Why the iPhone antenna issue is somewhat important

“Oh no, not another iPhone post, please.” OK, but hear me out just one last time.

Apple is holding a press conference today. No one knows exactly what they are going to say, who is going to say it, or whether people will be satisfied with what they say, but it’s a big deal in the technology world. The iPhone 4’s antenna issues have been documented. Experts are saying there will be a recall. I personally don’t think the issue warrants it. But why is this a big story?

I believe it is because of what this device is. It’s a computer. It’s not a phone, or just a phone. As I and others have said, sometimes a dropped call is a good thing. I use my iPhone for so much more than calling people, which at this time in history is becoming quaint. The iPhone 4 compares to a Mac from 2000 – AND it fits in your pocket! The power of these devices is only accelerating. I’ve long said that these devices will be our main computers. We’ll carry them to do certain tasks, and then dock them to do tasks that require more monitor space.

Look at where we are. It’s a device that fits in your pocket. It turns on instantly. It connects wirelessly to the Internet (in two ways). I has a built in still and video camera. It can triangulate where you are in the world. It has a 32GB hard drive with no moving parts. An on and on. I think sometimes we miss the revolution that it is. Still, it is a device, made by a company. There are other companies that make similar devices. It’s the computer wars of the early 90’s all over again, with some different players. It is still a big deal, in terms of technology and in terms of communication.

Yes, Apple thinks different. They don’t always think right. While most other companies have evolved their online presence to include things like Twitter and/or Facebook and have openly shared any issues and bugs with an online community, Apple has not. That’s what I want to see change today, or at least start to change. They may think they don’t need to. They may think they are successful because they don’t have that open presence. I believe that if they continue to be closed, it will be self-destructive. There are many who enable this closed attitude – its fans, journalists, and customers themselves. However, Apple is getting more popular and with that will come increasing demands that they be more open, or at least more honest.

Apple’s latest issue with the antenna is not a big deal. It is an issue on a lot of cell phones including previous iPhones (like the 3G in my video above). They can do minimal things to make it right, like give people a free bumper and improve the software that displays signal strength. The reason that they need to change their software at all is because they made it so that the signal would look better than it really was. It was all about the bars (thanks AT&T you have some culpability in this too). Now it’s time to be honest. Stop with the lofty talk. It’s one thing to try to make superior products. It’s another to act superior. Please, no more Jony Ive videos. He’s a great designer, but those videos now couldn’t look any more phony (no pun intended). Let’s have just a wee bit more REAL.


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