Why I didn’t buy an iPhone

Steve Jobs – the guy who single handedly turned a company around. And, I am very proud to say, that I lived in an era when I saw the great man, and his great inventions. I bought the iPod (when classic was the only model), the iPod touch, and will be shortly buying a macbook pro (the non-retina version though).

But I could never buy the iPhone – it has proven to be elusive for quite sometime now. And the reasons range from – its not here in India, I can’t buy it, I need to save for it, I don’t see the sense of buying it when nothing seems to have changed other than Siri, to why on earth would I buy that for an arm and a leg.

Let me explain.

The first iPhone was revolutionary, and if for nothing else but the beautiful touch, it made me salivate – but I could not buy it as it did not come to India.

The second iPhone – I am sorry but I don’t really recall when it came and went – I was too busy BBMing my buddies and clicking pics with an amazing 3.2MP camera with autofocus on my Javelin (that was much better than the later 5 MP shooters *argghhh*)

The iPhone 3G and 3Gs – were delayed in coming to India – and when they finally did come – the iPod touch came along too. And I had a pretty good blackberry that never let me down when I wanted to do things that were related to my work, calls, smses and emails. To be honest – it was much easier (and still is) configuring my outlook webmail on my Blackberry than on the iPhone. So after some time of evaluation, I bought the iPod touch, and till date find it the best music player in the market.

The iPhone 4 came when I started working, and I already had the iPod – did not quite see the whole point of having two iOS devices. especially when the iPhone was for 40K or something and the iPod for 13k (INR). My Javelin had a good camera, and for the rest of the phone related stuff, my Javelin was much better (emails/smses/calls – no antennagate). And also, whatever one says, the speed with with one can type on BlackBerries is still unrivalled. If moisture got into the touchscreen (which a lot of my friends faced), I still could attend my calls, thanks to the physical buttons.

Then came the iPhone 4s – and I must admit, though it was Steve’s last product – other than Siri, there was nothing that made it stand out. Also, in India at 44K it was just not value enough for me. I mean I can pay 70K for a macbook, but then I know it’s can do stuff. But, if you expect me to foolishly splurge half a lakh on a device that is providing me same/lesser features than the competition – just for the bitten apple – I am sorry – I would have to rethink. I stopped myself, and bought a 9900 instead. And I am very happy that I did. Because, if I had splurged those 44K, Apple would have in a few months have rendered it obsolete – such are the changes in the iPhone 5. And, though it should sound like a good thing – it is not. Because they have not added as much functionality, as much as the headache they have given the 3rd Party Manufacturers, Developers and Consumers.

Which brings us to iPhone 5 – They have changed the port and are charging $30 for something that should be given away for free. They have increased the screen size, that would cause the older apps to run letterboxed, and the newer apps, to… – I am still unsure – do they run properly on the old (read 11 months old 4s) hardware? Or was that a waste of money?

Unfortunately, Mr. Jobs had a vision – of Apple providing the latest technology in the market (atleast the best by Apple), and today we see that changing. Apple used to bring to consumers what they hadn’t even thought about – things they knew that never existed, the last of them being Siri, but today Apple struggles to even provide tech that is considered standard (or almost standard) on other devices. 9900 has an NFC – but Apple despite the brillant Passbook app, omitted it. Mr. Jobs used the same iPod dock in the iPhone so that it was backward compatible with all the other 3rd party devices that you had, today they changed it with lightning. And, they charge extra for the adapter. Apple had just one phone an year – that was the iPhone – never really believed in phones accross the price band – I hope Samsung and Microsoft don’t sue it for copying their product pricing strategy. Today Apple is selling a 3 year old technology (obsolete in the tech world timeline), and this never happened when Mr. Jobs was around. I mean pricing for iPhone 3G was not known when 4 came out – it just replaced it, and yet today I have the pricing of 3Gs and 4 and 4s in the market, despite Apple having a better product there – the iPhone 5.

Mr. Jobs had a vision, of backward compatability and supporting technology as long as possible. That is why people bought the iPods – and still buy them – because they know that these things are timeless. But, I ask how many of the apps that are developed for the iPhone 5 can properly be rendered on the 4s, I still don’t have the answer to that.

And that Interface – surely it was PathBreaking when it came, but with better multitasking and better hardware – people want change. I mean just look at the Sense UI by HTC – isn’t that just beautiful?

A lot of people don’t realize that Apple is changing, and the faith in Mr. Jobs is what is driving them to iStores. And, it will continue to do so for 2-3 more iterations of their products. But, then Apple can’t get complacent and charge customers a premium for faith that is no longer there. I mean, Microsoft was leading the charge – did everything it should have, and then got complacent – lost out today, is struggling to win back the marketshare. RIM created some brilliant stuff, relaxed, and faced the music.

The day I feel that Apple is truly giving me a phone that has things unrivalled in the market, I shall buy it. I shall stand the entire night in the cold/heat or whatever, outside the iStore to get my hands on it. But today is not that day.

Mr.Jobs brought a revolution that changed the landscape today, I believe in what he thought, and I respect him for everything he gave us – I am one of his most ardent admirers – I love technology. I also admire the lesser known heroes who have worked and created other technologies that help us live an easier life – Heck! If I knew whose idea it was to put the LED light on the BlackBerry, I would write a personal note of thanks – it makes life so much simpler.


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