26 reasons Apple fanboys have got it all wrong
14th May 2010 | 11:30
For every iPhone there's an i-rritation or an i-nnoyance
Apple TV, Blu-ray support, DRM hypocrisy...
With the possible exception of the people who think Barack Obama is a robot controlled by Hitler, Apple fans are probably the most loyal, vocal and organised pressure group on the planet.
Slag off Apple and they'll fact-check you to death - but while some Apple criticisms are lazy, the firm they're defending is often less than perfect.
From weird products to disturbing corporate behaviour, here are 26 things that give us the Sad Mac icon.
1. Apple TV
If any other company said to its customers - after it had taken their money - "Yeah, we know it's crap, but it's just a hobby" we'd be at their front door with flaming torches.
We don't even live in America, and Apple's devilish deal with AT&T still annoys us. Our friends on the other side of the Atlantic still can't take advantage of iPhone tethering because AT&T can't cope with the potential increase in traffic. Madness.
3. Banned, blocked or crippled apps
You can't download a Google Voice app because Apple's in a huff with Google. You can't use Skype on 3G yet because certain networks didn't like the idea. Apps that do a better job than the iPhone's woeful Wi-Fi detector get blocked because they apparently use super-secret API calls. You get the idea.
4. Blu-ray support
Where is it?
Some 5,000 apps have been pulled from the App Store for sexual content - but apps such as Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Models are still allowed.
The EFF's app was rejected because it had a YouTube video with the F-word in it, even though the iPhone's YouTube app could access the same footage. Award-winning cartoonists' apps get pulled because they might offend the odd idiot.
ACCEPTABLE ON THE IPHONE:You can't have scantily-dressed women in your app, unless Apple decides you can have scantily-dressed women in your app. Hope that's clear [image credit: Apple]
6. DRM hypocrisy
"…any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers" - Steve Jobs, 2007. That apparently only applies to music: DRM is on pretty much everything else, from iBooks to iTunes movie downloads.
Apple's culture of secrecy, it's alleged, is partly responsible for the death of a 25-year-old Chinese worker who committed suicide after losing a prototype iPhone. It's claimed that Apple subcontractors are so scared of the firm's wrath they put unbearable pressure on their employees.
Snow Leopard's version has addressed many of the issues that make the Finder a love/hate program, but in our experience it's still slow, crashy and occasionally annoying. Power users prefer Path Finder.
FINDER FAIL: Many power users prefer the Path Finder application to OS X's built-in Finder
The bigger your iTunes library the more swearing you'll do at iTunes - especially if you've stuck your stuff on an external drive, which seems to cause iTunes no end of confusion. We've lost track of the number of times we've had to recreate our library from scratch.
10. iTunes for Windows
They're not even pretending to try with this one.
11. iPod Hi-Fi
It was bigger than a house and it didn't sound that great. Yours for £250.
12. iTunes LP
When Jobs unveiled iTunes LP, his lack of enthusiasm was palpable. Why bother making and launching a product you don't like, a product that costs tens of thousands for each release? Six months later, just 29 albums were available in the format. Maybe it'll take off on the iPad. Maybe it won't.
13. iWork syncing on the iPad
Information Week's headline says it all: iPad cripples iWork Documents.
Media control, product placement, sneaky installs...
14. Media control freakery
Have you noticed how critical reviews of Apple kit always come out long after launch, and yet nice reviews are available immediately or even prior to launch? Funny, isn't it? It's almost as if the whole thing was managed somehow!
15. Ridiculously OTT product placement in US TV shows and movies
It's not quite Hugh Laurie bellowing "Let me diagnose that USING MY MACBOOK PRO!" while shoving iPods into weeping sores, but it's not far off it.
16. Safari's sneaky installer
On Windows, Safari 3.1 was pushed to iTunes users via Apple's software update tool, which is a rather underhand way of promoting your software - even if the move worked.
17. Schoolboy behaviour towards Adobe
Not wanting Flash on your products is fair enough, but timing the announcement of new terms and conditions so it overshadows Adobe's CS5 launch is schoolboy stuff.
18. Secret USB support that might not be around for long
The iPad's camera connection kit enables you to connect some USB devices, such as headsets, and they work just fine - for now. Unfortunately all such devices are unsupported, so Apple may well kill them in the next OS update.
UNSUPPRTED:You can use the Apple Camera Connector to connect USB devices to your iPad - but future OS updates may disable them [image credit: Apple]
19. Taking the mickey out of early adopters
Remember the 4GB iPhone and the initial price tag that Apple quickly dropped? Early adopters are still being stung. Does anybody honestly think the next iPad won't have the cameras we expected in the first version?
20. Total pricing control
We can't think of any other firm whose products sell in so many places without any difference in price. There are ways to cut the cost of Apple ownership, but the price you pay is generally the price Apple says you'll pay.
NO DEAL:You don't expect a discount in an Apple Store, but with Apple you shouldn't expect a discount anywhere [image credit: Apple]
21. Unboxing videos
Apple's largely responsible for this baffling facet of tech culture.
22. Unreplaceable parts
Seamless products without user-replaceable parts may look good, but they also mean that simple repairs - replacing the hard disk in an iMac, for example - become expensive undertakings.
23. Using child labour
Apple isn't the only firm doing it, but it's one of the most profitable ones. Apple's margins are massive, and it can afford to insist on better conditions in its subcontractors' factories.
24. Vertical integration
Apple's returned to an age-old business model: vertical integration. iPods don't work with any software but iTunes; iTunes doesn't work with phones or MP3 players Apple doesn't make. The integration has reached a peak with the iPad, an Apple computer based on an Apple processor running Apple's operating system, whose applications must come via Apple's App Store, and whose paid-for content will largely come via iTunes. It's the ultimate lock-in: if you decide in the future to buy a rival's product, you'll be starting again from scratch.
25. Withholding features
Whether it's the iPhone's original lack of cut and paste or the iPad's lack of a genuine HD connector (it does 720p but the component AV cable only does 576p), Apple has a tendency of shipping products with key features absent until it's time for a brand new bit of hardware - at which point the missing features are billed as major new features.
And last but definitely not least:
26. The reality distortion field
The underdog so many people rush to defend is one of the world's richest corporations with a bulging and fiercely defended patent portfolio, a fearsome legal team and what - to some, at least - appears to be a pet police force. Apple often appears more bully than bullied.
Liked this? Then read What if Steve Jobs ran Microsoft?
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