Now I am not new to tech fanaticism. I have been a Linux evangelist(read fanatic) myself and I have gotten into heated debates with people over Linux. But we used to be a civilized, objective lot. We argued on facts and figures (of course a few did argue that “Linux = opensource = good, Windows = closed = evil” which never went down with non FOSS geeks), we touted numbers to prove our superiority like number of bugs found over a time period vis-a-vis Windows, boot up times, file read/write speed, memory utilization, uptimes etc.
But there is another breed of tech fanatics, whose fanaticism borders on the edge of delusion, who would not listen to facts and figures that go against them and would instead cook up and speculate numbers to justify their alleged superiority, and whose fanaticism has been equaled by scientists to those of religious fanatics.
I am an Apple fan too and I have watched a re-watched Steve Jobs talking about Apple products at MacWorld and WWDC. Apple makes great and innovative products that their competition can neither think of nor have the guts to bring to market. Apple is truly a great company and its products are definitely superior than the competition in terms of innovation and usability. The growing numbers of Macbook users and the already huge sales of iPad while other tablet sales are declining bear a testimony to that. In an age, where the hardware has become commodity, Apple has been successfully able to keep consumers paying a premium for aesthetics and style and that’s no mean a feat.
And Apple users are a devoted lot indeed. Once you make a switch to an Apple product you will rarely, if ever, want to switch to a competitor’s product or so I have been told. Apple fanboys wax eloquent about Apple and you will find them endlessly speculating about what Apple’s next product would be, but sometimes their eagerness gets the better of them as some of their tirade against Android just shows.
Lets take two of the most recent ones.
First this one titled “Report: Android’s Dirty Secret? A Return Rate High As 40 Percent” which has been doing the rounds of Twitter. When I first read the title, I thought this would have data from some consumer survey which shows that return rates of Android is “as high as 40%”[sic]. But no, the blogger conveniently does away with such minor issues like facts and figures by attributing the stats to ” person familiar with handset sales for multiple manufacturers” as is done by the original article by TechCrunch. For one, the stats are unsubstantiated which means this is a non argument. I would like to quote Infosys Chairman Narayan Murthy here “In God we trust, everyone else please bring data to the table”. Besides, with Android, users have a lot of options; so if they are not happy with a device they have the option (in the US) for returning it within a month and try a new one. With Apple, there are no option, its just one device, the iPhone.
The second one, titled “Android activations have caught up to iOS, so what” came sometimes back when Google’s Andy Rubin went to town telling everyone that Android device activation have outpaced iOS. This one too is wrong on multiple counts. For one, on the basis of pure number there are more Android devices than iOS. The articles takes offense at the fact that the comparison is made between multiple Android devices and just 2 iOS devices – the iPhone and the iPad. As true as the contention is, its an unfounded one. As an app developer, I would go by numbers and not how many devices led to that number. And remember, we are comparing Android versus iOS, not iPhone or iPad versus all other Android devices. As a single device, the iPhone or iPad are obviously outselling other devices in its category and it surely shows that those are great devices but that’s really not relevant in this case.
Then the article laments the fact that Android runs not just on ‘smartphones’ but also a lot of ‘dumb phones’, a classification best understood by the authors. You sure don’t need as powerful a phone as the iPhone or the Galaxy S2 to enjoy a good experience with your phone. Besides, there are markets other than the US and Europe where lower spec phones sell really well as long as those are capable of opening up web pages and running some of the most common social networking and productivity apps. Not every consumer is looking to watch HD video on his/her phone or even play graphics intensive games. Sure, Apple does not cater to those customers but that does not mean they don’t exist. The bloggers remark that “most people would rather pay $300 for a low-quality piece of junk than fork out $500 for a much more premium product” is almost laughable, not every user needs,wants or can even afford $500 for a phone. Not every used is equally enthused by the Apple logo on a device.Of course, the blogger conveniently forgets the 12 million+high end Galaxy phones out in the market not to mentions Motorola Droid and the other high end ones from HTC.
The kind of fanaticism and utter disregard to pure numbers is something only a half functioning mind is capable of; like that of a religious fanatic. These guys really need to grow up and stop trembling every time they hear a news that’t not exactly music to their ears.
Apple with iOS (and iPhones,iPads,iTabs) follow a product strategy while Google takes the platform route with the Android (just like Microsoft did with its Windows). Which is why Android will always beat iOS in terms of sheer numbers. Yes, it may lose out a little bit on the UI and usability front owing to lack of control over how device manufacturers chose to implement it, but it will make up for that with volumes.
And that’s the fact of life Apple fanatics need to adjust with.