For a few good years (2012-16), it appeared as if Apple was copying Google Android platform (after Android appeared as the first copy of iOS in its inception).
While watching the Pixel 2 event today, which launched a slew of products (new iterations and completely new), apart from the great camera abilities on the phone and a few built in features, it was a throughout copy of Apple from hardware perspective.
Pixel 2 looks like a great phone with great camera abilities with deep machine learning that does the tricks with one camera that others take two for. Also, only the screen size changes, not the features unlike Apple which, for some absurd reasons, gives some features in some phone and not in the other! After chiding Apple for a year, Google ditched the headphone jack, providing adapter dongles for 3.5 mm accessories.
Google Home Max is just a copy of Apple’s (announced but non-existent) HomePod and works exactly the same way that Apple announced. Spatial awareness (aware of where it is kept), good sound quality (because Google Home doesn’t have), good range of sound, can hear your voice even when music is playing. Everything that HomePod advert says, feature by feature.
Google Pixel Pod had one outstanding and mind blowing feature of instant translation of sentences in 40 languages while you converse with someone. Apart from that, even the inner design (the part that goes in the ear) looked very similar to Apple’s EarPod. Works the same way, have same other features.
Google Pixel Book was unveiled as 4-in-1 product with a pen that’s similar to Apple Pencil. The 4-in-1 means a laptop with Chrome OS which has a screen that can be folded over its keyboard. This was hyped up, as Apple does all the time, as if they are giving your four devices!
Even the whole presentation was feature-by-feature copy of Apple’s with some words repeated by every single presenter for every single product: machine learning, we have deigned it inside out, AI etc.
We expect these both great companies to make great products in software and hardware, but the race to give ‘new and innovative’ products every year, innovation seems to be trivialised to just a bunch of tech jargons which sound good to ears, but doesn’t differentiate itself from a technology a year old.
For example, smartphones must not come every year. You are just robbing people of their money by adding a few bells and whistles and saying ‘a completely new design with some great hardware that will blow your mind’. This doesn’t happen. iPhone 8 is exactly what it looked when iPhone 6 was announced 4 years ago, apart from the glass back.
Samsung Galaxy flagships aren’t doing any good other than experimenting with screen sizes and pixel density to outscore the next flagship from Apple or others. The thing is, they should be concerned with how does it affect the consumer experience who buys these phones for over $750.
A camera bump means nothing to a user who has the same megapixel camera and doesn’t really go out and takes professional photos. For an average user, like all of us, it doesn’t matter. Well, it shouldn’t matter if we are with a camera with 12 MP and 2.4f aperture and next year someone says we have 1.8f now! It doesn’t matter!
Same for screen size! How far can we go? What purpose does a curved screen solve on a phone? Does it affect a user whether or not one can see an icon when phone is flat? Is it too much a burden for users to pick a phone and see it? I jut don’t get this shit!
Wireless charging is another scam. Really? Wireless charging on a pad? How the hell is that wireless? Buy another accessory for the phone when you can just plug it in with an exiting charger? Wireless charging would be true to its name when I walk in my room where my charger is beaming induction waves to my phone which is in my hands two metres away.
Useless features, testing the patience of humankind with an approach of throwing shit on the wall and waiting to see what sticks! All gimmicks, none of which solve any great problems. Ultimately great marketing which makes a fool of people like me who would buy an iPhone 8, X, Galaxy or Note in coming days.
It seems that phone technology is stagnating and management boards are hell bent on asking companies to come with a new flagship every year. The consumer angle is never seen that one earns the money by not looting anyone! You would say that it’s a choice, but in the unprecedented marketing kills, is it really a choice?
I don’t change my phones every year. Unless there is a huge gap in features, I don’t feel inclined to buy a new phone. I kept my iPhone 3G for two years, 4 for four years and SE for a year now. Now I will be switching to new one because SE has just 16 GB storage.
Google’s software are great. Apple’s hardware are just overpriced and you can’t get value for money unless it is an iPad. The MacBook Air is such a sham that it ditches you after a year. MacBook Pros are great value for money, and so are the high end CPU’s like FCP etc, but iPhones (for them who buy it every year or every two years), and MacBook Airs, it’s pure wastage of money.
I have been an Apple loyalist for quite long. I still am because of the design aesthetics. I had an iPod Classic 80GB in when it arrived, then an iPod Shuffle, 4 iterations of iPhone, iPad and iPad Pro, and have used a MacBook Air which died after 15 months. Apart from MacBook Air everything is still in working condition. But it is too pricey.
Same is with all the flagship models of other companies. Innovation is nowhere to be seen. AI and AR are still in nursery classes. Just saying that we are integrating it in phones doesn’t solve anything but placing a talking emoji in your message or a fictional character in your video. It is yet to go beyond that and solve any real problem that the users face.
Google Lens has done wonders in photography. Other innovations are happening in camera but it will take some time before some giant leap comes. Every year you can’t be saying ‘this is our best iPhone/Galaxy ever’. No! That’s shit. It is just a few features which people actually don’t need.
As the earnings increase and a fake sense of pride of holding a flagship device in hand is boosted by cutthroat marketing campaigns, even people who are aware of these tricks, like me, fall for it!
It is not a service to humanity any more. It is a scheme now. A calculated scheme to rip the pockets of consumers by providing them with a few thousand more dots on your screen which you never cared if it existed! Don’t change your phones every year, unless they suck.