Thursday, 8 July 2010

Well, that was predictable..

I failed to keep blogging regularly!

What a surprise, I guess I join 99% of all bloggers who attempt to write one of these things and get bored after day 3. Well, here I go at trying again.

I begin this again because a hell of a lot of interesting stuff has happened in my life (from my perspective anyway). I have moved in to a place with my fiancée Anne-Lise, graduated from Cardiff University, and been handed a job opportunity all in one month, as well as an amazing holiday in southern Spain, and another 2 weeks away from home in various parts of France next week.

So its all happening now. And I guess, as is proven by the fact that I'm writing this, that enough stuff is happening in my life that I consider it writing about.

What annoys me, and is the reason I haven't kept this thing updated, is that I really wanted this blog to be entirely "tech" related, as I'm fairly sure 90% of my ideas and opinions are formed around the realm of technological advances (and their related cock-ups). Unfortunately this means all my potential posts would be along the lines of:

"The iPhone sucks!! Why the hell would you throw money at a corporation that thrives on blocking your access to content it hasn't personally validated!!??1111one"

...and I don't want to be that type of person. Anyone with half a brain can see the *very* obvious pros and cons of the Apple business plan.

Ok, I cant do it. I just cant sit here typing and hope that anyone reading this is thinking what I'm thinking, so I'm going to have to list them. I'l attempt to explain as un-biased as possible.

1. The hardware Apple produces is awesome. The touch screen technology is so intuitive it may as well be rigged directly into your neo-cortex. (I am of course ignoring the recent iPhone 4 fuckups that require your hand is the exact clone of Sir Jobs' - more later, probably)

2. They have their market totally sorted. I mean really, they have capitalized on the "cool" factor to the point that american TV programs have to have an iMac somewhere in the background, and all the news channels (that have saturated the media enough to appear in Infomania) have someone holding an iPad to wave jpegs and avi's at the screen. Screw high-def, the younger audience will totally care about the news if its waved in front of a camera on a "cool" tablet device. I mean, really?? The overall effect is a considerably lower resolution image than would be produced by letting the audio-visual guys plug the image directly to the screen, but hey, if its on an iPad, people will care more, right??

No... I've started to rant, those that own iStuff presumably considered how much its costing them, weighed it up against the chance of them looking cool and shagable, and decided its worth it.

One last "pro",

3. Its free on the right contract!!

Ok, so certain ISP cum mobile providers no longer have monopolies on iStuff. Meaning there's now even more companies doing Apples advertising for them. I mean, O2, Virgin, Vodaphone, Tescos et all still have to buy the damn things, and then shift them to the baying public, so its not going to bother Apple who provides the contract. To them, they get paid sooner, so "yay, competition can bring the pricing down!!"

Bullshit. Apple still sells the kit, so Apple still decides the price. Its up to O2 to decide how to get it back again.

So yes, O2 may give it to you "free". Congrats, you have an iThingy. But lets consider this, shall we? The cheapest way to get yourself an iPhone4 on a pay monthly tariff, with O2, (as of 9.7.10), is £25 a month, for 24 months. Thats £600 before you try to use it for calls and such. The most expensive, and presumably most generous service-wise, is £60 for 24 months (other tariffs available), costing £1440 in todays money. I'm assuming this phone automatically pays your rent and council tax at that price.

(Incidentally I have a pay-as-you-go deal with O2 which gives me 300 free texts, unlimited internet, 10% of my top-ups back every 3 months as well as various "gifts" of free minutes every time I top up. Over 24 months this will cost me £240, meaning I could have 6 phones for the price of an iPhone, and importantly *I can stop paying, anytime I want!* Apple produces a new phone/pod/pad/thingy at least once a year, but the *free* contracts have you tied in until long after you've sold the thing for 30 quid to a mate)

... Right, deep breathe, and I'll try to finish the rant, while covering my ass with a few things that are obvious about what I've just said.

1. Apple need to make cash, in a way that's predictable and regular, so that its possible to predict future earnings and expenditure. Its the reason very few people have pay-as-you-go mortgages. Fair enough, just don't price yourself into the sky and at all god-like with it.

2. The "cool" factor really is worth something. Annoyingly, its true. Much though we hate to think it, advertising works. Even if you haven't eaten in a McDonalds in the last 6 months, or even walked past one, you still know it exists, and it'll appear in conversation from time to time. This is all it takes for a multinational company to ensure that people walk through its doors. It's recognisable, well known, predicable and, importantly *you know other people who have eaten there*. That's enough to persuade you between a Quarter Pounder and a regular burger and chips from your local burgers-R-us.

I'd love to say that's my Apple rant over, but it really isn't. This was all just to convey the fact that I can see what they're doing, and how its working, and how much people are paying in the hope they will be cool. The most important thing about all this is the software. And I'll type that later, as its late and I should have been asleep hours ago.