Allow me to paint a more realistic picture: many of those PCs are junky, dusty boxes, running some outdated version of windows, filled with bloatware and riddled with security issues. Inside them are a bunch of spinning platters just waiting to fail. And when they do eventually fail (due to wear, or a virus, et al), someone's Grandmother is going to be shit out of luck, with no way to get at her email, saved photos, or anything else.
A properly configured iPad, leveraging iCloud for device backups, photo backups, email credentials etc, solves all of these problems. And they'll even configure the iPad for you in the store, so grandma doesn't need to know how to do any of it. Do YOU want to be the poor sap attempting data recovery on a failed disk, then realizing that even if you do recover grandma's data, you've still got to go buy a replacement drive, find a copy of windows that grandma knows how to recognize, and install everything exactly as it was before you got there? I've been that guy before, in both a personal and professional capacity. You will eventually fail, memories will be lost, tears will be shed.
We must not gloss over the fact that the iOS ecosystem does solve some very real pain points for real people.
The kicker? Those two 10-year old "PCs" are actually MacBooks. They still run fine & do everything I need those machines to do - but I had to install Windows 10 on them, because Apple stopped supporting their own hardware. A machine that maxed out at Snow Leopard is capable of running Windows 10... I think that says something about the way Apple now treats its customers.
I also have a 64-bit Core 2 Duo that Apple no longer supports. OS X Lion was the last release for the 2007 MacBook 3,1.
I would also say that Microsoft's End-Of-Life security update promises mean a lot less now that they've demonstrated willingness to subvert that system to force-upgrade people.
they are actively pro-consumerism
they are actively pro-waste
they actively don't care about your slighly older product.
you are advocating holding them to a lesser standard of culpability and support than M$ and I find it ridiculous.
There's a palpable issue here. One shouldn't try to deny it.
It might not be fair to expect it, but it's absolutely fair to count it against how Apple supports their customers.
This isn't even close to what he said, and it only makes sense if you have an extremely reductive black-and-white view of the world. There are places on the spectrum between "perfect support" and "absolute shit support", and the phrase "count against" simply implies that supporting decade old hardware is a notch higher than the same support setup without that advantage.
Computers have slowed down. Basic support for for 10 years is not a crazy idea.
 iPhone 6S available 25 September 2015, iPhone SE available 31 March 2016
Might not have been measurable, and might just cost an extra engineer without really harming anything.
If they had gone 64-bit-only, I'd be much more in agreement with you. But if you're still supporting a 32 bit platform, you have a lot of restrictions put on you, and the marginal cost of keeping support for a second 32 bit platform is not a big deal.
At minimum, slow systems require gracefully degrading GUI, which increases complexity by an order of magnitude. The graphics card capabilities are a much better first approximation than the word width.
If it took just a few extra engineers, or a few thousand, to fix the bugs that they have, Apple would have done it. The Mythical Man-Month, and all that.
So yeah, it doesn't look great when Apple says "replace your 5 year old computer" but as a whole, they do a great job of making products that last. Also, news flash, they are in the business of making money.
My PC, however, has components that are oh, 10 years old? Sure, it has a 1-year old motherboard, CPU, 3 year old RAM, a 2 year old GPU, and a mix of SSDs and HDDs, but the case I bought in 2006, as with my MX518 mouse.
This kind of longevity of components is good for us. Throwing out your appliance every 5 years because Apple decided to solder RAM instead of sacrifice 1mm of thinness and provide a slot is good for Apple, and Apple alone.
There's one single screw that sets the trackpad's click sensitivity. I loosened the click even during the warranty period because it was too strong (and loud) for my taste.
A tiny bit of rotation and ideally loctite to fix it.
(Incidentally, when I last went to buy a replacement battery from an Apple Store, they wouldn't let me install it myself even though the polycarbonate MacBooks had user replaceable batteries. They insisted I bring in my MacBook and leave it with them overnight to have a Genius install it. I ended up cancelling it and getting a NewerTech battery replacement, which is both cheaper & has better battery life than the Apple model.)
Have you had any problems?
The main glitch is that the backlight doesn't always activate on login. The first Windows logo appears, but at login the brightness is set to zero. I can type in my password, hit enter & then the backlight activates on logging in. So it's just a glitch, but it is annoying, and I wish either Apple or Microsoft would fix it.
Otherwise, it's fine and everything else seems to work - Boot Camp Assistant works, and even the Apple Remote works to control volume. I don't think I've tried the webcam though. But I have got Cortana to work (even on a 10 year old MacBook!) and it's been fun calling out across the room to ask it questions. It's a little fiddly to get running, but it definitely works.
Edit: that said I am a little sad Im gonna have to do something about my 2007 mac mini now that chrome is ending support for lion.
You are basically arguing "for many people an iPad is a better computing device than a PC because there is less that can go wrong with it". Which I think is a very valid point, however it does not hinge on how old these PCs are - your argument works just as well for new PCs without properly configured backups and anti-virus protection.
If you read Phil Schiller's statement in this way - "it is sad that many people are using PCs which were better off using iPads" - then one might still disagree, but it is not offensive, especially coming from an Apple executive. :)
What the author of the article finds offensive - and which also put me off when watching the live presentation - was the suggestion that using old hardware is "sad". When you read Phil Schiller's statement as "it is sad that many people are still using five-year-old hardware" (which was my first interpretation as well) it really reads like advocacy for blind throw-away consumerism. Which also makes a mockery out of the picture Apple was trying to paint just 30 minutes earlier during the same presentation: That Apple products are built to last so that you do not have to throw them away every other year to replace them with something new because they stop receiving upgrades, their hardware fails, etc. (Which, unlike the author, my experience by the way supports - my old iPhone, old iMac and old iPad still work flawlessly, especially when I compare them to the number of Android / PC devices my friends have already rotated through in the same time period.)
Using old hardware is sad. I work in a depressed area and we constantly fix our students computers. 5 years is a long time on a hard drive and the forced Windows 10 upgrade has been a pain to people on 5 year old hardware. Its fine for technical people, but for the nontechnical that HD failure is devastation. Having your stuff stored on iCloud or the Google equivalent is a life saver.
The economics of apps on iOS and Chrome while painful for developers are great for normal people. With the better security and lessened management requirements, these computers make a fairly good replacement case. Technical people often forget what a pain in the butt Windows, OS X, and BSD/Linux are to maintain. Also, the iPads are lasting a fair bit (making for some interesting iPad sales numbers).
Chromebooks are viable, and if Apple sold an Apple TV with a keyboard and mouse (or other pointing device) that had Pages, etc., I would recommend that. As is, iPads are fine. Heck, if Microsoft had got their stuff together a Microsoft Continuum style device would be great.
Plus, the author is using the "I have an agenda and will be twisting your word" version of a quote. I'm a bit sick of people pulling this stunt since its wall to wall in election coverage.
How is this confusing?
Ultimately, there is nothing noble about "good hardware" in a vacuum. Hardware and software can achieve nobility only when they're serving humanity, be them rich or poor, technical or non-technical.
i see that apple and their ilk are expressing pure altruism.
because that's what consumers need, more convenience...
well, Apple has created a good deal of inconvenience, what with iTunes confusing "management" of all iOS devices and all... but god forbid anyone be inconvenienced on the way to the cash register...
Compared to the machines I see, Apple tech is green and recyclable.
> i see that apple and their ilk are expressing pure altruism.
Nobody said that, but you go with the hyperbole
> because that's what consumers need, more convenience...
Yes, they do. Time spent on computing maintenance is time they could be spending getting work done or trying to learn something new.
> well, Apple has created a good deal of inconvenience, what with iTunes confusing "management" of all iOS devices and all..
The people here with iPads and iPhones don't use iTunes at all. It might be a crappy experience, but it is avoidable.
> but god forbid anyone be inconvenienced on the way to the cash register...
People want stuff that just works. Forcing people to invest time to fix and learn arcane things is not a solution and impacts poor people's ability to do things. They don't have the spare time or resources.
sounds like a Mac Mini to me
The iPad first came out in 2010. How many of those iPads are still being used? The original iPad can't even run the latest iOS anymore, while you can still load Windows 10 on five-year-old PCs, or many modern versions of Linux.
To add to your grim picture, those PCs that came out five years ago were starting to get Windows 7 installed by default. Maybe in the time since, people owning those PCs didn't upgrade to Windows 8 because of the cost, but Windows 10 was released as a free upgrade to Windows 7 users. Either way, Windows 7, 8 and 10 are still receiving security updates, and Windows 7 still looks and feels like a modern operating system.
Also, buying a replacement drive and copy of windows will still come out a lot cheaper than buying an iPad, and with an iPad there's no way in hell you're going to "install everything exactly as it was before you got there".
At least 1 that I know of. My moms. Looks antiquated running IOS 5, but it works for her needs (showing other old people pictures of my kid).
That said, the Ipad2 released ~1 later, runs 9.3 just fine. Apple screwed up with the first iPad in that regard. They've since corrected that mistake.
At some point, we'll probably get a newer iPad - almost snagged an iPad mini 2 at Black Friday prices, but meh. No compelling use cases for our too-many-devices-already family.
Laptops for most work. Chromebook is really popular for getting school internet stuff done. Android devices and an iPod Touch for entertainment. New iPad would be solidly in the "entertainment" category.
> I also own a desktop PC that’s five years old. I haven’t upgraded that either. Why? Because it’s a desktop PC: I can pull out parts and replace them with newer versions as they age. I don’t need a wholesale upgrade.
In the course of 3 sentences the standard went from "upgrade" to "wholesale upgrade", which is of course not what Phil Schiller said. A PC that has had a bunch of new parts installed is not what Schiller was talking about.
That said, I largely agree with the author that it was a dumb thing for Schiller to say. It doesn't make any point about the iPad Pro, and it makes Apple look like they are mocking people who can't afford their products--never a good look for any company, and undercuts the "doing good" message the rest of the keynote attempted to deliver.
I wouldn't go as far as saying that I'm angry or shocked by Phil Schiller comment but I too find it a bit condescending.
First, many people are happy with their 5-years+ hardware because it still works.
Second, there are people that unfortunately can't afford new hardware (schools, developing countries), and I don't think Apple is in the business of helping them.
EDIT: Tim Cook -> Phil Schiller :)
Exactly why they shouldn't have even brought the "issue" up.
I think that's a big piece of what makes the original quote from Apple seem so off-putting. They don't create hardware that's at a reasonable price point for people who are struggling with their crappy old Dell and keep paying the guys at Best Buy $300 to keep it running for another year. Your MIL has a lot of good options that she could try, but none of them are from Apple, and they give no indication that they plan to change that.
I'm sure a large percent of the PC users are content also. It's not like iOS is some magic piece of software. I've been using it since iPhone 1, and it has really regressed a lot since iOS 6. My parents have trouble doing a lot of things that should be and used to be easy. I have trouble too from time to time.
As for me, I am still using a 6.5 year old, 11 inch MacBook Air. I have wanted to upgrade for a year or two now but Apple has yet to give me a compelling reason to do so.
It is unbelievable that they have not been able to produce an air with a Retina display in that time. The 12 inch MacBook is the closest they have come, but that has its own shortcomings that have kept me away (no MagSafe, single USB port, keys that barely move when you type on them). The MacBook pros are nice but even the smallest, thinnest one still weighs more than my old air.
If Apple had made an 11 inch air exactly the same body as the one I bought over six years ago and added a Retina display I would have bought it immediately.
I think if Apple expects people to upgrade every couple years then they should give people more compelling reasons to.
Marketing of old was "I am a PC" which always left me feeling like the PC guy, not the wise ass Mac guy. Apple has always had this snottiness about PCs, which probably appeals to the hard core Mac audience but is mostly impenetrable to the "I am a PC" guy because he is going to look at the iPad Pro, see it has no keyboard and no mouse and costs however many hundreds, and he's not even going to think of buying it despite whatver snottiness Apple rains out.
They quoted such a high price for repairs that I was able to purchase a Chromebook with 4GB of RAM and an Intel NUC with 16GB of RAM for the same amount. Both are running Linux, and I'm very happy.
My mother has an 8 year old computer, and Windows 10 runs just fine on it.
Apple very much plays the class warfare card. Lets stop excusing sociopathic corporate cultures.
(Am I the only one who thinks of desktop computers when reading "PCs"?)
I read the article and did not get this "modder" subtext into my head anywhere. There is simply none of that there. He is talking about regular people.
There is one small blurb about parts being replaceable. So are parts in cars. Not everybody who goes to a mechanic to have a part replaced is a "modder". When my 70-something parents, not techies, have issues with their PC they take it to a local shop and they replace a bad disk or whatever.
Maybe you just throw out entire machines when they break but I think you underestimate the extent to which other people, yes regular people, try to avoid that if they can.
An iPad Pro is very good at filling in the gaps for MANY MANY people. The only problem with it is that its much more expensive than a second-hand computer (a relatively new Dell refurb with low end, but "good enough" parts, costs ~$400 with a monitor. Same deal with a cheap laptop).
I'm currently using a PC that's about 10 years old (bought it used a few years ago for super-cheap). Hardware has never been upgraded, maintained, or modded (although it was upgraded from Vista to Windows 7). Only pain point is that the RAM is maxed out for what the motherboard can handle (4GB) and some of the newest software is too bloated for that. So I'll probably replace it this year.
But an iPad doesn't seem to solve any pain point. Would it provide more than 32GB of RAM, a better mechanical keyboard, better 24" monitor, better 5-button+scrollwheel mouse, better compatibility with legacy DOS, Windows, and Linux software, better compatibility with modern software? No, it would fail at all of the above. That's why a 10-year old PC is better than a new-model iPad. Go ahead, call it sad and laugh, I have good enough reason to call the latest iPad sad and laugh.
And if drops it or leaves it on a bus? It costs half and iPad to replace, and the new one is completely reconfigured, software installed, and personal data all ported by...turning it on and logging in.
If it's for watching videos or reading, an iPad might be a better choice, but if it's a replacement for a PC for writing your memoirs, responding to email, doing a budget in a spreadsheet, and other basic, productive work, a Chromebook is better.
Why don't poor people just eat something from the fridge when they're hungry?
Things are improving, but many components in a PC are known to eventually give out — the metric for hard drive longevity is literally known as "mean time to failure," batteries have cycle counts, etc.
Nor is the gap between quality components and inferior alternatives bridged suddenly because someone heard Phil Schiller say something they didn't like. An $150 Acer trackpad is going to be significantly worse than a $1500 MacBook trackpad. I highly doubt this article gets published if the author had tried to use a 2011 budget PC laptop.
Its actually incredibly relevant today, and is low 10%ish slower than a modern machine. 5 years ago, PCs were running... erm... Windows 7, which has a free upgrade to Windows 10. So... software isn't out of date at all.
Making fun of 2nd generation 2000-series i7 owners is... kinda dumb. Really. Just because you iPad users have to upgrade your system every year doesn't mean you get to make fun of reliable work-horses like an Intel 2600k i7 / Windows 7 (free upgrade to Win10) box.
Note that Windows 8 is a 4-year old OS (out in 2012). PCs simply have a longer lifespan than iPads. This is a problem of iPads / tablets, not a problem with PCs.
I have a 2011 13" macbook pro that works fine, but I must remain on Lion for various software versions I own (purchased licenses, some are not upgradeable at all)
this means: no XCode past 4.2, which means no iOS dev past 6...
Chrome and numerous other apps are no longer supported
and when M$ tried to retire WinXP after over a decade of service they were still met with resistance...
apple gets away with a lot...
So I think, in general, we REALLY need to start (I need to start) becoming more conscientious of how we consume personal electronics.
EDIT: I just want to point out that your comment is fantastic, and you make great points! I just wanted to state that I didnt perceive "anger" in the OP article.
Generally speaking for power user every activity on iPad is strictly worse. I can't easily download ZIP, unzip it, open some text file, edit it, send it via Mail. Probably I can do it with right apps, but it would require much more clicks or taps.
What I can't even imagine doing on iPad: using Intellij Idea, using XCode, using Google Chrome to debug and develop web apps, using image editors like Sketch and Pixelmator (I know that I can get some kind of image editing, but I don't think that I can do what I'm doing on PC).
Now things I could theoretically do but probably can't, because of walled garden: using Terminal to embrace full Unix power, downloading files with BitTorrent, using BitCoin. Probably possible with Jailbreaking, I'm not sure. Also I'm not sure whether I could download some huge 20GB file and watch it using another app without duplicating (does iOS copy file when I open it with other app or just hardlink?).
And, of course, keyboard is necessary. Mouse would be useful too, but iPad doesn't support mouse, AFAIK.
So probably the only users who can easily migrate from PC to iPad are very casual users, who use their devices to browse web, chat and play simple games. There could be some professionals who work with iPads, it's theoretically possible, but I can't imagine anyone.
The newest component in my desktop PC is likely 3-4 years old. The entire machine is, obviously, a good deal more powerful than an iPad - it can drive the DK2 just fine, and Oculus have specifically called Apple out on performance. You don't even need to participate in frequent piecewise upgrades to match or exceed the iPad.
What Schiller might be missing is that people are using their PC in addition to an iPad. This is an strikingly obvious conclusion but doesn't fit the typical Apple marketing rhetoric.
If the iPad Pro fails as the iPad did I think Apple's going to discontinue that product line all together. Tablets are just in a weird spot between personal computer and phones.
I get that C level execs are in love with tablets because it's the ideal platform for their administrative tasks. But everyone else who has to do "hands on" work is going to prefer a proper computer.
The iPad pro is an attempt to keep the ball moving forward on replacing a full laptop with an iPad. For me personally, this will never happen unless OSX comes over onto the iPad. For others though, who might mainly use their phone now for as a 'computer' an iPad pro might be enough.
It has been a white elephant from day 1. I got stuck with it mainly because my Dad is an Apple fanboy. In contrast, the laptop I spent $300 on at around the same time has been used every day since I got it.
It isn't just the tablet form factor. Using the iPad feels like I'm diddling around with someone else's locked-down, crippled, coin-operated Internet kiosk, rather than working with my own computer.
If you stuck it in a laptop shell, it would still feel like someone else's computer. Mostly, that's because of the walled garden OS. Using that iPad is one of the major reasons why I prefer Android devices now, even though they also have some issues. But even the iOS/Android phones and tablets in the house still feel like toys with just the touchscreen input. They feel even more toylike than a Nintendo DS or WiiU touchscreen controller, because at least those devices have some actual, pushable, tactile buttons on them.
That's the problem I have with tablets. The interface stinks. I like buttons that I can push with just my fingers, rather than my fingers and my eyes, with my eyes getting frustrated because my fingers are opaque.
Put a multi-touch sensor on the back of the device, and put a tactile "display" over it--like a touchscreen for blind people. Bonus points if you can get a "click" feel out of it when you press. Then I might reconsider giving up mouse and keyboard.
That said, my iPad is a couple of generations back now. I don't feel compelled to upgrade it at all, it does what I need it to (browse the web, read e-mail, take notes, play some games, etc.) For this I find the iPad Pro too big and it certainly won't replace my MBP for real development work anytime soon.
And another data point, I just upgraded from an iPhone 4S to an iPhone 6S+. The only real reason I upgraded was because the 4S was a 16GB phone (it was a work phone) and the battery isn't lasting much anymore. Other than that, I honestly wouldn't feel the need to upgrade.
Anyway, just my thoughts and situation.
For everything that involves producing content, a laptop is going to be more comfortable and more powerful than a tablet. And the new Surface tablet's killer feature is... A keyboard! So you can use it as a laptop. Of course you're going to need a keyboard. Every student out there needs to write essays. Everyone else is writing e-mails, reports and blog posts.
Lastly, the price point of tablets, and their specs, are just awkward. Less than 500 gets you some device with a weak processor, very little RAM, and almost no storage. To get a higher end model you need to pay 700-900. For that price, you can get a very good laptop.
Don't own a laptop because it would it would sit around idle for weeks. iPad + Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard is a very mobile and comfortable combination. And for "truck work" I prefer a real, powerful desktop with a big display to a MacBook.
The iPad isn't meant to replace a laptop for people like you, which is why Apple is still selling the mbp.
2) That would have been phrased "a PC replacement for X users".
The iPad Pro is a tablet for professional work. There are many professionals who can get their work done using an iPad.
> Now things I could theoretically do but probably can't, because of walled garden: using Terminal to embrace full Unix power, downloading files with BitTorrent, using BitCoin. Probably possible with Jailbreaking, I'm not sure. Also I'm not sure whether I could download some huge 20GB file and watch it using another app without duplicating (does iOS copy file when I open it with other app or just hardlink?).
Funny that all this is easily more comfortable on Android, yet its tablet market is almost dead. That speaks a lot for the "tablet as a PC replacement" dream.
Exactly why I went back to Android for my phone. We were doing something at our bank and the bank needed a copy of a document I had in Dropbox. Easy. I open the Dropbox app email them the link. But they can't open the link. I try sharing the document with email. But that just sends a link too. I can download the document but it opens in iBooks or other PDF readers and I can't attach it to an email from iOS. On Android, just download the doc, then attach it to an email.
Speaking of battery life, I can leave an iPad for months in sleep mode and it still have a lot of battery life left when I need to test something. No Android tablet I have lying around can do that (the Kindles being the worst).
People I know that bought Android tablets bought it for doing stuff vbezhenar blamed iPad being clunky with and explicitly wanting a tablet form factor. Of course it's not as fancy as an iPad and the battery doesn't last as long, but you can do stuff you described with less hassle AND using Bittorent with it.
But more or less it's obvious that those kind of people are in a minority. They rather sacrifice convenience of a tablet form factor to get a more usable one - like a PC.
He qualified it as people using PCs that are more than 5 years old. They have usage patterns and goals completely different than anyone on HN. They don't use IDEs. They don't need "full Unix power" or anything similar.
Their usage probably looks like web browsing, sending/receiving email, and listening to music at most.
For them, an iPad is a probably a good functional alternative, even if the price point doesn't work.
Anyone who needs to use an IDE is already excluded from the iPad target market club, because its support for programming is pretty abysmal.
I could be "Pro" doesn't just mean the "professional software developers" and could mean any kind of professional?
That would include my mother and other extended family members. I would argue that given the number of viruses they've had they would be better off with a limited device and I think that is what this was all about.
If they tech people would replace their desktop/laptop with an iPad they wouldn't make iMac/Mac Pro/MacBook.
It's interesting because for a very long time Apple said "maximizing is usually a waste of space" with the zoom button's behavior.
Want to view two emails side-by-side? Use two emails apps, I guess.
I bought her a brand new iMac and it's basically been unused.
Taking away a PC and giving someone a locked down tablet is fairly ridiculous. That'll be just as successful as the "Linux Mandrake replaces Windows XP" rhetoric older geeks remember. You guys were wrong then and wrong today.
Car vs Trucks. Apple isn't trying to replace your professional tool.
Apple is trying to make a computer that is easy to use, can handle some light tasks that some people need occasionally, can stream video lightly and can play lots of games.
You need a truck. Most people just need cars
Might as well just get a Chromebook and put Linux on it.
I get that there are definitely times when local processing power is necessary, and I lug my laptop around when needed. The iPad definitely works for me 80% of the time for me, and the important thing is that I actually ENJOY using it. That is worth a premium for me.
One of those things I could not do on a £800 - £1000 ipad. The other thing I could do on it, with the minor benefit of a retiner HD display
I made a decision to not buy a keyboard. I can type fast enough on a virtual keyboard and I have 2 Mac and 2 Linux laptops for programming.
My iPad Pro is my most used device at this time. I also have a Chromebook that, like iPads, is something I would recommend to non-tech family and friends to use. Most people don't need a conventional computer.
The only issue with iPads is the cost! I love my iPad Pro, but $800 for a 32GB model seems expensive, especially compared to my Toshiba Chromebook 2 that was under $300 with a 1080p screen.
When Apple asserts that a desktop computer should be replaced by a locked-down handheld device with very limited capabilities, the odd thing seems to me is they don't realize these devices do very different things and fulfill very different needs.
I don't worry about the demise of the desktop because I'm nostalgic, I worry about the loss of power and productivity incurred by users with desktop-illiteracy. There are many applications for which a handheld device, especially one with the limitations of iOS, is just not suitable - in much the same way a full desktop/laptop computer is not suitable for things mobile devices excel at.
That the hardware is locked down, outdated, and supremely expensive are additional criteria making the disconnect worse, but these are not the crux of the problem in my opinion. I see two outcomes from this, neither one is appealing: either Apple is misjudging the needs of their users, to the point where trendsetters like programmers will be switching away from the platform. Or, they succeed in their vision and breed several generations of technologically illiterate information workers fumbling their way through life with nothing but extremely limited mobile devices as their only productivity tool.
I think this was just an ill-judged offhand comment.
P.S. I'm typing this on an 2010 MBP which, with an SSD upgrade, still works beautifully.
I don't think you have provided sufficient information as to why you think my comment was bad. You say the 'get' different use cases better than most in the industry, and that used to be something I agree with. However, this effect is shrinking, at least as far as my personal needs are concerned - which is admittedly anecdotal.
> P.S. I'm typing this on an 2010 MBP which, with an SSD upgrade, still works beautifully.
I did the same thing with my 2012 MBP, but I'll have to replace the machine entirely for performance reasons soon, and there is no upgrade path for current MBP models anymore, at all. What you buy is what you'll have.
Congratulations. You have one of the last macs that were upgradeable.
Apple promote their ability and willingness to cannibalize their own products.
I'm mostly in agreement with the article, but the author also misses some things, I think:
> Yes, the iPad Pro has a very fancy stylus. That’s great for artists, but the vast majority of people aren’t artists and don’t care.
> Yes, the iPad Pro has a very fancy, true-to-color screen. That’s great for artists, but the vast majority of people aren’t artists and don’t care.
I think good touch and pen input really still is the obvious better way to input. It doesn't work well (enough) without a few decades of UI engineering and real-world testing -- but a "real" digital drawing pad and touch interface is probably a very sensible way to spend the improvements Moore's law have given us: My Amiga 2000 had 4?MB of ram and a 7Mhz processor, my current desktop has four cores at 4Ghz and 16GB of RAM. Using some of that to go from 4096 colours and 320x256 to 24bit 4K or 8k along with real-time input in the form of free-form painting/writing seems reasonable.
Just because it's so hard to paint with a mouse that most computer users aren't digital artists, while everyone that's been given pen and paper will have at doodled is a great indication that we need better input for our digital devices. As for the better screen - I think getting pixel resolution on par with print resolution can only be a good thing. Personally I find it much more comfortable to read a thousand pages at high dpi, than at "standard" +/- 1080p on a 20-24" monitor.
"The Mother of All Demos, presented by Douglas Engelbart (1968)"
I have a stock HP laptop with a touchscreen and Windows 10, and yeah, I don't really use the touchscreen. But my mother has a Surface and splits the use pretty evenly between typing emails and looking up recipes or travel sites, and also doing jigsaw puzzles using the touchscreen.
I mean Apple's response to the different use cases is "buy two specialized devices", Microsoft's was to create a device that tries to do both. Yeah it's taken them a long time to be successful with that strategy, but I wouldn't say it's failing entirely.
Personally I think the greatest strength of the MBPs is the display. The touchpad is rather good in terms of quality, but is ultimately irrelevant to me because I wouldn't use it; it's an ergonomic disaster, especially for day-long work.
late-2009 MBP here. Core2Duo 2.4GHz + 4GB of ram. I added a 128GB SSD a year ago and it works beautifully, really fast enough for almost everything.
Or they do, and they believe that many (if not most) of those users don't have the needs which require desktop computers.
They specifically talked about "600 millions of PCs" "over 5 years old" (a convenient cutoff for them as that's just around the ipad introduction, so those are pre-tablet machines as far as apple is concerned)
> I don't worry about the demise of the desktop because I'm nostalgic, I worry about the loss of power and productivity incurred by users with desktop-illiteracy.
Considering users aren't generally desktop-literate, there really is no loss there.
> There are many applications for which a handheld device, especially one with the limitations of iOS, is just not suitable
Just as there are many applications for which a sedan is not suitable. Does that mean sedans shouldn't exist, or that we shouldn't recommend sedans for people for whom they are a good fit?
> they succeed in their vision and breed several generations of technologically illiterate information workers fumbling their way through life with nothing but extremely limited mobile devices as their only productivity tool
There's nothing to breed, everyone who's made the error of doing tech support for their family knows they already exist and are the majority.
I feel like this. I feel like the content creators (creative or coding) are being left behind by Apple which has pivoted far too far towards consumer tech.
I know professionals aren't profitable compared to the IOS devices, but they surely punch way above their weight on contributing innovation to the Apple ecosystem.
A small detail provides clear evidence of the problem: the drop in fusion-drive NAND Flash from 128 to 24 GB late last year. Probably this still serves 90% of users perfectly well, but it's an insult to power users.
I for one hope Apple will stop the drift of OSX towards IOS-like candification, and that it will keep up a serious effort on the professional market for the Mac. A good start would be a reversal of the Mac-mini "update" joke, which was actually a regression from 2012, with a user-servicable, 32-GB capable, skylake 4C/8T design as in, now, and please, can we have a proper Cinema display that's not 6 years old?
I would dispute the 'programmers are trendsetters' assertion.
Apple is probably completely correct in the way that most people use their computer. The majority of users do not use their desktop in a way that would not work on something like an iPad. They browse the web. They use webmail. They listen to music.
Now, do you really think that the only way anyone knows how to use a computer at work is because they use the same thing at home? Users learn click here, here and here and you do your job they don't have to know anything about the underlying system. Which is a good thing, because they are probably using some software at work that they can not get at home. Using a locked down device at home is not going to turn people into drooling morons any more or less than they already are.
The one thing that would be lost if tablets like the iPad or similar Android devices became the primary device at home is that children would not have a system they could learn the inner workings of, explore on and being to learn to create on. I'm talking about learning programming, not drawing or related artistic activities.
They realize it - remember Jobs' "truck vs. car" analogy - and they're betting that 90% of the population's needs are better met with a car rather than a truck.
With PC/Linux(/Windows) you can get either the practically grandma safe Ubuntu or Mint installation with everything working, or you can go for Gentoo or Arch or even just a customized Ubuntu or Mint when needing more freedom.
There's a thin line between recognizing user needs and deciding user needs.
In any case, I think we underestimate the market and normal people in these conversations. Any iPad user can freely access the internet and quickly find out that their device is basically unusable for programming or a lot of forms of content creation and even gaming. As software eats the world, the cachet for programming has never been higher, especially among the kids/teens we "worry" about, and the tools have never been cheaper or more accessible.
I'd like to add, as someone who works at K12 public high school, that I've seen the reality of the article played out. My building is 100% free lunch, most are extremely poor, and yet there is a sizable number with new iphones. Why? Because they don't want to look poor or be thought of as such.
In American society poverty is associated with failure on many levels. We have our caste system as much as India, only ours is economic, and enforced ruthlessly with endless class warfare - largely in one direction.
The utility of the device is incredible:
If anything we should work to get smart phones in the hands of the poor. It would be a great way to improve their lives for a somewhat modest cost. I am not sure it is all for looks. Maybe we could quibble about whether they should have an iPhone or some cheaper smartphone. I am just saying, it could be more for utility than image.
If you have an iPhone and then become poor, sure. You probably won't get ahead much by getting rid of your iPhone. If you're already poor, then an iPhone (not a smartphone) is definitely a luxury.
There are capable smartphones for much cheaper then an iPhone that could get the job done. That's what GP was likely getting at.
>If anything we should work to get smart phones in the hands of the poor.
I am not aware of a socialized plan to put phone in the hands of poor people, but they are getting increasingly cheaper. You can get Samsung Galaxy line (not the flagship model) phones from cheap, prepaid carriers. Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly available, which makes the limited data plans not that bad of a drawback.
It's not wrong, nor necessarily economically irresponsible, for "poor" people to have a few nice things.
Assuming a lifespan of 3 years, the cost difference between a $600 phone and a $300 phone is barely more than $0.25 per day - and probably even less, considering that iPhones have a higher resale value.
Maybe that "poor person" carrying an iPhone just forgoes $0.25 or $0.50 of other niceties per day so they can afford that iPhone and those $100 shoes - or maybe they just work in a city, because you can literally find that much money on the ground every day if you keep your eyes peeled.
If a person routinely made such purchases, to the detriment of their well-being, certainly that could be a problem. But unless we know somebody's full financial picture we should not presume to make such a judgement.
This link : http://whatever.scalzi.com/2005/09/03/being-poor/
Seems quite appropriate and - I hope - illuminating.
I do not understand the fact that you seem to have posted it as a rebuttal to my post.
My post was meant as a criticism of another indignity that the poor often face: other peoples' (often baseless, and always condescending) criticisms of their financial decisions.
Their criticisms often carry the subtext that poor people are poor because they are wearing a $100 item of clothing or because they own a smartphone - in essence, those criticisms say that these people deserve to be poor and/or poor people don't deserve nice things.
I find such criticisms of poor people to be incredibly classist and devoid of empathy and my post was intended to address that. I don't know how my words could have been read otherwise.
Assuming a lifespan of 3 years, the cost difference between a $600 phone and a $300 phone is barely more than $0.25 per day
What really riles me up is that a lot of people have no clue how expensive it actually is to be poor and how hard is it to break the vicious circle. That's in addition that a lot of poor people work equally hard as the rest of us.
That is an excellent, excellent link. And this:
> What really riles me up is that a lot of people have no clue how expensive it actually is to be poor
Yes! This is the one thing I wish everybody could understand about being poor. Not only do you have less money, almost everything is more expensive.
"Simple" things like buying food when it's on sale and freezing it for later aren't possible if you don't have a second freezer, or even a first freezer, or if you're in danger of having your power turned off, or if you live in a terrible apartment where the power goes off for reasons not even in your control.
Heck, a lot of people can't even clip supermarket coupons because they don't have access to a supermarket. (For anybody scratching their heads at this, Google "food desert")
Or another great example:
Cost of a $150,000 home if you're rich and don't need a mortgage: $150,000 (or $0 in the long run, because you can get that money back when you sell it)
Cost of a $150,000 home if you need a mortgage: $500,000+
(Not that the truly poor can even obtain mortgages, but it's a good illustration of how much cheaper things can get as you go further and further up the income scale)
I do recall, however, a friend who was raising two kids on her own. With some horrible history of migration etc. She did indeed know the cost of everything. And budgeted carefully, down to the penny.
I really like his blog (sorry John, I guess I'm one of your freeloaders; that's because I'm just not that much into SF)
He seems to be a really decent guy and shows an ability, which is sorely missed nowadays:
I try not to make judgments about anyone's spending habits unless it's affecting me.
One of my biggest issues online is forgetting that subtext is easily missed. In cases where it is missed, it can be minutes or hours before you have a chance to rectify it. Sorry about that, and thanks for the criticism.
I guess that is relevant here since Apple is a company that makes products for first world only.
But having seen the other side of the coin in the not-so-developed world, I'm sure the author could (and should) add the words "in America" to that essay's title. Being poor elsewhere is far far worse than what he describes here.
I strongly agree with this, but if someone does choose to buy an iPhone they should know it's a luxury. It bothers me that Apple doesn't acknowledge this.
But generally I feel it's appropriate for companies to tell us how awesome their products are; it's up to us to recognize which things are necessities and which are luxuries.
In fact, I feel a bit silly having paid "only" $300 for my Samsung phone, having read your economic breakdown. I was imagining myself having an extra $200 for stuff... but I go through a lot of wasted time having "only" 16GB.. continuously moving stuff off of it... missed photos and videos I could have taken. Perhaps the pix didn't have economic value worth $200 over 3 years, but the time is probably worth it.
I've also heard the perspective on the poor that if they have to be poor, it helps to have at least one nice thing. the nice thing of choice is the phone.
The real question is, imho, how to leverage these choices to get what helps an individual. e.g. use the phone to get jobs, to shop around for the best price, to buy used things on craigslist to save money, to watch inspiring and encouraging videos, to learn new skills to get better jobs, etc.
Yeah, sometimes (not always) the more expensive option is actually cheaper in the long run, or is at least a justifiable cost. Looking at the $/day or $/hour cost over the lifespan of a product is one way to get a better understanding of the "real" cost.
The danger is that it can be easy to justify too many of those "well, it's only $0.10 a day!" purchases because they can really add up.
(In fact, car salesmen will often try to sell you upgrades in a similar way. "Well, upgrading to the leather seats will only add $25 to your monthly payments...")
These things have incredible lifetimes and also keep their resale value very well. So in terms of value, I'm not convinced that iPhones are a frivolous luxury. In my experience they're a reliable long term investment.
Is that relevant to low wage earners? I think so. If iPhones stopped getting software updates 12 months (or less) after launch and ended up in a junk drawer soon after, I don't think they'd sell nearly so well in any demographic range.
I can go up or down a model at any given time, as the hardware behaves as a commodity, and there is little penalty for trading, both price-wise, and restoring the settings and contents of the device. It is a good store of value, with the only cost of ownership the steady depreciation. And if you can buy below market and sell above market, extracting value from folks who are not as thrifty as you are, you can drive the cost even lower, or possibly even make a profit.
I have bought a "4" in spring 2011 (£350, sold for £40; 1 × battery replacement £10, 1 × screen & button replacement for free from a friend's junker), and a "5S" last year (£230, current re-sale value £170+). The actual cost over the five years has been £1.50/week, £79/year).
So if you had gotten an iPad 2 on day 1, I feel like you would have had a reasonably long life on the device.
Your case with the iPad 3 is a little unique. It was the first device with a retina screen and was arguably underpowered for that task. This is why apple replaced the iPad 3 with the iPad 4 just 6 months later in the same year.
The iPad 1 and the iPad 3 are both underpowered for their typical workloads. The other iPads however have stood the test of time fairly well. My iPad Mini 1 (which is essentially an iPad 2) is a little slow, but serviceable and my wife's iPad 4 still works great.
I'm not sure how that situation changes in the US, where there doesn't seem to be the same market for pay-as-you-go sims that is found in the rest of the world.
The original iPad was launched in mid 2010. In September 2012 Apple released iOS 6, which didn't run on the original iPad. Shortly afterward, the apps we used all required a forced update to their iOS6 version (which of course didn't work) and it became a doorstop. YouTube lasted a little longer than most, but eventually it stopped working too.
It's quite possible that the iPad 2 you mention has had a longer life than the original iPad, but this in no way diminishes the fact that the original iPad, a not inexpensive piece of hardware was useless for most purposes after a little more than 2 years (assuming you bought it on release, which I did not).
I could have told you that before you bought it.
It still streams Netflix great though, but the browser is starting to show its age - I can't load all webpages anymore. :(
Looks like I might need to pick up a new iPad..
That is insane. I can load all webpages on any laptop from 5 years ago. A browser doesn't become "slower". Even with bigger pages, they are still web pages, not 3D games.
It means the ipad itself is, for some reason, rendering itself slow. And you can't do anything about it because you can't hack it.
And your idea of the solution to the problem is to buy a new one ?
My god, somebody sell you a self-destructing product in order to force you to buy a new one, and you oblige ?
Anyway, plenty of machines sold then and even today are junk, so maybe replacing them is not such a terrible idea. However, I think replacing the software matters more. Linux is an excellent option for these systems in the long term. If Apple made Mac OS X available for them, it would be too.
In fact the wisely received wisdom was that Android devices would have longer useful lifespans because open source leads to higher quality software that's maintained and updated for longer, which can be customized by users so it meets their needs better. The reality that many Android devices never see a single software update and are junked up with carrier crapware and poor device drivers hidden in binary blobs still hasn't sunk home for everyone yet.
Even now when I buy a new device I think about how useful it will be and what it's support will be like for 2 to 4 years. Beyond that, there's no way to tell. When my kid's original iPad Minis get replaced, if they still work I'll probably just use them as family photo and video galleries.
True enough. And yet, if you yourself are not actually poor, you may not realize the value that a marginal luxury like an iPhone or Air Jordans or a top brand purse (sorry, I don't know what the hot brand of purses is atm) can bring to someone in that situation. Spending a few hundred dollars will not get them a better place to live or a better job or out of debt, but it can get them something that helps them appear less poor to the people around them, who can't see their bank balance or their house, but they can see what phone they are carrying around.
They rarely have a person in their life who models delayed gratification and saving behavior, let alone strategic investing, so they never see the benefit of doing that.
The singular defining quality of the poor is that they lack capital.
This makes everything about being poor more expensive.
It is amazing how much money one has when one exercises restraint when spending it.
A lot of the problems of poverty is that once you get below a certain level, even if you are the most thrifty person around, you lose predictability in ways that end up costing you a lot of extra money.
Suddenly your employer pays you a day late and your carefully arranged bill payment schedule goes out the window and you get charged extra fees, or your car that you depend on to keep your job breaks down and you're forced into ridiculously high interest credit.
I have been applying such things to my parents' budget. Just the other day I heard from my mother that she no longer worries when unexpected medical expenses come up because she has found that the savings that my suggestions made more than paid for it. She gets TV for free OTA, replaced her expensive landline with free VoIP through Google Voice using an Obihai ATA, has lower electrical consumption (from various things, but the simplest being putting a lid on the frying pan to reduce evaporative heat loss, which is an efficiency improvement that allows food to cook faster), has a promotional rate for the newspaper she insists on having, has cell phone service that has no monthly fee (through ring plus), obtains heating oil at COD pricing, etcetera. Such things add to a four figure amount each year.
In both cases, I know people are sending money to help them. That is especially true in the case of that household in a poor village where the father is a disabled craftsman while the mother is completely uneducated. Enabling the children to study will give them the opportunity to work for a better life, which is an opportunity that their parents will never have.
Anyone who has a paycheck has the opportunity to obtain financial advice from sites like YNAB. Not all such people live as they would like, but being able to imagine something better puts them in a whole different category than actual poor people. They are able to make financial decisions and save for the purpose of making their lives better in the future. The truly poor lack such luxury.
I'm not really sure this is correct. If you have a source please do share it.
From what I've read, the reason they have difficulty saving isn't because they weren't taught to do so but because when you constantly have to no to things you want, you use up a lot of energy, or more specifically, glucose. This in turn makes you more impulsive and less rational.
For example see: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/media/releases/2010/wan...
That being the case, I don't really like the idea of labeling poor people as being poor because of their inability to save or their own foolishness. There have also been studies that show that living in poverty actually changes your brain and makes you less intelligent.
It's a self perpetuating cycle as far as I can tell
(As a chap who grew up poor.)
I think it works the opposite -- if I see someone who I think is maybe poor, and they whip out the latest and greatest iPhone or are wearing $200 shoes or overpriced brand-name sunglasses, now I know they're poor. Because it's an obvious status symbol that's not in line with the rest of their lifestyle. Other poor people aren't stupid; they see right through it as well.
Whereas if I see someone who looks poor and they whip out an old Moto X and are wearing shoes from Payless, I assume they're comfortable with whatever economic/social status they have and don't need to try to signal. I view them as immediately more trustworthy and am more willing to cut them a deal, because I assume they're capable of long-term planning rather than impulsive spending.
This might not be 100% accurate, but I find it's a generally effective rule of thumb, and I think a lot of people use it to evaluate.
Now do you think it's a waste of money? The function is very similar: an item that visually identifies you as part of some socioeconomic group.
You never hear people criticizing some middle-class guy for spending $27,000 on a Honda Accord instead of paying for a year of his kid's college education.
But when it comes to criticism of strangers, I just never hear it directed at the middle-class stranger in his Honda Accord. It's always directed at the lower-economic-class stranger and his $100 sneakers.
"Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers... The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands."
Depends where you get it. I've known some teens who have managed to pick up iPhones on the second hand market really cheap. There are enough people always wanting the shiniest new thing that more enterprising individuals can pick up a generation old iPhone for less than many cheaper Androids.
The luxury is being able to pay full price for a brand new device.
There is no reason there shouldnt be a 3G, 4, 4S capable of owrking and in the hands of "the poor"
Why not a turn-in system where older yet still functioning phones are given to anyone who wants them.
I personally am guilty of not properly handling my old phones. I've had every single generation of the iPhone since the initial launch. I've broken 17 of them to date. I have no clue where the other 16 are now, aside from one.
I'd happily have contributed my old phones to some program where either poor or kids can have them freely.
I asked a Roman Catholic priest I know to give my household's old iPhones to the poor during his trip to India last year. I had originally planned to sell them when I had a chance after upgrading myself and my parents, but I changed my mind when I heard he was going to visit his village in India where there are many poor people.
You could ask your local Roman Catholic parish if any of the priests plan to travel to poor places. They tend to be from all over the world, many are from poor places and they tend to visit family every year or so. They would definitely be able to give your phones to the poor.
Just make sure that the phones are unlocked, supports GSM internationally (if it is a US phone) and have a charging cable. In my case, I neglected to realize that the NEMA outlets used in the US are not typically used in India and included the US chargers. Compatible AC to USB chargers are cheap enough that it was not a big deal.
Also, models like the Virgin Mobile iPhone 4S whose baseband is programmed to only connect to US CDMA networks would only be useful for parts in many other countries. Phones that are locked to CDMA in the US, but support GSM when unlocked for international use, like the Sprint iPhone 5 will work fine, provided that they are unlocked before they are sent.
If it is a CDMA only phone that is not locked to the US, you could check to see if the country where the priest is going has a network compatible with it, although it is hard to find coverage maps for CDMA outside the US to know if those networks would actually be relevant:
The end result though is that your entire digital life will be on some Google server. Preventing this requires significant effort and technical expertise.
We got windows phones at work: the activation process is a comical list of "turn off this", "deactivate that", "say no to so and so" data sync policy. But, I guess you can in the end disable the thing.
iOS is probably the least bad in this respect. I won't say it's good or anything, but at least they show some respect towards customers.
The conclusion is that the poor will get abused either way, be it through price gouging or in more difficult to recognise ways.
>Some of that is disguised as perfectly innocent and helpful features: contacts syncing, back-ups, connecting more easily to WiFis, etc.
Disguised? Um... That's how those features work.
Your personal information is a currency that you have to budget. Want timely weather information in your location? Guess what? You have to spend a little location currency to get that.
Edit to add:
> The conclusion is that the poor will get abused either way, be it through price gouging or in more difficult to recognise ways.
Why are you picking on the poor here? What are you trying to generalize about?
I don't have anything against these features per se, but I can't help but notice when it's almost imposssible to turn them off and dark patterns are used to guide customers onto certain paths where more data is shared.
Then one starts to wonder for whose benefits are the features developed.
You are commiting an error when thinking that it's solely the responsibility of customers to take care of their privacy. There needs to be a strong legal framework and incentives should be set in such a way as to encourage respectful handling of customer data.
Because otherwise we end up in a situation where powerful corporations do as they wish as long as they stay within the too weak legal requirements (which they lobbied for) and it's the responsibility of the customer to:
* protect their privacy when everyone is trying to screw them and grab their data. Now they're a tech expert.
* protect their health because corps want to produce cheap goods and some ingredients cause e.g. birth defects or impotence. Now they're a chemistry expert.
* be careful what food they buy, because food nowadays is mass produced with bleach, antibiotics and hormones, pesticides & other nice stuff. Now they're an agricultural expert.
* and so on and so forth.
I hope it's clear that this doesn't work and the average citizen needs someone to have their back. In the USA they don't, so every corporation is trying its best to gather and mine private data.
And I am not picking on the poor at all, check your reading comprehension please. In fact I seem to be one of the few that is concerned about how the non-technical, and yes the poor too get screwed over by people recommending them that they use cheap products. If you want to recommend Android, take the time to educate people on what they are trading away for that affordable phone and tell them how to maintain their privacy.
I in no way said privacy was solely in the hands of the customer. I said your personal data is a currency that the customer must budget. That is not the same thing.
I don't think they want to for that reason; the reason they can gain access to such data is that if it's entirely in the user's hands (and passwords) then there's no way to recover the data for the user if they forget the password.
As for the grandparent comment: I trust Apple with my data more than Google because Apple doesn't want to use it, has no financial incentive to do so, and has no track record of subverting my privacy unlike Google (https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2012/08/googl...).
The problem with those cheap phones is that your private information
will be mercilessly sucked into the Google cloud. Some of that is
disguised as perfectly innocent and helpful features: contacts
syncing, back-ups, connecting more easily to WiFis, etc.
of course it's extra work, but it's not rocket science. so if you really
care about privacy, it's trivial to do. but as pointed out: most people
don't, no matter if they have a cheap phone or not.
the parent claimed that you pay for these cheap phones with your private data, which is not true. if you care about that (which > 99.8% of the population don't do) you are able to use those phones with those features without handing over your data to google.
The problem is: Access to the App Store. Not sure, if you can work around this.
That would be a phone on a budget. iphones are absolutely just for prestige, the same way Macbooks in universities are.
I've been there (before smart phones). Watching people wait for payday so they can go drinking. Everyone had a nicer car than necessary. Clothes or shoes to look like the situation is improving instead actually improving their situation.
Yes there is a marginal improvement in lifestyle. But there is always a marginal improvement available so that you can be in the bottom of that next group of Joneses.
I'm 45 and this is now making me remember some of the conversations I had with people who lived through the great depression. That generation was stamped with a frugality and practicality that just isn't being passed along anymore.
When I'm getting buyer on something cheaper than an iPhone, why should I help someone else get a full price iPhone? If they want to put the work in finding a second hand one at a cheap price, good for them. But why should I help them pay for shinier equipment than I even get for myself?
Can you offer an alternative? I can't see anything else being workable and not insanely expensive.
I have an iPhone 6S (and previously an iPhone 5) on Verizon, through my employer. Personally, my wife has a Nexus 4 and my daugther a Moto G, both on T-Mobile pre-paid. Both of them tell me about crappy network coverage, poor camera image quality, and so forth.
I'm not saying these aren't perfectly acceptable alternatives when you're on a budget or are frugal or these just aren't things you care about, but the iPhone and using a better carrier are not just for prestige. For many people, they are a better product and provide a better experience.
And I'll point out: usually spending more money gets you a better product. Whether or not it's better in ways you care about is obviosly a personal decision.
edit: so you disagree? What in my argument here is wrong?
edit 2: this comment was directed only at the assertion that buying an iphone is just about prestige. I completely agree with the original article.
Also, An iPhone 6S would be more reasonably compared to a Nexus 6P, not a Nexus 4.
The iPhone doesn't have a monopoly on quality,
The network coverage part of my comment was in reference to freedompop. Not sure who freedompop contracts with, but I went with T-Mobile because at the time they were much cheaper than Verizon. Their coverage is also much worse in my area.
> The iPhone doesn't have a monopoly on quality
I didn't claimed that it does. They were examples of devices I have direct experience with. The iPhone 5 was a similar generation to the Nexus 4 and Moto G and was a better (but more expensive) device. The Sony xperia devices similarly cost more than a Moto G, do they not? And you just wrote they have a suboptimal UI, so for someone who cares about that, that might rule out those devices.
My argument is not that iPhones are the only quality devices. It's that spending more usually gets you a better product, not just a more prestigious one.
But we are not talking about luxurious features. A Moto G camera still takes better photos than almost any consumer camera from before 2003 that most people had (I'm talking the old disposable point and shoots or a a bulky film camera). If you need to take pictures, an entry level phone like the Moto G does more than enough of a good job - you can easily take photos of anything, you have flash, and they will be reasonable pictures. You will know what it is a picture of and discern light detail. It does the job.
Certainly. Again, was just addressing it's not only prestige. Look, I own a Nutribullet. It does the job. But it's a complete frustration to use on a daily basis. I'm replacing it with a Vitamix at like 3X the cost, because I'm tired of dealing with the Nutribullet's quirks. And that's just a fricken blender. :-)
But then I looked up the iPhone 4s (2013's low-range) on eBay and didn't see one for less than $70. I'm honestly surprised by that.
There is a price floor I find on any older phone. They generally won't fall below $50, and I always find the Moto G 2013 exceptional in how you can get them really cheap. A great example is that I am always watching S series phone prices on Swappa, but in my experience (pre-S7, usually this list shifts down a price tier when the new phone comes out):
S2 for $80, S3 for $100, S4 for $150, S5 for $225, S6 for $300. When the S7 comes out, the S3 will probably drop to S2 range and S4 might drop to S3 range, but I expect less of a decline than that because since the S3/4 the feature differences have diminished substantially. An S4 is still a beast phone today - 1080p 5" screen, quad core CPU, 13MP camera.
This is true. In fact I've personally used mapping tools on Sony Ericsson feature phones which are around 10 years old now. You don't need a smartphone to do any of the aforementioned, let alone a market leading one.
edit: Would the people who downvoted me please explain how I didn't use mapping tools on my feature phone? I'd be interested to know how people who have never met me remember my life better than I do ;)
Off topic, but I do think HN should have a rule that you're not allowed to downvote without leaving a counterargument. That would help kerb the abuse of negative karma to demote comments which a reader disagrees with just due to personal preferences / biases. Which we're increasingly seeing these days. Particularly in threads that have potential flamewar subjects like trendy technologies or companies.
First is: Boost (67.99), or Sprint prepaid (104$)
Second is: AT&T Go Phone only.
But, it looks like you can get a new unlocked smartphone for 60$. http://www.amazon.com/BLU-Advance-5-0-Unlocked-Smartphone/dp...
I've gotten cheap Android phones that have felt sluggish and super buggy after a mere 6 months (not the Nexus 5, though, that just had a crap battery life, but I also spent ~$450 on it, so it wasn't cheap), but this one still operates as slick and smooth as the day I bought it, with a battery that lasts a day and a half.
Anyone looking for a cheap phone, I highly recommend the Lumia 635 (640 is just as cheap, but it doesn't support LTE, supposedly).
Amazon lists: $131.11 and Cricket has it for 20$. Still, as long as your not locked into a contract and can buy replacements at that cost it's not a problem.
PS: Windows does seem to beat Android on low end phones.
Then I replaced it with a Motorola something-or-other that cost me $140 with a two year contract. That one lasted just under a year before the SIM card reader stopped working, and it was good for emergency calls only.
I replaced that with a Nokia Lumia something-or-other that cost $90 with no contract. After three years, it still works to this day.
However, I did feel the need for a hardware upgrade, so in November I replaced it with a Microsoft Lumia 640 LTE, which cost me $40, again with no contract.
I've been very happy with the Lumias. The UI is very fluid and responsive, and it does everything I want it to do and then some. The build quality is also an order of magnitude better than a cheap Android phone, and the battery lasts longer. The only drawback is that there aren't a hell of a lot of third party apps. That's manageable because the ones I care about are available: Web browser, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Skype, Weather, maps, navigation, a PDF reader, Kindle, a Reddit client, an SSH terminal, emulators for retro game consoles, and a guitar tuner. It also comes with a fully functional mobile version of Microsoft Office, and OneNote was a game-changer for me. I can also enable Internet sharing, so if I'm somewhere with no wifi, I can enable a hotspot on my phone and connect from my laptop (things may be different now, but on my Android phones that was only possible by using a custom ROM, e.g. Cyanogenmod).
The developer experience for Windows Phone is also great. Visual Studio beats the pants off of Xcode, and C# is a much nicer language than both Objective-C and Java (though not quite as nice as Swift, I must say).
The only thing I miss from Android is a file browser. Apps are completely sandboxed and can only access their own files, which makes a general file browser impossible on Windows Phone. But I've been living without it for over 3 years now, so it's not that big of a deal.
Despite the low price, they really are quality phones. As long as Microsoft keeps it up, I intend to stick with the Lumia indefinitely.
E.g. here's one that ships to the UK for $31.58:
Nice find on the BLU though.
And to use your watch analogy, you wouldn't expect people on tight incomes to buy a Rolex when a <£15 watch works the same.
That is the point of my analogy -- you can justify a high end phone based on more than just its "status", and the cost difference is extremely small (the opposite cases of the Rolex and a normal watch). I'm not making an argument about what poor people in general should do; nor am I saying status plays no factor. I just think the argument that they are buying the newest phone based 100% on social status seems a bit thin.
It is definitely the case, for many people (especially teens and 20 somethings) that smartphones are viewed as essentials – but more than that, mobile devices are becoming the perceived norm – if you don't have one, you're weird. There is such a stigma around "being poor" and many low-income folks are incredibly mindful of that.
Moreover, they know what "good" looks like and they want that experience – and like it or not, having a smartphone is becoming more and more essential for full access to daily life. It's not fully there but there is definitely a fast-moving trend and the evidence is everywhere – you just may not be as mindful if you're not lacking a smartphone.
Lastly, while mobile internet is more expensive, it's a false dichotomy to assume they're strict substitutes. Now consider other details – like ease of purchase – cellphone shops are common, even in inner city neighborhoods, when compared to places that sell actual computers. When you put it all together, it makes clear sense why mobile internet is booming and becoming a first-choice option in low-income communities even if you can claim it's more expense. This is not an isolated trend. Being poor is expensive – this has definitely been written about, at length, elsewhere, but I can dig up links if needed.
I am trying to make the point that it is not going to help you to improve your status in the society. You can't do home budget on a phone, can't access most of Ukrainian online banking, can't do an online course. And for tasks that you can do, like email and calendar, you are more likely to spend more time on the phone while doing them. I like to think of this as a "thing" vs a "tool". I had a low-end Sempron PC since I was around 15 and it was far more useful to me than a smartphone (I had my first smartphone around the same time - shiny new Nokia Symbian, which I probably asked for the reasons you've outlined in your reply). Now I am using laptops, dual screen setups, work and personal phones, tablets etc. and it is useful, but not essential. I really like duolingo and podcasts on my phone, though.
And sorry, I wasn't clear: I am strictly opposing the utility of an iPhone or an expensive Android smartphone for poor, because almost everyone has a (relatively) affordable access to least an Android 2.3 / Windows Phone device in Ukraine now (usable for calls, SMS and basic messaging, some web browsing if you're patient and lucky).
But really, if we're talking about improving one's lot through education, the best bet would probably be a local community college, which should have their own computer rooms. I don't know much about udacity and the like, but I'm not sure there's a route there for people in my neck of the woods, at least. Any local tech jobs want a Bachelor's degree.
I actually do embedded automotive now, so master's is almost a must but you'd be surprised how many seasoned pros are utterly incompetent in basic things like automata and Boolean algebra that I went through in my first semester.
Sprint - ostensibly free phone, $120/mo for a 2-year contract: $2880 all told, and you don't have a choice but to pay all of it
Ting - $500 up front for 64G iPhone SE, avg. $27.50/mo for the same period: $1160 all told, and you can stop service any time if things get bad enough that you have to
Sure, if you can't make the initial nut, it's not an option - but you're talking about being suddenly broke or close to it, which is the situation in which I found myself last year, and which motivated me to put some thought into better options for mobile service. The more I look at it, the more it seems to me that mobile contracts, at least in the US and at least for single phones, are every bit as much for suckers as rent-to-own shops are.
That being said, you can get a motorola G lte for 100 bucks.
Soo... It does exactly the same as my LG with Android 2.2 that costed me ~$70 2.5 years ago?
Apple's latest iOS version 9.3 just dropped. And the 5 year old iPhone 4s along with every iPad except the original just got that update.
What other device would be safe to use with personal information and be just as usable after 5 years? At the original full price that comes to around $80/year. With the additional street cred of owning an iPhone?
The rule of a thumb with iPhones is that you update n+1 version your phone shipped with. Anything more kills the performance to almost a standstill. I won't go into the debate if it's intentionally or not, but as sure isn't with much added value.
If you look at it this way - all that's changed are "clients", the data displayed is the same for both. But only on one phone the system experience is enjoyable. I guess Schiller forgot about that they once had a good optimized mobile OS.
Wow. So iPhones are basically diamond engagement rings for men? At least you're being honest...
You realize those features are not unique to iPhone... right?
"Maybe we could quibble about whether they should have an iPhone or some cheaper smartphone. I am just saying, it could be more for utility than image."
The whole point is that buying an iPhone as opposed to an equally capable cheaper smartphone is done for branding and image.
Poor is when you have to dig through other peoples' trash to find food (I see this every week). I'm pretty sure you you really ended up poor you wouldn't give a damn about your iPhone except to sell it to buy food.
It sure as hell won't be iPhones we get into the hands of the poor. There are regional mvno's/prepaid carriers here who pretty much give away cheap android phones to get on their cheap plans.
All these are easily available for a fraction of iPhone's/iPad's price.
You can have internet at school on a needing basic. You don't need it in your pocket.
You can live without mapping, a dumb phone with alarm clock and be done with it.
If you live by the cent, no, the iPhone is not a priority.
I didn't have a smartphone before 4 months ago, and it was fine. And if you are at school, then it's even easier.
The biggest problem is the social isolation, since now a lot of kids interactions are going through apps.
If you're using a > 5 year old XP box, there's a reasonable possibility that a new iPad Pro might satisfy your needs; at least Apple wants you to consider it.
Instead the political correct "people" of the world debate endlessly about the nuances, while not adding a bit of value themselves. 'Do you fucking know that there are some people in this world who would be grateful for that computer?!". I don't think Apple was talking to them but don't let that stop you from getting on a soapbox.
Computers, and technology in general, are something that all kids should master before they're adults. Smartphones are great tools. Do some of that homework while you're between things. Learn another language (http://duolingo.com). Scratch that artistic itch, write a story, collaborate on school projects via the cloud, or work on a blog, even if no one reads it. Learn better English by debating on Reddit (not on HN, of course). Take lots of pictures and create movies.
Also, there's nothing wrong with a good Android phone. Learn the differences well, and don't pick one phone like it's a religion.
 No one said it works for everyone. Please don't explain all the use cases it doesn't handle.
If the cheap ass option does everything you'll need, you still don't waste money on the more expensive one.
I'm guessing this combination more than likely just boils down to some people who aren't very good at making financial decisions...
Best value on the market today.
This is not necessarily correct.
A lot of people still regard iPhones and other high-end smartphones as being something of a luxury. They are a luxury when you compare them to what we need for survival (food, water, shelter), but there is something to be said about a small rectangular device that, once purchased, can provide nearly free:
2. education (Wikipedia, etc.)
5. social connection
6. documentation of events (note taking, video, etc.)
7. voice recording
9. more complex tools (graphing calculator, 12C, etc.)
10. flash light
11. access to e-commerce (save money on things you need)
12. e-readers (text books that might otherwise be cost-prohibitive)
The list goes on, but, for all of its negatives, the value of a high-quality smartphone like an iPhone can't be over-stated.
In fact, when you consider all the things it replaces, including entertainment, poor people almost cannot afford to not have a smartphone.
Whether the additional value of an iPhone or other high-end device (Galaxy, etc.), compared to a low-end smartphone, pays for the increase in cost, is definitely debatable.
I spent $250 on mine and it is does everything meaningful that an iphone does. Iphone is definitely a luxury even among smartphones.
Edit: Forgot to say, that by comparison, Android/Windows/whatever smartphones are relatively unknown.
Huh? Android has nearly twice the market share of iOS: https://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share...
> iPhones are still seen as another class above by many, if not most, people.
This is severely anecdotal. But here's an anecdote from me to balance things out: where I come (and indeed within the industry I work in) most people look down on iPhones because they see them as uninteresting toy devices or devices for old people. Nobody I know would be 'impressed' by an iPhone. Something like a OnePlus One, Xiaomi Mi5 or even a Blackberry Z30 would have a lot more cool/novelty factor.
iPhones got boring a long time ago. Much like the rest of Apple, it pains me to say.
1 - I can't tell you the number of times I've asked if the person has an Android phone, only to be told: "No, I have a Samsung Galaxy..."
2 - I agree, severely anecdotal. :) I think you'll find that most on the street have never heard of the OnePlus One, and that same group see the iPhone as a luxury item.
Still expensive, but again there is a lot of benefits to having one.
Is $150 the difference between luxury and not luxury for something that is used 4+ hours a day for years?
Just going to throw out some rough numbers (in the U.S.) assuming $50 for your data plan, for 3 years.
3 year iphoneSE experience ($400 + 36 months * $50) = $2200
3 year cheap Android experience ($250 + 36 months * $50) = $2050
Now compare the camera, frame rate, screen quality, security, stability, and support of an iphone 5 vs a $250 Android. When looking at the 3 year cost, you are paying a 10% premium for a far superior experience.
Also there are still many value phones being sold that are pieces of crap. A poor person may be better off spending $20/mn on the latest iPhone that "just works" than getting a budget phone for $10/mn that crashes from not enough memory, has a terrible touchscreen and will be unusable in 1 year.
There are quality low-end smartphones, but you must research which they are, and the naming of them can be very similar to crappy phones. Going in and saying you want an iPhone is a more sure thing than guessing which variant of the value Galaxy line isn't crap, or which unknown brand name has the best features.
Often the sales people are just as clueless as the person buying, and they're motivated to sell whatever makes them a commission.
More likely that the iPhone is viewed as an image luxury good. Same with ridiculously expensive flat screen TVs.
Not to mention, a 2 year old iPhone will probably sell for $250-350, while a $100 smartphone will probably sell for $25 after 2 years. This makes the difference more like $300. So, "Do you get ~$0.50/day more out of an iPhone than you do out of a $100 smartphone?" becomes the new question.
You spend $600 on food and necessities. Because you need to survive.
To me it seems interesting that a lot of people here want to play up the excellence of iPhones.
Isn't it a bit strange to make the assumption that somebody who owns an iPhone can't afford to own an iPhone?
What I'm suggesting is that perhaps we'd be served better to not assume somebody "can't afford" something, and spend a bit more time learning why they decided they can afford that thing.
It's not that simple.
I once heard a lecture from a psychologist researching the effects brands have on teenagers, and she said owning a brand can deeply affect a teenager's self-assurance, create anxieties, etc.
Isn't that basically learning self-esteem and confidence?
But at the end of the day if you can't afford lunch, you need to reevaluate your priorities. Maybe get a slightly older iPhone, or one of the many cheaper but comparable Androids.
I've never heard of a school giving free lunch by default, though. Maybe in areas where 99% of the kids would qualify anyway?
Yes. Which there are a lot of, because poverty is so extremely concentrated.
I don't know if my comment is worthless, but even well off Americans/Westerners take for granted an immense number of things they receive effectively for free. If everything was itemized and billed directly society would be organized very differently.
This is not subsidized just through tax revenue but through forced borrowing as well as things others are obligated to perform for free (as complex as hospital care to as simple as clearing the sidewalk of snow in front of your property.)
Some of these things may last indefinitely, others the economics simply will not permit it, yet they are viewed as existing indefinitely by most.
"Free" lunches are provided by the state, so they don't need to budget for that expense. Lunch @ $3/day, 20 days/month in school, school year runs 10 months/year. Those "free" lunches just paid for the iPhone.
I'm not denying that other teens can and do feel the way your psychologist said, but I'm pretty sure it's a learned behavior, not something innate, and can be unlearned.
A huge failing of our society is that we don't teach people how to be responsible with money. All they see are ads telling them to buy more, spend all your money, keep up with the Joneses.
Either you have parents who teach you, or you figure it out on your own. And for the poorer people, it's just a cycle where they don't know, so their kids don't know.
I myself didn't realize until I stumbled upon Mr. Money Mustache two years ago (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/), and it kind of woke me up. Now I buy way less, save at least half my income every month, and am overall much happier.
The points I was making without spelling them out explicitly, before being confronted with the sad fact that too many people appear to have been watching the Hallmark Channel, are that there is no such thing as intrinsic worth, people make decisions that affect you based in part upon their assessment of your worth, and a lot of that assessment is based on possessions, money, job title and physical appearance.
Choosing to ignore this doesn't make it go away.
(I used to dismiss the importance of appearence as well. But the few days I do dress nice, everything changes)
Contrast this with folks whom have wealth and do everything possible to look fashionably broke (or at least "if you've got it, hide it"): torn jeans, Urban Outfitter, etc.
People tend to project the opposite of their insecurities, and in so doing, reveal them, consciously or not. Peter Thiel describes a number of bad pitches whereby founders describe how big they're unlikely to be, whereas projects with actual traction tend to feign smallness.
Mechanics make good money, and having a side income is all just extra cash for a guy in his 20's that probably doesn't have a lot in the way of bills. Super fast processor, latest GPS chip and assisted GPS software, extra large screen to view the map at a glance while driving... Most of the bad experiences I've had with Uber have been caused by problems with the driver's phone or GPS, not their car. Investing in good (and relatively cheap, all things considered) equipment is probably a wise move here.
And I would't say Urban Outfitters looks "cheap" It looks like Urban Outfitters. The point of a brand new Joy Division "concert" shirt and torn jeans isn't to fool people. Jeans with a pattern of distress marks in front upper thigh and "patch" machine stitching on the back? Expensive (tacky, but expensive). Jeans where both knees have a horizontal split that's threatening to extend to the side seams? Cheap. I would argue that people with "wealth" haven't really been a big demographic at Urban Outfitters lately, anyway. "Understated" clothing brands like Everlane, Calvin Klein seem to be more popular in the US.
When I was a kid in the 90s, kids, even kids without lots of money, wasted lots of the money they have access to on music. That money spent on tapes and CDs is similar to a data plan. Except the data plan + wifi gives you access to a world of services from phone, texting, music, tv, etc.
Personally, I think if I had very little in the way of resources, I would choose a smartphone investment over a TV, radio, and many other things. Its a high return product.
"There are really only two reasons why people might have a computer that’s more than five years old:
1. They can’t afford an upgrade.
2. They don’t need an upgrade."
and then proceeds to examine and _dismiss_ #1 as a plausible motive for these comments.
What he is complaining about is disposable hardware. I am also bothered by this trend, and I'm concerned that it may become more difficult over time to avoid it. I'm typing this on a T430 with a removable hard drive, two SSD's, new RAM, new keyboard, new screen, new fan, and new OS. Try that with MacBook.
If _certain_ tech companies have their way it will be impossible to do anything useful with a machine that hasn't got a crypto-locked boot loader and soldered on hardware. It's debatable whether planned obsolescence is a motivating goal for this.
(It is arguable that semi manufactures are mostly competing with their own older hardware, and they aren't competing as well as they used to; phones still improve like PC's in the 90's, but that's not sustainable in the long run.)
In any case, planned obsolescence is at least a side effect of building non-upgradeable hardware, and that means you'll be compelled to throw away your hardware more often, whether you can afford to or not. For Apple, this means that 5 year old hardware _has_ to pathetic, and they obviously wouldn't admit that anyone else's is less pathetic than theirs.
He said the second thing is what "What Schiller probably meant". Maybe this shouldn't reasonably be construed as a "dismissal". This interpretation is more generous towards Apple than supposing they mean to overtly mock the poor, and I supposed the author meant that this would be beneath them.
Apparently that's debatable :)
But I am upgrading to skylake based laptop. It finally has 16GB RAM in ultraportable with good linux support. Old laoptop will be still usable sometimes.
A few years ago, in helping my mother get ready for a new year of kindergarten teaching at a similar school, she asked if I could do anything about the computers (slow, unreliable, etc etc).
... In ~2013, the best processor of the four machine lot was a 2.8ghz P4. With 2GB of RAM.
It had obviously been cobbled together by a well-meaning local computer shop, as it used quality components, and yes, this was kindergarten. But still, my mother and her like occasionally liked to show kinds YouTube videos to reinforce lessons.
When the OLPC project came out there were a fair amount of notes about how technological progress can make things better or cheaper, and corporations always choose better (because margins, capturing value, avoiding commodity status, etc etc).
But that thrust leaves a lot of people ill-served.
If so, sexual selection produces some very interesting and complex but functionally "useless" objects.
My hypothesis is that complex cognitive activities are one way humans measure fitness as a mate. Conspicuous consumption implies, "Hey, not only was I able to acquire all of this shiny stuff, I have so much I can afford to use it on useless things."
So one interesting question is - how can this be disrupted(by a phone costing half the price) ? Is it even possible ?
Additionally the author takes Schiller's comments out of context. He went on to explain that the reason they think the new iPad will appeal to the people who have old windows computers is that it is more suited to a world which has the internet.
The implication is that nobody, including Apple, has actually offered a product that has enough extra value for PC owners to decide to buy until now.
The awkwardness and insinuations about class are just being read in by the author.
Something I've experienced all my life, and even more strongly since I came to the west coast and the Bay Area, is the out-sized and mis-labeled emphasis placed on signaling here. Supposedly smart and well-educated professionals will use what you wear and what terms you use as a proxy for actually listening and thinking about what one has said. Recent college grads are even worse.
All societies have used class-based stereotypes as a means of regulating and preserving the status quo. However, what I've experienced in the Bay Area are people who tell themselves they are aware of this and are transcending these mechanisms while virulently and mindlessly engaging in them.
Where have all the real intellectuals gone?
Screw it. I can afford to buy any new computer tomorrow, but I'm not doing that because what I have works perfectly fine for my needs