Apple Is Still Cool, But Is Their Charm Wearing Off?

Yes, I know. You’ll probably give me shit for saying some of these things, but I’m going to do it anyway. Apple is certainly a good company with magnificent groundbreaking products, that has changed the way people design and manufacture phones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics. They have given us everything we wanted, and everything we didn’t even know we wanted (thanks, Steve). But with other companies innovating products differently than ever before, is Apple at an impasse?

Many new phones, tablets and laptops have been released over the course of several years, but it wasn’t until recently that my thoughts about Apple has flipped. For starters, Steve Jobs has passed away from pancreatic cancer, which I feel was the beginning of the end of the company. There will no longer be any regulation, as now the CEO to get the opinions of the guy that made the stuff good. More importantly than Steve, other companies are doing things that Apple feels they no longer have to do: innovate.

Companies like Samsung definitely had their bad history of blatantly stealing things from Apple, and still to this day continue to do so. But as much as I hate to admit it, their stuff is getting pretty damn cool, and really damn good. Rumors float round every now and then about the “upcoming Apple Flatscreen TV”, but so far there has been little to no indication that this thing even exists. Samsung, on the other hand, already has these sweet slim TV’s part of the new line of “Smart TV’s”. Honestly, these things are pretty cool, since you can do things like view Netflix videos or watch Hulu, and use remotes with qwerty keyboards on them so you can type things in to search a web browser or use many of the other applications included with the TV. While Apple has technically released new products since 2006 other than the iPhone, they are not exactly things that the average consumer would buy because they already own one (i.e. iPhone 5 instead of iPod Nano), and they are not innovative or different than what can already be found.

Rather than make things “thinner, faster, and smaller” as exemplified by the iPhone 3GS to iPhone 5, Samsung and other companies seems to be doing that and more. First, we have the Samsung Galaxy S3. The first time I saw it, I didn’t want to admit to myself that it was awesome. While the phone is big, it is beautiful, colorful, fast and fun. Sure, it runs Android which I still don’t really like all that much, but I could definitely see myself using it. I don’t know how Samsung grabbed an Apple fanboy’s attention, but they did, and I won’t change my mind. Sure their ads may be obnoxious and narcissistic, but they’re trying to change technology for the better. NFC, near field communication, an RFID-like signal, is something that’s been rumored to have been in the iPhone 4 (and still isn’t!). They also happened to have the Panorama function in the Galaxy S3 before the iPhone 5 was even announced, and it works just as well as the one featured in the iPhone 5. Sure, Apple will always have the upper hand on the closed ecosystem of iCloud and App Store which is what keeps me with the iPhone 5, but Samsung can brew up a concoction whenever they want.

I’m going to stop shedding love to Samsung and move it right over to you, Microsoft. Windows 8 is the greatest thing I have ever seen, not for laptops, but for tablets. It’s exactly what Microsoft needed to do: turn Windows 7 into a very user-friendly interface that can accommodate touch screens. I can’t think of anything better than having all of the apps you want already created for you, because it is still Windows! Right now their tablets are based on ARM architectures, so currently none of the Windows apps will actually work with the Microsoft Surface, but they are easily portable from i5 to ARM. Although, there’s a twist: Microsoft is planning on releasing a Microsoft Surface Pro with an i5, so once Surface Pro is released, all of those applications actually will work on the Surface without any porting needed, just not in the current line up of Windows 8 tablets. I will admit that if Microsoft executed the OS correctly, I can definitely see the Microsoft Surface Pro surpass the iPad. Speaking of the iPad, Microsoft has actually one upped them with Microsoft Surface keyboard cover, essentially a smart cover with a keyboard on it. Why haven’t you thought of that, Apple?

I’m not really smashing Apple much at all, because there isn’t anything wrong with their stuff. The real problem lies in what isn’t there, because they won’t leave their comfort zone. Microsoft has a true OS in their tablets, while Apple chose to port iOS over to a giant screen. Samsung incorporated NFC in their phones and Operating Systems in their TV’s while Apple doesn’t even have the slightest recognition of the existence of one. Honestly, not much has really changed since 2006, because what Apple has been doing is working. They don’t really need to change anything right now, but I’m sure in a few years Samsung, Microsoft, and many other companies will have them out-innovated.

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