‘Rectangle with Rounded Corners’ Part 5: The Mocking Begins

Well the ear-splitting din emanating from the neighboring Apple territories last week may have made conversation difficult for a few hours here in the Linux blogosphere, but it seems safe to say that the temporary discomfort was a small price to pay for the lively and entertaining discussions that have followed ever since.

Where else, after all, could Linux and Android fans find such ripe fodder for all manner of jokes, barbs and thinly veiled scoffing?

Just by way of illustration, for example, there was this gem posted on Google+ by OMG!Droid.

Then, too, there was this little — or, rather, big — beauty making the rounds, followed by this even Bigger and Better version.

And let’s not forget all the sheep!

‘Disappointment and Anger’

“Apple, the iPhone 5 and A Case Study in Reputation Decline” was the headline over at Forbes.

Computerworld’s Richi Jennings, meanwhile, put together a nice sampling of reactions under the header, “iPhone 5 — Disappointment, lust and anger.”

And who could forget this now-classic video from Jimmy Kimmel Live on YouTube?

The success of the Big Event was far from clear, in other words, bringing no end of glee to FOSS fans recovering from *way* too many rounds of the Apple iPhone 5 Event Drinking Game.

‘It Still Lags Behind Android’

“The iPhone 5 was exactly what everybody expected,” mused Google+ blogger Linux Rants, for example.

“Tim Cook’s claims that Apple was going to double down on secrecy turned out to be either a bald-faced lie or a symbol of his own impotence,” Linux Rants opined. “Everybody knew what was going to be in the device, and Apple’s attempts to continue the ‘Age of Steve’ failed.

“The device itself is acceptable for this day and age, but is far from revolutionary or innovative,” he added. “It’s an iterative release at best, and far from setting the bar, it still lags behind its Android competition in virtually every way.”

Now, “iFans will have to wait for the iPhone 5s and hope that Apple breaks its developing trend of less-than-exciting devices next year,” Linux Rants concluded. “Of course, Android phones will probably be miles further ahead than they already are by the time Apple gets around to boring us again next year.”

‘All Hype and Bluster’

Blogger Robert Pogson took a similar view.

“I have pretty well written off Apple for innovation,” Pogson told Linux Girl. “They are using cheap Chinese labor like everyone else but charging a premium price for the same stuff.”

In short, “Apple is all hype and bluster and no substance,” Pogson added. “Innovation is happening elsewhere, and we really don’t need that much innovation anyway at a premium. Stuff put out by second and third tier makers has the same software people love: Android/Linux.”

‘Apple Is Not Particularly Innovative’

“I think that when a company or product ‘jumps the shark,’ what we mean is a tipping point,” Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien suggested. “Apple hit a tipping point when they started enforcing ridiculous patents that everyone knew were bogus, such as rectangles with rounded corners.

“Judge Alsop knew enough about programming to call BS on this; Judge Koh seems somewhat clue-deficient,” O’Brien added.

“But when Apple goes down this road they invite closer scrutiny, and it leads the general public to start noticing what many of us noticed before: that Apple is not in fact particularly innovative,” he concluded.

‘Completely Inexcusable’

Indeed, “I have never been fond of Apple products for myself, but I never minded suggesting to my less techie friends that they should get one,” consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack began. “But since the lawsuits, I have found myself actively disliking Apple products and doing what I can to turn my friends toward some other product.”

With the original iPhone, “Apple managed to make a step above the industry, but they did so standing on the shoulders of those who did so before them,” Mack explained. “Suing Android makers while borrowing features from Android is completely inexcusable.

“The worst part of it is that Android has provided an incentive to keep Apple innovating,” he added. “While copying has gone both ways, the philosophies behind each OS are different, so there is no actual cloning going on.”

In fact, “it is hard to mistake one product for the other,” Mack concluded.

‘Apple Will Fail to Impress’

“Have you noticed that Apple is increasingly looking like MS?” Google+ blogger Alessandro Ebersol observed. “MS, after the blunders of ME and Vista (add to those wp7 and 8), is received with disregard and fails to make waves?”

The iPhone 5 may have some nice features, “but, all in all, nothing to write home about, and, as some colleagues from the free software community told before, the special features of iPhone 5 have been already done before, and better, by Android,” Ebersol opined.

“I believe Apple will fail to impress even its worshipers,” he predicted.

‘The Best iPhone Ever Built’

Robin Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor, wasn’t so sure.

“People are disappointed with the new iPhone? It is the best iPhone ever built and does a good job of playing catch-up,” Lim told Linux Girl. “Really, for the past three releases it has been that way, with Apple playing catch-up.

“What were people expecting, some unheard-of piece of hardware?” Lim wondered. “Apple does not make the hardware it uses in the iPhone.”

In fact, “I think the disappointment might simply have been the presentation,” Lim suggested. “No ‘reality distortion field’ this time.”

‘You Cannot Expect Leaps and Bounds’

In any case, “if I owned an iPhone 4S, I would chuck it out the window and buy this one,” Lim said. “Larger display, industry standard 16:9 aspect ratio, panorama option in the camera, better low light photography, and finally, over a year late, a HSDPA 21.1+ radio and LTE.”

The mobile phone is “now a mature platform,” he added. “You cannot expect leaps and bounds each year, whether from Apple or Android and Windows phone manufacturers.

“Looking for hardware innovation? It is things like the oddball Samsung Galaxy Note series and Google’s Project Glass,” Lim concluded.

‘Apple May Be a Victim Here’

“One of the biggest problems infecting the industry is an emphasis on innovation for itself,” suggested Chris Travers, a Slashdot blogger who works on the LedgerSMB project. “We have seen this in Unity, GNOME 3, and then Windows 8.”

Changes like these “generate hype and publicity, but they also alienate consumers,” Travers told Linux Girl. “In the end, if the worst you can say about the iPhone 5 is that it is just an incremental upgrade, then that says something positive.”

As for more specific complaints about the iPhone 5, “some of the gripes actually looked interesting to me,” Travers said.

“First, the fact that 4G is so fragmented is not Apple’s fault, but Apple may well be a victim here after setting expectations it cannot meet for everyone,” he explained. “Secondly, the gripe about not integrating well with ipods struck me as an issue which suggested that some forms of innovation might actually be left for Apple to pursue here, in terms of ensuring that Apple fans (who often buy multiple devices from Apple) get to use those together in a well-integrated way.”

‘It’s a Status Thing’

Last but not least, “I have to admit I just don’t ‘get’ the whole iPhone thing,” began Slashdot blogger hairyfeet.

“With every gen the battery gets worse, so you practically have to carry a charger with you 24/7 to actually use the thing; the contracts are a total ripoff; and with this one, 4G is hit or miss, depending on where you are,” he explained. “Okay…why? Why would you want this? Why would you want a phone with a powerful CPU but no battery able to feed it, and no way to replace it with a better one?

“In the end of course we all know the REAL reason: fashion,” he asserted.

“It’s no different than how we saw all those people lined up for the new iPad…while playing with their current iPad,” hairyfeet pointed out. “What I wouldn’t have given for a reporter to simply walk up and ask these people, ‘What is wrong with the iPad in your hand? What has it failed to do that the new one does?'”

The truth is that “it’s a status thing, nothing more,” hairyfeet concluded.

Katherine Noyes has been writing from behind Linux Girl's cape since late 2007, but she knows how to be a reporter in real life, too. She's particularly interested in space, science, open source software and geeky things in general. You can also find her on Twitter and Google+.

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