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Posted on March 18th, 2013 by Dave Stevenson

Is Apple rattled by Samsung? Let’s hope so

The new anti-Android page at the Apple website

Defensive, prickly and occasionally flat-out disingenuous, Apple’s attempt to swing undecided buyers to the iPhone is great news. For Android users, it confirms that the long wait for an alternative mobile platform that you can bring home to your parents is almost over. Apple’s anti-Android potshots are an indication that Android has finally come of age for consumers.

That’s good news for everyone. If Apple now sees Android as a real threat, it will have to find ways to stop users drifting away. In the long run, Apple on the back foot should mean nicer, better-value products. In the short term it means snippy, linkbait anti-Android marketing barely worth the HTML it’s written on – but still, Apple’s rattled. That can only be a good thing.

The iPhone was the first phone I’d ever used that I really liked, rather than tolerated

I remember when I wrote the review for the original iPhone (adorably, it appears in the PC Pro website’s PDA category). It was 2007 and Apple’s wunderphone was, by some distance, the most interesting handset on the market. At the time I reviewed it, it was the first phone I’d ever used that I really liked, rather than tolerated. It wasn’t immediately obvious how big a shadow it would cast over the smartphone industry – there was no App Store yet, it (absurdly) didn’t offer 3G, and the 2-megapixel camera was low-res, even for the time – but it was, clearly, a step up from other phones, and light years beyond the slow-motion ferry crash that was Windows Mobile 6 and the joyless charisma vacuum that was BlackBerry.

How good was it? Well, the second paragraph – the second paragraph – of the review talks about the mute switch on the side of the phone. Not because I’m an easily amused simpleton, but because this blindingly obvious hardware feature was missing from virtually every other handset on the market. Before the iPhone, if your phone rang in the middle of a hushed theatre you’d be left furiously wrestling with a precise sequence of button-presses while a thousand annoyed people learned of your fondness for the Crazy Frog. The iPhone bristled with fresh ideas, from its brushed aluminium back to its iOS-powered soul.

Fast-forward six years and everything has changed. The iPhone might still be the most imitated handset there is, but the past few years have seen only incremental updates to the formula. That’s allowed Android-based manufacturers such as Samsung to catch up, through successive generations of  increasingly persuasive and affordable alternatives. Android itself has evolved from flaky geek-chic to a dependable, usable operating system, winning hearts, minds and market share in the process. It’s no wonder Cupertino is worried.

Let the hardcore fans of both ecosystems have a go at each other – the rest of us can look forward to cheaper, better phones.

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Posted in: Just in, Rant, Real World Computing


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10 Responses to “ Is Apple rattled by Samsung? Let’s hope so ”

  1. Tim Says:
    March 18th, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Lets hope Samsung have got voice recognition working on the S4. That would be a breakthrough for S3 and iPhone users, and business as usual for users of 5 year old phones.

    As for cutting off an incoming call, other phones just required you to press the red button. No mute switch required.

    I agree Windows phone did not evolve from 2003 onwards, but it actually worked very well in practice. I still miss my TouchPro 2, and only replaced it because the web browser couldn’t cope with modern sites.

  2. nick allison Says:
    March 19th, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Alternative mobile OS you can take home to your parents, erm, wouldn’t that be WP then.
    In a massively statistically accurate survey of 2. Both my mum and technophobe wife have switched to WP from Android and IOS respectively, and ate delighted.
    so that’s that settled then. Move along.

  3. David Wright Says:
    March 19th, 2013 at 11:56 am

    WM6 – I had an htc Touch Pro and that muted itself, if you turned it face down.

    I also used to wind up my iPhone owning friends at the time, by starting a video call and watching them try and accept the call, only for it to be disconnected, because the iPhone didn’t support GSM video calling. :-D

    By the time the 3GS came along it was certainly the best phone on the market. The 4 and 4S never appealed to me and I switched to Android and Windows Phone. A lot of colleagues put off upgrading their 3GS as well, because they didn’t like the 4/4S styling. They wanted a 4S in the 3GS casing. Many are now going for the iPhone 5 or have defected to Samsung.

    That said, my old 3GS is still going strong, my other half uses it. It was a “useless toy”, when I used it, now it is a not so useless toy, because she can check her Yahoo! mail on the move.

    But to be honest, I’ve gone off the whole smartphone thing. I look back on my old Nokia 6210 with fondness, that was the best mobile phone I ever had. Although I’d quite happily go without a mobile completely, but I have to carry a company phone.

  4. Tim Says:
    March 19th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    @David Wright

    Odd my favourite was the 8210. I now want an HTC mini to go with my smartphone as my Ai Di Blueberry doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

  5. khellan Says:
    March 19th, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    oh man, i really miss my 6310 with the plastic gold front bits!

    It was great as a phone and a modem iirc and bluetooth was the mutts nuts on it… However everything else has moved on. Some things not for the better. I’d like a smartphone to last a long workday. Everything else is pretty much iteration (or innovation depending on your viewpoint) until then. 12 hours – give me use of the phone for a full day. i’ll step down to a 5mb camera, lack of AC and N wifi, no infrared or snazzy photo filters and something that has fewer pixels than my monitor.

  6. wyson Says:
    March 20th, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Android hasn’t won my heart or mind. I recently got a Google Nexus 4 and gave it away. It was much improved in terms of user friendliness over the HTC Desire that I had (running Android 2.3) but Android 4.2 still had problems, for instance, settings options buried beneath the keyboard.

    I have tried all the platforms (iphone 4, Htc Desire and Google Nexus 4, Htc HD 7 running windows phone 7.5).

    In terms of user friendliness and consistency Android is still some way off iPhone and Windows Phone.

    I use a Windows Phone and Android combo. It wouldnt be exaggerating to say I hate the Android implementation in the HTC desire, but I brought so many apps, many of which dont exist in windows phones sparse marketplace… so I’m forced to continue using it.

    It would be great if Android could iron out its inconsistencies, but I understand as an open source system with an unregulated app store, this will never happen.

    Its a shame the iPhone has such poor call quality, otherwise it would be my default choice. However, apple are improving on this front.. Maybe iphone 6 will have good call quality both ways? Iphone 5 only seems to manage good call quality for the reciever. My iPhone 4 sounded like a blast back to the 90’s using motorola flip phones on T mobile!

  7. JGWilliams Says:
    March 22nd, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Yay! The 6310 lives on. I bought a used car a couple of years ago that had a cradle designed for a 6310. Did you know that you can still buy brand new ones from Ebay? I picked one up free from work and put a PAYG SIM in it and now have a very useful hands free phone in the car.

    As for smart phones, I’m with WP as well – a really nice, easy to use system. There may not be a million fart apps available for it but it does everything I want.

  8. Michael Says:
    April 3rd, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I find it crazy that the iphone biggest weaknesses are the main basic functions of a phone… and no-one really nails them on that. Phone call quality poor and messaging not the best. And the most popular functions outside of this, they are weak at… ie Maps and GPS (android far better). But the secret to apple’s success is that they have convinced the gormless public that superficiality is more important than anything else!

  9. phone4u Says:
    April 7th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Apple have simply been left behind,I have had the original,3gs,4 and 4s.An entry level windows/android is much better than the 4,they need an entry level cheaper say 5E and an upgraded 5S to get a look in now.

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