2018 will mark my 25th year of owning, using, and following Apple Inc. That time span dates back to the last century, back to when Apple Computer, Inc. and the Mac were mostly synonymous. Apple remains mostly unique as a technology company, and now boasts over 1-billion customers, thanks to iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Apple is still a hardware company, but unlike competitors in each industry segment, nearly everything the company produces makes money hand over fist.
What I’ve noticed more in recent years is Apple’s dual personality. Maybe this is reflective of Steve Jobs’ ability to be charming at one moment and ghastly difficult to deal with at another moment, but may help to explain what appears to be two sides of the same Apple coin.
First, the leap frog Apple. We see this often enough to call it a trait, but it isn’t easy to time with a calendar. Apple disrupts industries. Apple II, Mac, iPod, iTunes Music Store, Apple retail stores, iPhone, iPad, Beats and AirPod wireless headphones, Apple Watch, and more. Each dominates mindshare and profitshare.
Apple leap frogs competitors and with new products or features often defines which direction a technology industry segment will go. What do Windows PC notebooks and Chromebooks look like? The Mac. What do most smartphones look like? The iPhone.
It’s not just products where Apple makes such leaps. Note missing Home button and Touch ID fingerprint scanner on iPhone X, and the replacement, Face ID. Tim Bajarin:
There have been a lot of questions about the accuracy of Apple’s Face ID, but after using it over 100 times, it worked for me 100 percent of the time. I figured there might be a 3-5 percent failure rate, but I did not encounter any glitches. With my face, it worked flawlessly.
You’ve likely read similar reviews for iPhone X with similar responses. It just works. Face ID may not be as fast as Touch ID 2.0 but works well enough to be a non-issue for early reviewers and anyone else so privileged to use an iPhone X before they are released to the general public.
What made Face ID possible is Apple’s embrace of the Notch.
What surprised me about iPhone X was that the notch—the indent up top that holds the front cameras and sensors—was not particularly distracting. Some folks have criticized the notch as clunky, but once you understand why it’s there, you realize that its features outweigh any design flaws.
Apple embraced the laws of physics. For now. Most reviewers view Notch as a non-issue, too. This leap frog methodology seems to extend to the iPhone X’s camera, but also points out how Apple leap frogs competitors.
Apple made strong statements about the quality of the iPhone X’s three cameras. I was not expecting the incredible color saturation and overall 4K HDR image quality I saw in the pictures I took. I tested it against an iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus, and the photos from the iPhone X were markedly sharper, clearer, and with much deeper colors.
What about the other side of Apple’s coin? The slow walk?
One reason you won’t read my review of iPhone X for awhile is because Apple didn’t send me a review unit. All the glowing iPhone X reviews you’ve read to date are from reviewers who were given iPhone X’s to review. Most of them want the same experience next year so they write mostly positively about Apple and the iPhone X’s features, functions, and usage experience.
Yes, iPhone X is something of a leap frog in technology; an event which happens often enough to give Apple a well deserved reputation as an innovator.
What about the Mac? Somewhere around 100-million Apple customers own Macs. The Mac’s sales have grown while the entire Windows PC industry continues a tailspin behind the post-PC era of mobile devices. Yet, Apple sells Macs with CPUs 4 generations behind what is sold in competitors PCs. Mac mini, I’m looking at you. Mac Pro? It’s end-of-life but being sold as if it were new. It’s not.
iPad Pros have better quality displays than a Mac notebook. And why not? Apple sells double the number of iPads vs. Macs. Microsoft just announced a new Surface Pro notebook with LTE inside. Watch has LTE. iPad has LTE.