Remember geeks, iOS wasn't made for us

Now that Google's Chrome browser has hit the App Store, there's renewed consternation in geek circles over iOS' inability to set something other than Safari as the default web browser.

The same thing happened when Sparrow for iPhone was released, yet couldn't be set as the default email client.

And when/if Google Maps for iOS comes to the App Store, no doubt many geeks will complain about the inability to set it, rather than Apple's iOS 6 Maps, as the default location handler.

We geeks don't just want to use things, we want to control how we use them. We want to be able to tap web links, or email addresses, or location markers, and have them open in something other that Safari or Mail or Maps. We want to launch Siri and have its natural language interface populate texts and make appointments and place calls in something other than Messages, Calendar, and Phone.

But here's the thing -- iOS isn't now, nor has it ever been, made or meant for us geeks. And we knew this from the start.

The iPhone, and later the iPad, were made for:

  1. Steve Jobs.
  2. Regular people, who make up the vast mainstream market.
  3. Reticent people for whom previous computing devices were inaccessible and/or off-putting, who round out the vast mainstream market.
  4. Enterprise and education people, who make up the bulk-buying market.
  5. Geeks, who make up the niche influencer market.
  6. [...]
  7. Richard Stallman

When iOS 1 (iPhone OS 1.0) was released, it had almost zero geek-friendly features. Forget no multitasking, it had no third party apps. No cut, copy, and paste. No push. Nothing even remotely confusable with power features.

We knew this.

But we were charmed by the multitouch capacitive display and the delightful user interface, and so we threw aside our hyper-functional if frustrating geek phones and lined up in droves to buy it.

And then we started complaining.

We married the hot chic (or dude) who couldn't cook and, as soon as the honeymoon was over, we started wondering why there wasn't any dinner on the table.

Never mind it took 2 years for cut, copy, and paste. Never mind we have the App Store, we don't have side-loading. We have Pandora and TomTom and Skype, we don't have desktop-style multitasking. We have FaceTime, we don't have quick settings toggles. We have iCloud, we don't have document attachments. We have Siri, we don't have widgets. We have Notification Center, we don't actionable notifications. We have kiosk mode, we don't have multi-window mode. And we'll have Passbook and Starbucks cards and movie tickets, we won't have arbitrary NFC access.

It's the same reason I'm not getting my And it's the same reason why, year after year, geeks feel iOS preview events like iOS 6 at WWDC 2012 are underwhelming, and while jailbreak remains popular to this day.

We're not Apple's target. We're a side benefit. We're icing.

iOS 6 roundup: Maps, Facebook Integration, Passbook, Siri enhancements, and more

Now I'm not saying we shouldn't complain, that we shouldn't keep pushing for just exactly the geek features we want. John Gruber should. Matthew Panzarino should. And I sure as hell will.

We should all absolutely keep every geeky feature request we can think of on Apple's radar. But we should understand what the priority of those features will be on that radar.

We should understand that iOS doesn't power geek devices made easy enough for mainstream users to employ. It powers mainstream devices made compelling enough that geeks want them as well.

One day, Apple may just enable default app selection on iOS. They'll figure out which stock apps they will and won't allow to be changed, and a way for App Store apps to identify which stock app(s) they can replace, and they'll handle the negative comments when non-Nitro browsers aren't as fast, or email clients don't have or didn't license push, or telephony providers drop calls.

Apple will get around to what we want when they can spare an engineer to both implement it and hide it from mainstream users, and provided it doesn't conflict with any of their more important priorities.

And we knew that when we picked it up.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I agree completely.
  • I totally disagree. This is the worst written, all-misleading story I have ever read on this website. So disappointed. Do you really think that Sparrow and Chrome aren't written for regular people? Common!
  • You completely miss the point.
  • yep he did. amazing.
  • Wow, here's someone who doesn't see the bigger picture... probably ever. Fail.
  • I've been saying all along that Android is not made for consumers in mind - it was made for geeks so naturally I agree with this article. Too many people don't know why their Droids become slow, laggy, or apps crash constantly - it's something Leo Laporte reported on his show many times. Apple avoided the mess, but it confounds geeks who love it too.
  • and to your point i think Google has been trying to de-geek many aspects of android by streamlining things, add a some sheen the menus to make it more appealing to the regular people. I can honestly say, i passed on the G1 and waited for the Palm Pre simply because i thought at that time Android looked ugly with it's flat icons and it's flat, no shine look. Now in hindsight i wish i'd never touched that palm debacle but point is this article resonates with me because i'm very much the "regular person" and i have very few geek tendancies. I have tinkered with computers but that was 100% because i couldn't afford to buy a new one.
  • Read the article again
  • IBoy, you miss the point.
  • i read this one:
    The iPhone, and later the iPad, was made for:
    1.Steve Jobs.
    2.Regular people, who make up the vast mainstream market
    3.Reticent people for whom previous mobile devices were inaccessible and/or off-putting, who round out the vast mainstream market.
    4.Enterprise and education people, who make up the bulk-buying market.
    5.Geeks, who make up the niche influencer market.
    6.Steve Ballmer.
  • Am I crazy or are many of the things Apple is doing with ios the same things Microsoft did in the 90s with Windows and got sued (couldn't change default browser, using private APIs to make IE better than other browsers)? If I recall, Netscape prevailed and MS almost got split up into multiple companies over it... Am I wrong in my comparison? It seems so obvious to me.
  • A little crazy. Can you install Internet Explorer on a ChromeBook? How open is a Kindle? Can you run PS3 games on an Xbox?
    Microsoft abused a monopoly position, which is illegal.
    For example, if I say you can have my OS for $20 with my browser, or $200 with the other guy's browser, and your business depends on my monopoly OS, that's a problem.
    Apple has no monopoly in mobile. You can buy an Android device if Apple displeases you. (i.e. people can vote with their wallets and let the market decide.)
    Arguably, carriers have historically locked down phones far more than even Apple has.
    If you go to an Italian restaurant and they refuse to sell you Chinese, and you want Chinese more than you want to eat at that restaurant, walk out.
  • I don't know if I agree with your point here. Sure you can buy an Android if your iOS device displeases you, but we've seen with Apple's aggressive use of their patents that they're trying to limit your choice there as well. If you don't see this as abusing a monopolistic position, what is?
  • How is aggressively protecting your patents abusing a monopoly? That's your legal right and it's a legal right given to all of Apple's competitors.
  • Apple is not abusing their power, they are protecting their assets. You don't see Apple suing Microsoft. For what it's worth MSFT is at least trying to create their own product and not bluntly copy Apple and say look at me. Now let's rewind the clock a little. Samsung delayed the release of their Galaxy when the IPad 2 came out so they can retool it and copy all the new features. They admit it themselves. It takes Apple years to create a product but it only take the rest of the industry 3 months after apple ces out with a new product. Anybody can create a new product if you have all the UI code and tweak it a little bit and cry foul when the law comes knocking at your door.
    Though I am not a big MSFT fan but I applaud the direction they are going with their tablet. Rather it succeeds or not, at least they are not copying Apple right out of the box. Google=thief.....end of discussion.
  • Apple is not abusing their power, they are protecting their assets. You don't see Apple suing Microsoft. For what it's worth MSFT is at least trying to create their own product and not bluntly copy Apple and say look at me. Now let's rewind the clock a little. Samsung delayed the release of their Galaxy when the IPad 2 came out so they can retool it and copy all the new features. They admit it themselves. It takes Apple years to create a product but it only take the rest of the industry 3 months after apple ces out with a new product. Anybody can create a new product if you have all the UI code and tweak it a little bit and cry foul when the law comes knocking at your door.
    Though I am not a big MSFT fan but I applaud the direction they are going with their tablet. Rather it succeeds or not, at least they are not copying Apple right out of the box. Google=thief.....end of discussion. Those who disagree should look in the mirror and asks yourself, if you invent something will you let somebody steals it from you and make $$$$$ out of it and hide behind the opensource theory.
  • Not sure this needs to be gone over, but you seem to suggest that Apple shouldn't protect its Brand, or IP? That they should allow others to shamelessly imitate their products? Maybe I misread your statement.
  • Its called business.
  • Amazon forces you to buy their hardware to fully utilize their prime service.
    DOJ DOJ DOJ.. monopoly monopoly!
    They are all doing it to some extent. At what point does a company own the rights to their hard work, and at what point do we tell them they have no right to control their environment.
    I'm not even sure I agreed with telling Microsoft it couldn't package in its own browser. Seriously...?
  • First monopolies are not always illegals. So scream DOJ all you want but Justice will just tell you, merely being a monopoly isn't enough.
    Second point on the browser litigation. There was a whole lot more to the case then simply saying they couldn't include their browser. Microsoft was forcing people to take the browser in what is called "bundling" and preventing others companies like a HP as an example from contracting to with companies like Netscape to include their browser. They were improperly using their power to interfere with contracts in other business. They were telling companies you can only get windows if you don't deal with other browser companies. There's were complicated antitrust issues involving the improper use of market power. These were by definition anti-competitive practices. Not simply a case of "you can't package your browser."
  • Patents, are by design, government granted monopolies allowing inventors to reap the benefit of their inventions for a limited period of time. To complain that patent litigation is monopolistic...that's the whole point!
  • So I agree with you to a point Rene. Yes MS did abuse there monopoly status in desktop operating systems in many ways, but was bundling a browser with their OS necessarily one of them? In my opinion no, but other legal entities did see it and now that is the precedent.
    Thanks to Android, Apple does not have a monopoly on the the mobile phone space which is the only thing that saves them from the many anti-competitive things they do with their control over IOS. Had android not taken half the smartphone market then I do believe that the iPhone would be close to monopoly status in that area even if a number of its features never never had to evolve to compete. the difference is in the tablet space. In the tablet market Apple very much has monopoly status and they are very close if not already abusing that via itunes. The fact that itunes is the only method of managing an iDevice, in this case the iPad, they are essentially forcing users into using itunes as a storefront for music, movies, books, and magazines. Now you might say there is nothing stopping a user from downloading from amazon and adding to their library or any of the other options out their, but that also was one of the same defenses for MS with IE. Why would the average user, who you openly say the iDevices are made for, look elsewhere when they have an integrated store front that they are required to interact with just to manage and get data onto their device? In most cases they don't. Add to the fact you aren't allowed to even consider other market places for things like apps, because it's not allowed by Apple is very very close to monopolistic behavior. The comparison to consoles that I have seen used before to counter this fails also (at least for now) in that you can buy games from any retailer that chooses to sell them and are not forced to go through Sony or MS if you want to play a game on a console.
    Now as for how litigious they have become, well, I can't really blame them for 'protecting' their IP especially after they got smacked down so hard in the 80's by MS. What I can do is continue to voice my opinion against the patent office and granting of overly generic and obvious patents to Apple. I will also not recommend or ever purchase another Apple product (no matter how nice the aesthetics are) until Apple stops the litigation and goes back to what they do best; polish existing ideas and make them work very well with other Apple devices. You may call it innovation, I call it the natural evolution of hardware and software backed by very very well done marketing.
    I realize I diverged off on a couple topics there, but it's been a long day and I am tired. Considering this is iMore I fully expect the loyal Apple supporters to express their own opinions on these topics.
    For full disclosure I am a current Android user, although considering WP8 when I am compelled enough by the hardware running it; I have owned the iPhone3G and iPhone3GS (the later which my sister now uses) and currently use a nano and have on old iPod Video which still works nicely for media backups. I have never been a fan of Apple software, but have always loved the polish on their hardware.
  • yes bundling was. And part of it was an interference with contracts with computer makers preventing them, if they wanted to sell computers with windows, to not have netscape or any other browsers as preinstalled software. That's anti-competitive actions and was illegal.
  • I agree with Rene here. Use common sense. No one is forcing you with a knife to buy an iPhone (I hope so!). I personally use an iPhone for my business and personal use. When I want to get geekie, I go out and buy an android, mess with it and ultimately I end up back to my iPhone for its simplicity. Also, when I travel, I don't trust any other device besides a an iPhone. It is a proven device.
  • I didn't know MS employed thugs to force people to buy Windows either. Microsoft was trying to point to Linux and Macs too to say they were not a monopoly.
  • Let me offer at least two facts that distinguish Apple's control of iOS from Microsoft's control of Windows in the 90s: First, Apple does not have monopoly market share in smartphones or even smart devices, nor does it have a degree of market share that would give it market power. One or the other is necessary for making a case of antitrust violation. Second, having private APIs and restricting default setting to certain of its own apps is only an actionable antitrust violation, if Apple does not have good technical and/or legally acceptable business reasons for exercising that degree of control. I think that Apple can offer good reasons for exercising its degree of control based on, inter alia, providing a superior user experience for mainstream users, preserving and maintaining the security model on its iOS devices, providing superior and problem free performance on its iOS devices, and last but hardly least, avoiding the tremendous expense of having to support every Tom, Dick, and Harry third-party app that would access iOS's private APIs if it published those APIs.
  • Oh yes: And, unlike Microsoft, Apple is placing such restrictions only on its own devices and not third-party devices. This and the foregoing would make it unlike that either the DOJ or a private party would prevail in an antitrust suit against Apple for the control of its iOS devices that you complain of.
  • Well, you can only buy a device if Apple hasn't used their influence to get it temporarily banned from sales...
  • The big difference was Microsoft made the restrictions on other peoples PC's, not their own. That is called an abuse of monopoly. Apple has every right to restrict stuff on their product. And expect the same with Microsofts Surface tablet.
  • @Dman: Apple didn't have (and still doesn't have) a monopoly on the cellphone market when it instituted its apps-not-allowed-to-be-on-iPhone policies. Microsoft was already a monopoly; if it had not been a monopoly, what it did would not have been illegal.
  • @Dman: Apple didn't have (and still doesn't have) a monopoly on the cellphone market when it instituted its apps-not-allowed-to-be-on-iPhone policies. Microsoft was already had a monopoly on PC operating systems; if it had not been a monopoly, what it did would not have been illegal.
  • I like how people justify their decisions to stick with a platform. It's cute. As for this guy, after 5 iPhones, I think it's time for something new. No one on the iOs side will miss me, but that's ok. Time to see what's growing on the other side.
  • I completely agree. Getting the Samsung Galaxy S III next week. I still love my iPad, but I am ready to have complete control of my phone again without always waiting for jailbreaks.
  • You do know you just gave up the control to get updates right?
  • I came from the other side. Great phones, great OS. But like you I got bored and decided to try something new. I'm loving my iPad, my iPhone, and my other Apple devices.
    I'm mostly a geek but right now I don't just feel like tweaking my phone anymore, or installing a new cyanogen mod rom or worrying about finding the perfect home screen configuration. I just want it all to work with minimal fuss.
    So for now anyway, I'm loving the Apple stuff.
  • Always laugh when someone says this.. because I bet you spend just as much time if not more playing and tweaking your iPhone.. Personally, I like things working out of the gate too.. but I also like to make sure I have more than one option available if I don't like the default :-)
  • This is exactly how I felt after having android phones for years. I just got tired of tweaking them. I am enjoying my iPhone and iPad quite a lot and best of all I spend more time now actually using my devices instead of tweaking them and getting them setup just right.
  • Same as me. I used to care much about my phone's theme, wallpaper, etc and tried to make it as cool as possible. Nowadays, I don't really care about the theme, wallpaper, ringtones, etc. Even now, I'm too lazy to set the things up. I'm moving from a no.5-type-of-person to no.2-type-of-person I guess.
  • I really don't understand this argument. You don't have to tweak the hell out of your Android phone, but the option is there just like tweaking the hell out of your iPhone by jailbreaking. I'm just curious what exactly didn't work on the Android or if it just that the tweaking was just too easy and tempting to pass up?
  • There's no argument here. I'm trying to say it's the preference of each person. I'm not against Android and Blackberry. I enjoy all, just iPhone fits the most in me. Since tweak-ability is not my concern, Android has no difference than iPhone to me.
  • Everyone is free to try new things... what I don't get is the people who insist on announcing to the world they are switching platforms as if it makes any real difference to us.
    Make a change, be happy, but don't think we give a flying F#)$*( what you do.
    But hey, if you insist... hope you love that Android, I'm personally sticking with iOS because its best but the #1 reason is the camera and the apps around the camera. Nobody can touch the iPhone in this category. Geek out all you want, but this will probably never change.
    There... make any difference to you? I thought not.
  • Or you can be like myself and have a bite of everything. I have an iPhone, 3rd gen iPad, Galaxy S II and a Asus transformer prime. While I feel the Apple products work way way better and a hell of a lot smoother. I enjoy both worlds and I'm hoping that one of these days Google gets there sh*t together with android. IMO android is still very beta hopefully jellybean will but and end to this.
  • I'm just waiting for Firefox.
  • TBH, i seen people with different kinds of phones here and there. Heck i work at a private clue(where a lot of rich people goes to eat at our dinning rooms). There truly just get what ever phone fits them no matter if its iPhone to the android. or even a slider nokia that 4 years old. Its all about the every day life of how we use our own phones. heck i seen couple of my friends that went through many phones (most of them android.) they then fall to the iOS and keep it. i also have a friend who is anti apple. and has all the Android phone and a Tablet. Heck his phone has a phys keyboard.
    it doesn't matter. Geek or not We all will end up going to things how we want. Some of us think as going to iOS and Jailbreaking is one way of geeking out, or Rooting our android to run Cyanogen, or even trying to change that theme on that old cool Blackberry Pearl 8100. What ever new thing comes out, comes out. people will get it no matter if its on release day or if its later on when people decides that "ohh its done with its bug fixing i'll get it now."
    These companies doesn't care about how much people buys it on the first day. all these companies just try to make it work for you, as the User. If that is fulfilled then later in the future. When a new phone comes out and their phone starts to wither away, that person will say "i'll Take that"
    I've used android since 1.2>1.4>1.5>2.1>2.3(little bit) while i confidentially use iOS from 2.2.1-6.0. I can tell you from this very day that i still think that android is messy, sloppy even. Doesn't mean it will stop my from getting that Galaxy Nexus or a SG3. I won't stop there though. I would also want a WM8 phone as well.
    Point is. A Real Geek doesn't reside on one OS. A geek resides everywhere. I like to think of it as if this was a digital world we live in. the phones we have is just a weapon of choice.
    (apparently this only goes to many of the different arguments of the comments and slightly with the geek topic in general)
  • sorry didn't mean to just reply on your comment about firefox. I would use iCabMobile if your on iOS. Has Firefox like feats, also syncs with your firefox. there you go buddy. if you are on android. i wouldn't have a clue ATM
  • And this is why we have a healthy jailbreak community (where Apple does some of it's head hunting). While its not ideal, there is a steady march of progress with iOS development, and there's healthy competition now more than ever. I do hope they open up iOS a bit so that you can at least choose default apps.
  • I know Android-loving trolls are hated here; I am not one. I think both OS's are great. However, while reading about all the things we geeks wish we had, I just couldn't help but wonder: Why not try Android, then? I mean, all of those wanted features are already in Android. I thought this through watching most of the WWDC keynote as well. I know it has its quirks, but so does iOS. I won't go on and on about the quirks, but I couldn't help but notice the list's correlation to features Android already offers.
  • For me? Same reason I don't use Linux for my laptop. I don't have the time or inclination to fuss with configuring things any more.
    When I was a kid, I tweaked the hell out of my Windows Mobile and PC.
    Now I just pick up stock iOS and OS X and work.
    Everyone has different priorities, which is why it's great we finally have options for everyone.
  • This. Everyday of the week and 2x on Sunday.
  • This was a great article and this comment hits the nail on the head for me on why I don't use android. Not to mention the lack of device support and cohesion between the hardware and OS.
  • Android takes nothing near the configuration, tweaking, and workarounds that Linux might. It is a complete and capable OS out of the box. The ability to tweak is there but not necessary. As has been said countless times before; why not have the option? Also the "I don't have time" excuse is lazy and not applicable to any high end Android phone.
  • I just don't worry about it anymore. It's not that I "don't have time" to tweak my phone, it's just that I've moved beyond feeling the need or desire to do so.
  • Very enlightened of you but you completely missed the point of my comment.
  • Also, if you have folders then you have fallen back in line with the rest of us regular folk.
  • Yep. Just how I feel.
  • I know quite a few Galaxy Nexus owners, and asked them if they had to tweak their devices to get them to work. Their answer, to a T was "we log in with our Google password and everything is in place."
  • An it will stay that way because it will never see an update.
  • Bwhahahaha... nice!
  • ^^^^ this
  • The Galaxy Nexus is getting the next Android update. Just saying...
  • You picked the one android phone to be wrong about, actually. The Nexus range are Google's brand phone, and always get the newest update, and get it first. It's the other android manufacturers that cause upgrade issues when they bolt their own proprietary bits onto the stock product.
  • If someone makes the following statement, they are not a "geek," "I don't have the time or inclination to fuss with configuring things any more."
    Such a person isn't a "geek," such a person is a HERO, a "Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives" which is a Forrester Research term for “the 17 percent of information workers who use new technologies and find innovative ways to be more productive and serve customers more effectively.”
    Forrester Research suggest that these "Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operatives" also known as the "power laptop user," make 44% more money, use more collaboration apps, and carry an average of three devices wherever they go."
    "Employees want their PCs to boot in 10 seconds, not 10 minutes, and they don’t want to have to get a cup of coffee while opening a 20 MB spreadsheet in Excel. They’re drawn to uncluttered Macs — especially those with solid-state drives, which are more responsive and boot in seconds."
    I suggest that the comments made by Forrester Research apply equally to iPads and iPhones.
  • No. A true geek like me is has been running jellybean since Thursday. We don't wait for official release or ota's. We also don't pay $99 to sign up as a developer to try the new os.
  • I agree with Rene. But I really don't are about default apps at this time. As implied by this excellent article, there will always be more (new) features to implement.. Apple did an incredible job of phasing in features instead of hitting the virgin public with a ton of bricks (overwhelming number of features and options). And it seems like a lot of geeks probably thought it was because of THEIR whining that Apple relented and added the feature. THAT is arrogance. Or THEY thought THEY thought of the feature, and couldn't BELIEVE that Apple would leave such a feature out. Y'all can probably find exceptions to this generality, but seriously folks, like Rene says, Chill. Get a life. (DMan raises a good point. I think this will only be a matter of time. One has to have GOOD alt apps before you introduce a setting! Jeez. Maybe even only highly vetted, partnered apps make the list.)
  • Excellent dose of perspective. Technical people vehemently excoriate each other over the slightest differences between competing technologies. This is often fine fuel of innovation but doesn't make the product anymore accessible to my 93 year old grandmother. As far as I know Apple has never designed a product that easily exposes its inner 1's and 0's. Their technical achievements are most remarkable for their lack of intrusiveness and ability to distill the novel down to a poem. Case and point: my grandmother who is terrified that demons are causing her VCR to blink, inquisitively picked up my iPad and was instantly using it. This is the same woman that required me to press the button for her once a week so she should hear her messages on the answering machine. When a 2 year old, 90 year old and all points in-between find immediate, uncluttered, uncomplicated value in technology, to me that is damn close to art.
    And now for something completely different: Can someone tell me when Mail will get decent spell checking, autocorrect (capitalize the first letter of a sentence please) and better, easier formatting? I am a HORRIBLE speller and am assured to burn in hell for it. Outlook using Word as the mail editor hid the little man behind the curtain and allowed me to play Oz, the Great and Powerful. Now people think I have suffered a stroke while typing. Even most browsers have better spell checking. Is there something, other than a brain, that I am missing with Mail?
  • Couldn't agree with you more. And that is why Apple is where they are today. Not because us geeks but because the millions of young and old and in between that just want a simple phone or tablet.
  • And that is why true geeks despise apple. We want file explorers and we don't want to be locked down!
  • The problem with this line of thinking is that, while you say we should continue to complain, this justification is trotted out every time to dismiss an entire class of discussion about iOS devices. What the iPhone was, and even what it is, is not automatic fodder to ignore often passionate discussion on what the iPhone could become.
    So what if the iPhone was "now now, nor was it ever" designed for geeks? Since when is the future completely bound by the dictates of the past To insist that be so is self-limiting thinking, especially in tech, the equivalent of "there's always been a lottery." Past is prologue, not a straightjacket.
    As probably the most famous example, remember in 2007, when Steve Jobs pronounced native apps unnecessary to the iPhone. Geeks grumbled, loudly, but Jobs stuck to his vision of no native SDK far after launch. Would you have dismissed the geeks then with a patronizing "never mind, this was designed for Steve, not for you" reminder? If not then, why now?
    The simple truth is that laying down hard-earned money on an iPhone does not mean you have to uncritically accept every aspect of the device, nor does it automatically disqualify you from offering opinions how you would like it improved. Quite the opposite, in fact. And yet, anytime a certain pocket-protected class even mentions a desire for feature A or feature B, they are sent off with a wave of "oh well, this was not designed for you." Sorry, no.
    Apple controls their own priorities -- and should -- but customers and fans have every right to chime in with their opinions, and the more passionate the customer, the more they love the product, the more they should. Yes, shocking as it may seem, even geeky customers have that right, and deserve better than a regularly repeated, minimalist "oh, you are too advanced of a geek for this product" backhanded-compliment-as-dismissal.
  • it sounds like you want apple to be like android.
  • NEXT!!
  • I'm scared that if apple doesn't start to be more open soon that android is going to win in the long run.
  • Android had been winning. This fall the truth will be seen.
    What I mean is when people don't line up for the new iPhone like the used too. The GS3 had over 10million prorders.
  • That's why Apple is making money hand over fist. It's the only smartphone I feel comfortable recommending to my Mom. It's also the only computing device I didn't have to explain to her. She knew how to use it. While I'm not always 100% happy with Apple, I can say that they get average users better than any other company in technology.
  • The Geeky features will come when there are adequate methods for ensuring privacy. A couple of years ago the people weren't even sure that additional email clients and browsers would be accepted. Now there are plenty of choices.
    I see Apple moving towards making defaults configurable but safeguards must be in place first.
  • It's very simple. Apple's iPhone, Apple's rules. Don't like it...? Start your own company and make a device the way you like it, or get an android. ;-)
  • Businesswise, Apple's target market is the biggest slice of pie chart, which is the regular people. They don't care about what us geeks think or want. As long as they can provide what the regular people need and give more value to those people, they will be the market leader. Regular people don't even know nor read iMore like us.
  • I definitely hear what your saying, except for that Apple has lost the market leader crown if you consider he who holds the market share to be the market leader....which you could argue against that case.
  • Apple isn't looking to be the market leader in terms of share. It's rare for a premium brand to ever lead in share. The ipad is one of the few exceptions.
    To keep increasing sales though is a goal. And selling one iphone is worth so much more to Apple then say a single android sale is for an android device maker or even Google. That one iphone sale gets an user into the iOS system. From there, that person is an itunes user. He or she is likely to get an apple tv or ipad, buy accessories, apps, etc and perhaps get a Mac later.
    On the other hand, HTC for example, gets someone to buy their phone. There's not much keeping that person with HTC in the future. There's not much in terms of ecosystem that this person is going to add to HTC. Even the margin on hardware alone is much less than Apple's.
  • Well duh. Once someone owns a I device they are forced into apples ecosystem. Unlike android where you get content wherever you want.
  • I enjoy tipb, but I'm so sick of this idea that Apple doesn't cater to the "geek". Apple absolutely caters to the geeks out there. People like my mom or sister could care less about Siri, 3D maps, or cloud sharing browser tabs. They will never in their lives set up a VIP mail filter or save web pages to an offline reading list.
    Its the geeks like you and me that are going to talk about this stuff for the next 6 months, its the geeks that are going to line up for an iPhone 5 on day one, and its the geeks that will actually use any of this crap they put on the phone.
  • I see your point, but I also see Rene's point. 600,000 iPhone apps and 220,000 iPad apps mean that there are a whole lotta geeks out there, pushing the Xcode / Cocoa / Obj-C / UIKit envelope.
    But the mass market is vastly bigger and more important than us geeks at the fringes. And Apple understands the mass market better than any other technology company right now.
  • Google has announced 600k apps. So that point Is moot. IPad apps are easy their just overblown iPhone, iPod apps:)
  • Simpler is better when it comes to the consumer market.
    Geeks of the world will eventually realize that. (Tick tock tick tock.)
  • Yes, when Jobs insisted native apps were not necessary, because webapps were all the iPhone ever needed, it was a good thing the geeks both inside and outside of Apple knew their place and kept quiet.
  • LEGAL PROOF apple is copying others!!!!!
  • I've read most of the comments here but there is one argument that I didn't see. What is your definition of "geek"? I don't think I'd call someone wanting to change their default browser a geek. I wouldn't even consider someone who jailbreaks a geek. All you do is download a program, push a button a bam...your phone is jailbroken. That is hardly geek status. I'm a proud geek and i don't want to be bundled with people who just want to change their default browser.
  • I feel like I've posted this before in the forums (or something similar). I totally agree. We're not the targets.
    I'd change one thing though. Instead of Steve Jobs, insert Apple. They were one and the same. And that might need some elaborating. Which means of course, they build devices around revenue streams. If there's not a way they can go to market or have it help enhance or create a revenue stream (or minimizes an expense), they won't do it.
    In the end, it means things have to just work and be simple and it has to make Apple money, help in some way, or be able to be leveraged later toward this end. Apple found their magic formula and it's given them magical results. They just keep pulling strings.
  • What are they saying in the truck video? The pole dancer did not "fail", the pole did.
  • Rene,
    Although I generally agree with you in spirit ("Android is aimed at geeks, iOS is aimed at mainstream"), I think what Apple did to Maps for 6.0 is not just something geeks and power users are going to notice and complain about. The elimination (or the punting of the responsibility to 3rd party apps) of public and bike transit and Street View is something EVERYONE is going to notice and complain about. The average user is smarter than you give them credit for.
    For those who wonder why there's such an uproar over the whole Apple Maps 6.0 fiasco...let me put it this way: Every iOS update from 1.0 to 5.0 has always ADDED features to make the whole experience more robust. 6.0 would be the first time a critical function was TAKEN AWAY. You can't make the maps app LESS FUNCTIONAL than version 2.0 and call that progress. This actually felt like a step backwards. It took Google almost a decade to make their maps app as powerful and functional as it is. You never want to say never but I find it incredibly hard to believe that Apple will be able to even MATCH that come October. Maybe, Apple has an army of invisible "Apple cars" and "Apple jets" mapping data as I type this, but I doubt it. Hell, the gap is even wider now that Google Maps is now mapping the INSIDE of buildings. Apple will never catch up in that area. Sorry, but maps is what Google does best.
    Lastly, on the last iMore show, Seth (an articulate, thoughtful guy who I always agree with) said that the new native turn by turn would "trump" the loss of public transit. Sorry, Seth, but you're wrong. There's still a large segment of humanity that lives in dense, urban areas, don't drive cars and rely heavily on public transportation (again, these aren't just geeks and power users that will notice this loss of function; this is the every day person). In this economy and with the push towards being more green, that's only going to increase. Getting native turn by turn navigation would have been a big deal...back in 2009. Back before iOS 3.0. Since that time, iOS users (3G and above) have had over 30 (?) different such apps to choose from: TomTom, Navigon, Telenav, AT&T Navigator, Sygic, Gokivo, Magellan, etc. So to say the average user will be okay with losing something as essential as public and bike transit information just to get a native navigation driving app that's probably inferior (not as many features, doesn't put the maps on your phone...a wonderful solution for people on tiered data plans, etc.), prettier graphics, and an absolutely useless 3D Flyover feature is just wrong. Apple took a step backwards by eliminating Google Maps from their OS. I love Apple products as much as anyone, but it's simply delusional to to think that Apple Maps is going to approach the quality of Google Maps anytime in the next few years, if ever. Ironically, by eliminating Google Maps from the native iOS, Google will probably release an even more superior experience in the way of a 3rd party Google Maps app in the App Store.
  • I agree with you rene. If anyone has been listening to iPhone/iPad live this is EXACTLY what Seth Clifford has been saying for awhile now and it's true. I'm a geek and love the iPhone though but people don't need to get mad about the facts.
  • Yeah, I disagree...
    When iPhone was first launched, we were told it runs OSX. A stripped down version of OSX, but OSX none-the-less. When it became apparent that this version was a complete walled garden, they changed the name to "iOS".
    And yeah - it kinda sucks shelling out $1000 for a phone and not being able to customise it how you want. I'm not the kinda guy who would go around jailbreaking stuff, but I at the very least want the ability to buy an application and use it as my default - to customise the way I use my device without breaking any terms of service, etc.
  • Let's be clear, they changed the name from iPhone OS to iOS.
  • Now I understand why I don't like iOS at all, it's not because apple is a trash, it's because i love personalization, and the full control over OS and you can get that just with Android, again iOS is awesome but is not for geeks
  • All you Android geeks are losers. Choosing your default Web browser from a drop down menu is just to hard for the average person until Apple adds magic to make it easy. Like the once geek pull down notification menu that was once too complicated to pull down with a finger and is now magically easy.
  • Seriously, we're not losers.. We just like a certain degree of customization. I have both, and while I love openness of Android, I just grew tired of chasing specs and OS's. And yes, I consider myself a geek.
  • I was being sarcastic.
  • Forget it. The Inspired Engineer who might've insured any of those geek features we want, has retired.
  • "Forget no multitasking, it had no third party apps. No cut, copy, and paste. No push. Nothing even remotely confusable with power features." And yet it was the best smartphone available by far.
  • Because everyone knew it was the first computer in your pocket.
  • Not really. It was the first APPLE COMPUTER IN YOUR POCKET. Palm, Windows Mobile, and RIM were doing it long before Apple did. It was due to Steve Jobs. Jobs had the mojo. Cook doesn't, hence why his post Jobs events and Keynotes are lackluster, at best. Since Apple uses celebs in their commercials, they should use them to do their keynotes. Cook is the most boring presenter in the Tech Sector.
  • Jobs was more of a genius at marketing then anything else. That is what got the whole fanboy craze going IMO. I think that if Jobs was behind one of the other cell os' they would be what iPhone is today because of his marketing ability.
  • I definitely disagree about post-jobs apple presentations. I thought the Keynote for this WWDC, where Siri started if off with some stand-up comedy, was classic Apple-Jobs. It was probably Steve & Co's idea before he passed, but the rest of the presentations were rock solid, full of life & energy and positive vibes. Steve Lives.
    Jobs was more than a Marketing genius. He was at least three kinds of geniuses rolled into one. Let's not confuse marketing with design, taste, and technological insight.
    (And I love that mashup of the iPad launch vs Surface ... but that is off topic too.)
  • But if you didn't notice Google had no jabs at iOS unlike Apple at wwdc. They had plenty of smug remarks against android.
  • I keep hearing/seeing people say it takes more time to learn Android vs. an iPhone. That would be true if you wanted to learn how to make your phone look like mine and change it all the time, but to use it like 'normal' users would, it takes no more time than going from a dumb phone to an iPhone. My wife has used both, but started with an iPhone. She admits that she likes the Nexus more for what it looks like and the features, she doesn't want to learn something different right now. Going from one to the other is where the real confusion, frustration, and arguments lie. I've used both, but I admit that I'm a customizer, so I dig Android for that. Beyond that, though, I prefer the notification system, seamless integration with Gmail, etc., and the size of the screens. Wouldn't trade my Galaxy Nexus for anything right now.
  • I don't believe the point has been made that Apple had to fight their way into the cell phone space AND that they were selling a device that could possibly need to be relied on to place a PHONE call in a Life & Death situation. If I were releasing such a product I would't want to allow Fart apps on there that could possible crash the phone or make it unusable. Can you imagine the lawsuits and trying to determine who was to blame, etc?? This was a NEW market space, and apple was playing it super safe, and they stated that. They were protecting the product in the version 1.0 by not having "apps". Anyone who thinks that apps weren't in their (secret) ROAD MAP from the beginning is naive. :^)
  • That's what I really like about iOS. I'm a geek, I love tweaking and customizing. I had an Android 2.3 phone for a while and while it was great to be able to mess with every single setting, I found it distracting. What I love about my 4S and iPad is that I'm not compelled to constantly micromanage every facet of the device. I just use it for what it's meant to be used for, nothing gets in the way. When I had Android I spent so much time messing with everything that I hardly used the device.
  • Keep in mind that android has it's mainstreamers as well who do nothing more but use their phone to take pics, use maps, look at the browser, and post to facebook. I bet if you asked them what OS they were using many wouldn't know or care. (same with iOS)
    Android devices didn't take off because they were aimed at geeks or whatever that comprise a fraction of android's market. This is nonsense. They took off because makers were able to do what Apple won't. Make bigger screens, make cheaper devices, make them available on every carrier just about, make LTE versions. They took off despite the shortcomings of android & chaotic ecosystem.
    The majority of phone users (all people really) are stupid in general. This isn't a revelation by any means. But Apple knows it. Advanced users or geeks simply put up with it because there's advanced apps for that, apple's attention to detail & ecosystem, devices are well built & shiny, well supported, can be jailbroken, have established cycles, and retain value.
  • I think that one of the reasons why iOS users are so happy with what we're given is that even those apps which aren't perfect are at the very least good enough. Mail is good enough to use instead of Sparrow. Safari is good enough to use instead of Chrome. And Apple's Maps will be good enough to use instead of Google Maps.
    Those for whom it isn't good enough are the micro-managers who use Android.
  • i like this cause i'm not the geek. i'm the normal guy so most of the apple/ios decisions are right up my alley. i do want stuff to just work. i like shiny crap. Now i often want stuff faster then they give it but like they said in the podcast, i'm the guy that doesn't care about rss feeds, doesn't want rss feeds, and if i hadn't heard the geek hype i'd never have known about them. Hell i tried it once and when i realize what it was i was like "why would anyone want this over a nice pretty website?" To this day i don't get it but to each his own.
    regardless i like the focus on the regular guy. That's my interest.
  • I honestly feel that both companies complement each other. I work with a lot of end users and frankly I don't think apple should as a lot of those features. That's what android was for. A lot of times as geeks we look at things in a completely one sided view. Users don't need to customize everything, it makes it easy for ten to destroy the product. It also makes it a lt more difficult to protect the end user. I believe apple weighs the opportunity cost of allowing full customization versus having a very sloppy losse phone operating system.
    I know we are techs and enjoy tinkering with different features but at some point we have to think about the end user. We are here to improve there user environment not ours. We cant expect end users to know that much.
  • @Rene... As usual, spot on. But come on, be more topical. Say that Apple makes devices for the 99%, and we are not one of them.
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    In safari, create a generic bookmark called "open in Chrome". Then edit the bookmark URL with the above code. This will allow any page in Safarito be opened immediately in Google Chrome.
  • Great article Renee. I love tweaking my Nexus and keeping it simple on my 3rd gen iPad. Options are great!!1
  • Rene, you sound like a wannabe geek. Any geek worthy of the name will be thinking 'Well duh! WTF - just hack the thing if you are bright enough and do what you want.'
    What you seem to be asking for is a tinkerers paradise served up on a plate and there's nothing geeky about that.
    Geeks just do it.
  • This is a total non-issue. If you want to tinker with iOS, Jailbreak it. Your opinion of the target audience to which iOS was designed is entirely egocentric.
  • do you remember the 1st Apple commercial with Big Brother being the main point... Apple is now Big Brother ..the iSheep will comply
  • So why not just make a action like the deva did with " fix radar or gtfo."
    Perhaps someone with time should do it, I'll be happy to duplicate the forms.
  • Perhaps we should consider what's happened to all-around pro support, which has diminished greatly. Does anyone remember what the /Pro section used to look like, 10 years ago? It was full of profiles, tips, and pushing 3rd party software. Remember the uber-sexy MacDirectory? The big 3rd party apps going OS X native were practically front-page news on, and Apple regularly used Photoshop benchmarks to show G4s were faster than Pentium 4s! All of those business and science showcases are gone. Steve said the Mac was the computer for the rest of us, but it was never just that. The Mac took off because of publishing and animation, which are notoriously difficult programs (or at least have a steep learning curve). Steve touted those programs getting used on the Mac, because the OS was really that much better. That didn't make amateurs run out and buy pro software en masse, but it showcased that the experience was that much better, the coherence of the OS worked for the pros AND the rest of us. Now, it's not so easy to see. We got simplicity with iOS, but in a very limiting way (which the article said). Our current iOS apps still don't match the complexity of Photoshop on OS 8.6. When we get to that point, I bet iOS will get some more robust tools to keep up. That will be driven by pros who extract the most of whatever app, then they'll tell Autodesk or Adobe what they'd like to see, and in turn those companies will talk to Scott and Tim. It'll happen, but it will take a while. Who could have imagined, on the day the Mac was unveiled, that Macs would be making Babylon 5 10 years later? Imagine what we'll do in iOS in 2017. it would probably blow our minds, just like the current crop of software would blow us away if we had seen it in 2007. Give it time.
  • I completely agree. And the sooner the geeks and carrier sales reps understand that the sooner the android and iPhone fan boys will stop bickering over stupid stuff and learn to coexist together.
  • True
  • Excellent article. Made me realise a lot of things.
    I've whitnessed this "Apple complex". People that have become adicted to the Apple way, quasi greedy, needing more and more of Apple. Expecting more and more.
    But who's to blame? I can't think of any other that can deliever that kind of experience.
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