Can We Stop the Apple-Bitching Already?

by: - Last updated on: January 21st, 2016

It is the uninvited guest at every media event involving a mobile device these days.
Lurking in the background.
Waiting to be criticised and/or cursed.
Whether directly or by hint.

We are talking of course, of Apple. Cometh the product presentation and cometh almost inevitably the slides proving that the product being showcased is better than a similar one from Cupertino – be it in RAM, camera quality, thinness, screen size, pixel density and the Lord alone knows what else. We had written last year that there now seemed to be an element of respect in the Android-iPhone rivalry. However, that seems to have been an overly optimistic assumption – for most brands, the icon in the bulls-eye remains an Apple shaped one.

Healthy competition, some might call it. After all, what’s wrong with comparing yourself to what many perceive as being among the best in the business? Doesn’t it make your own brand appear good to be compared with something seen as the best?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. Is it better to get attention based on your own strengths? Or try to get attention because you poked fun at someone? Yes, the Apple bashing slides do get the giggles and applause, but in terms of sheer brand equity, we are not too sure of just how much they help a brand. There is also the little problem of the fact that when EVERYONE and their grandmother starts bashing Apple, the impact of said bashing just keeps decreasing. When Samsung poked fun at the display and processor of the iPhone a few years ago, people stood up and took notice because this was a Korean company taking on the mighty Cupertino behemoth. Today, not too many people care, not because the criticism is no longer relevant (hey, the iPhone remains expensive, the Apple eco-system remains relatively closed, and many people think the iPhone 6s Plus is too big, AND the Apple Pencil cannot be stuck on to an iPad Pro), but simply because they have heard far too many people say the same thing. Over and over again. Be it a Samsung, a Micromax, a LG or a Huawei, poking fun at the Cupertino company is not ballsy any more – it is plain boring.

apple-bashing

The irony is that we are not too sure if all the flak being directed at Apple has any effect on its bottom line or market share. The iPhone remains THE phone for many people, irrespective of its flaws and cost. And while the iPad’s sales have dipped and the Apple Watch might not have done as well as expected, most rivals would give an arm and a leg to have products that perform that well.

And tech history does reveal that poking fun at a brand perceived as being a favorite does not always work out. The period from 2000 to 2008 saw the Linux and Open Source crowd mercilessly flagellate Microsoft and Windows. It did not have any perceptible effect on the Redmond giant’s market share of the personal computer space – for all the posturing of the opposition (and its own stumbles), Windows remains the desktop/notebook OS of choice. Ironically, the likes of Nokia and BlackBerry stumbled even though not too many poked fun at them the way they did at Microsoft and Apple. Apple itself found that trashing the opposition openly does not work when Phil Schiller’s comparison of the iPad mini with the Nexus 7 at the launch of the former in 2012 left even Apple fans red-faced. “Since when did Apple need to compare itself with a Google product,” a sworn Apple fanboy told me the next day. “This is embarrassing.

apple-bashing

Indeed, there is also something inherently unfair in harshly criticising a competitor. Xiaomi’s Vice President Hugo Barra, summed it up in one word: disrespect. “They are our rivals – Apple,” he once said at a briefing in 2014. “But that does not make them bad. We respect what they did. And we try to be better. Sure, we will try to point out what we do better, but at the end of the day, it is going to be about how good we are, not how bad they are. That’s…disrespectful.” Small wonder that while other companies are trying to see themselves as iPhone killers, Xiaomi has forged a formidable reputation as “China’s Apple.”

An executive from Lenovo – one of the few companies that tends to stay off bashing Apple in its presentations – echoed the sentiment. “So I make fun of the iPhone. Will that make people think it is bad? Or that my product is good? Hey, it is my product. I am SUPPOSED to say it is good. If it was that easy, Apple would have been out of business. We need to talk about how good we are, and not how much better we are than someone else. We cannot let someone else define us.

So here’s a small request to those making a mobile device presentation in the coming days:

Stop the Apple bitching already.
Not because it is predictable
Not because it is morally indefensible,
But because it is unfair.
Not to Apple (and honestly, my dear, we don’t think Cupertino gives a damn!)
But to your own brand.

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  1. Relax. As you acknowledge, every competitor has done it to another at some time. It’s called competition. Business, not personal.

    Until you offend a fanboy. Which I called you out as during your iPod Pro articles, and which you have again proven.

    Disagree with me? well I don’t see you publicly upset over Tim’s toaster fridge comments, claiming no one needs a PC anymore, that the Surface is “diluted”, etc….

    Let go of your Apple bias and start writing real objective articles.

    1. I came here to give another analogy, but screw it. Happy to see the cry baby here. It doesn’t matter if the author himself has given an instance where Apple erred, but the cry baby has to bring the “surface” reference. Of course, he’s a fanboy for a reason. Objective, my a$$

      1. It appears as though you’re referencing me as a crybaby and having a pro-surface/anti-apple bias? if so I’ll just note that I use both a windows tablet (not a surface) and an iPhone daily.
        I’ve pointed out a clear inequality in the writer’s approach, including the main intent in the article’s emotive title to protect Apple from criticism, not brands in general. sorry, Clear bias there.
        and I did not merely name call. I won’t respond in kind to those who do, because it’s a weak form of argument and looks immature.

        1. Awww… someone got emotional. When you are so obviously pimping Surface and Microsoft in all articles (I remember seeing and replying to your comments in other blogs few weeks back) and with the mindless bias, I’d obviously call you a fanboy. As for the cry baby, yes, that’s what you are. I don’t take any pleasure in namecalling, but can’t hide facts, as all you do is cry why an author didn’t write this or why he wrote that.

          As for your Surface pimping, go and read this – http://www.thurrott.com/mobile/microsoft-surface/64095/welcome-to-surfacegate

          1. Nice try..but I won’t go there. All your further name calling does is strengthen my point as to the weakness and immature tone of your reply.

            Yes I’ve been raising numerous points backing the strength of surface and revealing a clear brand-loyalty bias against competing productivity tablets. So? I would do the same for the strength of iPhone against competing phone devices if I felt there was a one sided bias against it. Consistent argumentation proves just that – consistency. In contrast, Name calling proves weakness in arguments and immaturity.

            I made my choice. You make yours.

          2. You wish! I bothered to check all your recent comments across blogs and you fricking lie. You are nothing but a Microsoft pimp, no matter how hard you try to show your objectivity.

            As for your baseless guess, I’d indeed accuse you of “Apple pimping” if I saw you do that over and over again across blogs.

            Good try trying to call my comments immature when I call your bluff by providing proofs. And look how shamelessly you avoid talking about the issues in Surface even after I provide the link to none other than Thurrott.

          3. Please name the lie and I will clarify. I have focused on posting my own experiences and research from articles. Other than a couple fat-finger errors on # of years I have in the industry, I have posted no lies, and no one has done anything but make baseless accusations at me because they don’t like what I’m posting.

            Appreciate your integrity that you would point out “Apple pimping”. I never really see anyone from Mac forums ever doing that, so my confidence is understandably low.

            I never claimed surface doesn’t have issues. Nice attempt at a straw man, but I have no need to knock it down. Elsewhere I have posted numerous reasons why it’s superior as a productivity device, and numerous reasons why many biased writers ignore that fact and bolster other, inferior devices. That’s my contention. You don’t have to like it, but it’s really not appropriate to re-invent my position in what looks like an attempted smear, just because you don’t like it.

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