iPhone 4 ... Apple's own "Vista" moment in history

iPhone 4 ... Apple's own "Vista" moment in history

Summary: "What if Microsoft bought out a product where you had to spend $30 on an accessory to make it work right and stop is from breaking?"

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TOPICS: Browser, Google
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"What if Microsoft bought out a product where you had to spend $30 on an accessory to make it work right and stop is from breaking?"

That's a question I received from a reader earlier today.

My reply: "I think people would go stark raving ballistic on Microsoft - and rightly so."

See, as "cool" as I think the iPhone 4 is, with its stainless steel chassis antenna and glass front and back. I can't help but feel that Apple didn't take the time to work out the kinks. As beautiful and stylish the iPhone 4 is to look at and hold, and as useful as some of the features it offers are, I can't shake that feeling that the iPhone 4 is Apple's own little "Vista" moment in tech history.

For a device that represents the flagship product of a flagship company, and which is widely regarded as the best of the best in its class of smartphones, it sure has had its fair share of problems in the short time it has been out. While Apple has been able to pre-sell enough handsets to gain a lot of traction right out of the starting blocks to ensure enough fanboy support to bury much of the bad news, Apple's obsession with form over function has lead it to create a handset that doesn't like being held a particular way, and which breaks big style with the smallest of drops (add to that the fact that glass is slippery, and that makes the risk of a fall even greater).

The fact of life is that we hold out handsets the way we hold them without giving it much thought, and sometimes we drop them. That's part and parcel of the life of a handset. What Apple seems to have done with the iPhone 4 is create a marvel of engineering that works great in concept, but fails in the real world. Sure, it's sleek, and stylish, and thin (something which seems dear to Steve Jobs), and it crams a lot of power into a small box, but it's also fragile and temperamental.

Apple needs to grasp the fact that it now not only sells a mass-market handset, but it's selling it to a massive market, and these people aren't necessarily Apple fanboys or zealots. These people buy a product because they believe that it is the best in its class. Preaching to people about how to hold their handsets, selling $30 strips of rubber, or spewing technical specs on the glass used is not good enough. People want a product that they can trust, and that has had the kinks worked out before going to market.

Hype aside, the iPhone 4 feels like a device that's not been properly field tested. Durability and reception issues should have been worked out long before the device went to market. Apple's dropped the ball here, but because of the hype, it's unlikely that the market will punish it for the mistakes.

On a more positive note, I think the kinks will be worked out by iPhone 5 ...

There's an important lesson here for Microsoft and its handset OEM partners, and it's a simple one: Don't screw up!

Topics: Browser, Google

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106 comments
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  • RE: iPhone 4 ... Apple's own

    Not worried about it....Updated by 3gs to iOS4 and all is well. Overall the phone functions much better with iOS4 and even fewer dropped calls...go figure...if it ain't broke.....
    htotten
    • the apple hating blogs...

      @htotten
      ... can't get enough of it. news flash adrian, it's a non issue. 99% of iphone 4 buyers don't have that problem. some lefties might have to buy a case in some areas where signal is weak. otherwise the iphone 4 actually improves reception and download speed in most cases. but the FUD goes on and on.
      banned from zdnet
      • This is

        @banned from zdnet
        ericesque
      • This is EXACTLY why this is a "Vista" moment

        @banned from zdnet
        Vista was a damned fine OS. But bloggers were hungry for page hits and Vista became the target of endless FUD flinging.

        Apple, welcome to the limelight :P
        ericesque
      • RE: iPhone 4 ... Apple's own

        @banned from zdnet
        Most folks do not even realize they have an issue. They blame everything except Apple.

        Case in point: my wife's 3G. She lived with inadvertant slowdown or lockup in her phone for months. Never mentioned it. Thought it was caused by one of her "free" sample apps.

        It finally died. Took it in and had it replaced.
        She was "wowwed" with her refurbished phone.

        I highly suspect she is like most users.
        Especially when it comes to Apple products.
        rhonin
      • Hey, Banned, is this a 'lefty' or 'righty' issue? (or non-issue)

        @banned from zdnet I got a question for everyone that keeps saying it is the 'lefties' that are experiencing this problem. I am right handed. I hold my phone with my left hand and dial with the right. I continue to hold it with my left hand so I can do something else with my right hand (such as take notes). It seems to me that this issue is a right hander's problem, since everyone else I know uses their phone just like I do, unless they are left handed that is.

        So, to me this would be a right-hander problem, which may be why so many people are reporting it. Righties outnumber lefties by a huge margin.

        I don't have an iPhone, so I can't comment on the problem actually existing or not, but this has [i]for sure[/i] been an interesting subject the past few days!
        babyboomer57
      • RE: iPhone 4 ... Apple's own

        @ericesque [b]Vista was a damned fine OS. But bloggers were hungry for page hits and Vista became the target of endless FUD flinging.[/b]

        Not entirely accurate - at least not in my experience with both personal machines and work machines running it... it is slow, buggy, tempermental, and really just crap. It should have never been released as a finished product. Windows 7 on the other hand is what Vista should have been.

        On topic, Apple should have given away the bumper pads until a software or hardware solution was found - I suspect a software update will take care of the fairly rare issue but equating this with Vista is a bit harsh... it IS an issue but not to that extent.
        athynz
      • Actually it isn't...

        @banned from zdnet

        You probably bought one and don't want to feel like an idiot so you say it's a non-issue... Realistically, it isn't just people holding the phone with their left hand having this failure! Two fingers can complete the circuit and cause the signal to fade into oblivion... The only way to prevent it is to insulate the Antenna from the users hand so yes you have to pay to do that.
        slickjim
      • @Uralbas: You have to warn people before dropping videos like that

        It almost killed me!!!!!! :)
        NonZealot
    • and speaking of holding a phone

      @htotten
      have a look here how holding a phone can result in reduced reception. it's common for all phones. no one made a fuzz about it until now.

      examples:

      nokia e71:
      http://www.youtube.com/watchv=amPG52DVQuk&feature=player_embedded

      htc droid incredible:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaDE941PzQk&feature=player_embedded

      nexus one:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2g5J4qPp54&feature=player_embedded

      please adrian, enough of that FUD bs already.
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: iPhone 4 ... Apple's own

        @banned from zdnet

        Dude, get real.....
        There is a significant difference between reduced signal strength and shorting across antennas.

        Show me one with the equivalent signal degradation displayed by the 4.

        please.
        rhonin
      • There is a big difference ...

        @zenwalker

        <i>There is a significant difference between reduced signal strength and shorting across antennas.</i>

        There is a huge difference. Unlike with the Android phone signal issues, you can actually <b>fix</b> the signal issue with the iPhone 4.
        RationalGuy
      • Your argument

        is highly illogical.
        You attempt to equate losing one bar with four bars, which logic would point out are two entirelly different amounts.
        :|
        Tim Cook
      • Logic?

        @Mister Spock
        How logical is it Mr. Spock to assume that the bar's represent the exact same thing on two different products from two different companies? Is there some cross platform standard in place or was your assumption illogical?

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
    • and not the evo, too!!

      @htotten
      http://community.htc.com/na/htc-forums/android/f/94/p/3681/15322.aspx
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: iPhone 4 ... Apple's own

        @banned from zdnet

        Dude, that post has 2 comments.... 2!!! Not indicative of a problem.
        faxmonkey
    • RE: iPhone 4 ... Apple's own

      @htotten
      "even fewer dropped calls." - try a blackberry - no dropped calls - you must have patience to keep using a phone that drops calls
      deaf_e_kate
      • Really?!

        @deaf_e_kate
        My Verizon Blackberry drops calls. Not very many, but then again neither of the 2 iPhones I've had in the last 3 years has dropped more than a half dozen calls over that entire span of time on the ATT network.
        use_what_works_4_U
  • Probably an excellent analogy!

    Considering that the problems in Vista were blown [b]totally[/b] out of proportion by the blogosphere trying to make a quick buck, your analogy is probably right on. Like Vista, there isn't anything seriously wrong with the iPhone 4 but the blogosphere is going absolutely nuts over it. Just like they did with Vista. And just like with Vista, the iPhone 4 works much better than the bloggers would have us believe.
    NonZealot
    • yeah these tech blogs blow things way out of proportion

      I suspect it will be found that a small number of iphones have a manufacturer defect and as long as apple fixes it, then no big deal.

      My android phone had a defective touch screen out of the box and Verizon replaced it immediately. But I didnt jump on the forums and yell about how android sucks!
      otaddy