I miss Apple's reality distortion field

I miss Apple's reality distortion field

Summary: Without Apple's patented reality distortion field, the company launches a new iPhone 5, but resembles many other tech companies.

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Tim Cook on how well Apple products work together in a "solution." Credit: James Martin, CNET

Apple's iPhone 5 launch with new iPods and an iTunes overhaul highlights the new era at the company that revolves around incremental updates, design prowess, and control of an entire user experience. But something is missing: The Steve Jobs reality distortion field.

Jobs' showmanship was brilliant. He could take an incremental update---or a feature that has been seen somewhere else before---and make you think it was brilliant, amazing and beautiful. I knew it was a game, but it was one I played willingly. I'm going through Apple keynote withdrawal.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if Amazon does better Apple keynotes than Apple does. This riff isn't a knock on Apple per se, but discipline is lacking. First, Apple saw most of its iPhone 5 features leaked ahead of time. Then, there's a question of editing. Would Jobs have combined an iPhone 5, iPod and iTunes revamp, which happens to resemble Microsoft's Zune service, in one shindig?

Probably not.

Without the showmanship and Jobs' reality distortion field these Apple announcements look like really nice upgrades---for Apple users. A 4-inch screen is nice, but I already have one on my Android device. LTE is nice too, but I have that already. Apple execs today don't have me salivating over the iPhone 5. Jobs would have told me I had to give a crap and I would have.

More: Apple's iPhone 5 upgrade cycle secured with global LTE, 4G support Apple announces iPhone 5: What you need to know | The Apple iPhone 5: Now or later? | iPhone fantasies, Android phones realities | What could go wrong with the iPhone 5 launchTech leaders vacillate on iPhone 5, with growing anticipation of Windows 8 | Samsung vs. Apple: Are LTE patents the next battleground? | All ZDNet iPhone coverage | All CNET iPhone coverage | Techmeme | Apple statement

The mesmerization routine is gone. Apple has solid engineering and gave you the iPhone you should have had last year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook will tell you that the company is firing on all cylinders. And it is. Apple's reality distortion field isn't at 100 percent these days, but the financials are. Apple's lock on an ecosystem is in place too. And oh by the way Apple will sell a zillion iPhone 5 devices around the world.

Cook said at Apple's powwow via CNET:

When you look at each of these, they are incredible industry leading innovations by themselves. But what sets them apart, and what puts Apple way out ahead of the competition is how they work so well together. Only Apple could create such amazing software hardware and services and put them together into such a powerful, integrated solution. Apple has never been stronger, and that's because of the dedication of our employees... they are doing the best work of their lives.

Cook is right to some degree, but he said the one word that makes me cringe: Solution. The word "solution" is what enterprise vendors say all day long. Solution is the word companies to sell you an integrated stack of stuff. Jobs would have never used a word like solution. Solution didn't sell and wasn't magical. "Solution" is used when you can't put in English what your products actually do. In Apple's messaging a word like solution is the equivalent of lobbing a nuclear missile into a force field. Perhaps the force field---reality distortion field in Apple's case---holds, but it'll be damaged.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Mobility, Smartphones

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62 comments
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  • Bye

    IPhone is officially a joke, a catch up game and failed at that
    jamz2277
    • Let me clear my throat...

      First of all, and I will not call you names, bleh on your 18 year old comments.

      This is a serious piece of hardware and your crap, plastic, catch-up overkill laden Galaxy S3 is a piece of vomited, Frankenstein piece of garbage that most of it's rushed features will not be used by the mainstream. "Bump" all you want, but what ecosystem will you distribute that pic through, with 100% confidence? I know you are a wee-bear, but some of us have kids and relatives that might die soon, and we want a way to make sure that our ability to share, mobilize (and have a better quality pic. By the way) is rock solid.

      Plus, a lot of people still appreciate the greatest quality that our sad, little broken down country once had in abundance... attention to detail. Thinking things through, and similar attributes. I too give all competitors a fair glance(and consideration). S3, and even HTC One were really strong (new Nokia too).

      Pick your own thing of-course, but don't be a tard and throw stones. Mainstream USA is a sad place compared to 20 years ago, but the American spirit still courses overwhelmingly through Apple's veins.
      chrisbranning557@...
      • Really?

        Surprise! iPhone was built in China. S3 is awesome and trumps Apple at every corner. I was an Apple fanboy till recently when Apple decided that iOS6 would only come complete with it's last iPhone the 4S and 5 leaving everyone else with a fragmented experience. I along with many others felt ripped off. Apple wants you to upgrade every year, like the carrot on the stick you have to wait till next version to get what you really want and need. Samsung gave us that and more. I owned an Apple 4 and was eagerly awaiting the unveiling, I didn't buy the 4S because I was really looking forward to a big change like all of us. Then enters my beloved S3 and Apple faded away! It's taking me a while to learn all the options and features that make this phone so special. The build is great, very light and thin, the polycarbonate back is very resistant. S Beam (it's just like bump but better, because it shares videos, urls, playlist, etc, NFC (not just for paying, but programing actions like turning on/off the wifi, open an app, put phone in drive mode or more and communicating), All Share group and just regular DLNA sharing from device to TV directly without a streaming box, Share shot ( sharing with tons of services, not just Facebook and twitter), tons of motion gestures, S Voice helps in a pinch, but Google voice is very good, Camera has options galore (as good as a DSLR, Burst shot is my favorite), Pop Up play (so I can watch a video and still do some other task on the phone, I can see the time and weather in real time on my lock screen and home screen (with widgets) and in lock screen mode I can start my favorite apps, many security features, I have an extra 64gb of storage because of the microSD slot and 3 batteries that are always charged (although battery life is very good, but I'm always on the move) the phone features are great (I have the iPhone 1, 3g and 4) they all were very good in everything like ipod and apps, but being a phone, bad sound quality and volume, etc. Apple has always had a problem with that. This one is perfect and the calls, texting and options are fantastic (too many choices as far as I'm concerned), but it's been a great experience and I'm really enjoying myself and becoming more and more attached to my Korean made phone. All the features on the iPhone 5 can't even come close to all the features on the GS3.
        wchoreo
        • Phone Quality

          As a telephone I agree that iPhone 3GS and 4 were inferior to other phones IMHO. 4S is an excellent telephone though. I can't speak for the 5 or the older model iPhones.

          I'm glad you like your phone but when I pick up a Samsung it looks and feels like a cheap plastic toy compared to iPhone, Motorola or HTC.
          MajorlyCool
          • Re: Phone Quality

            "I'm glad you like your phone but when I pick up a Samsung it looks and feels like a cheap plastic toy compared to iPhone, Motorola or HTC."

            And when I drive my Chevy, it feels like a cheap plastic toy compared to a Ferrari, but that still doesn't make it any less useful or practical as a vehicle.

            I agree there's a build/materials quality difference between Apple and the other manufacturers, and I'd agree that amongst the other manufacturers, Samsung is towards the bottom. But at the end of the day, these are cell phones, not life support equipment. It starts to be absurd when people require mundane objects to be unnecessarily over-built. Do you only use stainless steel chopsticks or do you stoop for the common wood ones when you eat sushi? Is you car made out of carbon fiber, kevlar and titanium, or do you drive a honda/toyota/chevy/ford?

            I've had an iPhone and phones from Samsung and HTC, and they've all outlasted their useful lifespans. In fact, they're all still 100% functional to this day.

            I just don't get this fixation on something that, at best, makes no difference, and at worst, actually makes a device more damage prone (covering both front and back with glass, as on the iPhone 4/4s and Nexus 4).
            PC987
          • The funny thing is that your Cheap Chevy

            I a lot more study than that expensive Ferrari. It spends way less time in the shop and is at least 100 times less likely to spontaneously combust.
            http://tinyurl.com/av9pybs
            T1Oracle
          • *edit* "Is" not "I"

            n t
            T1Oracle
    • Let me clear my throat...

      Let me clear my throat...

      First of all, and I will not call you names, bleh on your 18 year old comments.

      This is a serious piece of hardware and your crap, plastic, catch-up overkill laden Galaxy S3 is a piece of vomited, Frankenstein piece of garbage that most of it's rushed features will not be used by the mainstream. "Bump" all you want, but what ecosystem will you distribute that pic through, with 100% confidence? I know you are a wee-bear, but some of us have kids and relatives that might die soon, and we want a way to make sure that our ability to share, mobilize (and have a better quality pic. By the way) is rock solid.

      Plus, a lot of people still appreciate the greatest quality that our sad, little broken down country once had in abundance... attention to detail. Thinking things through, and similar attributes. I too give all competitors a fair glance(and consideration). S3, and even HTC One were really strong (new Nokia too).

      Pick your own thing of-course, but don't be a tard and throw stones. Mainstream USA is a sad place compared to 20 years ago, but the American spirit still courses overwhelmingly through Apple's veins.
      chrisbranning557@...
    • I miss Apple's reality distortion field

      we have post jobs, sculley redux ...
      kc63092@...
  • Apple cruising along

    I think Apple is just cruising along since Jobs passed away. I believe it is just a matter of time before more and more competitors pass them by. This usually happens when singular leaders move on.
    P. Douglas
    • That is very disturbing

      Companies that start cruising along and relying on their name are companies that long term investors start to wonder about.

      Curious that the best feature I thought was the iPod.
      Ouch.
      rhonin
  • terribke

    No NFC (and no google maps) - what a stupid wasted opportunity by Apple - own goal scorred! Just another pretty but technically backward product - oh dear Steve must be turning over in his iGrave
    PaulP1963
    • Was full of surprises

      More than one keynote commentator mentioned the maps and the lack of integrated public transportation data. For folks who live in large cities and make use of this that is a very bad thing.
      rhonin
      • Distortion is in place

        Rhonin.... that would be part of the reality distortion field. Most users of the iPhone wouldn't be bothered to take PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Didn't you know that? :)
        duchovny
  • agreed...

    That this should have been what the iPhone 4S had...sad that there's nothing new in this phone yet the zombies will hype it like it's a piece of gold
    SDRebel
    • Starting from the i4

      Apple had 28 months to hit a home run.

      They ended up with two singles. These scored runs ($$$) but have cracked the perceived foundation of the Apple megalith.
      rhonin
  • I miss Apple's reality distortion field

    The only good thing about the event was the Foo Fighters. Everything else just wasn't impressive.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • So reality distortion is a positive now?

    I was led to believe for years now it was one big negative brought to you by Steve Jobs, and should be avoided at all cause. I think you've summed it up correctly:

    "Apple's reality distortion field isn't at 100 percent these days, but the financials are. Apple's lock on an ecosystem is in place too. And oh by the way Apple will sell a zillion iPhone 5 devices around the world."
    dave95.
    • re: So reality distortion is a positive now?

      Well, It is a positive for those who are caught up in it... For everyone else looking at it from the outside shaking their collective heads, not so much.
      Badgered
    • Re: So reality distortion is a positive now?

      That was part of the reality distortion...
      ldo17