I caught up with a friend yesterday and as we were supplying each other with details about what we've been up to since we last met (I casually let drop that I am currently exploring professional opportunities...like I'm doing here), our mutual love of tech led us pretty quickly to the current global state of smartphones. It's a bit difficult not to discuss such things with people nowadays since there isn't really much going on in my life as is.
As with most things, our attention turned to Apple and the whole bendgate fiasco. We both agreed that more disappointing than Apple building a premium phone with soft metals was people's reaction to it. Yes, it is idiotic to try and bend your phone with your hands. But if some people are having functional issues at the most basic level of Apple products, however small that number, why is it not worth talking about it?
I have to hand it to Apple though. They managed to not only disrupt the mobile space with innovative products (like the original iPhone) and original problems (antennagate, bendgate, other possible future gates). It stands to reason that if a brand promotes itself as the ultimate in its category and charges me a premium to use their products, then as a consumer I require it to be absolutely perfect in every conceivable way.
At this point my friend, playing devil's advocate, used the 'Apple is about the experience more so than the specs' argument. That argument may have been a viable one a few years ago, but with Google's latest Nexus devices, along with several Android OEM devices, you get a more complete ecosystem, functionality at a variety of hardware and price-points.
And then you have new launches like Android One, Android L and the ongoing determination of Windows on your phone, essentially ensuring that you are being provided with the same user experiences at a fraction of the cost from a software perspective, coupling this with low-to-mid-to-high range hardware, and still this works out cheaper than iPhones.
Apple customers and fans should be pushing the company to innovate quicker and provide better products for their existing and potential new customers. The idea of defending a company and a brand, while quite common, is still something that I do not fully subscribe to. As a customer, you speak with your wallet. Unless you actively work for or own shares in Apple, it seems like a complete waste of time not calling them out on their weaknesses.
Despite all this though, all reviews will tell you that, by some sheer coincidence, the iPhone 6 is the best smartphone in the world. And the new Moto X is the best Android device in the world. I refuse to believe that in 2014, two American brands somehow have the best smartphones in the world. And that's another problem. The reality is that the the most important smartphone market is still the United States, and there exists an understandable bias when it comes to American tech reviewers reviewing American brands. I see the same thing when Top Gear (a TV show I adore) reviews British cars. Suddenly all the positives are perfect and the negatives are negligible.
The asinine chest-thumping and online arguments used to be interesting, but nowadays it does not come across as anything more than vapid and myopic. If these really are smartphones, then let's have a smart conversation about them.