The Macalope: Not-so-great expectations


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The dumb was running through the streets like the bulls of Pamplona in the lead up to Tuesday’s iPhone event.

Over at CNN, Doug Gross said “With new iPhone, Apple has some catching up to do” (tip o’ the antlers to the Jony Ive parody account on Twitter).

There’s still plenty to be said for the iPhone’s sleek, simple design, easy-to-navigate operating system and tidy “closed garden” app environment.

Not that Gross is going to say any of it, of course.

Also, it’s “walled garden.” Get your ankle-deep, knee-jerk Apple tropes right.

But as phones running Google’s Android operating system, particularly Samsung’s, have gained in popularity, iPhone owners have increasingly found themselves looking around and wondering, “Why can’t my phone do that?”

Many Android phones have bigger screens than the iPhone.

Yes, why can’t my phone, uh, bigger screen?

Some are water-resistant …

Even if it’s not water resistant enough to cover water damage in the warranty, saying it’s water resistant is a feature!

Android apps can update automatically. Users can control Motorola’s new Moto X phone with their voice, without touching it.

You can already mostly do the latter on your iPhone; by next week, you’ll be able to do the former too.

… after making up nearly 24% of all smartphones sold in late 2011, Apple’s device is now down to about 14%, while Android phones account for a whopping 79%.

Forget the fact that only Samsung and Apple are making any money selling phones.

Meanwhile, here’s the amount of space Gross devotes to the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5s:

The most high-profile feature that’s been rumored for the new iPhone is a fingerprint scanner. Such a security feature would let users register a finger or thumb print and use it to unlock their phone.

Big whoop, right? Android devices are water resistant (but not really water resistant), but the most important part is that you hear the words “water resistant”! Apple just has some fingerprint scanner. Pff. Derp. Hornk-hornk. Who needs that?

As usual, Apple is expected to upgrade the phone with a faster processor, better battery life and an improved camera. But those are the sort of pragmatic upgrades that, while arguably most important to user experience, don’t turn heads …

Who cares about stuff people will actually use?! Show us a bunch of junk you’ll never touch or that won’t even work, just like Samsung did!

But an iWatch rollout later this year or in early 2014 would miss at least some of the coveted holiday-shopping season while giving Samsung and other smartwatch makers a big head start in the marketplace.

Yes, indeed! Enjoy your “head start,” Samsung! The Macalope is sure you’ll earn the loyalty of all 18 people who buy one of your ill-defined smartwatches with its superior, uh, well, being firstness. That seems to be its only real selling point.

Moving onto customer wrists, and into living rooms, might deflate pressure to sex up the iPhone.

Which would be good, because ew.

So, this is how skewed expectations about Apple are. The company introduced features people actually use—even ones they won’t realize they’re using, like the M7 coprocessor that will allow a whole realm of motion-aware apps—in form factors people love. This flies over the heads of pundits who want nothing but more and more “features.”

As Tim Cook said:

We don’t just pack in feature after feature. Instead we think deeply about what kind of experience we want to create and then create technologies that enable that experience.

Most customers, fortunately, know that better than pundits do.

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