What bothers me most about Apple's designs is the non-standardized connectors. I was briefly enthusiastic about the Apple iPhone 5, until I realised that the micro USB looking connector was not in fact a USB micro at all. Most everything today is using standard USB (typically micro). To me this is a gross waste of resources since you can't reuse old connectors without some converter or just discard the old. I feel like they won't "conform" to "industry standards" just to be contrary and different.
I agree, Tom. Often, the change or exclusion comes at expense to the customer's usability of the phone. As an example, my phone has a replaceable battery. On long trips, I bring a 3-pack of batteries and swap one in (within seconds) as needed. A charger and 3-pack of batteries cost me about $15. For some reason, Apple decided that we don't need replaceble batteries. I guess they believe that most people will simply upgrade their iPhone, rather than go through the hassle of having the battery replaced at the Apple store.
In the future, we know the screen and the battery will go away. (There is "projection holograms" and induced energy on the way.) Input will be voice, touch, and thought. The tiny "phone" (personal DoBox) disappears into a pocket someplace.
People will talk, gesture, type, and stare into their personal middle distance that no else can see.
The purchase price for the iphone is around $600-$700. In the US the difference between how much the buyer pays and how much the phone actually costs initially is made up by the cell carrier, i.e ATT, T-Mobile etc. They get it back from the end user by charging way more for monthly cell service than the service actually costs the provider, and locking the customer in for a 2-year contract to ensure they recoup the initial expense. Here the initial cost is easier to handle so buyers are sucked into the 2-year commitment, but the monthly cost is heftier. In other countries they charge upfront for the full retail cost of the phone but monthly cell service is cheaper. In any case, somebody (the consumer) is paying in full for the phone.
Interesting post, gsmith120. I don't have an iPhone, either, and have often felt that I'm stuck in the 1990s. I would love to see a survey asking engineers if they own an iPhone. I suspect the percentages would be fairly low. iPhones are seldom a necessity and engineers tend to be very pragmatic people.
Charles: I do not have an I-Phone either and I am really a Neanderthal because I do not want one. Not only that, but I resent the intrusions smart phones have made in my life. For example: I have been engaged in a conversation with someone when their phone sounded the text signal. Without a thought, the text is responded to and I am standing there feeling invisible. I just turn and walk away. Or someone thinks those little postage stamp images are a substitute for a regular photograph.
I have even had other engineers try to show or explain problems while pointing to one of those stupid little devices. "See that?" "Well maybe if I was looking straight on, had my glasses on and saw something else to get a size perspective." My kids tell me I need to learn how to text and I tell them if it is important, call me. That's another thing that gripes my psyche. How is it okay to carry on a conversation that excludes everyone you are with? Text, text, text. Read and laugh. Text,text text. Read and exclaim, "Oh no!" Text, text, text- I am gone, come find me when you finish.
I have a cell phone. It makes and receives calls, displays last calls dialed and received, fits in my pocket, and has storage for other numbers. That is all I need and all I want. To those who need internet connection 24/7 and feel the need to take your library and music collection with you where ever you go, I am sure there is a crying need to own the latest and greatest so celebrate the innovation. I just do not get it.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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