Over the past decade, I have lost count of the number of emotional insults I have received from PDA and smartphones users. It used to happen when readers disagreed with my thoughts on Palm OS or Windows Mobile and more recently it happens when I write critical articles on the subject of iOS or Android. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about smartphones that causes ‘some’ users to lose all sense of perspective and take any criticism of a platform (a collection of 1’s and 0’s) or a phone (a few bits of plastic) personally.
You can read the constant, trivial and pointless arguments on all of the big tech sites and it seems that there are growing camps in two areas-
Android users who despise anything that Apple does and who will dismiss out of hand any new development as a gimmick.
Apple users who believe that they are following the right path and who will happily retweet or post commentary on blogs that criticise the competition and promote Apple. There is no middle ground. If it’s pro-Apple and anti-competition it will be published. If it is anything else, it will be ignored as silly, envious and ignorant.
The above two groups of people are very much in the minority of course so don’t take it personally, but I have to say that I happen to come into contact with the latter group much more often. I have had to block some Apple fans on Twitter and from Lost In Mobile because they refuse to see any good in anything outside of Apple and have made it their life’s work to continue to spread the word. It is a bizarre phenomenon and one that I do not quite understand. Yes, Apple is very good at marketing and presents a utopian image of life with ‘I’ products, but do people seriously feel the need to believe that this is the only way?
On a personal level, I believe that Android has caught up with the iPhone and is now surpassing it in many areas. Apple has not moved the iPhone on enough over the past two years for it to be regarded as the best smartphone available anymore. However, I will not start promoting Android and denigrate the iPhone on this basis all of the time. Each has faults and each has advantages. That is the way of the world.
Keeping an open mind is the only way to understand what smartphone suits you best and sticking to one platform just because you are used to it or because it is embedded in your mind that there is no alternative is rarely beneficial. I say all of this and mean it, but do tend to avoid discussions about desktop computing platforms. Up until two years ago I was a confirmed Windows user. I thought that Macs were expensive and that I would have to make too many adjustments to the way I work. Two years later, I cannot imagine using anything other than my iMac. At £999 it is expensive for a computer, but it should last for 5-6 years and it never misses a beat. I never need to tweak it and software updates just happen occasionally with no fuss at all.
Walking into work each day brings back the stark reality of Windows and I know that work would be so much easier with a Mac. Alas, this hasn’t happened yet so I will just have to appreciate the iMac even more when I am home. I do wonder if Mac users who appreciate the platform, like I do, then transfer this appreciation to the iPhone, and consequently everything Apple does? This could be true and if so, that is where the problem lies. The iPhone is not the leader in the smartphone sector and to believe it is just because of a preference for Mac OS is to cut out the potential of using a better smartphone. I doubt that many Windows user automatically have a preference for Windows Phone just because it is a Microsoft platform. As much as I love Mac OS and appreciate all that it lets me do, I feel no particular affinity to Apple apart from a loyalty to the quality of the desktop computers and operating system.
Maybe it is human nature to want to justify a purchase you have made, especially an expensive one, or maybe there is more to it. The sense of being part of a crowd? I really do not know, but it is fascinating to watch from the sidelines and to not be involved.