By Greg Mills
Whenever Apple drops its latest technological nuke on the floundering electronics sector, the usual pundits find something to whine about. For the iPhone 4 it was the antenna death grip for the iPhone 4s it didn't have enough killer new features.
For the iPhone 5, the improvements didn't grab you by the lapel and shake you enough and besides, Steve Jobs wasn't there to sell it. Never mind the iPhone 5 hadn't even been released yet when the whining started.
The court jester of the tech world, John C Dvorak, began finding fault with the iPhone 5 clear back in June. Now that it is actually out, something compelling to complain about is certain to come out. Praise for anything Apple comes dear to readers of Dvorak's patter. If John hates it, Apple will sell millions of the product. The data is thin about how Apple product will fare that Dvorak likes it, since I can't think of anything he liked until much later when he got to try it out in private.
I got my iPhone 5 Friday morning at 9:30 am. and it is awesome. I plugged it in to my MacBook Pro and within minutes, my cellular phone account was transferred, phone data, music, photos and apps loaded, to make the new iPhone a clone of the old-in-the-tooth G3s it is going to replace.
Even the box it comes in is small. The iPhone 5 is larger but noticeably thinner and lighter than previous iPhones. The pictures and article I read about the new Lightning connector really didn't prepare me for how small the new 8-pin, reversible jack and connector are. It is easy to see why it will be an advantage to Apple and to consumers. Some whining about changing the connector is legitimate.
Change is a bitch when you are not ready for it. Legacy devices will need adapters or not work at all. That is a minor problem compared to the solid and secure Lightning connector's lifetime. I always bemoaned the old connector since, statistically, half the time you get it backwards in the dark and have to flip it over to plug in your iPad or iPhone after lights out.
The biggest gripe is of course the new Maps application Apple gives you in iOS 6. I tried it out on an iPad 3 the last few days and it will take some getting used to, but the issues I have read about are certainly details that will get fixed over time. Google's Map program has had a long time to work out the bugs and issues Apple is discovering as it breaks into maps. I remember driving to a bank that turned out to be a corn field, so Google Maps isn't perfect either.
History being the best guide for figuring out how things are going to work out supports the strong likelihood that, just like everything Apple makes proprietary, they will get it very right sooner than later. Having a choice between Apple and Google's map system might have been helpful, but it wouldn't have pushed iOS users to pitch in and crowd source assist Apple in smoothing out the wrinkles. Send in errors you find with the built-in error reporting system.
If they had called it a beta, the whiners would have cried foul. Calling it a finished app is also causing cat calls. Even Apple sometimes takes a while to get devilishly complicated technology to work as hoped. Having a Map App from Google might be a work around if Apple would allow it. The turn by turn thing is cool and it worked for me just fine.
Apple's Cloud technology took a while to smooth out. Even recently, I had my Safari bookmarks goofed up by syncing a mistake on one device to the others that amounted to throwing away all my favorite Apple site links. This issues are both user learning and Apple fine tuning.
Don't forget all the delightful details that show up when the situation calls for them when you are angry about a detail that goes wrong on something new. Even Apple has issues to overcome when complicated new technology is launched.
I was delighted that Siri showed up on my iPad 3. My daughter and I were in stitches as Siri cracked jokes and sarcastically answered questions we used to try to stump her. Siri is going to be a long term project to perfect as is Apple maps. If you think Apple launches things half-baked, you must not have ever been a PC user abused by Microsoft's "launch it and fix it with patches based upon user feedback" policy.
That is Greg's Bite.