After Microsoft first showed off HoloLens in January last year buried amongst a three hour Windows 10 event, I remember reading the criticism of a rather biased Apple fan who suggested that the gang from Cupertino showed off more substance in a similar length event. I found his argument flawed than when he was speaking about a new MacBook and iPhone compared to something like HoloLens. I can’t help but remember it now as Apple again tries to pass off branding as innovation with their two latest product announcements in the iPad Pro 9.7″and the iPhone SE. Now before the devotees jump on my back and defend the quality of these products I am not arguing that both don’t represent improvements on existing lines and offer something to consumers rather offering a criticism of the portal of either as ‘new’ or ‘revolutionary’.
iPad Pro 9.7 inch
Apple’s latest iPad follows on closely from the release of its larger brother and that is exactly how the team at Cupertino has tried to sell the latest attempt to stop its sliding market share. The new 9.7-inch tablet has been represented as the iPad Pro in a smaller package due to the inclusion of similar specs led by the new processor and access to ‘Pro’ access. In reality the device is just the newest vision of the tablet which Apple released in 2010 and have continued to upgrade over the years with each generation bringing significant improvements in power and additionally features. The ‘Pro’ is no different from the iPad 2 or any other Apple periodic update as consumers expect the company to release the same product with new specs the only difference here is that Apple has taken the opportunity to rebrand the device to improve their ability to compete in the current market. Not only are they using trends set by their competitors but Apple are dipping in to their MacBook line of laptops to try and target more of an enterprise market like they did with the addition of the ‘Air’ moniker to the 5th generation of the tablet. The ‘Pro’ 9.7 inch therefore doesn’t represent anything remotely ‘new’ either in the features which are all in line with its larger sibling, the product line or even Apple’s approach to its consumers. This doesn’t mean that it is not still a significant improvement on the iPad Air 2 in terms of performance and an excellent
Before the newest iPhone was official announced the rumour mill had it accurately described as the body of an iPhone 5 with the internal of a 6S. The only thing that is ‘new’ about the iPhone SE is the name which dumps the usual numbering scheme as Apple has previously released cheaper iPhones in the 5C and have started making different size handsets with the 6 and 6+. Personally, I’m actually really excited by the release of the iPhone SE as it bucks the current trend of phone makers producing larger handsets. A trend that is especially frustrating for anyone like myself who wants to keep their phone in a jeans pocket, I’m now only hoping some Android or Windows OEM’s follow suit. The only disappointing element of the iPhone SE is that it doesn’t include all of the latest features present in the 6S or offer anything ‘New’. If Apple is successful with the SE in influencing trends this unfortunate fact suggests that those of use that prefer smaller handsets will continue to be treated as second class citizens with the premium features reserved for 5.5 inch or larger devices.
Selective rhetoric and Stats
Besides the annoying and biased views of the devotees what frustrates me the most about an Apple event is their use of the same rhetoric or misrepresentation of stats which no one in the tech world seems willing to put under the microscope. Once again Apple took aim at Microsoft by mentioning the 600 million PC’s still using 5 year-old operating systems which in and of itself is a pointless stat and could be used equally well by Microsoft to suggest customer satisfaction and the longevity of its software. Regardless of this Apple repeating like to take such information out of context for example that most of those 600 PC’s are found in enterprise which resist updating their software because of the cost of retraining which is especially important considering the dramatic sifts in the last few visions of Windows. Additionally, the comparison with Apple’s own tactics regarding software updates is also left unexplored for instance their use of limited backwards compatibility of apps that force consumers to update to the newest versions of iOS and OSX. My own experience at work is evidence of this mentality when a student sent me a pages file after updating to iOS 8 required me to update my own Mac to Yosemite in order to open and correct the work. Apple are able to imply these tactics because people subscribe to the philosophy of the ‘world garden’ present in iOS and the don’t have a sizeable Mac presence in enterprise. Regardless it is a tactic which Microsoft cannot employ without losing customers so all new versions of Windows are purposefully made to be backwards compatibility eliminating this reason to upgrade. This has been recently highlighted in the debate over UWP with epic games’ Tim Sweeney critical of the platform as a threat to make Windows more like the closed sandbox of iOS. Thus the difference between Microsoft and Apple’s strategies and business model render the comparison utterly useless in judging the success of either company.
Alongside these pointless stats Apple has begun to sound a little like a broken record by continually suggesting that the iPad will replace the PC. A statement which is starting to seem increasingly contradictory to the facts as Windows tablet market share has increased by 11% largely at the expense of Apple’s iPad despite the release of the iPad Pro and the inclusion of multitasking in iOS 9. Maybe the iPad Pro 9.7-inch will finally make Apple’s statement true but the fact that it doesn’t offer anything ‘new’ suggests that it won’t stop the market share slide so maybe it will just end up being the same old story.
I’m sure Apple fans will disregard everything I have said as ‘Apple Bashing’ but if you read and consider everything I hope you can see past my criticism. Both products are well thought out to fulfil needs with in the current consumer market place by offering high end performance in a smaller package which will suit a lot of people’s needs. As a result, both will likely see strong sales if not anything ground breaking with many existing or past customers looking to upgrade their ageing devices. My frustration, outside the Apple philosophy represented by the ‘walled garden’, as anyone who knows me will recognise remains the Apple marketing machine which I have always felt tries to insult our intelligence with branding and inspiring statements rather than substance. Perhaps this point is misplaced and should be directed at the fans who take up this rhetoric rather than engaging in rational argument whenever their favourite tech giant is criticised. Maybe I’m being an idealist but criticism is never anything to fear as it helps us grow so hopefully the more pressure we apply to Apple and other tech companies for that matter will end up leading to something inspiring that truly is ‘new’ and ‘innovating’.
After deciding to upgrade last month with the release of Samsung’s newest flagship. I went shopping still with an important decision to make, S6 or S6 Edge. Even as I was playing with both phones at my local Samsung store I still struggled with myself. The edge was simply stunning to look at but with the exception of the people function which gives quick access to my favorite contacts it doesn’t offer too much for the extra cash. In addition the thin sides made the phone feel uncomfortable in my hand. However the right nudge from the staff sent me down this path. In hiensight I’m still not 100% sure whether it is worth it but I do like the way the screen bends around the curve and when Apple fans complement the look of my phone I do get a warm fuzzy feeling.
Beyound the aestetics the Galaxy S6 is everything you would expect from a flagship handset. A powerful octa-core processor makes everthing run lighting quick and deals with multiple apps with easy. While the 2560×1440 screen with a whopping 577 pixisl per inch (iPhone 6 retina comes in at 326 and 6+ 401pixals per inch) is spectacular with crisp images and the right balance of brightness for reading the odd bit of tech news. Both of these elements emphasise the improved build quality found on the Galaxy S6 and Samsung’s movement away from the plastic body of the S5.
In fact the only negatives of the hardware are the absence of expandable memory and the limited battery life. Both of these are no longer major limitations as exspansion of cloud storage solutions allow users to move photos and videos off their
phone while streaming music futhur decreases the demand for memory. Unfortunately, this can really run down that battery but fast charging which gives you 40% battery life after only 10 minutes means the Galaxy S6 has an answer. Combinded with wireless charging it’s easy to make sure that my phone doesn’t run out of battery. Samsumgs compatibility with other wireless charging pads means that I can use my existing nokia pad from my Lumia 920.
It would be remiss if I did not talk breifly about the 16 megapixal camera. Used to a great camera on the 920 I perhaps haven’t noticed to much difference except when taking photos of documents. Even so all the snaps I have taken out and about, even under difficult light conditions at the footy have come out a treat. The quick launch feature works well but the camera app itself I find is horribly limiting as I miss Nokia Camera but software can easily be updated so it’s only a minor frustration.
Essendon vs Richmond dreamtime at the G 2015 taken on the Galaxy S6 Edge.
Overall I’m loving the Galaxy S6 Edge and highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a new high end phone especially if your like me and prefer one that fits in your jeans pocket.
Battery life 6/10
Operating system 8/10