Since it stopped being the underdog, Apple’s always had a bit of a reputation for being a bit… Shall we say, slightly unlikeable. It’s by no means an evil Sci-fi megacorp (we’re looking at you, Weyland-Yutani), but some of its closed doors and strict rules turn a lot of tech buyers away to more free-range pastures like Android. Thing is, it’s never been anything but a case of personal preference, and never anything that’s likely to turn Apple fans away, until very recently.
The last six months in the life of Apple have seen many decisions pass through that are starting to sour Apple’s reputation. With the company clamping things out left, right and centre, is it fair to call the modern Apple too nasty? And, more importantly, where the hell is my OnLive app?
No Maps for you
Two weeks ago, Apple’s WWDC keynote acted as the window from which the company threw out its rubbish. This time the trash was Google Maps, which iOS 6 is ridding itself of in favour of Apple’s own mapping service.
We all knew this was coming, but the reasons still remain a bit misty. Many suggest – perhaps fairly – that this was a reactionary measure from Apple, having been denied access to the Google Maps Navigation turn-by-turn service that Android has. And that’s true. Insider sources have revealed that, while Apple was initially thrilled to use Google Maps, later developments strained the relationship.
But, as with any such conflict, there are always workarounds, and you should really try to apply them rather than to completely throw your toys out of the pram. Especially when the service itself is something that all of your customers know, love and depend upon.
I wonder how many iPhone users will be somewhat shaken when iOS 6 lands them with this alien new mapping service, which is currently bereft of public transport routes and in a shaky beta, just because Apple wanted to stick a middle finger up at Google.
A lot of these people won’t realise that they’ll be able to get Google Maps back via the App Store. Assuming, of course, that Apple approves it…
Closing the doors
Granted, this isn’t anything new. Steve Jobs famously vowed to “destroy” Android, and the ongoing patent disputes between Apple and Google’s Android partners are testament to that. Thing is, there’s a difference between ‘competitive’ and ‘spiteful’, and the latter is where Apple’s headed.
How so? Well, the mapping thing is just the latest in a line of denial of services. And they’re all starting to grate on me, as they should any long-serving Apple devotee.
In December last year, OnLive was proud to announce that it was ready to bring its clod-based game streaming service to phones and tablets. Its initial marketing material for this showed OnLive running on both Android and iOS devices, but only the app for the former has managed to surface, even though we’re now some six months down the line.
There are numerous theories about why this is. OnLive is remaining silent on the matter, but a back and forth between a sales rep in this forum thread seems to suggest that the iOS app is dead in the water. At E3 2012, the company said that the app was still in the works, but didn’t really speculate on why its still in limbo.
Given Apple’s reaction to previous game-streaming efforts, it would hardly be surprising if the app was a goner. OnLive, for its part, seems to be stuck in an impossible situation where it’s been denied access into the App Store for no good reason other than the fact that Apple would miss out on gaming revenue.
Make no mistake: Apple’s strict quality regulations aren’t what’s keeping the OnLive app out; it’s more greed and jealousy. The fact that OnLive’s desktop splashing app has been approved proves that. After all, if you’re paying OnLive a monthly gaming subscription, where does Apple get it’s cut?
Its logic is that it’s less likely to come from Angry Birds sales if you can play Arkham City on your phone. What’s annoying is that this rash decision has blinded Apple to the notion that having OnLive on iOS devices would make them iOS even more appealing to customers.
It’s that near-sighted way of looking at things that’s started to get to me. As an OnLive user, I can see that having OnLive on a mobile device is appealing, and I’m the kind of person who’s likely to switch if enough such services get blocked outright.
And, crucially, it’s more than just OnLive. Where is the Google Drive app for iOS? As far as I can gather, Google’s hammered one out and, while it may not have launched immediately due to secrecy and Apple’s approval process, it should have launched, oh… About a month and a half ago.
The fact that it hasn’t smacks of Apple playing games and holding Google’s app back. Admittedly, Drive has some privacy concerns that the likes of Dropbox doesn’t, but there’s a general feeling here that Google Drive’s delayed entrance to iOS is all to do with Apple being petulant yet again.
End of our tethers
I’ve been an iPhone user for a long time because I love the hardware and software that Apple makes, rather than Apple as a company. But how Apple is as a company has never bugged me much, until recently. There never used to be a downside to the iPhone. It was the platform with all the services, while Android played catchup.
Now that’s not really the case – if anything (as with the examples above) it’s the opposite. I review phones of all types, and I’m starting to really see the benefit of Android’s more easy-going service. And these benefits are starting to seriously outweigh the losses.
The problem for Apple is that I won’t be alone. For every one of the so-called iSheep, there will be plenty of people like myself, who have begun to look around at the market only to see that the grass, in some patches at least, is greener elsewhere.
I feel like Apple’s now a more aggressive company than it’s ever been before. Aggression can be good in business, but if it doesn’t reign itself back a bit then I’ll soon be off. And I’ll be playing OnLive games on my phone as I go.
Do you agree? Has Apple started to get too tight with its decisions? Or is this just the best way to do business? Let us know your thoughts below…