Apple iPhone getting bad press
His rationale? He was bored by ATT’s ( T ) bad coverage and bored with Apple’s ( AAPL ) heavy-handed limitations on iPhone apps. Add to them GigaOm founder Om Malik, who ditched his iPhone last Feb and The Long Island Times’ David Pogue, a real Apple lover, and we appear to have a blooming rebellion among select tech correspondents against Apple.
Why? In the old days, the saying was straightforward. Don’t pick a fight with folk who buy ink by the barrel. Today in the digital age, papers are dying, but the power of a concentrated scattering of tech bloggers and taste makers hasn’t ever been bigger. And here’s why this is intensely important for Apple.
Though the Net is a discordant echo chamber, what folk like Arrington, Calacanis, and Malik say matters. They are the new paper barons of the day, the tastemakers with public followings and high visibility on the internet. As they toss their iPhones over for Blackberry ( RIMM ) or smart phones running Google’s ( GOOG ) Android operating system, others will begin to raise questions. Uncomfortable questions for Apple, for example, why can’t I tether my iPhone to use it as a data modem when other ATT mobile information customers using other handsets can tether?
Why is Apple stopping me from making VoIP calls on my phone by shutting out Google Voice? Why must I receive Apple’s approval to put an app on my iPhone? These questions will lead to consultations of other issues which will also work against Apple in the near or mid-term future. IPhone software is drafted in Objective C is a language that is really tough to use for other sorts of software programming. It’s tough to port into other programs and it makes developing for iPhone apps pricey.
As handsets really become replacements for Computers , then causing software homes to develop 2 sets of code for a Computer and an iPhone starts to be terribly unwieldy. Another problem is that Apple has staked out turf on the iPhone, telling firms that they shouldn’t submit products that duplicate core functions that Apple already provides. Unfortunately, that’s the case with the Opera net browsers.
Opera browsers are quicker than Safari on mobile phones. Yet Opera isn’t even making an attempt to build a browser for the iPhone after Apple made it obvious it didn’t desire competition for Safari. Perhaps Apple will build a better mobile browser. In the meantime Apple’s customers ( like me ) have relatively slow performance. And yes, I’ve seen Opera running on a 2.5 EDGE network whip Safari running on an iPhone 3G with a 3G network connection. I also get the way that Apple, at that point, is scared about PR issues. Apple *never* permits middle management to retort personally to bloggers.
So I imagine there’s, now, an internal conflict going on within Apple over the way forward for the iPhone. Schiller, who also recommended for the Google Voice app, is likely pushing behind the curtain for more openness. Some of the blame could probably be laid at the feet of Apple partner ATT, who’s had difficulty keeping up with requirement for information services as a consequence of the voracious taste for net access by iPhone owners.
But Apple obviously has lots of accountability for this state of affairs, with its actions re iPhone applications and its refusal to permit a serious rival browser on the phone. The tech media are annoyed and they most likely won’t be sated till there’s a major change in Apple’s iPhone — and by extension, company — technique. Till then, Apple will endure an augmenting drumbeat of feedback which will enfeeble the company’s sterling reputation.
This feedback will most likely foster the creation of precisely the sort of mobile application variety on Google and Blackberry phones that might lure enough people away from the embrace of the iPhone to help people other handset software makers become true iPhone contenders. Apple will always have critics and they may always protest about the exclusive nature of Apple’s products and ecosystem. But when your previous fans become vocal critics and they happen to be media celebrities, you have got a problem.