Apple's reality distortion field in action - iPhone feature comparison

Apple's reality distortion field in action - iPhone feature comparison

Summary: Apple applies full power to the reality distortion field as the iPhone launch day approaches.

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I love Apple's reality distortion field.  I love it because despite being jaded and wary of marketing hyperbole, Apple's marketing is so good that I almost fall for it.  In fact, resisting their products is becoming harder (getting an iPod for Christmas was a slippery slope).

The latest example of how I was nearly caught out by their marketing was today's unexpected iPhone press release where Apple detailed an improved battery life compared to information they released back in January.

But it's not the battery life data that nearly made me weaken and want an iPhone.  It was the competitive data chart where Apple compares the iPhone to the Nokia N95, the Samsung Blackjack, the Blackberry Curve 830D and the Palm Treo 750.  Against the criteria that Apple chose, the iPhone looks like the clear winner - bags of battery life, glass display surface (although no word on how robust this is), and WiFi (check out this earlier version of the chart where Apple forgot that the N95 was WiFi enabled).

But Apple's marketing is sneaky because you're being gamed.  Just like a magician distracts you and gets you to look at the hand that isn't pocketing the coin, Apple is good at convincing you to focus on the features that it says are important and ignore the rest.  This chart is a fine example of this kind of sleight of hand.  Looking at the chart it's easy to think that phone thickness, screen size, display surface, WiFi and battery life are all that matters, but what about other features such as:

  • Replaceable battery
  • GPS
  • 3G
  • Traditional keyboard
  • Flash compatible
  • Camera resolution
  • Price
  • Weight
  • Native email support
  • Choice of networks

Add these features to the comparison chart and you get a much more honest comparison of the phones and the winner is far less clear-cut.   Sure, the iPhone has some innovative features, but it's not a hand's down winner by no means.

I'm also not sold of the battery life claim.  I've yet to come across a manufacturer that doesn't exaggerate when it comes to how long the batteries will last.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

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92 comments
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  • Also note the conspicuous absence

    No HTC product to be found. Yeah, we wouldn't want to make the iDumbPhone look bad. :)

    Great blog Adrian. [b]RELEASE THE ZEALOTS[/b]!!! Here they come!
    NonZealot
    • Funny thing about reality distortion

      With a simple google search the only one that looks bad here is the guy that wrote
      the article & you...as usual. Look up the price & the specs for the Nokia N95. Talk
      about reality distortion. What may have been the more professional way to write
      this article is give your readers a side by side comparison of the specs. That would
      have taken a small amount of work on the part of Mr. Hughes. Who seems to have
      his own reality distortion field. Design involves trade offs...for instance look at the
      storage capabilities of the Nokia phone, also the GPS is an extra monthly charge.
      Feels cheap according to most reviews. Maybe they should ad a few more buttons
      to the front of the device (sarcasm).
      SquishyParts
      • Agreed, Apple is just way ahead as a company

        I am sick of corporations trying to decipher, package, and turn creativity and innovation into some kind of ingredient they can spinkle on their operations only to end up scratching their heads when what they produce is mediocre at best. Apple is a true innovator, willing to take chances. That alone wins my respect.
        chris jablonski
        • wait a tick...

          So what you're saying is, that every time Apple blatantly steals someone's idea, then pays them for it, that it's innovativeness? The Linux phones already do the grand majority of what the iPhone does without the cost or restrictions. And I am no Linux zealot. Frankly, compared to Apple, I would rather go with a Microsoft product almost every time. Exceptions are in things that make things look pretty. If I want to use my tablet to draw in flash, I prefer the mac interface. Even though they are absurdly similar, I just like the way the mac LOOKS. It does no better of a job. As a matter of fact, in all my experience with my Macbook pro, the iMac in the next room (intel mac) and using all my Apple friend's macs... I would rather be on this 4 year old PC that now has Vista. It was cheaper, and is still faster.

          Back to my point though, Apple isn't innovative anymore than any company. Apple is just really good at looking good. The iPod as a music device is TERRIBLE. Everything is limited, and by replacing the original OS with something home brew, you can get so much more out of it. of the 3 most used OS flavors, and I'm including all Linux distros as a single OS, Apple is the worst.
          evilkillerwhale@...
      • Hmm, funny indeed

        As I mac Owner with a Nokia N95, I am happy to straiten out a few facts about it.

        Firstly, you dont have to pay for GPS just vioce guidance. Secondly, It doesn't feel cheap, yes it is made of plastic, but it feels solid. Thirdly, what about the design, the plum is nice and a bit different, whats more the form factor works, and it extremely nice. Fourthly, those button on the front make the phone easy to use. And Finally the claims of only 4hrs of talk time, is crap, I have used it on an Australian 3G network, and it easily does 6hrs, with a more power left. Oh but thats right, the iPhone doesnt have 3G thats right. oh niether foes it have a 5MP camera, so maybe do a proper feature comparision before coming off all high and mighty.

        Btw, I wirte this on a MacBook, so I am not an Anti Apple person.
        lukemoloney
        • High & Mighty

          I didn't come off all high & mighty. I read the reviews that were posted, one from
          Cnet. That is where I got my info. They said the phone felt cheap. They said the
          interface was sluggish, Poor battery Life. They were not the only ones. Just abou
          every review I read said the same thing. They said all the things that I posted. If it
          works for you great! The phone has a miniscule amount of storage for a media
          phone. It will not work on US networks. This all according to the reviews I have
          read. It cost 800 bucks! Like I said design is about trade offs. All products lack
          something...tell me how do you store any kind of media on 160 megabytes?

          Cnet review:

          CNET editors' review
          Very good
          7.0
          out of 10
          The good: The Nokia N95 cell phone boasts a 5-megapixel camera that produces
          good-quality photos and videos. It comes with advanced multimedia capabilities
          and has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The Symbian smart phone also features
          integrated GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, and an innovative two-way slider design.

          The bad: The N95 lacks support for U.S. 3G networks; standby battery life is poor;
          and performance is somewhat sluggish. The hardware feels a bit cheap, and the
          sliding mechanism could be more secure. It's also very expensive.

          The bottom line: With a 5-megapixel camera, advanced multimedia capabilities,
          and GPS, there's no doubt that the Nokia N95 is one of the most feature-packed
          smart phones to date, but poor battery life and sluggish performance make it hard
          to justify the high price tag.

          Memory Specs:
          MEMORY Phonebook Yes
          Call records Yes
          Card slot microSD (up to 2GB), hot swap, 128 MB card included, buy memory

          How much to get to 8 gigs? My point was all products have weak points. All users
          have different needs. This phone cost 200 bucks more than the high end iPhone.
          SquishyParts
          • oiy...

            Firstly, it's 8 Gig. Giga is singular, and the people who say Gigs are just incorrect. The bytes part is separate. Secondly, It has more features than the iPhone, which makes it more expensive, Thirdly, memory on the device is no problem if it has internet. Most files can easily be stored online to use later. Fourthly, It has a 5 Megapixel camera. These by themselves can cost hundreds, but lets say 100+. GPS is expensive, the other capabilities are expensive. It makes it more than the iPhone because it DOES more than the iPhone.

            Please don't go all Apple zealot on people when you don't even know basic plurality issues with gigabytes.
            evilkillerwhale@...
    • Pay no mind to the clown named Nonzealot (ZEALOT)

      Little does he/she know , but there are approximately 19 million people lining up to get themselves an iPhone . As for the zealot above , you can't take his word when it doesn't have Microsoft somewhere in there . Are you still crying because the servers that were hacked in Italy were all Microsoft Servers . Listen up kid , it's time to smell the coffee .
      Intellihence
      • Do you even read the swill you post?

        NonZealot isn't exclusively a Microsoft User. Nor am I. But out come the Zealots and down go the IQs of people that are trying to comprehend the drivel that the zealotry posts.

        I am beginning to wonder if that movie "Idiocracy" is just a documentary waiting to happen.
        nucrash
      • You really should consider applying for a Darwin Award

        you need to be removed from the gene pool quickly:

        [i]"...as unintelligent people enthusiastically out-breed competent people, future society will become inevitably and irreversibly dumber..."[/i] - quote from Wikipedea page on Idiocracy
        Scrat
      • Most interesting indeed,

        19 million people are lining up for 3 million phones Apple has anounced as the initial quantity.

        So am I to guess 16 million people have no concept of math?
        GuidingLight
        • Well unless they are given numbers they hardly know

          where they stand in line do they? Now you mock popularity and the attempt to get a
          device that is popular? Man you must have loved Cabbage Patch Kids...heh hehh
          heh...it's not Apple fans or Zealots it's just plain ole human nature.

          Pagan jim
          Laff
      • Microsoft Servers?

        Well, as a web hoster you have a choice of Microsoft or Linux. Apple just doesn't cut it with their servers - twice the price, too much power consumption, too difficult to manage, too much nonstandard stuff. When I walk into my colo in a major data center, I see very few Apple servers, and those that I do are blasting out hot air like none other, attended to by techs who assure me that their company is going to replace them with AMD boxes running Linux because the cost of ownership is too high. When you're buying thousands of servers, that 30% price premium stops being tolerable, especially because servers don't need to be cute.
        enovikoff
      • have you ever had good coffee?

        Let's see if you're coffee knowledge is as poor as your electronics knowledge. Coffee is a sweet drink. Most of what you get in America is bitter. Know why? It's stale. Most American made products are old news. The iPhone, like every other phone on the US market is ancient outside of the US. Try Japanese phones. Where all of your information is included, the phone is your credit/debit card, you have HD on board, and you already have a much better high speed connection.

        19 Million people are getting ready to buy one. So? Your point is basically saying that because people buy it, it must be better than the competition. So why do people buy cheap products when they KNOW there are better things out there? Oh, that's right... They're cheap. People are not smart enough to tell the difference between the Apple iPhone and the Linksys iPhone. And they do completely different things. VOiP vs. crappy digital phone service. Whoopee! Let's use cingular, who has wonderful coverage, but terrible connection! I want to be able to talk to people anywhere, and it's ok that I can't hear them and they can't hear me, because I like Apple. Everything I've ever done is useless, so I might as well buy Apple.
        evilkillerwhale@...
    • Why lower yourself to their level?

      Calling the iPhone, the iDumbPhone? Why don't you just call Apple, Appl€. I know it doesn't quite work like M$, but if you think about it, Apple always did go after larger quantities of money, so I think this makes perfect sense.

      Anyway, you get my point. Talking down to an Apple Zealot is like throwing a rock at the ground. If you miss, you are on some really good drugs.
      nucrash
    • Also note

      That NonZealot was first in line with zealotry.
      hairyR
  • No Replaceable Battery+No Choice of Networks

    Not being able to replace the battery and not having any choice of network providers are the deal-breakers for me. Thanks Apple and AT&T, but I'm sticking with my Motorola.

    P.S - You know, it's interesting to note that ever since that fateful Gates+Jobs D5 conference, Steve Jobs' reality distortion field isn't working quite right:

    http://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/joyarchives/972.html
    Tony Agudo
    • Look for 3rd party batteries soon

      the iPod doesn't have a "replaceable" battery, but 3rd party batteries
      are fast, easy and relatively cheap to install. Look for these
      companies to ship batteries for the iPhone fairly soon after the iPhone
      ships.

      As for a single carrier, the enhancements to the network the iPhone
      needs (like visual voice mail) pretty much made that mandatory. As
      the contract with ATT gets close to expiration the other networks will
      make their decisions on working with the iPhone. Some probably will
      and some probably won't, depending on the success of the iPhone.
      Ken_z
      • Battery

        It doesn't matter if third party batteries are available if you need a hacksaw and a sledgehammer to get the case open (try replacing the battery in you ipod...) As any PDA phone using traveler knows, easily replaceable batteries is a MUST.

        As for single carrier excuses, that's BS. The iPhone can easily work with "normal" voicemail in the absence of the AT&T "feature". You can be sure that other carriers would be quick to add support if the phone was open.

        In addition to Adrian's feature list, add a REAL SDK (for native apps) and slide-out keyboard. I hate touchscreen keyboards. I've used them before and MUCH prefer a real keyboard.

        I really thought the iPhone was neat when I first saw it, but Apple has misjudged the users needs / desires. It TOTALLY fails to take into account the needs of corporate users. My company, which uses PDA phones extensively, will not be using the iPhone. It just doesn't do what we need it to do.
        waltmaine
        • Right

          [quote]As any PDA phone using traveler knows, easily replaceable batteries is a MUST.[/quote]

          Not necessarily. There are plenty of adjunct products out there that simply plug in without swapping out the battery. Swappable batteries can be expensive! Expand your solutions horizons dude. Think OUTSIDE the box (phone).

          [quote]You can be sure that other carriers would be quick to add support if the phone was open.[/quote]

          Many other phones have exclusive carriers as well. So what?

          [quote]In addition to Adrian's feature list, add a REAL SDK (for native apps) and slide-out keyboard. I hate touchscreen keyboards. I've used them before and MUCH prefer a real keyboard.[/quote]

          Well bully for you! You haven't tried the new Apple touchscreen so your judgement is a tad presumptuous.

          [quote]My company, which uses PDA phones extensively, will not be using the iPhone. It just doesn't do what we need it to do.[/quote]

          Again bully for you and your company. You are probably right, the iPhone isn't marketed for you. So what? It will still sell well to people who are not shackled to Microsoft solutions which includes a lot of small businesses and tons of just plain people. Try not to be too flabbergasted by its success. Calm down, save your pennies, we know you secretly want one and are simply rationalizing at this point...
          MarcB_z