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Challenging Apple's ambitions

Rory Cellan-Jones | 08:32 UK time, Thursday, 2 September 2010

Berlin: Is today the day the consumer electronics industry's fightback against Apple begins? Most of the big names from the gadget world are in Berlin for the IFA consumer electronics show which is now becoming one of the best events to see new products launched.

Escalators at the IFA conference, Berlin

Apple of course is not here - but lo and behold, on the eve of IFA it held its own big show, where the highlights were further moves into the worlds of digital music and TV, and its very own little social network, Ping.

But in Berlin, Apple's rivals, big and small, are striking back. Last night, determined not to be upstaged by the news from California, Sony unveiled its music and video streaming service Qriocity. This will now be available in Europe, after launching in America earlier this year, with video first followed by a music service by Christmas.

Sony is hoping that it can persuade the millions who own its hardware - TVs, Play Station 3 consoles, Blu-Ray players - that there is an alternative to Apple when it comes to getting online access to content. What Sony lacks though is the software muscle that iTunes gives Apple. With 160 million people now registering their credit cards to an iTunes account, there's a lot of inertia in the digital media market.

Then there was an announcement from Spotify, still a small business but one on which the music industry has pinned big hopes. In an alliance which combines two of the most innovative software and hardware firms involved in music streaming, it has teamed up with Sonos, makers of upscale multi-room music systems. Owners of Sonos kit will now be able to use it to stream Spotify's catalogue around their homes.

For Spotify, these are exciting yet dangerous times. Over the coming months the music streaming service could conquer America and grab a huge share of the digital music market - or it could be crushed by the likes of Apple and Sony. Teaming up with Sonos is one small move to make its premium service more compelling, but it really needs to break into the American market soon - otherwise it could end up as an interesting but short chapter in the history of the digital music revolution.

But the real challenge to Apple's ambitions comes from Google's Android mobile operating system. We've already seen Android phones begin to overtake the iPhone in some markets - now we're going to see a proper challenge to Apple's latest cash cow, the iPad.

Samsung and Toshiba are among a crowd of companies unveiling tablet computers at IFA, many of them running on Android. They are almost all going to be cheaper than the iPad and do much the same. Only the sheer power of the Apple brand, along with the integration with its App Store, could keep the iPad ahead of its new rivals.

Apple has a history of entering existing markets and transforming them - the iPod wasn't the first MP3 player, the iPad wasn't the first tablet. But the increasingly closed nature of the Apple ecosystem is already driving some consumers elsewhere. Perhaps in Berlin in 2010 we will see the likes of Samsung, Sony and Spotify finally begin to wrest attention away from the man in the jeans and the black jumper who is always offering "just one more thing".

Update 15:25: I have now had a brief play with the two new tablets from Samsung and Toshiba. Samsung's Galaxy Tab looks, at first sight, as though it might give the iPad a run for its money. It gives easy access to movies, music, and books - just like the iPad. But it also allows you to make phone calls, take pictures, and watch Flash video, none of which is possible with Apple's device. I'm not sure about the size though - seven inches makes it more like a rather unwieldy phone and I'm not sure I'd want to stuff it into my pocket.

The Toshiba Folio 100 is bigger, a bit like a more widescreen iPad. Again, it does most of the things that an iPad does, but although, like the Tab, it runs on Android, it has a slightly clunky interface. And because the Google OS isn't yet built to work with screens this big you have to rely on Toshiba's own apps rather than the Android Market.

Overall, neither device is going to make existing iPad owners go "wow" - but the fact that both will be priced at well below Apple's product they could persuade new tablet buyers that Android is the future.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "Apple of course is not here - but lo and behold, on the eve of IFA it held its own big show...."

    Surely that should be lol and behold, as all the apple tarts get excited over style statements.

  • Comment number 2.

    This is becoming a very crowded market place for what are really luxury items. This could scale into a VHS / betamax war of the streaming kind if the formats are not kept open.
    There is already a lot of inertia with 'Apple fanboys'. Who wants to move to another Media manager when their gbs of music/video are stored in iTunes and socialised with Ping?

    The best thing about these announcments is the Price war for rentals. Amazon are already going down to 99c rentals (at a loss) and other may follow. These will be dark days for Blockbuster shareholders and cornershop video store owners but good news for consumers.

    I for one prefer to buy my media, not rent and with a lowly 2mbs internet connection streaming is not for me.

  • Comment number 3.

    From the demo I've just watched on engadget the Samsung Tablet is a very strong competitor to iPad.

    It might not have the same level of engineering craftsmanship, as is in the aluminium unibody of the iPad, but compensates in usability, integration with Google's services and less of "Walled garden" approach of Apple.

    Can't wait to test one myself.

  • Comment number 4.

    Samsung (probably LG too) will likely flood the market with a whole raft of lower priced tablets to grab market share. This is what they did in the mobile phone market, where they have grabbed market share at the expense of the lethargic Motorola and now from Nokia too, by bringing new models almost every week (mostly dull stuff through).

  • Comment number 5.

    I use to hate Apple! Got an Ipod Touch and loved them, could do no wrong! Over the past year I come to the conclusion Steve Jobs thinks we are allcomplete idiots. Nice products but over priced for company greed. The itunes as an application is not that great, sometimes poor sync, not that intuitive and at times a dam pain in the arse. I will be looking for alternatives.

  • Comment number 6.

    At the moment due to the appalling state of Broadband in many parts of the country (if I am lucky I get 1-2mbps) then streaming is not really feasible. As for all these other audio streaming solutions - is that really wise when all the mobile operators are imposing limits. I know the english language has it quirks but Unlimited used to mean unlimited not sensible use.

    Have to admit I am tending to favour local storage of my music,TV and Movies that I own and can watch whenever I want to be more appropriate than rent it and have to watch it within a week as many times as I want.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Samsung and Toshiba are among a crowd of companies unveiling tablet computers at IFA, many of them running on Android. They are almost all going to be cheaper than the iPad and do much the same."

    Oh come on now Rory, don't understate it so- let's be honest here, these devices will do a whole lot more than Apple's. Apple has never been able to compete on features, being often years behind the curve- the original iPhone was only 2G years after 3G was the norm, it didn't get an App store or things like copy and paste until years after release either. It lacked things like GPS, it's had a lower resolution than competitors until the iPhone 4. It's had a smaller variety of apps (although more apps overall) due to the limitations Apple puts on developers. Importantly, Apple's competitors just don't have one fundamental restriction that guarantees they can do more- with Apple products, you can only run what Steve Jobs let's you. With Android et al., you have the option of installing whatever you want, to do whatever you want.

    Apple's dominance and ability to achieve success is often overstated- look at the MacBook Air, this was an almighty failure by Apple in their attempt to compete with the NetBook market, a market which Apple had only a year or so before hand criticised as being irrelevant. Let's be honest here, Apple has had only about 3 truly successful products- the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. They're still a minority player, and also-ran in every other field. They don't always get it right, in fact, they rarely do, but when they do they storm the market.

    Apple positions itself as a fashion company and that's how it gets away with lack of features and poor design with a high price tag. As we all know though, fashions go out of trend, and that's what Apple is facing right now, their lacklustre showing last night is an example of this.

  • Comment number 8.

    I kind of classify Tablets with Netbooks - strange niche devices probably bought because they're trendy rather than for a particular purpose. I'm going to guess most Netbook owners have - and mainly use -a larger laptop or desktop and I'd be surprised if ultimately it isn't the same for Tablets.

    That said, the Samsung Tab looks stunning and feels like the sweet spot in size. I saw it sitting next to an iPad and Galaxy S in a photo and the iPad just looked unfashionable and a bit tired compared to it. That whole aluminium and iOS icons thing just feels old now.

    I wonder if that's going to become a bigger problem for Apple? Fashions change and they just feel a bit past it now. Apple boring? Who'd have thought it?

  • Comment number 9.

    rory, i was trying to find some comment i believe you made re AT&T phantom data usage. I have just returned back from the US to find my data usage on a Iphone after two weeks and hadly using it and certainly no web surfing reached nearly 100mb. My normal two week rate is around 12mb and indeed since i have returned its back to normal. My provider Vodafone are washing their hands of the problem saying all they do is pass the bills through. Do you have any insight? thanks

  • Comment number 10.

    @7 " Let's be honest here, Apple has had only about 3 truly successful products- the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. They're still a minority player, and also-ran in every other field"

    - I don't want to defend Apple here as I don't belive they've really announced anything new here (except streaming from IPad to Apple TV - much desired) but please be careful with the facts. Apple are the biggest retailer of Online music and that should be counted as a success; and the 3 products mentioned, well that is a pretty high hit rate.

    It will be interesting to see the take up of GoogleTV. How many of the Anti-Apple (lets call them 'Bananas') lobby will put their hands in the their pockets and buy the rival (Or even just a Roku).

    Apple have laid down the benchmark for the Andriod TV box to match. Will it offer more than Netfixs? Will more than 2 studios be onboard? Will rentals be less that 99c? I can't wait to find out.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think this new version of Apple TV will sell better than previous incarnations, but will not change the way people watch television.

    Most people have physical film collections and aren't ready to go for the digital download option yet (in my view, it is arguable that physical media will cease to exist). This means that the Apple TV will not be seen as a replacement for a DVD/Blu-ray player and will need to sit alongside these units. What would have been more attractive for potential purchasers would have been an Apple TV unit with Blu-ray which could act as an all-in-one media solution. At the very least, this would have had the effect of attracting more consumers who are upgrading from DVD to Blu-ray players.

    The pricing on itunes of movies, which is usually as much or more than a physical copy is also major weakness in my opinion. I will admit that Apple's film rental service is quite attractive, however Sony offer a similar rental service on the PS3, which is a much better all-round media player.

  • Comment number 12.

    With Microsoft's Bing and Apple's Ping, I am beginning to wonder where these new names are coming from? cbeebies writers?

    I have an iPad and despite its quirks, it's much more useable than a weeny screen mobile. I think the TAB is too small for viewing and too large for your pocket.

  • Comment number 13.

    12. At 2:00pm on 02 Sep 2010, Mark wrote:
    With Microsoft's Bing and Apple's Ping, I am beginning to wonder where these new names are coming from? cbeebies writers?
    ---------------------------------------
    That is because the must have gadget market is designed mainly for young overly infantalised adults as they are easiest to sell to, having not yet become cynical enough to see through all the brand and tech hype. They also have not matured enough to escape from the flock mentality (which marketing does its best to ensure never happens).

  • Comment number 14.

    @7

    did he really say "poor design". I know lots of pc types don't get it (the whole apple thing - probably too busy scanning the deals at currys) , but really that's so wrong...

  • Comment number 15.

    I would like to have a go on one of these new Tablet’s that will be coming along from Samsung, Dell and others some offering Android (which I think is the winning formula) and others Windows based OS.

    But I say this not because I need such a devise, but because I am a sucker for new gadgets. I own an iPad and before I got it I convinced myself of the uses it could do and this new freedom it would give me somewhere between my Laptop and Desktop computers.

    I now use it mainly in bed to have a read of a few sites and the rest of the time it sits plugged in being an over priced photo frame. It was great for a couple of weeks and now it is rather pointless. I am sure too that any other tablet will fall along the same lines.

    More to the point which bothers me is my only little ‘format war’ where I have given up using iTunes to manage my music, indeed given up locally stored music all together and instead am paying a tenner a month for Spotify. I have apps on my iPhone and iPad and program to use on my computers – even at work. I have a huge range of music now available wherever I find myself.

    But if Spotify goes under in months to come, I am well up a certain creek without a paddle. Not to mention the fact next year when my contract expires for my iPhone I will have a 500mb cap to data and wonder how much music could be streamed before I am being charged god knows for going over it.

    Which makes me wonder is all this ‘cloud computer’ such a great idea after all. If Spoitfy goes – so does it all those tracks I have found and added to my playlist and there is no way to ‘back up’ my playlist so should that day come, I can go searching the likes of iTunes/Amazon to get my hands on owned versions of the tracks. Then there is the cost of such. But then If I plumped for iTunes only route what about the hell that was backing up my collection when I came to get a new computer.

    The problem is Sony, Apple whoever – because none of these people are truly open, and because there is not just one standard to get, listen to and share our media it makes long term outlook shaky to say the least.

  • Comment number 16.

    So that's 4 of the 11 technology stories about "Apple" and both the blogs? Please, for the love of pete, would ever you give over about this company's products?

  • Comment number 17.

    @Mark_M$FT,

    "I wonder if that's going to become a bigger problem for Apple? Fashions change and they just feel a bit past it now. Apple boring? Who'd have thought it?"

    I know only you think that Mark; 230,000 new iOS activations a day tells me that.

  • Comment number 18.

    @JimmyJammy

    Yeah. So that would be about 300,000 less than Nokia's daily sales of smartphones alone then despite Nokia being viewed as a bit dull?

    Saying that, the iPhone 4 will easily sell 12 million this quarter and the iPad will continue to sell pretty well but obviously its market share will be eroded by the new Android tablets just as the iPhone's has by Android phones. That doesn't change my personal opinion that the iPad looks tired and ugly compared ot the Samsung Tab. YMMV so don't get too upset about it, y'hear.

  • Comment number 19.

    "...despite Nokia being viewed as a bit dull?"

    Says who? You? Don't make me laugh little man!

    Opinion does not make a good basis for debate young boy.

  • Comment number 20.

    @JimmJammy

    Oh. You're one of those.

    Oh well.

    Anyone got anything meaningful to say?

  • Comment number 21.

    @Mark_M$FT,

    Yeh, I'm one of those... and your point is?

  • Comment number 22.

    The thing about Apple products is just, well, they're BETTER. As with so many other things, copycat efforts are almost always inferior. Android is horribly clunky compared to the iPhone. And iPad knock-offs are sure to have the same second rate feel about them too.

    Of course some will prefer to pay less, just as many people shop at Primark and don't notice or care that they just end up looking cheap and tasteless. But anyone who can afford to will continue to pay for the real thing, because it's so much nicer to use.

  • Comment number 23.



    "Let's be honest here, Apple has had only about 3 truly successful products- the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. They're still a minority player, and also-ran in every other field. "

    _________

    A truly laughable statement, pal!

    The Macintosh has dominated the publishing industry for decades and we ain't moving away from that in your lifetime. When you next pick up your PC magazine remember it was created on a Mac.

    I won't even start on the Mac dominated music industry, or the Mac dominated film effects industry...

    ...what an absolute oaf!

  • Comment number 24.

    I've been using a Dell Streak Android tablet since shortly after they were launched in the UK a couple of months ago, and am very pleased with it. It's cheaper than the iPad, has more features, appears to be more reliable, and fits in my pocket.

  • Comment number 25.

    @DS on "poor design"

    I do find it quite irritating when people see a trendy product in a pretty box and consider this to be good design. The fundamentals of design should be based on the ability of a product to perform the function required of it. If that is to look nice and bestow the user with kudos for having the latest must have gadget then so be it. For example an MP3 played has a prime function, that of the reproduction of music; yes uploading and selecting tracks is a part of the function but not the principal one. Sound quality should be up there with the highest of priorities in the designer's brief, and I'm talking about a design engineer here not a conceptual artist.
    However as people are easily seduced by a beautifully designed front end, I'm happy to agree with that, they seem to forget what the product is all about and settle for mediocre performance on that front. There were and are better sounding mp3 players than the iPod, they are better designed with respect to their prime function, if that is not getting the Apple thing, sorry. I'm not likely to buy a B&O telly either or a Vertu mobile phone, if that makes you feel better, they are beautifully designed just not to what I find important.
    It's a tired argument but a beautifully designed body that you have to hide inside a rubber case for reliable performance does not have good design where it matters.
    Beta was better than VHS, just not as popular.

  • Comment number 26.

    iwinter
    are you on something? Or just bigoted and jealous of the enormous success of all Apple product? Not even Microsoft would agree with any of your twaddle. By the way, where are all the competitors who had GPS, cut and paste etc on their phones before Apple? Nowhere. Get real and stop fretting, trying to justify your own poor tech choices Stay behind the curve - please!

  • Comment number 27.

    Somebody above mentioned above the importance of Mac Computers in the "creative" industries and he/she is surely right. But I was wondering whether all the success the company has been having over recent years with mobile devices & media. Means less concern and interest is being show by Apple to it's core business; the Mac? Only asking because after a couple of years of not being able to purchase Macs for my company (yep design & production!) for the understandable reason that they are very expensive and we were skint. I am soon going to be sticking my hand back into the sweet jar (I do like the machines) but I have heard a few groans and moans from very Mac knowlegable people about recent development (and by recent I'm going back a bit) so am interested if that view is widely held?

  • Comment number 28.

    Wow, it's like AGW on here.

    Apple are the worst!
    No they're the best!

    Personally, I'm a pear man. ;)

  • Comment number 29.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, did you know that Apple eats babies? There's a big government conspiracy to cover it up, but don't be fooled.

  • Comment number 30.

    Ah don't mention AGW! It's as bad as the jehovah word, we'll all get stoned!

  • Comment number 31.

    Personally, I dislike apple immensely. Partly due to the closed, controlling ecosystem they lock you into (the sole reason they won't do flash btw) and the overpriced hardware - iphone 4 supposedly costs them $190 = £120 in materials, they sell them for £500 (16Gb) even allowing for R&D expenses thats a huge a mark-up, but I guess if they can find people willing to pay so over the odds for them then that's just good business and if people want to buy them that's their choice.
    But the main reason I dislike apple is that it has more than a whiff of religious cult about it. Saint Steve Jobs can seemingly do no wrong and his followers (customers) attack anyone who has anything negative to say about apple (just look at previous comments), but being incapable of reasoned thought and blind to the truth they don't seem to realise that apple are just a company. They want to milk you for every penny they can, that is their reason for being, and apple has become expert at this to the point where they can sell their broken products for extortionate prices and they sell in their millions, then they have the audacity to tell their customers that they're holding their phone in the wrong way instead of admitting it's a flawed design and the devoted flock will still come back for more. Also, the media seem to have been tamed by apple allowing them to get free press coverage that is completely out of kilter with their market share(4th place at 14%, symbian from nokia has 41%! but you never hear about them). Luckily I feel things might be about to unravel for them. If only the same was true for all the worlds religions! Rant over.

  • Comment number 32.

    Its funny how everyone keeps moaning about the oprice of the iPad.

    If you want to see just how much the new Samsung Galaxy tab is, have a look over at Engadget on the following link. It might shut up a few of you Apple haters

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/02/samsung-galaxy-tab-reported-to-retail-at-699-and-799-in-europe/

  • Comment number 33.

    Reading these comments I have only two things to say.

    1. An increase in sales figures in Apple products does not translate to an increase in Market share. Apple, promotes the 'upgrade' culture and many sales of Apple Products are often customers upgrading to have the latest version.

    2. What I am about to say is extremely harsh and cold but it is true and intended for you to take as it is written,

    When Steve Jobs dies Apple dies with him.

    The company will not exist when he is no longer able to lead it. When rumours about his health circulated, Apple's shares took a Dive. When he left Apple previously the company fell to the brink of bankruptcy. Apple is not just a brand it is a personality cult.

  • Comment number 34.

    Just wanted to say that reading news stories about 'iPad killers' sound terribly reminiscent of when there were all those stories of 'iPhone killers.'

    "Ooh, is this the phone that will bring Apple to its knees?"

    "Has the iPhone met its match?"

    "Why don't you buy this instead? It's not an iPod, harder to sync and it hasn't got as many apps but my gosh it's £5 cheaper per month!"

    Now it's the same again, so surely what we can learn is that the iPad has become the product to compare all others to, just like the iPhone is.

    And as for all those phones, did any of them actually kill the iPhone?

  • Comment number 35.

    "…the fact that both will be priced at well below Apple's product they could persuade new tablet buyers that Android is the future."


    Really? The Folio looks like it will be, but hands-on reports I've read say the screen's not that wonderful and the whole thing flexes - they give with one hand and take with the other, but reports about pricing for the Galaxy Tab suggest it could well be more than the iPad.

  • Comment number 36.

    what arouse my interest is nto the tablets but the computers/netbooks like Ideapad that can be used as netbook or ipad. i htink these king of maschines are much more usable and versatile than a mere pad. i mean want a pad? turn the screen arorund and use the touch. want to do some "serious" work on it? flip the screen, use the keyboard and punch away...

  • Comment number 37.

    "Apple of course is not here" - obviously, their wholly owned correspondent and PR department in the form of the BBC are there on Apple's behalf.

  • Comment number 38.

    The issue I see here is that tablet computers are not actually that big a market. Most consumers will have to choose between a desktop, laptop or tablet device. Very few could justify choosing a tablet over a laptop, due to productivity issues (plus the basic fact that you need a computer to synch tablets).

    iPad etc will remain the preserve of the wealthy (relatively) tech savvy consumer. This creates a problem for the many brands in Berlin this week. With a relatively small market (say 25m units a year next year) to be shared between all tablet makers and apple setting a fairly competitive entry point, there is little money to be made (I think the head of Asus has said as much). Apple entered this market quickly and with a bang, huge marketing etc, consumers worldwide when they think of a 'tablet computer' will thin iPad. Just like with the iPod and iPhone this creates a very big brand perception problem for other companies (particularly in europe and USA where apple is dominating with itunes etc). I predict Apple will dominate in this area for at leas the next 12 months, this Samsung Tab will soon be forgotten by all but the most keen tech followers (regardless of any claim of superior hardware etc).

  • Comment number 39.

    I think it's great that all the Apple haters have the option to go and buy something else. If you need a tablet and prefer something not made by Apple, fill your boots.

    I find the anti-Apple zealots on here rather amusing. They are just as ridiculous as the fanboys they snipe at and mock.

    Exercise your freedom to choose and buy something that works for you best - not because of the logo on the box. At least keep an open mind and respect other people's right to exercise their freedom of choice too.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think Rory's opening line sums the current state of the tech industry. The manufacturers and indeed its customers see everything as a fight against Apple.

    As Byte said in 1994: You could say that the last 10 years of the computer industry has been a massive effort to keep up with Apple. The same is more true now. Whether they are truly inventive is subjective, but they manage to capture a market and a mindset better than anyone else. They set the benchmark by which all products in that sector are judged. That is truly amazing and I can't think of any other industry where the same is true.

    Also whilst their market share may be smaller in some of their markets, their profit is far far greater. Who is making Apple levels of money from Android at the moment?

    Few people talk about Android killers, Nokia killers, Google killers, HTC killers - its all about the competition with Apple. Until people get out of that mindset of a features war, market share and lowest price, they won't be able to compete with Apple who care little about any of those things.

  • Comment number 41.

    Rory wrote:

    "Is today the day the consumer electronics industry's fightback against Apple begins?"

    Could be, assuming that the sheep was just asleep and not dead. Don't fancy it's chances though.

  • Comment number 42.

    While I believe that healthy competition is essential for any market, as it undoubtedly improves the quality and service received by the consumer, I would still personally wait and buy the Apple product simply because of my experiences as an Apple customer for several years. I have owned many computers and mp3 devices and I have never felt as happy or as good value for money as I have with buying Apple products and I think this often gets overlooked simply because of the style implications which now come with Apple ( not a bad thing at all as long as it is not at the expense of the functions of the product)

  • Comment number 43.

    I disagree with @40 in some ways. Apple has had to do some keeping up of its own with regard to features and developments, and they haven't been any more innovative than any other company. What they've done better than the competition is to market their products. By giving them a 'luxury' feel and higher price tag they have managed to create the perception that their products are the must-haves. I've read reviews where Apple devices didn't score as well as other devices on individual features, but at the end the Apple device was given the 'best buy' - which I believe is purely down to marketting.
    There currently isn't another purely 'luxury' brand in the markets Apple are in - and so they sort of have that market to themselves. Certainly room for competition there.

  • Comment number 44.

    Excellent. Both sides of the camp proving my concerns about people's views on "good design".

    Thank you for N Dempsey, the iphone 4 is a wonderful device, just not very good when you want to talk to someone far away, some might say the prime purpose of a phone?
    Also thanks to richterv for listing all the ways in which an ipod is superior without ever mentioning the quality of music playback, because that's not as important as synching (a niggle I've had with itunes to the point I have now uninstalled it so not the best of arguments).
    I am still saddenend by the verve with which anyone who dares to criticise an apple product is accused of doing it simply because they hate apple. It's bordering on censorship and rarely backed up by any factual reason as to why their critcisms are unfounded, they just "don't understand". Nevermind, I'll have to wallow in my ill-informed ignorance, clearly jealous and of course poor, what else can I do?

  • Comment number 45.

    I switched to an Apple Macbook about 18 months ago and find it superior in every way to the Windows machines which I still have. I switched because of the positive experience I had when using itunes. I got an iPhone too and love the way it does what it does-that is the criteria by which one should judge a product.If it does what you want it to do efficiently then it is right for you.Yes Apple's products are more expensive but the improved experience of using them makes it worth it-for me.Maybe that is not worth the extra for others but buying any given product is a personal choice. I may buy an iPad when there is a second generation machine(there are always improvements) when I am out of my present mobile phone contract I will upgrade to an iPhone 4. Until I am disillusioned with Apple then I will stick with them. Yes they are pricey but YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY THEM IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO!! Apple are a business not a charity.

  • Comment number 46.

    iwinter wrote:

    "Apple's dominance and ability to achieve success is often overstated- look at the MacBook Air, this was an almighty failure by Apple in their attempt to compete with the NetBook market, a market which Apple had only a year or so before hand criticised as being irrelevant."

    How is that possible seeing as the Macbook Air came before the netbook popularity started by Asus?? Also, how does the much larger screen of an Air compete with the tiny screen of a netbook?

  • Comment number 47.

    I've been an Apple user for almost 20 years (I work in the design and publishing industry). I don't care what anyone says about any other machine, I've never seen a desktop computer better than the Macintosh: the latest Mac Pro is an awesome beast indeed. And my old G4 is still chugging along merrily, after over 10 years of daily use, just now relegated to less intensive tasks. Yes, Apple's products are more expensive, but in my experience, you get what you pay for.

  • Comment number 48.

    The increase in competition is without a good thing. If the various pads work on Android great.

    I have just moved to Apples Iphone 4 simply because the integration is so smooth compared with everything else. Nokia is probably going the same way as Motorola which will leave Samsung to take its place.

    Sadly, when will any of these manufacturers deliver;

    + dual 3g SIMs so that people can run both their company phone and personal phone on the same platform - its green and cheaper than numerous hand sets.

    + as a standard fit Memory cards to all devices

    + all, including Apple use standard USBs that also charge the device!!

    + operate a standard sync tool for swapping from one phone to another.

    While we are slowly getting there the market portrays too much waste in time swapping devices and in forcing multiple devices to be used.

  • Comment number 49.

    @48

    Clearly an iPhone is the wrong thing if you want a cross platform standard.

    Yes, dual sim phones haven't taken off but wrt the other items on your wishlist:

    Standard fit memory cards ~ micro SD cards are fairly standard these days

    Standard USB ~ micro USB has been agreed as a standard (it charges the device as well)

    Standard sync tool ~ I can export my phonebook contacts as a .csv file which can be read by Outlook and Gmail, and synced straight back into my phone (this is how I back up my phone should it go belly up)

    Of these, Apple are probably the worst for cross platform compatability. I have found my HTC to be as good as an iPhone (personal taste really). I would never claim outright superiority as everyone has personal preferences but to discount other products straight away seems foolish.

    As far as an Android tablet, same as the iPad. I have no use for it but others may, though I can't see it becoming anything other than an expensive toy.

  • Comment number 50.

    I can't see myself buying any tablet at the moment. My better half has had a wacom tablet screen on her laptop for 2 years and not once used it to my knowledge. Not her choice of machine but there you go. Can people please stop trying to suggest that the issue with liking it not liking Apple products is that they are terribly expensive. It is very patronizing and not the issue that would stop some people buying the product. This is not a jealousy thing.

  • Comment number 51.

    Well, well this discussion has developed into a rant by the anti-Apple brigade. I'm 63, I don't consider myself to be conned by Mr. Jobs nor do I see myself as infantilised adult. What I do know is (having used Apple products for over 10 years) that what I buy, works! The level of integration is superb and functionality is generally intuitive.

    Having spent years of my professional life with crashing MS operating systems, incompatibilities arising through upgrades and the general complacency of Microsoft re security issues meant that a significant amount of my working time was wasted due to their products arriving on the market still needing at least the first Service Pack to function with any degree of reliability. The history of the mess that led to Vista made us all dewy eyed about Windows 2000 and XP - note how quickly they got 7 on the market - rather with undue haste I would suggest!

    All technologies, whether fundamentally open or closed have their protagonists. Apple products almost always have an excellent functionality, superb design and a build quality that imbues a sense of confidence and the knowledge that although they are priced at the premium end of the market, they last and last.

    I’m sure much of the irrational bile expressed elsewhere in this discussion is born of ignorance and/or a lack of understanding of the thinking behind providing users with systems that are reliable, fast and work . If that means that everything passes through Cupertino for approval then I for one am perfectly happy.

  • Comment number 52.

    Yes there has been some irrational bile on here, grossly unsubstantited arguments have come from both sides of the coin. I'm forming an opinion now, and it is based on what people have actually said. My concern with several arguments on here was the description of good design, most recently superb design. I think the difference is to the self described creative people good design is based on aesthetics and levels of abstraction that lead to a "more intuitive interface"; whereas to a technical engineer who actually works in design the classic V diagram starts with the prime purpose from which all these other features must be derived. Was the beautiful looking but functionally flawed external antenna on the iphone4 superb design? Is the flat sound reproduction of the iPod god design? The iPod interface which was fundemental to its success and made it the must have gadget but this is surely secondary to how it sounds?
    Apple computers are far more robust, also less prone to being utterly hamstrung by the user, this is and example where Apple's restictive "we know what's best for you" really works. I am by no means part of the "anti-Apple brigade" but I do not think you can make such sweeping statements about their products, it is such that fuels the blind cult criticisms.
    Please feel free to explain in what way I have been irrational if that is what you still think?

  • Comment number 53.

    Sorry "god design" was not my only ypto but it was the worst!

 

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