Upgrade Downfall

Upgrade Downfall

A (Respectful) Overview of Apple’s Goofs.

“I told you so.” Google has enabled each of us to become an expert, however, what happens when technology fails us and upgrades in particular, no longer carry hype?

I originally sat on this topic for a week in order to see how I could make sense of my curiosity. I read through past articles about technology but honestly, I was disinterested with anything relevant that was happening this week, let alone this month. I needed to find something that was swarming in the Gizmodo gossip whirlpool that could potentially become bigger-than-life news. Ah ha! As of yesterday (Sept 28, 2012), a certain megalithic corporation helped to provide an answer.

Yes, I’m referring to Apple’s failure of its latest iOS6 Maps update. Let’s settle any questions at this point: I am completely biased when discussing Apple products. Apple has built its reputation as the best engineered computer in the world over the past 20 years (in my not-so humble opinion). I’m not looking for like minds, as I’ve heard my share of opposition from the IT nerds. In other words, I’ve rarely found myself on the other side of the fence wondering, “Why did Apple decide to do that?”

Apple Maps Error

Apple Maps. Golden Gate Bridge? 2012.

My first-ever beef with Apple was with the introduction of the candy-coated iMacs of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. I thought that it was a fade before I even gave myself a chance to warm up to concept. Thankfully, Apple has become much more design savvy and ecofriendly with the result of its sleek, recyclable aluminum enclosures for all of its products. I’ve never been keen about iMacs. The all-in-one computer has been a success for those that can afford it and perhaps fulfills the needs of the everyday user. Right away, I realized its limitations with mobility, inevitable changes to its ports or the fact that if you scratch the screen, you essentially just damaged your one and only computer.

Fast forward to now and we’re celebrating the rise of the smartphone era. The iPhone has been a Godsend for many and has completely revolutionized our lifestyle–for most, for the better and surely some would strongly disagree. What I fear, is that the king of the mobile market (the iPhone) is showing indications of losing momentum. Sure, its sales are remarkable, but I’m referring to the shift of attention on the competition amidst a weak upgrade. Apple’s idea of offering innovative upgrades is no longer fooling Generation Y. Taller, thinner, faster is now considered an industry norm with upgrades. How exactly is the iPhone 5 that much better?

Let’s be fair, we’re placing the best smartphone under the microscope, not Apple’s overall reputation. Apple Maps app was touted as a better way to find your way. Whoa. Stop. When it comes to maps, Apple has never been at the forefront of the market and they clearly have been making strides to catch up to Google, Bing, Mapquest, et al. Google in particular has created several jobs just dedicated to providing a stellar mapping service. Let’s give credit where credit is due and face the fact that Google is also trying to get their way. What I see is a power struggle that looks very ugly when the iPhone itself is only slightly better then its predecessor. Due to the flaws of the Apple Map apps (hey, they’re human after all), Apple has just put itself in an awkward position, referring to its competition in spite of an upgrade?

Recent mistakes at Apple have happened before, such as with the iPhone 4 antenna or the short shelf life of Firewire. It was blasphemous for some Apple enthusiasts to have to purchase a $30 USB extension for the new Lightning Connector for the iPhone 5. Small beans when comparing it to a component (Apple Maps) that was introduced to rival and perhaps replace the competition (Google).

The more I witness the technology rat race chasing its own tail, the more I revert back to Kenya Hara’s Designing Design. Hara’s most convincing singular point is that Western society does not take time to appreciate what it has in front of them. Instead, we have created higher expectations for the next best thing while wastefully ditching our past products in a garbage landfill. Sure, recyclable is in fact better. However, it takes the act of recycling in order for it to benefit our environment in terms of materials. The iPhone 5 is only one example of an item that only exists to fulfill the expectation of an upgrade. Our ideas about what an upgrade is, needs to be seriously upgraded.

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