Human 2.0

We have been upgraded into the next level of mankind. We are Human 2. Every citizen will receive a free upgrade. You will become like us. -Cyberman in the “Age of Steel” Dr. Who BBC 2006

Yesterday I went out for a walk. While I was out walking I took a some pictures with my camera that were developed in front of me within seconds (if not less) without taking the film to the developer and I didn’t even have to shake them! During my walk, a friend in New York wrote me a letter that was delivered to me while I was out, managing to navigate the distance from Atlantic Beach, NY to Boca Raton, Fl, some 1200 miles, in less than a second, finding me walking on Glades Rd. Since it was a quick correspondence, I decided to return his letter while walking. My letter having reached Atlantic Beach in no less time than his reached Boca Raton. So, that accomplished, I decided to take a quick look at my map to make sure I was walking a good distance, at my age its becoming important to move around a bit, and having decided that yes, I’ve moved a goodly distance, I can now turn on the stereo and listen to some music. My stereo is of extreme quality being a Hi-Fi unit with two discrete stereo channels, ten band equalizer, and transistor powered amplification, it is shall we say, choice! And lastly, my son called me on the Telephone to ask if it was OK that he stay another day at his friends house. All this while walking….busy walk!

Sounds impressive right? Yeah, maybe to someone living in the 1960′s it would have been. Today, its a “so what?” kind of deal. Fifty years ago it would have taken a small army to facilitate that type of communication, dozens of radio techs, a few dozen more electronics techs, a few dark room guys, and tons of equipment, mounted on trucks, following right behind me as I walked! In 2013,all that’s been condensed into one device,  its a called a Smart Phone, fits in my palm and its become so common that no one bats an eye at the what it actually provides the human race, but just what color the smart phone should be and how does it accessorize with my purse!

Which brings us to the grand debate, the ongoing going great question of taste, technology and personal whim; Am I a Apple guy or Android guy?

Me? I’m staunchly Android. Why? Dunno, just am. Yes, I am that petty. My whole family has Android, be it handsets or tablets, everyone has got it. Because I decreed it.  Because I willed it that way. Because I hate Apple and its corporate hegemony disguised as the “cool people tool, for the rest of us” Fuck Apple and its smug marketing. Fuck Apple and the smug people that use Apple. In short, Apple should eat shit and die.

That is until Friday of last week when the wife, BocaFrau, maybe you heard of her?, decided to use an upgrade to get an iPhone 5c. Can’t call Apple users Assholes when the wife has one, now can we? Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture in time…

So, for the first time since the iPod came out, I decided to take a look at the iThing now living in my house. Firstly, lets get something straight, despite what Apple’s marketing department tells you, and Android users scream at the top of their lungs, both devices do exactly the same thing and both do it with exactly the same amount of goodness. Both have speech recognition, both have maps, both have email, both have a huge assortment of applications available for download.  Any difference you may think is there, is solely in your own mind, the devices are literally interchangeable.

The phone:

The iPhone 5c is nice to look at, with the wife choosing the blue case. The screen it ships with is comparable in quality to the HTC One that I carry, albeit much, much smaller. Sharpness is great, with almost no fuzzy edges in fonts or icons. But, by God it’s screen is teeny weeny!  I also like the notifications that iOS7 has, individual notifications that don’t clog up your display area like Android’s love to do is just niiiice! In terms of form factor, for me its on the smallish side and almost feels slippery when holding…doesn’t give me lot of confidence that its not gonna be dropped, probably sooner rather than later!

Siri:

Boy did Apple booger this! Siri should be great, but, it isn’t. I’ve used Siri a couple of times prior and every time I do I walk away frustrated. Siri just doesn’t get me in the way that Google Now does. She regularly fails at the more complex tasks that Google Now can perform. Between not understanding my accent and failing to find the information I asked her for, she’s just a gimmick. One which I can’t abide and one that Apple seems to be moving away from in their advertising.

Airplay Vs DNLA:

There is zero difference here, other than Apple marketing saying their’s works better. It doesn’t. There is no difference in ease of use and setup. the same few buttons and options you select on the iPhone are the same you select on the Android. Sure they call the buttons and options by different names, but, they really are all the same thing. That said, because of  Apple’s strict hardware control, their’s is de facto superior  to Android as you never have to rely on your wits to figure out if your device will work with the other. Simply locate the made for iWhaterver logo on the box and off you go to the Point of Sale to purchase your companion thingy!

Which brings me to the final point; “Whats the whole thing about then with Apple?”

In the Android world, there are literately thousands of devices running some form of Android OS. Phones, Tablets, Phablets, even laptops. A huge assortment of things run Android all with different hardware and all from various manufacturers . Competition and innovation are always prevalent as each vendor attempts to outdo the other with some whiz bang idea.  Apple’s current line up? The iPhone  5s, 5c, iPad, and iPad Mini….that’s all folks! Apple does what it does because it rules  its entire product line with an iron fist. Their claim of being better comes from the theory of supply chain logistics. “Surly if we rule the roost our product would be better, right?” Dunno, all I can say is that Control Center in iOS7 looks awfully like the generic settings panel on any Android…

The very idea that most of us are walking around with these fantastic do it all smart phones was Apple’s idea in the first place. They were the innovators here, the leaders, no one came close to what the iPhone could initially do.

But, Control Center belies a problem developing in the Apple world that shouldn’t happen in Android. Stagnation. They’ve run out good ideas to implement because they operate in the vacuum of non competition. They’re pulling ideas from the Android world to bolster theirs. So much for innovation… Funny enough, this is exactly the type of corporate behavior that got them a 4%  desktop market share in the 1990′s. Apple refuses to understand its own history and as such, are doomed to repeat it. The very fact that I can’t describe any major difference between the two worlds is directly indicative of how far Android has come and how stagnate Apple is. We’ve seen historically what happens when Apple is Jobs’ less, when will someone one step up and right the ship?

The Cult of Personality

I know of no one that lines up in the cold and rain to get a Samsung handset the very moment it comes out. I do however see plenty of people lined up at the Apple store in the local mall, the AT&T store across the street from me, and whatever other retailer that sells iWhatever on launch day. Must be a fantastic product! Must be a huge huge thing! Why an iWhatever must be more popular than Tom Cruise and smarter than Stephen Hawking, right??

Popular, sure.

Apple has done a magnificent job at getting their message across and their users are fervent believers in the power of all white pearlescent plastic. Apple has gotten them to feel as one body politic and act as one. Kudos! My friend in NY, the one I was talking about earlier, he’s a  new convert to the church of Apple. And really, if you think about it, I’m not far off the mark with Church of Apple. The members do exactly the same thing as real church congregation; Why do you believe in God? “Because I do”. Why Do you like Apple? “Because it works”. Neither answer gives the reason, just the belief. I asked my friend, who as I am, was a staunch Apple hater, “well, whats the thing do that so great?’ “Well, it does this and this and all this.” and I replied “Uh huh, yeah so does any Android..” without pausing he replied “yeah, but, this thing works..” Conversion: complete. You will be assimilated, your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own.

He’s by the way not wrong. Hes also not 100% right either. (And that’s his saying which I just no stole for my own use, assimilate this!)  Why? Because of the Church of Apple. You have problem? You call Apple Care. Don’t know how to use your iThingy? Bring it the the Genius Bar (aptly named for the college drop outs that populate its work force). In short the Church of Apple provides cradle to grave care for your iThing. No such centralized and controlled environment exists, yet, for Android. I’m a tech, at least I was, I usually intuitively know how to find a device’s internal workings and doings. I don’t need the Church’s influence to show me the path of righteousness. But how does the rest of the world do it?  Simple:

They buy Apple!

ed note: I’m aware that I contradict myself often in this piece. I’m the Narrator, however unreliable, and I can do what I want with the story and anything in it! ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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