Back in 2007, frustrated with my PC that was down to crawl speed, I bought my first Apple product, a MacBook Pro laptop. In computer time, it’s now old, going on ancient. For my purposes, however, it still works fine, though I should add more RAM to help things along when I download the new Lion operating system. My history with PCs had basically been three years and time for a new computer. And then the omnipresent battle against viruses. Four years into the MacBook and I still don’t employ anti-virus software.
Later I turned to the iPod for my music, with great satisfaction.
Last year, like so many, I got myself an iPad. This gadget has revolutionized my on-line habits. Now I use my laptop only for productivity needs such as on-line banking and word processing and, of course, synching my iPad. By October, the synching will itself be relegated to the trash heap, as Apple converts to the Cloud that will automatically store your data, no matter the Apple device. Apple technology is truly a beautiful thing.
There are things about Apple that irritate me. I never liked it that they initially entered into liaison with AT&T when coming out with the iPhone. Like most consumers I suspect, I prefer to choose from the wider market place, whether a car, a phone, a bank, etc. Currently, because of increased competition, Apple is expanding to include other carriers such as Verizon for the iPhone; Target and Best Buy for the iPad. Formerly, you had to buy directly from Apple online or an Apple store. While prices aren’t negotiable no matter where you buy, I purchased a Christmas iPad at Best Buy for my wife under a no interest agreement for three years. Ultimately, increased competition may lead to competitive pricing as well.
When it comes to iPad applications, Apple stands alone with currently some 400,000! Nonetheless, I remain partial to Amazon’s Kindle, both the device and the iPad application. This is doubtless because of the policy quirks of the Apple corporation. Initially they ventured into an agreement with book publishers, resulting in higher prices for e-books in their iBook application. Apple gets a 30% cut in the deal. The net result has been that Amazon was forced to raise their prices from the usual $9.99 to $11.99 or face publisher boycott. In the last several weeks, Apple has mandated Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others strip bookstore excess from their iPad applications to augment their iBook sales. In short, the buck is the bottom line, not the consumer, for this corporation that now rivals Exxon has the wealthiest corporation in America.
You can imagine how happy I was when Amazon announced it had gotten around the store prohibition by adopting a Clouds strategy. You can simply download Amazon’s Cloud reading application on your computer, then create a URL icon on your iPad. Further, you don’t need the iPad at all, as you have universal access on any tablet device and any computer anywhere in the world! The only drawback that I can see so far is that I can’t highlight passages, and this is a real bummer to a guy like me who can’t read without marking up a text. Thus I still do my Ipad reading with the old Kindle application, but have to switch to the Cloud icon when ordering. Hopefully, Amazon will remedy this drawback.
Still, Apple can be both ruthless and arbitrary. How do we know they won’t ultimately ban rival book applications from iPad altogether. Consider:
It doesn’t allow Adobe Flash.
It censors application content
Up to now, it hasn’t permitted newspaper and journal subscriptions in its iBook app. (This may be about to give way because of the competition.)
In sum, though Apple operates in the free market place, it does everything in its power to bend it to its supremely pecuniary interests.
Remedy, however, is fast-approaching as competition increases in the marketplace with ever improving product quality and, unlike Apple, consumer rather than proprietary interest propels its appeal.