Friday, June 25, 2010

The iPhone 4 Thunderbolt

Of all the criticisms leveled at the users of Apple products, the one that emerges most often is the charge that they're lemmings blindly following a cult leader. What an odd accusation it is, given that Apple made history with its anti-"1984" Superbowl commercial in 1984. Has the the company become the IBM of the mobile technology field, a market force so big that competitors clone Apple products and stick their labels on them, hoping that lower prices (made possible by minimal or nonexistent R&D overhead) will keep them solvent? Not at all. Apple is only the number two smartphone maker. Research in Motion's Blackberry has the biggest market share in the U.S. Its other competitors, Google and Microsoft, have the resources that could relegate Apple to a small player in a big field.

That still doesn't mean Apple users aren't lemmings, though. Certainly there are people who buy Apple products with little or no reason for doing so, other than to associate themselves with a certain lifestyle or to see Steve Jobs make keynote speeches in San Francisco. Could such technophobes be considered lemmings? Sure. But this is true of any product. What gives Apple critics a certain leverage is the claim that Apple's fans are buying a technically inferior product. The charge is they don't research the market and buy the best product - they fall under the Apple spell and obey their suggestions uncritically.

Apple might seem to have more than its share of lemmings, but that could be more a reflection of repeated end-user satisfaction and trust than uninformed obedience. Apple creates innovative products with features people want - and in some cases, dream about. And the features usually work as advertised. It makes sense to stay with a company that satisfies customers so well. Loyal customers are being mistaken for lemmings. As for uncritical acceptance of Apple's offerings, check out an Apple forum sometime and read some of the rants the "lemmings" make about their master's products.

Now we have the iPhone 4. At least one reputable source gives it a big thumbs up, and they followed this with suggestions on what to do with it. (No, it's not what you're thinking.) Other interesting iPhone 4 links:

6 iPhone 4 tips
Apple Responds to iPhone 4 'Death Grip' Reports
Smartphone Camera Battle: iPhone 4 vs. the Android Army
Apple iOS 4 vs. Android Multitasking: Which Approach Is Better for Users?
77% of iPhone 4 sales were upgrades
First day sales: 1.5 million iPhone 4s?
What the iPhone means to Apple
What's driving iPhone 4 sales?

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