That Samsung Galaxy S6 is better than iPhone 6 is the fault of Tim Cook and Jony Ive

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The gushing reviews for the Samsung Galaxy S6 (and that very cool Galaxy Edge) are now coming fast and furious. The latest, from the highly respected Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal:

Samsung Galaxy S6 Review: The iPhone 6 Has Met Its Match

A better camera, sharper display and faster charging put Samsung’s new flagship phones ahead in the smartphone race

The Galaxy S6 is a stunning device that is as equally pleasing to hold as it is to look at.

Despite the higher-res screen, the Galaxy S6 gets slightly better battery life than the iPhone 6.

In indoor and outdoor shootouts, Samsung’s 16-megapixel camera (which protrudes like a blister from the phone’s back) captured crisper photos.

Firstly, well-earned kudos to Samsung.

Secondly, this is a massive Apple fail.

Worse, it’s an utterly unsurprising massive Apple fail.

As I have been documenting here, Tim Cook and Jony Ive have abandoned the very thing Apple was always truly great at: product.

Today’s Apple is no longer about product, it’s about ecosystem.

Innovation has been replaced by margins. Ive’s rather shocking hubris in crafting a $15,000 gold watch dovetails nicely into Tim Cook’s drive for global profits and more more MOAR! customers in China.

Tim Cook is profits, revenues, scale, in that order. Product is maybe 4th, at best. Cook’s admittedly very successful business strategy, however, has lessened not just the dollar-for-dollar value of Apple products but stripped them of their once-peerless quality. Other companies, Samsung among them, took over Apple’s value crown at least a year ago. Now, Samsung — and others will follow — are making better product, full stop.

Yes, even you, the long-time ardent fanboy know this, even as you visit the Apple bloggers who tell you it’s not true. You know it is.

As Tim Cook chases profits around the world, innovation at Apple takes a backseat. In the last five years, a long time in the tech industry, Apple’s very best has been:

  • iPad, which yours like mine now gathers dust.
  • Siri, which Apple acquired and which at its very best is no better than Google or Microsoft’s counter.
  • Touch ID, a truly useful bit of hardware that Apple did not create but purchased.
  • Apple Watch, which even Tim Cook has a hard time explaining why anyone should buy it.

While Apple is spending billions buying an also-ran music streaming service, and opening up more stores in China, all in a chase for profits and high-margin ecosystem lock-in, other companies, including Samsung, are actually crafting better products.

This can no longer be denied. 

I don’t want to diminish Samsung’s work on the S6, but that it’s superior to Apple’s best is mostly a failing on the part of Tim Cook and Jony Ive.

Pretty sure Asymco just labelled Apple buyers suckers

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I find this consensual hallucination surrounding Apple Watch so utterly fascinating. I mean, we all know it does nothing, certainly not well. I mean, notifications? I’ve used Mac and iPhone for 7 years and can absolutely attest to the fact that Apple doesn’t get notifications.

Yet people continue to clamor for this shiny new product.

Why?

We all know it’s 100% dependent on another product, iPhone, and that it’s primary selling point has become — well, you can now use that expensive product you already bought that this more expensive product is completely dependent on even less!

Makes sense if you don’t think about it.

Are people this, well, so desperate for meaning that buying something showy and pricey really matters so deeply?

I think this latest post from Asymco says yes.

Actually, I think it says it’s always been yes. I think he just called you all out.

So, there I was on Twitter, yelling at dumb people, when I discover he’s got a new post up. And, it’s about Apple Watch. I rush to his site. So many words. But also charts. Finally! Here is my proof! Here is the evidence I need to prove to myself that I just might be — at least, in theory — not completely right. Maybe — maybe — there’s a purpose to Apple Watch beyond just showing off.

Fuck was I ever right.

You read this Asymco post and all you can think of is, fuck, Apple has been ripping us off for years! Apple Watch is only the latest, most egregious example.

It used to be said that Apple’s profit engine was fueled by the ability to price memory at a significant mark-up on its cost. The iPod earned the vast bulk of music player profits by offering additional memory increments at significant price increments. Even today, a 64GB iPod Touch is priced $100 higher than a $16GB version. Sounds reasonable, but a quick check shows that 64GB of Flash memory probably costs about $5. This exploitation of pricing/cost differences at the margin allows for great profitability and is rooted in the ways the buyers contemplate value.

Wait. What? Apple is ripping off these poor people by 20X on storage? Because of how they “contemplate” value?

Fuck me but I say value is one thing they don’t “contemplate.”

The tricky part is understanding just how much the market will bear. What is the right differential for pricing of steel vs. Aluminum? Or what makes Gold worth so much more?

What matters most is how to gauge the perception of value.

Damn. Remember “it just works”? Remember “think different”?

Tim Cook’s Apple has Apple users gauging their decisions not on durability or quality or usefulness or technology or function or design or all those things we’ve heard over and over and over again that are the many reasons why Apple charges so much more.

Nope. They just fooled you into perceiving value wrong.

Sucker.

Oh, yes. There’s more. And you come off looking even worse — at least, if you buy Apple Watch.

What Apple is doing with Watch pricing is simply leveraging existing perceptions of value for materials and using them to capture profits for an otherwise purely functional product.

That one had me laughing so hard I had to take a break. Talk about your double penetration.

Firstly, Apple has apparently conned you into perceiving the materials are actually worth their lofty price.

Oh, and the “otherwise purely functional product” don’t do shit! Remember that? No one has *still* come up with an actual function for this thing that would in any way justify your buying it!

But that process of using perception to gain pricing advantage for function is how Prestige branding has always worked.

Boom!

You are buying capital-P Prestige. Embrace your truth.

It also provides assurance after the purchase and preserves the feeling of value well into the future. So-called Luxury brands are those which can impart these qualities on their products and extract the pricing advantage.

I think he’s saying you got conned. But, it’s okay, cause you don’t feel like you got conned.

It’s as if, in order to preserve notional brand value, a product needs to be a functional commodity, undifferentiated on what it does but differentiated on the way it does it.

Pretty sure he just said Apple buyers are stupid. Not sure. I mean, I’ve bought Apple products and have no fucking idea what that sentence means, but I think he’s making fun.

This is the unique value of Apple’s brand: among technological brands it can stretch to cover the perception of value for design, materials, craftsmanship and prestige.

Oh, yeah. You totally got ripped off.

The Apple Car. Because Apple is now ripe for disruption.

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Jean-Louis Gassee offers his thoughts on why an Apple Car might be a possibility. Why? Because Apple is so damn big.

And even if we grant Apple the numbers — if we stipulate that Apple can manage a supply chain that produces a month’s weight worth of electric cars that are equivalent to the size and weight of a Nissan Leaf or, two notches up, of a Tesla — the next question is whether or not such a product will move the needle. Will it sell in multiples of Apple’s new unit of currency: $10B?

For this to happen, the putative Apple Car would have to sell in volumes about 10 times higher than what Nissan did last year in the US: 30K vehicles/month, at $30K each, times 12 months = $10.8B.

I must say, this is all wrong, and I don’t necessarily mean just Gassee’s analysis.

Rather, because it follows the pattern of other Apple bloggers who mistake the profound weaknesses of Apple Inc for strengths. 

That today’s Apple won’t get involved in something unless it can bring in at least $10 billion. That’s a company that is not about the user, not at all — and is just waiting to be disrupted.

Apple has become so big that it must go far beyond its capabilities to continue its growth. That’s when companies get disrupted. An Apple Car? Really? We should be laughing at this notion, not taking it seriously. It’s laughable corporate hubris. Apple has zero experience here. Literally. Apple would do better to work on a toaster fridge. Pouring resources into a car only guarantees the company takes their focus away from what they’re best at. More disruption.

It also suggests that Apple’s bigness is no different than Nissan’s, for example, or Boeing’s. This is particularly wrong. Apple is almost 100% dependent upon others to manufacture its products. This is not true of Mercedes or Toyota, say, who control their lines of production. This is still another area where Apple can — and thus will — be disrupted.

Let me also add that as an American, I’m particularly troubled that a great American company has abandoned American manufacturing and handed damn near all it’s product building needs, literally close to 100%, over to China.

Apple will get disrupted. I just hope it happens in this great land.

Tim Cook refuses to stand with those who think different.

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Apple has abandoned think different. America doesn’t have to. Here’s a wonderful post in the National Review  that reminds us that America is at its best when it thinks different.

A truly diverse and free-thinking nation wouldn’t criminalize Christians who follow Apple’s advice to “think different.”

Since Bill Clinton signed the federal version of the law in 1993, Religious Freedom Restoration Acts have encouraged Americans to tolerate those odd ones among us who believe that their religions requires them to be what we might call eccentric. Against the forces of blandness, conformity, and suspicion, RFRA has been keeping America weird.

At one time, the law enjoyed a broad level of bipartisan support. The federal version of the law — drafted in response to the firing of some peyote-smoking Native Americans — was passed with bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Barack Obama voted for a version of the law while he was serving in the Illinois state legislature.

I get that small-minded nanny-state progressives can’t tolerate such freedoms. I’m just disappointed that Apple, once the bastion of think different, has joined this chorus.

Here’s to those who think different. I stand with you.

Stop all the lies about Apple Pay!

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I can’t believe all these haters! They hate Apple! That’s the only logical explanation — hate.

Now they lie about Apple Pay, which is the future!

So buy iPhone now. Because — in the future — when you buy another iPhone then, Apple Pay will be awesome. So buy now! It just makes sense!

And stop these haters!

Like this guy, who reported that nearly 80% of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users have never even used Apple Pay.

HATE!

Now this hater, who claims that nearly half of Apple Pay users have only used it once.

IT’S NOT APPLE’S FAULT!

IT’S STUPID USERS! AND RETAILERS! AND OTHER COMPUTER MAKERS!

Apple products just work! And Apple only releases products when the technology is ready. So it’s all you stupid haters that are trying to sabotage Apple Pay because you hate.

Besides, it’s totally unfair to judge any Apple product today. As Siegler’s Dictum clearly states, any new Apple product, service or feature is to be judged only by it’s most successful theoretical future.

Stop being a hater.

Tim Cook Remains Silent On China’s Police State

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Yes, I am aware that Apple CEO Tim Cook explicitly branded America’s open democratic process as “dangerous.”

I am aware that he has never once publicly stated his displeasure with any law, any ruling body, any organization, any discriminatory act in China, the single greatest source of Apple’s grand new wealth.

I am aware that Tim Cook never once actually states the words gay or lesbian or homosexual or LGBT, even when directly referring to issues for them, or about them, or because of them.

I am very much aware that Cook deceptively equates the outlawed and deplorable practice of not serving someone because of their race or gender or orientation or religious views, as exactly the same — exactly the same — as the government compelling someone, literally, to violate their religious views and engage in activities that violate their faith.

I was aware of all of this when I wrote my first rebuttal to Mr. Cook’s open letter.

I was aware of this still when I wrote my second rebuttal.

I am aware of this now, having deleted both those earlier posts.

Because I accept that now, at this moment in time, we are in only the early stages of this New McCarthyism, where a consortium of government and large private interests will compel you to believe. Or, failing that, will drive you out of business, ensure your work is refused, brand you for life should you dare stand up and declare that your faith, your religious values, take precedence over what the majority of America believes is the best course of action, whether for our culture, our economy, or our future.

Thus, I have decided the best course of action, for now, is to remain silent.

I urge the rest of you to likewise remain silent.

When the billionaire CEO of the world’s richest company sides against us, it may be time to step back into the shadows, but only just, and not forever.

The tide will turn, freedom will prevail, and our voices will be heard. But not today. Stay safe.

How scared is Apple over the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Edge?

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I want a Samsung Galaxy Edge. I know, I know. I hate to say it myself. A Samsung?

Still, it looks so damn cool, unlike anything out there.

And every review I’ve seen has been gushing. Looks great, feels great, works great, amazing camera, unbelievable screen, optimized Google services, superb build quality.

So how scared is Apple?

I can’t exactly say. I can say that rather than mentioning any of those things I did, Gruber writes that the Galaxy S6 is “years behind.”

Yep. That’s what he said. Years behind.

Why?

Because a feature none of us want, a removable battery, isn’t there.

Got it? A feature none of us want isn’t there. Which you’d think would be a good thing but — delightfully — it’s not.

Hey, I can’t explain this shit. I only report it.

Apple Users Spend Lots of Money on Things

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BOO BOO IS SPONSORED BY YOU

I cover Apple. Obviously. So I read stuff from folks who also write about Apple. Obviously. Today, however, I was struck by how prevalent the “sponsor” model is within the Apple blogosphere. In the last 24 hours I’ve visited Asymco, Daring Fireball, Loop Insight and something called Six Colors.

I saw a prominent “sponsored by” post near the top of every site.

Do Apple buyers really have so much money to spend on so much stuff, week after week after week?

Apparently.

Does the sponsor model impact content?

I don’t know. For me, it just might. That’s why my site is 100% reader supported. No ads. No sponsors. Oh, and no cheerleading.

Just $12 gets you an entire year of uninterrupted access. 

Just click the link below. It’s a simple, secure one-time process. There’s no subscription requirement, no auto-renewal. Really, none. They just make me say “Subscribe” rather than “Buy.” Re-up in a year only if you believe it’s worth the money. If not, do nothing. The subscription ends. You are not billed again. [If you can’t or won’t support the site, I understand — and give everyone 10 visits every month before I cut them off.]

Subscribe

Payments are managed by TinyPass, which accepts Paypal, Visa, MasterCard, Bitcoin, Amazon and most other fair exchanges of value.

I confess that I have grave doubts that my site, or any site that unabashedly reveals the full truth of Apple, can survive on reader support. Maybe if I only said the good stuff. Then the faithful would contribute. But, I can’t. It’s just not in me.

To the best of my knowledge, the only sites that regularly cover Apple and that rely upon reader support, not clicks or sponsors, are Techpinions and Stratechery. If where the money comes from matters to you, it’s probably good to know this.

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Will the real Steve Jobs please stand up please stand up

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Which biography do you believe offers a more complete and more completely honest portrayal of the man?

The biography written by the man Jobs himself commissioned?

Which is now being panned by the C-men inside Apple’s headquarters?

Or the biography that Apple Inc is heavily promoting, including having Daring Fireball’s John Gruber lead a meet-and-greet with the authors at the Soho Apple Store?

I confess I’m totally biased. When a big company’s PR agents tell me what’s right, I typically believe otherwise.

Copying bastards are worse even than copying bastards

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Who exactly are the copying bastards?

And why does this matter?

From Loop Insight (March 27):

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Just putting this out there, as I think Loop Insight is typically quite fair and balanced, but…

Apple *copied* the phablet form directly from Samsung. Everybody knows this. It’s a known. It’s pointless to argue otherwise.

The new Samsung has this cool — if yet to be determined relevant — edge screen, that’s quite different from anything iPhone has ever had.

Is it even worth mentioning anymore, now that Apple has sold tens of millions of phablet iPhones, and now that Samsung has sold tens of millions of iPhone “copies”?

I’m far more concerned that giant Apple is stifling innovation by going after those markets that innovators have created, like Spotify and Pandora. Apple can and will give its service far better placement on the platform. Hell, Apple can give away music for years with little detrimental effect, until the innovators starve to death.

The Samsung copied Apple story is over.

Time now to point out not only where Apple is copying but where Apple’s copying is harming the market.

The $189 iPhone

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I primarily use an iPhone 6 Plus. Yes, I was probably the first Apple blogger to insist Apple needed a phablet, even as the echo chamber was *then* saying it was a stupid idea, the iPhone size(s) was/were/are/always will be perfect.

Sure.

I secondarily use a Lumia 1520. No one, with the possible exception of the Blackberry Bold, has ever made devices whose design, look and feel and build quality match the best Nokia devices, of which the Lumia 1520 was probably the last, sadly.

But, for the past month I have been using a shiny new Android phone, available in the United States for under $200, without contract. It is amazing.

No, it’s not as good as the $800 iPhone 6 Plus.

It is amazing.

Great screen, yes, but the many Google services, the ease of use of Android, the amazing flexibility and extensibility of the OS, all the apps, the far better means of establishing notifications, of altering settings within the app, the larger breadth of content, all make it plainly clear that on no universe and probably for no human is the iPhone a better value.

Apple has lost the smartphone value crown.

It gets better.

Apple has lost the services crown. Google, obviously, but other services work better and/or are more accessible and/or are much much cheaper. I must now recommend people buy Android phones in most circumstances. This is not a thing I was expecting to happen.

As a long-time iPhone user, the speed with which Android has gotten significantly better, the way Android has far surpassed iPhone in value, is, well, almost shocking.

Tim Cook is wise to focus on hardware, where Apple can continue to differentiate itself. I think the only other area where Apple can maintain its clear differentiation is through content. Purchase a sports team, buy up the music from top artists, fund a TV channel.

Integration is nice, no doubt, but I don’t think that is enough to tip the scales in Apple’s favor. Plus, “it just works” is much harder to do when you are trying to get your products to do everything, and to run everything, as Tim Cook is trying with the high-margin iPhone.

Hardware and content. That’s the path for Apple.