Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Todd@Macblog: Don't use Apple tools, use something else

Todd has written an interesting article answering John Battele's gripes with Apple products.

A nice summary would be, use the right tool for the job, and the right tool is almost always not an Apple toy.

Take for example the address book. If we follow Todd's advice, if you have 1000 contacts you should use a 3rd party CRM tool. Sounds like my above summary, don't use the Apple toy, use something serious. But the recommendation is wrong on a number of critical points:

  • A rough limit of 1000 contacts in an address book is a random limit. Why? Correctly speaking it's a bug, and don't tell me it make designing implementing the address book easier in a relevant way just by using static data structures internally instead of sensible dynamic implementation. (As an example from history, UNIX tools had a tendency to have arbitrary limitation, e.g. on line lengths. Btw, before anybody says Unix is irrelevant, just remember MacOS X AND iOS are both Unix under the hood. GNU has provided replacement tools with no arbitrary limits and for years installing the GNU tools has been a common place step in getting an Unix server running.)
  • First, a CRM app is right if what John is doing customer relationship management. But I have not noticed that John does not mention CRM at all. He just wants the contacts with him.
  • As an use case for having many contacts, let me explain how I use the address book: As a freelancer I'm contacted by agencies all the time. I usually stuff the data of the agent that called me into the address book, label it with a group "agents" and see the next time somebody calls that's it's not an initial call immediately. This way I can also assign different ring tones, "direct to (non-existing) voice mail", notes and so on to these. See no real CRM, I do not call any of these, but I want my phone to know about these, and I want to assign attributes to them.
  • Last but not least, especially with an iPhone (Androids are way more flexible), you cannot just replace the address book/dialer hence no matter how nicely you keep your data in a CRM app/website, the phone will not be able to show you informations about the caller, will not be able to customize ringing behaviour, and so on. So a separate CRM app does not solve the issue at all.

In short, Todd forget to propose a working alternative, e.g. don't buy an iPhone, get a serious phone. This applies in analogy to the other "solutions" Todd suggests, plus he has nicely ignored the John's wife's issues which are not so outlier at all.)


Ok, so you complain, why do you single out Apple in your complaint, others have produced more than enough crap that is not worth the electrons used to store it.

  • Well, Apple has always presented itself as a premium brand. So eat your marketing message, and provide the premium experience. Stuff that's okay with a second hand Geo, is not acceptable in a new Audi A8.
  • Apple has been messaging "we are different, we are better" for years now, so the "but your Honor the others do it all the time" defence does not work for them, sorry.
  • Apple is the leading "welded hood" provider of gadgets. If you do that, you've got way more responsibility for your customers. E.g. displaying >50% of the space on the iPhone as occupied by anonymous data and giving no way to diagnose the problem or solve it to the user, recommending to restore the phone, is well, a non solution. In any other industry, the consumer would be returning the faulty product for a replacement. Btw, Todd seems to like to ignore the relevant details in John's post, e.g. Which I did. And I lost all my apps save the ones that come preinstalled on the iPhone in the first place. And guess what? It didn’t fix the problem. to which Todd recommends " If the instructions are to restore your iPhone, then maybe that works." Hint: read the post you are commenting first, John tried restoring, lost his phone setup, AND it did not solve the problem.

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