Thursday, March 11, 2010

The iPhone and other Apple crimes against humanity

Yes I'll be honest and as the title suggests I am not a fan of Apple's shiny but hopeless fashion must have. In fact I am not a fan of the Apple corporation at large. As a designer I appreciated the daring breakthrough of Jonathan Ive's colourful iMacs in 1998.

But now Steve Jobs seems as bent on world domination as Bill Gates was before he came to his senses and retired, now whenever I see the infamous apple logo it fills me with rage.

Why, well where do I begin the companies hypocritical marketing claims especially in relation to the environmental credentials of their products, the poor quality and short live of their products and the fake hip people that fall for it all.

The iPhone appears to be following in the footsteps of the iPod not only in its universal success but also in its built in obsolescence. Following in the footsteps of the iPod in failing shortly after the obligatory 12 month warranty period despite consumers having been sold 18 and 24 month contracts with the phone. Experiences of such have been reported by a friend and backed up by countless reports in Google, starting with Wifi failure which to be honest is why people bought them in the first place. They didn't buy the iPhone for its abilities as a phone because its pretty poor in that area.

However I fail to find much sympathy for the owners as reports of failures in Apple's products are now well documented and known off. What infuriates me however is that Apple have the cheek to claim green credentials whilst they are creating products with such short live's. The claim for instance the the iMac Air was highly energy efficient and recyclable, yeah but what about the high levels of Nitrogen Trifluoride (see an early post about the adverse environmental effects of LCD production) released in the production of all those LCD screens used in all apple products.

On a recent trip to the design Museum I was really angered to see jonathan Ive's iPod at the end of a wonderful exhibition on Dieter Rams yes he may have stolen design cues from the Rams but Apple's products do not follow Dieter Rams philosophy of a long service life.

Another claim that angered me at the time of the original iPod release in 2000 was the claims about their innovative scroll wheel. Apple took alot of glory for this innovation but in reality in was used two years earlier by Panasonic on a portable Hifi an example of which I own and incidentally it still functions perfectly after 10 years Mr Jobs.

Another area that the iPhone fails is functionality it fails on its core purpose that of being a phone it is hopeless at this basic task. I have found iMacs also to be extremely counter intuitive at times and in particular past apple products were also a little more than awkward. After first using a Power Mac I was shocked to understand that I needed to place the contents of the Zip disk I had been working on into the recycle bin in order to eject the disk, who thought that was a good idea, basically the same operation as deleting your work?

However my greatest annoyance has to be the smugness of iPhone users, an entertaining comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe summed it up in this statement:

“To the people who’ve got iPhones: you just bought one, you didn’t invent it!” - Marcus Brigstocke

Smugness is a very unfortunate feature of a fair proportion of apple consumers. Its like having the attitude of BMW drivers but with the abundance of Ford Focus owners. However what confuses me is, what exactly have they got to be smug about, how is their smugness justified? They have typically paid twice as much for an apple product than a competitor, which would be more reliable, easier to use and carried a lower risk of being mugged.