Monday, September 12, 2016

Ddulite watch -- annual Apple post

Not-safe-for-work language but you have to watch it anyway.

Phil Schiller, the company’s senior vice president for marketing on changes to the iPhone.

As much as it seems like some greedy ploy by Apple to screw you over and force you into buying another set of expensive new toys, the truth is that any innovative, forward-looking company has to make these difficult breaks with the status quo.

    This is technology.


Some people have asked why would we remove the analog headphone jack in the iPhone. I mean, it’s been with us a really long time. I’m sure you know that the source of this mini-phono jack is over a hundred years old, used to help quickly exchange in switchboards. Well, the reason to move on … really comes down to one word: courage. Courage to move on, do something new, that betters all of us. And our team has tremendous courage.

Apple has been responsible for a number of really impressive innovations, one of which I am currently using to dictate this post, but from a marketing standpoint, by far their greatest innovation has been the realization that a properly spun reduction in functionality can actually pass off as an advance in the technology.

Around the turn-of-the-century, Steve Jobs realized that you can take away a feature that people currently have, use on a regular basis, and can't really do without, and, instead of being pilloried, you can be held up as bold disruptors.

With the usual caveat that I am no one's target market, I keep a set of earbuds in my pocket. I use them to listen to my iPhone, my tablet, my laptop, and the televisions on the ellipticals at the gym. If they are lost or if the connections start to get a bit wobbly, it is cheap and easy to pick up another pair. I also keep a jack in my car that allows me to plug portable devices into my stereo.

The main point of a smart phone is the convenience. Everything it does can be done better by some piece of dedicated tech, often at a lower price. I tolerate merely adequate performance because I don't want to keep up with all of those other things. Having to carry around a second set of ear buds undercuts the main advantage of having the phone to begin with.

This goes back to our previous discussion about ddulites' mystical approach to technology. Just to be clear, I'm not using 'mystical' here simply as a synonym for irrational; I'm saying that the attitudes and, if you will, heuristics are those generally found in believers discussing magic and superstition. It is a world where objects have powerful but intangible and undefinable properties. Apple understands the ddulite mentality. It knows that it can get away with removing useful features like optical drives and USB ports if it can convince hardcore users and tech reporters that the features are evil spirits that must be exorcised to keep the technology pure.

So far, the holy water trade has proven highly lucrative.

1 comment:

  1. I use traditional headphones on a daily basis. And I use them while charging my phone, from time to time. It's possible that I will a) adapt and b) appreciate the new efficiencies more than I miss the old ones. But there will definitely be some sort of tradeoff.