Apple: My Marmite…Except I Can’t Decide

January 14, 2013

A while back I was at a friend’s emigration party which are becoming all too frequent now. At this party I had my iPhone 4. The next day I no longer had my iPhone 4. I’m 99% certain it was stolen because I haven’t lost a mobile phone since I was 14. The blind panic I experienced the day after has led me to write this piece.

I honestly felt like a part of me was missing. I could no longer feel the weight of it in my pocket. I had lost that sense of social security it provides; the knowledge that no matter where I am, finding out what’s happening in my social circle or the world in general, is only a few clicks away. On top of all that, I hadn’t backed it up to the new computer in my house. So everything was gone: contacts, messages, e-mails, videos and pictures of the best holiday I had ever been on.

In the last ten to fifteen years we have gone from having a phone, walkman, camera and wallet on separate devices, to them all being bundled into one. Friend or foe? At least when you lost your phone, that was it, it could be replaced. Now though, if you lose your smartphone, it’s all of the above gone out the window in a heartbeat. The convenience it provides when you have it is enormous and for those of you that own one I am sure you have often asked yourselves; “how did I ever live without it?”

Not being able to afford to immediately replace my handset, I had to settle for a run-of-the mill mobile phone, with none of the added extras. No apps, no emails, no songs, no photos. On the plus side, it had polyphonic ringtones and the original version of Snake.

While being stuck in the technological past I underwent an experience that still resonates with me. At the age of 23, I was slagged by every single person I met who saw my good old brick phone. Is that kind of malarkey not for reserved for teenage bullys? “Nice iPhone man”…”Jesus do they still make those?”…”hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhaha” and so forth. It was time to start saving a few quid and get back on the horse. Technology, the Internet and all-round connectedness has become essential in our daily lives, to the point where if you’re not online all of the time, you’re out of the loop.

At the same time, it was kind of nice to be disconnected. Because we are always online, we work at such a speed today that work is always on the brain. Rarely do we switch off because we simply don’t have the option. I felt relaxed, I felt rejuvenated and the pressures of life were lifted for a while.

But then I felt the urge, as I am sure smokers who try to give up cigarettes feel. I needed to get back online, I started to hate not being able to join in the discussion. If I wanted up-to-the minute news I had to be beside a computer. So I went to the shop and took the plunge. Now this is where my article has been leading to. The decision to buy the Apple iPhone 4S or the 5. Why didn’t I want a Samsung or HTC? Personally, when I’ve tried and tested something, I’m very reluctant to change. If it ain’t broke…! All of the accessories I have at home are only compatible with the iPhone 4/4S so to buy the 5 would have meant I would have to upgrade everything else. And that wasn’t an option. This is why I really love/hate Apple.

From a business perspective, Apple is exceptional at what it does with the upgrades to its products; constantly changing the software, hardware and accessories so eventually the new stuff doesn’t work with the old stuff and it forces the consumer to spend more money. What’s more, once you purchase an Apple product, you’re sucked into their world. A lot of people simply won’t switch to another manufacturer out of the sheer hassle it causes. But I think the tide is slowly turning with the number of competitors in the marketplace making products of similar quality at more affordable prices.

So have Apple plateaued? Statistics show a drop-off in the sales of iOS run devices with Google’s Android taking the top spot in 2012 with a 72.4% share of the global market. Samsung came first in terms of global shipments of mobile phones with a 29% share. To boot, Apple haven’t released a game-

changing product in quite a while. This is what they came to prominence for; creating products which didn’t already exist.  They created whole new markets and were pro-active where others were reactive. So what’s gone wrong?

Is Tim Cook, the new CEO not up to the mark? He certainly lacks the same charisma and unique presence of Steve Jobs. The iPhone 5 was a bit of a blunder with the disaster that was Apple Maps and this forced the company to put Google Maps back on the iPhone as a standard app. Added to that was the distinct lack of new features with the general public becoming increasingly weary of hearing the same “better camera, slimmer size and a lighter weight” routine. Sure the screen was bigger and the processor chip faster, but these mediocre improvements weren’t enough to invoke the “ooohhs and aaahhhs” of previous Apple products. Samsung even took the opportunity to highlight this in their advertising offensive against the technology giant which you can view below.


The kicker for me was how they changed the charging adapter, making every accessory for ALL of the previous iPhone models obsolete.

When I think about it a bit more, I wonder are people simply fed up with Apple and their money-grabbing antics? Some of the “anti-establishment” amongst us even go out of their way to smash up Apple products in protest. Ironically, they pay good money for the products they destroy. Well done guys, that’ll teach ‘em!

As someone who works in the business world and has studied it for years, I can appreciate what Apple has done and continues to do for its shareholders: make astronomical amounts of money. But from a consumer perspective, I can’t help but feel a little ripped off. Apple is my Marmite, except I can’t decide.



One Response to “Apple: My Marmite…Except I Can’t Decide”

  1. Louise Enright said

    Another great post! I was nodding along and agreeing the whole way. I am not an Apple fan any longer for all the reasons you detail below……it’s a cult!

    Keep up the good work!


    Louise Enright
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