessibility advocate Chris Hofstader (tip o’ the antlers to Daring Fireball), it doesn’t sound like it:

… while a bunch of blind buddies of mine enjoy their experience with Android and, perhaps, you may want to explore it as well, they have not met the standard of 100% out-of-the-box accessibility in the way Apple has with iOS 7.

Not to hear Reuters talk about it.

The Macalope is, of course, in favor of better accessibility options on all platforms (see Marco Arment’s post on the subject). People should not be penalized because of their ability and it’s absolutely right that the deaf and blind should be asking for features that make their experience as full and rich as everyone else’s. The horny one just wonders why it’s always about Apple.

Howard Rosenblum, chief executive officer of the National Association of the Deaf, wants more. “Any app should be accessible to everyone,” he said.

Agreed. And maybe it’s possible that more deaf and blind people use iOS devices than Android devices because of what Hofstader describes. Maybe that’s why they care more about what Apple does. At the same time, using Apple as a scratching post is pretty much a standard tactic.

We are constantly treated to pieces that explain at great length how Apple only has a global smartphone market share in the teens compared to Android’s share, which is something like ten thousand percent. Despite this, Apple is always the focus of these concerns instead of Google. Why is that?

As activists have learned, your cause gets better publicity when you make it about Apple. The one exception is the San Francisco housing problem, which Google takes the brunt of—but only because Google employs mustache-twirling lawyers who insist that school teachers must pay the new, significantly higher rent. Rumors that these lawyers are literally tying the school teachers to train tracks remain unconfirmed.

At what point is Google, as the largest smartphone market share holder, held accountable? It must be nice to have 75 percent of the market share and 25 percent of the responsibility for the ills of mobile technology.

Although, having 60 percent of the profit is probably better.

Party like it’s 1995

Writing for AOL’s Daily Finance, Rick Aristotle Munarriz plays an old favorite.

“The Market Loves Apple Again, but a Familiar Foe Looms Large” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody).

Who? Could? It? Be?!

Reports have been emerging about a possible smartwatch from Microsoft.

Choo-choooooo! All aboard the doom train! Destination: Cupertino! Conductor: Microsoft!

So, here we have a rumored product from Microsoft dooming a rumored product from Apple. It doesn’t get any more rock solid than that.

It’s easy to dismiss Microsoft as a has-been in the tech world.

Easy, fun, and accurate. It’s the trifecta!

However …

… the company’s spent more than a decade sucking! It’s due for a win!

… the wearable tech market is still in its infancy, and Microsoft knows that it has to come out of the gate strong if it wants to be taken seriously.

The company knows it can’t screw up again, so it totally won’t, because no one who has ever known that they can’t screw up again has, in fact, screwed up again.

Moreover, at a time when Windows PC sales have stalled—and even the Xbox is losing ground to Sony’s PlayStation—it’s hungry enough to find leadership in any category.

By that logic the Houston Astros should be busting out the big bats any day now. They have to! They have no choice!

Microsoft producing a device that will support Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android is an admission that Windows itself isn’t a big enough market in mobile gadgetry.

An admission of the obvious, then.

But the refreshing self-awareness also gives it a better shot at succeeding than the other devices that are hogtied to a single mobile operating system.

Well, that’s as may be, assuming you’re right that this Apple watch that doesn’t exist yet only works with iOS, and assuming that the rumors are true about the Microsoft watch, and assuming space aliens don’t walk among us right now.

The moment that Microsoft succeeds in a market where Samsung and Apple have yet to gain a foothold …

Apple at least in small part because it hasn’t shipped a device yet.

… it will expand its product line aggressively.

Ah, it’s good to see Microsoft back on top of the senseless speculation game, isn’t it? The Macalope hasn’t seen such pro-Redmond boosterism since the Zune summer of love back in two thousand aught-six.

That being, of course, the summer before it came out, when Microsoft boosters were all crowing about how the iPod was doomed. That talk dropped off pretty quick after the release. Certainly that won’t happen this time, though. Because Microsoft can’t afford for it to happen.

Unedited

Some of you know TechNewsWorld as that crazy place that only scoops up Rob Enderle’s brain pan drippings and publishes them on the Internet. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out its editors are nuts, too.

Writing for the Weekly World News of tech, Chris Maxcer and editor Mick Brady have an off-the-cuff rap session about “Tim Cook’s New Apple World Order.”

Here’s Maxcer:

The question isn’t whether Apple is shifting toward being a more inclusive company. The question is if this new direction toward inventor inclusion is a sign of weakness or a sign of evolution. I don’t think Apple will ever invent another discrete cool new product that sort of stands on its own. I think Apple has changed and will only invent products that are part of inclusive new ecosystems.

What’s the evidence Apple’s more inclusive? Well, it now has a woman senior vice president, acquired a company run by a black entrepreneur, and was a prominent presence at San Francisco’s Pride Parade.

Which is apparently all what caused Extensions in iOS.

Uhhh … huh.

The Macalope kind of sees where Maxcer was going with this, but there is such a thing as taking a theme too far. Though, as kind of kookie as Maxcer’s theme is, it’s Brady who makes it shine.

Well, more glisten, really.

I’m struggling to see this in a business light. I don’t think Cook would have risen to be CEO of Apple if he weren’t shrewd about business.

[The Macalope turns to the camera and stares into it, unblinking, for five full minutes.]

From a business perspective, it seems dangerous to take positions that might alienate potential customers. Yet Cook seems to be moving in that direction.

Only by not having your company be all straight white males all the time do you alienate customers. Got it.

Good analysis.

Are other Apple customers as flexible as you seem to be?

Are they all equally immoral?

I spoke to one recently who said she had gotten a look at leaked photos of the supposed iPhone 6 prototypes and thought they were ugly. If that’s what the next iPhone looks like, she would probably switch. She seemed to think that without Steve Jobs, Apple had lost its mojo.

It was just an aluminum frame! I’m not buying a phone that doesn’t have some internal working parts! If selling “phones” that are just metal frames with sapphire glass in them is your strategy going forward, Apple, then good day to you! GOOD DAY!

The way I see Apple, it has not been among the great innovators—it’s been a great packager, marketer and brander of ideas that really originated outside the company.

Maybe you’re not clear on what innovation is. Or design. Or software. Or even soup, maybe.

Anyway, guys, that whole “let’s just run this as an informal conversation” idea? Yeah, there’s a reason why columns are supposed to be thought out, written, and edited.

Subscribe to the iOS Tips & Trends Newsletter

Comments