Monday, January 3, 2011
Loving/Hating Apple (Form vs. Function)
Today's #2 story in Culture News (Lindsay Lohan leaving rehab being #1, of course) is the malfunctioning alarm clock on the iPhone 4. Apparently, some software glitch related to New Years (?) turned millions of iPhone users' alarms off this weekend.
Technology reporter Becky Worley, speaking on Good Morning America (via Facetime chat on an iPhone 4, of course), reminded us of the wrap-around antenna fiasco surrounding the iPhone 4 launch. She finished her segment by suggesting that Apple might now pay more attention to "utility" than "bells and whistles". (I wonder if she intended the pun...)
I must admit I smirked to myself when I heard the news.
Not because I still have the original iPhone, which I do.
But because I like it when those who think Function should follow Form find out they've got it reversed.
In fairness (and, yes, I'm a WinTel guy - have been since 1983), I know that Apple has produced some amazing things. (I own some of them, and they can be yours when you take them from my cold dead hands.) I've even wondered out loud at times how much better the world might be if the guys and gals who produced the first iPhone worked on cleaning up oil spills and negotiating peace.
Also, and more to the point, there's no way of knowing whether the iPhone 4 New Years Alarm Glitch really was the victim of too much attention to bells & whistles and not enough to utility.
I do suspect, however, that there's a powerful push in places like Apple for cool, sleek, sexy, and nifty - at the potential expense of useful.
To wit: iTunes (which I won't live long enough to learn how to use) and the Apple Component AV Cable (whose sleek, untapered connectors are so ungraspable that I have to use needle-nose pliers to disconnect them).
But I don't make electronics. I make Web sites and Web applications, and I consult on online matters. And I'm still firmly in the Form Follows Function school. I guess I'm showing my hand. But that's ok. It's not such a bad way to start out the new year.
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