The Macalope: Applefail is a one-way street


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It is, of course, a given that the iPhone is falling behind, right? Sure, it is. (Just play along.) The only question left to answer, therefore, is why is it falling behind? And who would we turn to to answer that question than Mike Elgan?

“Why the iPhone Is Falling Behind” (no link, but tip o’ the antlers to Brian Whitney)

Apple haters, Android geeks and misinformed Wall Street analysts will tell you that Apple’s iPhone is falling behind because Apple can’t innovate anymore.

But only clever people like Mike Elgan, who has historically been an entire bag full of wrongness about Apple, can tell you the real reason.

But iPhones are still lacking some of the best innovations out there. This isn’t because Apple can’t innovate. It’s because Apple can’t share. Apple can’t play nice with others. Apple wants to control the user experience, even at the expense of the user.

Expense, we will find, however, goes not in just one direction.

Apple isn’t open.

For every door that Steve Jobs closed, he also closed a window.

This quality used to be a benefit because it prevented the platform from becoming an ugly, confusing, fragmented mess.

But in the past month, Apple’s lack of openness has become a serious problem.

Very serious. For sure.

What are the experiences iPhone customers are losing out on?

Google Now

Well, not all of Google Now. Just the parts that are super-awesome when you ignore other parts that are decidedly less awesome. You know, when you look at it like Mike Elgan.

Google could have decided to keep Google Now as an exclusive feature of Android, and thereby motivate millions of iPhone users to switch platforms just to get the service. Yes, it’s that good.

This is baloney. Actually, double baloney. Wonderbread slathered with mayonnaise and two slices of baloney kind of baloney. The notion that “millions of iPhone users” would switch over one feature—better voice interaction—is a massive misunderstanding of what makes the iPhone popular in the first place. But, more importantly, Elgan doesn’t seem to understand why Google released Google Now for the iPhone.

Much like Mars needs women, Google needs iPhone users.

Elgan’s one-sided analysis conveniently leaves out a sticking point, perhaps the sticking point. Fire up Google Now on iOS and what’s the first thing it asks you to do? Let it track your location. That is to say, let Google track your location. To Elgan, this is not even worth mentioning and the benefits are so huge and, ugh, Apple is so stoopid to deny iPhone owners this privilege.

Another major, one might say magical, quality of Google Now is the ability to read your email and calendar and figure out who you’re interacting with, where you’re going and what you’re doing.

This is precisely what the iOS Maps disagreement was about. Google wanted more user data and Apple wouldn’t give it to them. Elgan mentions this where, exactly? Oh, that’s right. Nowhere. Which is a kind of where.

What else is a bee in Elgan’s May bonnet?

Facebook Home

Ah, well, this is a perfect chance to test Elgan’s theory about how millions will switch over these must-have features—all of which seem to be created by companies that want your personal information so bad they can taste it.

Last and arguably least...

Google Glass

Elgan also thinks Apple’s leaving customers out of the market for devices that no one can actually buy yet that strive to take not only your information but the information of those around you.

Sure, Apple will continue to work on Siri, integration with other social networks and probably an iWatch as alternatives. But these will always be second-rate alternatives.

First-rate alternatives always watch you like that creepy single guy down the street with the white van.

It’s fine to note that these products can provide useful services. It’s fine to wonder if iOS users aren’t missing out on something. What’s not fine is leaving out huge negatives that take away from the benefits you’re claiming.

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