On today, this grand MLK day that includes Barack Obama’s public inauguration as the United States President, I could have written another post about it to add to the millions out there. Truth be told, I do have some insight into it, living within the DC Metro area now, but I think people have plenty of over-saturation to dig through as is.
So, Instead, I’m going to show an interesting day of traffic to this little blog. Yesterday, this blog received 26 hits, all of them from outside of the USA, and all of them to my post about why the iPhone 5 sucks. Apparently, Americans or content with their little white bubble of a company, but everyone else takes interest in its smudges.
That post has been a rather popular one compared to my others. It always gets a few hits each day, often times in the double digits. And just to validate my complaints, some of the search entries were actually seeking information on if/why the battery life is so bad. It is not an illusion.
I don’t mean to come back to this topic again, so consider this my word that the iPhone 5 won’t receive another post, barring some kind of crazy event, like all Apple devices getting texts announcing Steve Jobs’ passing away during a debate on Steve Jobs’ place in American history during debate class. Yeah, that happened. It was awkward.
Over Christmas, my father upgraded my phone to the iPhone 5. After just a week with it, I have concluded it is the worst smartphone I’ve ever had the displeasure of using. Now, I know what you’re all thinking. Complaining about a free upgrade to the iPhone 5? First world problems… But, let me make it clear, I didn’t want to upgrade to the 5, because I never saw it as an upgrade to the 4 in the first place, and finally being out of my contract, I was waiting to see how Windows Phone 8 panned out. However, my father wanted to upgrade to my phone, so his faulty logic was to go ahead and upgrade my phone in order to get it. I don’t understand my father’s logic, so I’m not going to bother trying to really explain it. Needless to say, the hours of arguing got nowhere, and in the end, I graciously accepted the gift, which we got the day after Christmas together.
Moving on to the phone, it’s most glaring problem is its battery life, and boy, does it suck. We’re talking first generation Sega Gamegear sucks. This thing is a battery vampire, and it’s fixing to go on a binge all day, everyday, 24/7/365. I’d wager that it burns out on idle over twice as fast as the four, and when in active use, is burning out three times as fast. Yes, it’s that damn power hungry. Looking at the battery % while browsing the net is like watching the timer on a microwave when making popcorn. I don’t know where Apple comes off saying this has better battery life, because it in no way does. Even with bluetooth, wifi, and LTE shut off, it seems to kill itself just as fast. I’m saying it now, Apple has failed with this one.
Second gripe? The camera. This is another feature that manages to be worse, while Apple says it’s gotten better. Does it even absorb light? Every photo it takes comes out like the sun is setting. Oh, and don’t bother going to an Apple store with this one, to see if maybe your phone is faulty. The Apple Store environment is perfect to make even the blindest camera take well lit photos. It’s a white room with white tables and white light flooding in every direction.
Third problem, that stupid lightning connector. The one thing I really enjoyed about my old iPhone was how it could be plugged in at gyms and other places, even my car. Now it can be plugged into nothing.
Number four, downgraded materials, although I expected this anyways. They went from super strong glass to scratch inviting metal. Thanks, Apple. Really, I enjoyed watching the store clerk scratch my phone taking it out of the box in order to set it up. It was awesome, kinda like seeing your waiter drop your dinner right when he reaches your table. In both cases, you can just get a new one, thankfully, but it’s a bad sign when something can be damaged that easily.
Number five, lack of anything new, at all. Same OS, same features, same everything. It really is just a new coat of paint. If you like it, more power to you. Me? Well, I’m considering paying up that 350 dollar cancellation fee to get out of this tech hell. Go ahead and rip me apart for this one. I know there’s bigger issues to talk about, but why give Apple a pass? The people deserve to know what kind of garbage they’re trying to pass off.
Sony held their press conference at TGS yesterday. With Microsoft not attending, and Nintendo having done all of their Wii U announcements last week at their own event, it was Sony’s chance to bring the boom with all attention on them. Out of all the announcements of new Vita colors, slimmed PS3s, and lack of games, one thing was made clear: Sony Still Doesn’t Get It. Sony refuses to get it. Sony will probably never get it.
This is nothing against the slimmed PS3. That’s a good thing. Sony is cutting down their manufacturing costs to increase profits per unit. Not having a price drop, however, in the wake of the Wii U launch? That is foolish, and shows they have that same damned arrogance from back when their stock was worth 112 dollars a share.For those who’ve been under a rock the past year, their stock is now at 13 dollars, and that’s after a considerable RISE. No, the issue comes with their holiday bundle push. They’ll be offering up “Special bundles” with Uncharted 3 or Assassin’s Creed 3. Good, great. A bundle with one of Sony’s top exclusives, and another with one of the most anticipated games of the holiday season. The issue? They both come bland blank black systems (The B3 bomber).
This, above all else, really shows Sony is just too damn inept to survive in today’s world. They have time and time again served up special bundles with the same bland black systems. The 360, on the other hand, has served up many bundles with special limited edition consoles with unique looks. To illustrate, MS is going to release this consoles around the same time as Sony’s offerings:
Do you see the difference? Do you see who’s trying harder to make system sales rather than being full of it and thinking they can be lazy? Heck, even Nintendo offered a special edition Wii for it’s 25th anniversary for Mario. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Who want’s something like that in their living room? Well, for those who aren’t gamers, let me be straight with you, gamers don’t really think about living room aesthetics. They just want stuff that looks cool on their own. There are also collectors that will gobble up any special edition they can. These kinds of things are effective marketing tools, and marketing is something Sony has failed at for over a decade.
An example of how powerful a prettied up console can be as a sales driver. Microsoft offered a special edition Panzer Dragoon Orta console in japan only. Only 999 units were offered through pre-orders through a Sega Direct. These 999 units sold out in a day, in a country that treated the XBox like it was cancer.
It really is baffling that Sony has been so slow or timid to offer limited edition consoles, at least in the US. Japan has gotten numerous special edition consoles, and all have been desired by fans in the US and EU. Sony just seems to expect people to buy their stuff with no need of bonuses or smart marketing. Hopefully, with the PS4, they’ll finally realize everything tipped in their favor can lead to a system sale.
There is something to be said about CES. It is a place of wondrous advancements in consumer electronic technology, where masses can see the future. What the masses must understand, however, is that these advancements are not for everyone, and almost certainly are not for them, not yet. Those massive 80+ inch 4K TV sets everyone is showing off? Those are for the ultra rich. That’s right, ultra rich. The rich will still be hard pressed to buy these kinds of TVs.
Over the past few days, I’ve read hundreds of comments made about these TVs, and the technology, and how “Stupid” the companies are for developing them. They see things they cannot possibly afford, and immediately write them off as wastes of money and time by the companies. Well, here’s a dose of reality for everyone. If the companies don’t “waste” their time and money developing these technologies, there won’t be any advancements at all. These early, big screen launches are a means of recouping some of the R&D costs. Every single piece of recent technology had similar offerings. HDTVs launched in the mid 90s at prices well over $10,000. DVD players actually launched AFTER HDTVs (How’s that for a mind job?), and were over $1000, with $50 discs. How about MP3 players? That was something scoffed for the price and the limitations of internet speed, but who’s laughing now?
So, when you see these new pieces of cutting edge tech, and feel the need to remark on how out of range they are, or unnecessary they are, stop. Take a moment and think about the past two decades. You probably thought the same thing about HDTV, Blu-Ray, DVD, MP3 players, laptops, and smartphones. Do not be foolish with blanket statements, simply because the future is not the today of your price range. Like all things technological in your possession, there was a time when they too were not for you. Here’s to the future!
A few months ago, a lawsuit surrounding the pricing model of ebooks was filed against Apple, and the five biggest publishers in America. Three of the five publishers quickly bowed out, agreeing to pay the damages demanded, $0.25 to $1.32 per ebook sale, depending on how old the book was. What makes the lawsuit interesting is that it isn’t the publishers that must pay, but the online vendors that made the actual sales. This is effectively passing the buck to Amazon, Google, Sony, B&N, and Apple, the only vendor named in the suit. To simply answer why Apple was named, it was because the timing of the publishers deciding on the ebook agency pricing model coincided with Apple’s deal with them to start selling ebooks on iTunes.
So what does this mean to consumers? Well, according to this article, all ebook buyers from the past three years will be getting a refund, at some unforeseen time in the future. This date could hinge on the remaining contenders agreeing to pay up, but they seem content in fighting for money they won’t be losing. The publishers, in fact, only stand to win, since the refunds will mostly be given as store credits that will most likely only be able to be spent on more ebooks. That leaves Apple, whom seemingly has gone sour over this whole thing.
Apple is claiming they did nothing wrong, and had no hand in the agreement to go to the agency pricing structure that ebooks are now sold under. What is vexing is that Apple is fighting over refunds that would directly go back into their pockets as iTunes credits, which the high probability that the items purchased will be more than these tiny amounts. It does nothing except show their refusal to admit they can do any wrong, even at an expense much greater than these refunds.
So it’s time for consumers to get angry. Not only should we be angry over the agency pricing that has set ebook prices, but we should be angry at Apple and the last two publishers, Macmillan and Penguin, for holding out. While the publishers may have something real to fight about, it is Apple that is doing this simply to save face. They would rather play the victim than give the millions of people that made them what they are today a quarter.
Yes, the day we saw coming months ago has finally arrived. Apple has thrown its hoopla event to announce the iPad3. With it comes the usual tech upgrades that were rumored long ago. This year brings the retina display, 4G LTE with hotspot hosting, and better processors and cameras.
That’s not what we’re here about, however. Let’s talk about the real issue Apple’s announcement events cause. The issue is this, we’re all stupid, judging, self important jackasses. Yes, I’ll call myself out on this one, because I’m always down for some XBox bashing, even though I’ve owned one.
So why do I say this? What’s the one thing you can count on whenever Apple announces a new product? Its not people upgrading after one year. That’s just assumed. The one thing you can count on is people taking sides, jacking their assumptions to the extreme, and calling each other. This one is a time honored classic between the Applefans and haters.
Just go to any site that has a report on the iPad3 announcement. I guarantee you that every article will have hundreds of comments all saying the same thing. “The iSheep will fall in line,” “I’m waiting for the iPad9,” “At least its not like an Android every month,” and other black and white comments that leave just about everyone ignorant. Are we really so bitter about these products or the alternatives that we have to spit out such inane banter? Everyone step back, and chill the hell out.
Seriously. The people that come out every time Apple announces a product preaching fire and brimstone about how Apple does this every year and blah blah blah need to wake the hell up. First off, they’re posting these comments on a computer, something that is updated EACH YEAR by the makers, or if its prebuilt, contains components that are updated EACH YEAR. Are people really so oblivious to the world around them that they think Apple is the only company that does annual updates? They probably didn’t even invent that business concept. Cars have been doing it for decades.
Sticking to tech, allow me to list the consumer electronics companies off the top of my head that do annual product line updates. Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, IBM/Lenovo, nVidia, ATI, Sharp, Pioneer, Acer, Asus, Nikon, Canon, Phillips, and HP. That’s just the tip of the iceberg too. Seriously, everyone does it with their products, because its smart business. Its the perfect time frame for these kinds of upgrades. It gives ample time for technology to advance, but isn’t so long as to fall behind the competition. There is no great evil over what Apple is doing here.
Granted, Applefans aren’t only victims. They can be as blind as the haters when they want to be, and days like today are ripe for that kind of behavior. Yes, its true, iSheep do exist, and any sensible Applefan will admit that. The iSheep are the ones that really white knight it up for Apple, and display blind faith. It’s okay to love a company and its products, but don’t be stupid about it. Apple isn’t flawless, nor is it uncanny genius. Apple utilizes intelligent design and brilliant marketing to create its success. Its crusade-like approach to marketing its brand image has really paid off.
I’ll give it to you straight. I don’t like Apple computers. If there was no marketing at all, I’d think iPods were stupid. A wheel control? WTF? I had no interest in anything Apple, but even I have to admit their marketing made everything look really sweet. So after years of experiencing their marketing, I bought my one and only Apple product, the iPhone 4. I also have an iPad, but that was a gift.
So, as an owner of Apple’s two most polarizing products, I can honestly say, both sides are being downright retarded with their war of words. Neither of them is doing anything to change minds or further their own front line. They’re just sitting at their computers spitting digital fire. So sit back and grab your popcorn. Let the war rage on!
This past week, Sony released the Playstation Vita, the successor to its successful, but often gunned down handheld gaming device. Never heard of it? That’s not surprising, since Sony decided not to launch its marketing campaign until the day the system launched.
With the Vita, Sony is, for better or worse, continuing its video game legacy on the same path it has stormed for nearly two decades. Producing systems with cutting edge graphics at high cost; sacrificing sanity for quality. As a long time Sony customer, and gamer, I like this kind of strategy, but I am also realistic. Sony is in deep waters along the ocean it has chosen to set sail on, and its time for a course correction. Sony insists that the iPhone and Android phones are not the Vita’s competition, instead focusing on Nintendo and its 3DS, which is now the fastest selling system of all time (To 5 million units).
While Nintendo is the king of handheld gaming, and weathered the storm its stockbrokers rained, demanding they make iPhone games, Sony does not have three decades of loyal fans to fall back on. Nintendo survived on the selling power of its first party name brands. Brands like Mario and Zelda that people buy just because of what they are. Sony has no long lasting brand names in its title library. Its first party games have almost always been trilogies, with some getting 4th installments years later on newer consoles. Most of its Playstation One brands did not make it deep into the Playstation 2 era, let alone into the 3, or the Vita. So while the Vita may offer bleeding edge portable power for home console quality, it lacks a lot of the brand appeal Nintendo feasts on.
So, what can Sony do? With the PSP, they did something no one else had ever done before; stood up to Nintendo. While Nintendo purists will still insist that the PSP was a failure and ask “Where are the games?”, the PSP has sold 71 million units world wide to the DS’s 151 million. About half, yes, but no other hand held had ever come so close, or lasted so long. With that, Sony has kept the same focus with the Vita. Offer more power, and keep the guns aimed at Nintendo, but Nintendo is no longer its biggest threat.
Like Microsoft and Blackberry, Sony was late to the smartphone 2.0 party started by the iPhone. So late, I wonder why they even bothered. Not only did they not learn from this lesson by releasing their Tablets super late, but they didn’t seem to think it would have any effect on the Vita. The message should have come in loud and clear that consumers love their smart phones, and find it sufficient to not have the need for a dedicated portable gaming device like the Vita. Again, the 3DS can survive on the strength of its brand name titles. The children love them, and the 3DS is priced for that market. Speaking of price, I forgot to mention that the Vita is 250-300 dollars, and you can’t get a cellular contract discount.
So Sony has managed to plunge itself into a very grim battle with two powerful forces. On one side, there are the young gamers that sucker their parents into getting them a portable. Faced with that choice, most parents will opt for the 170 dollar 3DS, with its colorful box and friendly cartoon character art. A 250 dollar box with guns and explosions isn’t going to sell to a parent. On the other side, is the ever growing smart phone market, and its plague like app stores filled with dollar games. Nest to that, who wants to spend $40 on a single portable game, even if it is home console quality?
The Vita and smart phones are rarely being used to play the exact same games, and in the cases they are, the Vita is playing phone ports. Right now, the only existing example is Plants vs Zombies, which is a steep $15. If you were to make a game for both systems now, and best utilize their resources, the difference would truly be shocking, but I doubt we’ll ever see such a thing, which is why Sony can’t leverage on the Vita’s power.
I think for the Vita to remain relevant, it will have to sleep with the enemy, and build an app store within the Playstation Network (PSN). The second step would be to make that PSN app store usable on some phones, and Sony has its own phone making division for that. The reason being is the Vita is a toy that looks like a toy. Smart phones are widely called expensive toys, but they are at least incognito. They allow us to be kids without appearing truly kiddy. An adult playing Plants Vs Zombies on the Vita is going to look silly next to someone doing the same on an iPhone. For all we know, they could just be texting or browsing the net. Sony could even create that same disguise by making Sony Vita phones, like they did with the Playstation Phone. A full blown PSV phone is out of the question, but a line of phones named Vita running on the system’s OS could help expand the app store, and even play the PSP titles offered on the PSN. They may be late, but they can finish strong.
Sony has a very big opportunity to make the Vita something great. It can offer all of the cheap phone games that have become so popular with just a fraction of its power, and then its big gun library. I just hope Sony is smart enough to adopt a two prong strategy, because I want something like the Vita to be successful.
While I’m not into portable gaming anymore, a device like the Vita that allows me to take home console quality games anywhere I travel in my pocket is very attractive. The fact that the Vita has been so slow to start with what is arguably the strongest launch line-up ever raises concerns that Sony must adjust to. All told, I don’t view the Vita as a failure in technology or intent. It simply is not properly positioned in the market, and needs a new strategy. It can do it all, Sony. Don’t keep it on the one way street.