Updates to this story
Over the weekend we have seen the US press start to look at the clay footed idol that it created, and decide that Apple really has become what I have been saying for years.
Before Friday's press conference, I said that Apple CEO Steve Jobs, when faced with charges of peddling an iPhone which did not work, would offer users a rubber band to fix the problems. He would not admit that the phone was broken.
The press conference was made up only of journalists who are Apple fans. Jobs did not want someone like us there because we would ask questions that included words like “lying”, and phrases such as “shafting consumers”.
Instead we saw the insulting spectacle of Jobs trying to off-shoulder responsibility for his broken phone onto the media and his rivals. We had made the situation worse than it really was by highlighting the fact that the iPhone could not do what it claimed.
While the phone was extensively marketed by the US press, the phone was not designed by the media, nor was it manufactured by the press. All the press did, somewhat half-heartedly, was say that the iPhone 4 was broken.
It also pointed out that Jobs' software fixes and outright lies about it being an “interface problem” were bogus. Jobs might have been outraged that for the first time the press seemed to do what it was supposed to do. It is supposed to protect consumers from wasting their money on goods that do not work. Jobs seems to believe that it is their job to promote his products even when it knows they are harming their readers.
One slide summed up Apple's consciousness. It said “We love our users - we built 300 stores for them.” We are not talking about cathedrals here. We are not talking about hospitals, or museums or art galleries. We are talking about places where people can buy Apple products.
No one else would dare say “we love you... we built you a place where you can buy expensive stuff from us that is fundamentally flawed”. Only Apple believes that its stores contain any spiritual or material nourishment for its users.
Thus it has lost the plot and started to believe its own propaganda.
Apple products are shiny toys, not a cure for cancer. Nor are its stores places of worship for a consumer cargo cult.
Ironically we have been saying that Apple is a cult for years. However, we have been joking. Apple now seems to believe it. When Jobs stands up and says his tablet is magical he really believes it. He thinks people will find some kind of spiritual path in buying his cheap lumps of plastic.
Such a new 21st century religion of consumerism is totally flawed and largely depends on Apple to come up with products that are new all the time.
This is what let the iPhone 4 down. Jobs needed to create a “new product” which did not look like the old one. The iPhone 3G was, by all accounts, about all you could do with a smartphone.
Jobs felt that if he could make it “look” different, then people would feel it was “new”. He therefore took the 3G model and stuck the antenna on the outside so it could be thinner. He added some minor upgrades and presented the phone as new to the religious faithful.
Despite what Jobs now says, engineers warned him that the plan was dumb. Engineers should have warned him that if you stick your paws on the antenna it will break the connection. If they hadn't they would not have been doing their job and Jobs should have fired them.
In fact Jobs also believes that he is the technology messiah and if he tells an antenna that it will work, it will do so.
Other things came out from the press conference which show that Steve's religion is suffering. When you set up a religion it is important to make other “religions” appear faulty. Now since other companies do not run their products like a religion, Jobs simply attacked other outfits making smartphones.
He said that his antenna problem affected a couple of other smartphones including the Samsung Omnia, HTC Droid Eris and the BlackBerry Bold 9700. He even showed a slide demonstrating tests. Reporters at the event should have waded into Jobs at that point but they were too busy thinking of giving him a standing ovation.
The slide was complete crap and over the weekend RIM made it clear that it did not like the fact that its phones were made to be test subjects in this whole charade.
In a press release its co-CEOs said that Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle was unacceptable.
“Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult situation,” RIM said.
They said that RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage.
They pointed out that RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity.
“Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple,” they said.
Apple can't of course. It has ceased to be a company and is now touting itself as a consumer religion. Through its App stores, it sets out the moral laws it expects from its users and in moments like this we see that religion in crisis. It has legions of brain dead fanboys who will defend it from imagined persecution and now it has systems in place so that it does not even need to make products that work.
Who cares about sin? Who cares about personal development? A toy from Jobs' Mob is all you need to feel good about yourself in the 21st century. It does not need to work, or it needs an iRubber band, but just go to your Apple store - if you lose the faith you will still find the love of Steve Jobs will enfold you. Sheesh.