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The Economist on Apple, the iPhone, and Innovation

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the talking-bout-idea-germination dept.

Apple 171

portscan writes "This week's Economist has a special report on Apple, Inc. and innovation. 'The fourth lesson from Apple is to "fail wisely". The Macintosh was born from the wreckage of the Lisa, an earlier product that flopped; the iPhone is a response to the failure of Apple's original music phone, produced in conjunction with Motorola. Both times, Apple learned from its mistakes and tried again. Its recent computers have been based on technology developed at NeXT, a company Mr Jobs set up in the 1980s that appeared to have failed and was then acquired by Apple. The wider lesson is not to stigmatize failure but to tolerate it and learn from it: Europe's inability to create a rival to Silicon Valley owes much to its tougher bankruptcy laws.' There is also an article on the business of the iPhone and the future of the company. "

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171 comments

Bleh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19442931)

Can this piece of junk just hit the market already? 8 articles in the last 7 days about this thing. Talk about over hyped.

Re:Bleh (1)

bobo mahoney (1098593) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443041)

Isn't all this buzz just what Apple wants? I thought that Slashdot was part of Apple's unofficial marketing team. So we are just doing our part.

Re:Bleh (0)

welshsocialist (542986) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443445)

Agree with ya on the iPhone hype. I own two iPods and an iBook, but I have to fault Apple with the promotion for the iPhone. The best example of the promotion is their iPhone advert about how the iPhone accesses the real internet. I mean, that's a bad one.

Apples the king at failing (5, Funny)

Richard McBeef (1092673) | more than 6 years ago | (#19442933)

I mean, hell, they've been a doomed company for what 10 years now? 12?

Re:Apples the king at failing (1, Offtopic)

soupd (1099379) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443031)

Yeah, they're failing to the tune of billions dollars of year in profits. What on Earth if wrong with this doomed company?

Re:Apples the king at failing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443479)

Yeah, they're failing to the tune of billions dollars of year in profits. What on Earth if wrong with this doomed company?

Exactly. They can't even fail as a company without screwing it up by making a profit.

The fact that they are continuously failing at failing is proof that the aforementioned pattern doesn't always hold. Obviously, this means that the article is wrong and that the iPhone will be a failure and could result in the company finally managing to fail which would in turn actually validate the article which would mean the iPhone WON'T be a failure and instead will cause the article itself to dissapear in a puff of logic.

Of course, this whole argument might just be a load of dingo's kidneys. But that's never stopped people from speculating on Apple rumors.

Re:Apples the king at failing (2, Insightful)

thermopile (571680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443143)

In addition to being the king at failing, this 'beleaguered' company has also been very good at trying. (We zealots prefer beleaguered to 'doomed.')

Witness, for example, KidSafe. QuicktimeTV. iCards. OpenDoc (for you old folks out there). All innovations that, for one reason or another, didn't take off.

TFA talks about network innovation -- and Apple certainly does its fair share of that. But they're also willing to try and are willing to accept a few failures here and there. Because of that risk-taking, they're able to quickly capitalize on things like the iPod, the iMac, and the iHateThisMeme. Kudos to them for having the cojones to do that; it seems like many other organizations are too risk-averse.

Re:Apples the king at failing (-1, Troll)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443325)

I'm not going to deny that Apple has been extremely succesful, especially the last 5-10 years.

HOWEVER.

Out of all the fanboys that I hate, Apple fanboys are the worst. I never thought I would actually be able to say this, but they are more annoying than Linux-elitests...I mean, at least with Microsoft fanboys they ACKNOWLEDGE they are being shit on; they just don't care.

Learn to recognize fecal matter. Fuck.

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443383)

Out of all the fanboys that I hate, Apple fanboys are the worst. I never thought I would actually be able to say this, but they are more annoying than Linux-elitests...
I don't know. Two of the most annoying IT snobs I ever met were Linux snobs. They were just SOOO friggin bad I would just have to walk away or tune them out once they got into a roll.

I've yet to meet one Apple snob that was even a fraction as bad as either of those 2 Linux zealots.

Re:Apples the king at failing (0, Flamebait)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443489)

I guess the reason why they are worse (in my mind, anyway) is because at least the Linux-elite are trying to promote open source and community...that doesn't make their tactics or conversational skills any better, but at least they have a decent cause they are arguing for.

Apple users...wow. Let me put it this way. You know why I prefer Microsoft fanboys? At least they recognize they are getting fucked in the ass. Apple fanboys are either too stupid or too numb to realize that Jobs is slowly eating away at them.

Most buisnesses exist and function soley so that they can take as much of your money as possible; ESPECIALLY in the technology sector. Really, if you think about it, Jobs could be considered a cult leader. Anyone who is so "loyal" to a company whos goal is to bleed as much money off you as possibly should be killed by flaying their skin with an olive fork.

I would start with their ballsack, but they already handed those to Jobs on a fuckin' platter.

Re:Apples the king at failing (4, Interesting)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443681)

Of course Microsoft and Apple are both trying to make as much money as they can.

The difference between the two is that with Apple the exchange of money for product represents a transaction that benefits both parties. A happy company and a satisfied customer. With Microsoft all you get is a happy Microsoft and an angry/sad customer.

So Microsoft customers get the raw end of the deal. They pays their money and get nothing in return.

Re:Apples the king at failing (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443733)

That is why Microsoft is smarter than Apple. They can piss off their customers and STILL be installed on ~90% of the PC's in the world. I see plenty of programs floating around that allow you to run Windows software on OSX. Don't really see too much in terms of using OSX programs on Windows... Just saying.... Personally I wish I was badass enough to write my own OS...as it stands, I'm a PC Gamer and as such I use windows. Frankly, I would likely use windows anyways. I mean, it IS awefully easy to pirate...

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

eclectic4 (665330) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444047)

"Frankly, I would likely use windows anyways. I mean, it IS awefully easy to pirate..."

You do realize that Mac OS has never been serialized, right? Couldn't possibly be easier to pirate. You could buy a copy of Tiger and install it on 1000 machines and Apple wouldn't care that much. But, they are a hardware company anyway. Their software is the "hook".

I'm a gamer too. I usually buy the Mac versions, but for those few that I would like to try out that do not have a Mac version, there's BootCamp, and soon to be Parallels with hardware acceleration which would be my choice (just keep the Windows crap out of my face!). Good luck.

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444083)

::shrug:: I would rather not be tied to Apple's hardware. I enjoy being able to goto my local mom-and-pop electronics store (or to a Best Buy, if I'm feeling like bleeding money) and buy any kind of upgrade that I want.

Yes, I know you can upgrade some Macs, but there is no way you can sit there and tell me I can find stuff for it as easily, as cheaply, or with as much of a selection.

I would just be upgrading the apple hardware I didn't want with more apple hardware.

Apple (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445411)

You could buy a copy of Tiger and install it on 1000 machines and Apple wouldn't care that much. But, they are a hardware company anyway. Their software is the "hook".

Apple is, or was, a systems integrator. They design the compleat system, hardware and software. This way it "just works". MS's Windows runs on more hardware because, until recently, MS has been a software company and Windows can be installed on many different computers made using many different parts. This however creates the problem where that the software might not work on every possible combination of hardware, and frequently the hardware manufacturers will write the drivers.

Falcon

Re:Apples the king at failing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19444203)

Anyone who is so "loyal" to a country who's goal is to bleed as much money off you as possible should be killed by flaying their skin with an olive fork.
There - fixed that for you.

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444281)

There is a difference between a government and the people that run said government.

Never forget that.

why do businesses exist? (2, Insightful)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445283)

Most buisnesses exist and function soley so that they can take as much of your money as possible;

I disagree. Most businesses are started because the founder(s) have a vision of what's possible, as with technology. The WOZ [woz.org] didn't design and build the Apple I [wikipedia.org] to make money, he wanted a computer he could use at home. Much like Bill Hewlett [wikipedia.org] and Dave Packard [wikipedia.org] he did the work in a garage. It's only later, usually after incorporation, that some turn to the idea of making money. But then they have shareholders they have to satisfy.

Falcon

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

jcgf (688310) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443439)

Personally, I hate when people use the term "fanboy".

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443527)

As do I, but unfortunately there really isn't anything else you can call them...if you have a substitute word, I will gladly use that one instead though:-)

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444453)

The problem with people who throw "fanboy" around is that they instantly lose all credibility with their argument. All "fanboy" says is that the person writing "fanboy" is a "fanboy" of an alternative product.


For example..."You Mac fanbois are gay and know nothing about Windows" = "I'm a Windows fanboi, and achieve great intellectual fulfillment by calling you a Mac Fanboi, because my arguments lack any credibility, otherwise."

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444537)

ah, but I'm a fanboy of no one, as I have resigned myself to the knowledge that they all have positives and negatives. A fanboy thinks "his brand" is all positives and negatives. Personally, I hate Windows, OSX, and the 7 different distros of Linux I have tried. Still, I gotta use at least ONE of em, right?

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445603)

That's nice you are no fanboy, but I think you'll notice that I never called you a fanboy, because I don't call anyone a fanboy. To do so would be hypocritical of me, as related to my previous post.

Since you hate all the above mentioned OSes, I guess you are destined for Solaris or something else Sun related...

Re:Apples the king at failing (1)

SoulRider (148285) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444859)

I have to disagree with that statement, I would definately think Chrysler would get that honor. How many time have they filed bankruptcy? and they are still in business.

Re:Apples the king at failing (2, Informative)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445091)

I have to disagree with that statement, I would definately think Chrysler would get that honor. How many time have they filed bankruptcy? and they are still in business.

Ah, but there's a big difference between Apple and Chrysler, Apple had recovered on it's own whereas Chrysler had the government bail them out. I'm kind of hoping a private-equity firm or hedge fund buys out Chrysler and turns them around.

Falcon

Since I've got some karma to burn: (4, Funny)

jstockdale (258118) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445617)

I mean, hell, they've been a doomed company for what 10 years now? 12?


Just longer than FreeBSD's been dying if I recall correctly ;-)

Netcraft confirms it!

(In Soviet Russia Netcraft confirms YOU!)

*ducks*

Another pre-emptive iPhone Hype Artcile (2, Insightful)

chipotlehero (982154) | more than 6 years ago | (#19442949)

The last thing that enjoyed this much hype was Snakes on A Plane. Remember how good that was when it actually came out? I predict iPhone will share the same fate, and shares of Apple will plummet!

Re:Another pre-emptive iPhone Hype Artcile (1)

dotpavan (829804) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443047)

sometimes, over-publicity creates a kind of repulsion.. atleast I am feeling that way! it is working against Apple's PR efforts, who want to have 'some' hype floating but this is stinking! It is like the Ubuntu Feisty release: one story for beta, one for RC, one announcing that tomm morning the torrents/iso are available, another one showing screenshots, another dozen reviews comparing with Vista and OSX.. ah!

Re:Another pre-emptive iPhone Hype Artcile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19444725)

SoaP delivered exactly as promised, hater.

Re:Another pre-emptive iPhone Hype Artcile (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444803)

The OP must have been expecting an epic saga on par with the first Star Wars film, and got disappointed when it turned out to be just cheap B-movie.

Not to stigmatize failure but to tolerate it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19442967)

I keep telling that to my father.

Not mentioned in the article: Marketing (4, Insightful)

powerpants (1030280) | more than 6 years ago | (#19442977)

Apple has cultivated its brand through sleek products and sexy advertising. The first major MP3 player (ignoring the obscure MPMan) was the Diamond Rio [wikipedia.org], which looked alright... until the iPod came out. Don't underestimate the importance of style when it comes to selling consumer electronics.

Re:Not mentioned in the article: Marketing (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443523)

The Rio was a disaster for many reasons, many of which were outlined in the Wiki.

The biggest was the extremely limited internal memory. Apple realized early on that nobody is going to buy a $200 piece of hardware that can only hold 12 songs. You can burn a CD for a heck of a lot less. Early flash based players all had that problem, which is why they were a joke product for years.

IMHO, it's kinda ugly too. I can tell they tried, but the front face is just too busy.

Re:Not mentioned in the article: Marketing (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445357)

I used to have one of those, an MP300 I bought in 1998 or so. At the time, it was pretty nice. USB wasn't widely available then, so the only input options were traditional Parallel and Serial ports. And because that was (and still is) a very old standard, there were numerous tools to reverse engineer the communications protocol. As a result, it had wide Linux and BSD support.

As for storage, 32MB might seem small today, but back then that was a LOT of memory. And - yup, it barely stored a full CD. But you could add cards to boost it up to 64MB, which could store more than enough for a good jog. Which made it the perfect joggers music player, since at the time portable CD players were the only other option. No matter how much buffer memory a CD player has, it still sucks to jog with the thing.

Re:Not mentioned in the article: Marketing (2, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443765)

It's not just the looks... the first iPod came in '01 with a 5GB drive, and that is still acceptable now. The Rio PMP300 had 32MB capacity, and a later model had 64MB. Sure, that was back in '98, you could say it was a pioneer, whatever, but that was pretty much worthless even back then!

Re:Not mentioned in the article: Marketing (0)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443819)

I don't think it's necessarily fair to group together style and advertising together under the umbrella of "marketing". While it's by no-means universal, there's plenty of people in the tech crowd who see aesthetic design almost as a trick, a sham that those slick marketers have added to their products in order to cover up its deficiencies. While there are many examples of exactly that happening, it's certainly possible to want to design a product that both looks good and performs well.

One of Apple's greatest strengths has been to realize that not only can thoughtful aesthetics and design be applied to things without destroying their utility, but also that there are plenty of consumers who will not only prefer the nice looking choice, they'll even pay extra for it.

iPod speed (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444471)

The first iPod also came with firewire when I had been loading previous devices over USB 1.1, painful even for the smallest of players!

It was amazing to see the transfer speed at work when you were used to a world of USB 1.1. That didn't hurt at all.

Such Fanbois (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443013)

Those people at The Economist.

If there's one thing that Apple does well.. (-1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443021)

it is failing.

Re:If there's one thing that Apple does well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443345)

Yeah but whereas Apple fail through success, Microsoft succeed through failure*.

There's a lesson there, I'm just not sure what it is.

* and bastardry

Fail wisely, OK (4, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443075)

But let's not call iPhone a success yet. It had an exciting demo that got a lot of buzz. It hasn't sold a single unit yet. Expectations are sky high already, so if this one doesn't do as well for some reason -- or even if it just has a slow start for whatever reason -- the perception could be that it's a disappointment, under-performer, or outright failure. It's hard to imagine it being a complete failure, but at the price tag that they're commanding, it's not like you can guarantee its success.

Re:Fail wisely, OK (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443435)

Not only that, but I don't believe the iPhone is a response to the failure of the Rokkr (as claimed by the summary). I doubt Apple invested much in the Rokkr (since there was nothing special about it), rather Apple simply licenced some trademarks to Motorolla - i.e. Apple using Motorolla as an ATM.

On the other hand, the Newton was a pretty innovative failure, from which lessons were doubtless learned.

Re:Fail wisely, OK (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444107)

If Steve Jobs is even a little bit like the person that reading about Apple would lead you to believe, I'd have a hard time imagining that he expected the Rokr to accomplish much of anything. That leads me to wonder why he would've gone ahead with it at all, and I wonder if it wasn't in a way used as a bargaining chip to help get cingular/at&t to make some compromises when the real apple phone came along. Jobs could point to the rokr and say, "Look this is what happens when our awesome Apple/itunes/etc brand is mixed with your crappy phone development. You end up with barely-functional garbage that noone buys. Now whey don't you just go on vacation and let us design our phone from top to bottom and we'll let you help us sell them by the truckload."

Re:Fail wisely, OK (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445511)

If Steve Jobs is even a little bit like the person that reading about Apple would lead you to believe, I'd have a hard time imagining that he expected the Rokr to accomplish much of anything. That leads me to wonder why he would've gone ahead with it at all, and I wonder if it wasn't in a way used as a bargaining chip to help get cingular/at&t to make some compromises when the real apple phone came along. Jobs could point to the rokr and say, "Look this is what happens when our awesome Apple/itunes/etc brand is mixed with your crappy phone development. You end up with barely-functional garbage that noone buys. Now whey don't you just go on vacation and let us design our phone from top to bottom and we'll let you help us sell them by the truckload."


Come to think of it, that makes sense. Apple's products don't sell on features alone (they're often lacking features - look when the iPod came out - the competition had a 6GN (compared to the iPod's 5) hard disk, sound "enhancement" up the wazoo, recording, and probably a dozen other features I've never used (I owned a Nomad Jukebox). Heck, the original Slashdot editor comment said it all "No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame". Heck, the iPod came out a month after the 9/11 attacks (October 2001) - it's not like people really wanted to spend money on luxury goods (especially when it costed $500) at that time as it would make them look insensitive at spending half a grand on something for themselves than helping the 9/11 efforts. So we can say the iPod had everything going against it - cheaper, better competitors, a tough market... as we know how it turns out.

What the iPod did do, was make an existing MP3 player work better. First was to get rid of the god-awful Nomad formfactor to something that was a large pack of playing cards. Next was to change the interface from the crappy USB1.1 to the superior FireWire (leading to minutes to transfer songs, rather than days.

The iPhone by itself, isn't that exciting. Face it - a Windows Mobile phone probably has more features than the iPhone has on its debut. Or maybe even a Blackberry. It's also entering a tight market - people want subsidized near-free phones. Even though most Smartphones probably cost just as much as an iPhone, they're heavily subsidized so it doesn't seem so expensive. The only thing Apple can do to make the iPhone work would be to redo how phones work.

It could be like the Newton - did a lot of neat stuff we wish existed today (Newton assist, anyone? The quintessial demo of writing "Lunch with Bob at 12pm tuesday", selecting that, tapping the Assist button, and having a Calendar entry made up with Bob (from Addressbook), topic "Lunch", scheduled at 12pm the coming Tuesday.) That's really all that the iPhone can bring, because everything else... has been done before. So all Apple can do is make a UI (that possibly doesn't suck), and add little bits of functionality everywhere that people don't know they need, but do. (E.g., if you were setting up Bluetooth pairing to use the iPhone as a modem, wouldn't it be helpful if it also gave you stuff like the phone number, username and password to get on the network as well, rather than having to memorize them or keep them on a little note?)

Same with Microsoft (4, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443085)

Apple learned from its mistakes and tried again

Same with Microsoft, except it usually takes them three tries.

Re:Same with Microsoft (4, Funny)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443459)

Same with Microsoft, except it usually takes them three tries.
I thought it was three tries before they gave up and just bought some company that already knew what it was doing.

Re:Same with Microsoft (3, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444533)

I thought it was three tries before they gave up and just bought some company that already knew what it was doing.

Close. They have to buy three companies before they get a product worth putting their name on.

Of course, that doesn't stop them from marketing the two other products as well. Sometimes concurrently.

Bias (3, Insightful)

GWLlosa (800011) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443093)

So when Apple bombs, its "Learning from Mistakes" and when they get the next version right, its "Insightful Market Understanding", but when Microsoft bombs, its "Rushing it out the door to crush competitors" and when they get the next version right, its "Stealing technology from their competitors". Everyone in business learns from their mistakes and improves their subsequent product, or fails to remain in business. Just look at the stability of the latest IIS vs the earlier ones, for example.

Re:Bias (4, Funny)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443379)

"Just look at the stability of the latest IIS vs the earlier ones, for example."

Clearly that was stolen from Apache. ;)

Look at it this way, when my sister walks into the women's locker room, she's greeted and smiles and can go about her business. When I walk into the women's locker room, it's screams and thrown soap and a visit from the police. Talk about unfair!

Re:Bias (1, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443541)

I can count on one hand the number of times Microsoft got it "right". And when they do get it right, they eventually piss it away because there's no one around to challenge them.

When did Microsoft get it right?

* Windows 95
* Windows 2000
* Microsoft Office 97
* IE 5.0

The 9x series went down the toilet with the release of 98 and ME, while 2000 has slowly evolved into that pretty but useless abomination known as "Vista", MS Office has added gobs of features that really are NOT great (do I want another MS XML Office Format? No thanks, two is enough.), and IE stopped being a good browser when Microsoft stopped keeping up with technology. Instead, IE7 is possibly the worst looking piece of software Microsoft has ever produced while simultaneously dropping usability to nil.

Compare that to Apple who knows how to make a success even more successful. OS X has actually had compelling improvements in each version, the iPod has only gotten sleeker and smaller while the interface improved, their hardware has gotten nicer looking and more usable with each release, their iLife software has gone from just "pretty looking" to "pretty looking and GOOD", and Safari (sorry to single this out) has gone from basic-internet-experience to being the first browser to pass the ACID2 test.

Re:Bias (2, Informative)

GWLlosa (800011) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444129)

*XP/Vista are significantly more stable than the 9x series ever was. *Visual Studio 2005 is much nicer than anything Eclipse puts out *There's the one I cited in the very document you're replying to (IIS). *Exchange Servers. *SQL 2005 Servers. etc. The fact that people get 'used to' a version like Win2k or Office97 does not mean that their successors suck; adding new functionality (which they do) while not breaking anything (which they don't do often) is, by most reasonable criteria, a better product. The fact that the upgrade may be slight (95->98, Office 97->2k, XP->Vista (when the drivers are available)) just means that you're not going to rush out and buy the upgrade; no reason for someone who may not have the product not to buy the newest one.

Re:Bias (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444591)

*XP/Vista are significantly more stable than the 9x series ever was.

XP/Vista are part of the Windows 2000 (from NT) line. Or did you miss that part?

* Visual Studio 2005
* IIS
* Exchange Server
* SQL Server

None of the above have ever been all that good. Visual Studio always had stiff competition, but managed to play the "OS Maker" card to get in the lead. (Anyone remember when the only C/C++ compiler that supported the "new" Windows 95 was Microsoft's?) Exchange Server has always sucked. It just sucked less than Notes. SQL Server is okay, but has always had a long list of failings that have kept it from being the best solution on the market. It just happens to get heavily discounted when your shop goes all Microsoft.

Sooo... whatever point you were trying to make? You didn't.

Re:Bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19445459)

So please, all mighty one, what do you advocate to use instead of Exchange or Notes? I'm not saying that Exchange is the best, but if you really think it sucks, then you will probably take the anti-MS position no matter what argument is presented.

Do you think Windows Server 2003 sucks also because it originates from NT technology? Linux 2.6 kernel sucks because it originates from Linux 1.0 kernel too. Just because something originates from another product, doesn't mean it automatically "sucks". Just as you previously said, some products (in your example OS X) have compelling improvements in each version. If you think that isn't the case with Windows NT -> 2000 -> XP then you are just blind. Does Vista have compelling improvements to XP? That remains to be seen, but I believe so.

Also what do you think about SharePoint Server? Does it suck ass like just about every other Microsoft product?

Is there anything to suggest.. (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443105)

Is there anything to suggest that the iPhone is or will be a success? Perhaps it won't fail as spectacularly as their earlier try at a phone.. But it's facing hefty competition from dozens of windows mobile devices, blackberries, and even just plain old devices that only have one function, but do it extremely well. Hey, some of the windows mobile devices even look pretty stylish! Not to forget, you can buy 2 laptops for the price of the iPhone AND the 2-year contract that comes with it..

As for me personally, the iPhone is off my shortlist because I'm looking either for a nice phone that only does voice, or (ideally) for an all-in-one; and 'all' very much includes GPS in my mind. It's kind of a killer app for PDAs.

If fellow slashdotters have any suggestions.. the ipaq 6515w is a bit too wide for my taste, and it has a small square screen.. The E-ten M700 looks very good, but I'm not sure about the robustness of the handset and keyboard, the call quality(!), and the software support - I hated dicking about with 'unofficial' windows mobile upgrades on my Qtek 2020 (which incidentally had crappy voice quality).

Re:Is there anything to suggest.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443147)

AT&T 8525. WM6 comes out next month as a free upgrade.

Re:Is there anything to suggest.. (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443377)

Seconded. Fantastic device, but no functional GPS. I wouldn't dismiss the "unofficial" updates for the 8525 either. The software packages (including the latest WM6 builds) are excellent; far better than any of the officially released packages.

Re:Is there anything to suggest.. (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443561)

The AT&T 8525 is also known as the HTC TyTN (which has been available for some time, which is a good thing, more reviews to go on!).
The glofiish M700 has twice the RAM and built-in GPS (killer app and all that), and is about 90 cheaper, though the TyTN has UMTS/HSDPA (both have wifi though). I'm not really bothered with UMTS, but I do like GPS, so it's probably not the handset for me.

Killer App (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444581)

Why is GPS the killer app? Are you lost all the time? Are you relying on your phone in the wilderness (in that case, are the phones you looking at loaded with topo maps)?

Easy Google Maps access is enough for me, as long as I know what city I'm in. That problem hasn't come up in years. :-)

Like we say in software development... (2, Insightful)

ringfinger (629332) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443125)

..."Plan to through your first efforts away... because you will"

But really, there's wisdom there. You never really know what will be successful until you've gotten something out and developed. If only business people understood that, they could likely leverage it to do exactly what this article recommends -- "fail wisely".

Re:Like we say in software development... (4, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443427)

You never really know what will be successful until you've gotten something out and developed. If only business people understood that
Business people underatand this perfectly well. They also understand the costs associcated with getting to this stage and believe it or not they are clued up enough to understand that if they commit to this cost to just 'get something out there' and it fails then its probably game over for the business.

This is not something Apple are just chucking out into the market place, large amounts of reseach, market analysis and product developement will have been done before the iPhone got green lighted. There is still an element of risk the iPhone will tank but Apple will have done as much as they can to reduce it.

Re:Like we say in software development... (1)

ringfinger (629332) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444041)

But this is my point -- failing wisely means planning for a do-over, or at least planning for significant course correction. One of the great examples to me is the sitcom Seinfeld. The first seasons were lackluster, but they stuck with the show and let the characters develop. As a result they had one of the most successful shows in TV history. If they had required a hit series striaght out of the gate then they would've missed out big. I believe 'failing wisely' means expecting your first efforts to not be perfect and having plan B, C, etc in the wings.

Re:Like we say in software development... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443711)

..."Plan to through your first efforts away... because you will"

Looks like you just threw away your first effort at spelling.

(Not a spelling Nazi. Just trying to be funny.)

Tough bankruptcy laws? (4, Interesting)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443153)

What sort of political shilling is that?

Perhaps the author should look towards Central Europe ca. 1991-2001 to see what economic wonders occur when you have /loose/ bankruptcy laws. It was GREAT for the "entrepreneurs" and loan officers working on "commission" when you could write a loan to finance your business, liquidate it, write off the loan having effectively pocketed the cash, then walk straight back to the bank to pull a new one for a new business, rinse, repeat and retire to the Caymans having produced absolutely nothing.

iPhone *drool* (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443159)

I'm not big into the cell phone hype. My current phone is an LG freebie. But after seeing a iPhone demo, I just have to drool. It's like a cell phone and a kick ass Palm but better.

I'm on the verge of getting one, but it's kinda of expensive so I'm indecisive. But if they do release a SDK, that will be the deciding factor. Phone wise I don't care, but the PDA/computing options for it are just sweet.

Doesn't work in all situations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443183)

The wider lesson is not to stigmatize failure but to tolerate it and learn from it
But what if your trying to destory an internal rival or another company. What happens if you can't compete on technology alone.

I'm not bitter.

Mac wasn't born from the Lisa blunder (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443185)

The Macintosh was born from the wreckage of the Lisa, an earlier product that flopped

Not quite, they were developed at the same time. The Lisa project began in 1978 and released in 1983. The Macintosh, 1979, released 1984.

Makes sense! (5, Funny)

Shky (703024) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443191)

I tried telling my parents when I was in high school that those were *wise* failures they were seeing on the report cards. If only this article had been around back then...

Not sure why they brought the ROKR into this (5, Informative)

raitchison (734047) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443219)

The Motorla ROKR was designed to fail with the arbitrary 100 song capacity limit.

The last thing apple wanted was a successful ROKR that might have cannibalized sales from the iPOD and the Apple branded music phone that everybody knew would come out eventually.

If the ROKR were an Apple product, you could make a case that Apple "failed", in this case Apple succeeded, they held off the market until they could debut their own device that makes them money.

Re:Not sure why they brought the ROKR into this (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443615)

My wife has a ROKR. It really took more of a beating than it deserved IMHO. The 100 song limit was retarded, but with the 512MB of memory onboard you were hard pressed to exceed it anyway. People didn't harp on the stuff that really mattered about the phone, like it's tendency to run the battery down after a mere two days of idle time and the flimsy proprietary data and power connectors. The default firmware setting was also a little confusing on it, since it was designed to go into "sleep mode" after 15 minutes, but in sleep mode it turned the radio off, which is completely retarded for what is primarily a cell phone.

That said, it had a good radio, good microphone, and the speaker was good enough that you didn't have to plug the headphones in to listen to music if you didn't want to. The interface on the phone was pretty good too, which is far from a given on modern cellphones.

Re:Not sure why they brought the ROKR into this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19444837)

From what I understand about the RCKR and iPhone developments, it wasn't the technical limitations that caused failure. It was the messed up nature of the cell phone business that forced bad design decisions upon cell phone makers (i.e. adding artificial limitations to phones). Apple learned from this (which is the root cause of the failure) and went hunting for a cell phone operator that would allow them free reign to design the phone that they wanted.

Motorola Phone Failure Was Intentional (3, Insightful)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443297)

The iTunes-compatible motorola phones were always intended to fail from day one. They were severely crippled compared to most low-end MP3 players at the time. The only purpose these phones served was to see if there was a market for phones with iPod-like integration, but only with features so excessively limited that Apple could crush it at any time by entering the phone manufacturing business themselves.

Comparing the Motorola phones to the Lisa probably has every Lisa in the world rolling over in their mass-grave.

Buy Palm? (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443299)

I wonder what their response will be to the failure that will be hitching their reigns to Cingular for 5 years.

Did anybody notice ex-Apple VP of iPod Jon Rubenstein is now Chief XYZ at Palm? Does the investment firm that took the Palm stake have any other Apple ties?

I mean, if Apple acquired Palm, and Palm already has deals in place with Verizon, Sprint, NexTel, et. al., well, Apple couldn't very well not honor those commitments. And Palm just happens to be re-tooling their XScale phone to run on a small Unix OS (Linux). So, it wouldn't very well make sense to develop two completely different yet entirely similar products, would it?

But, hey, I've been known to claim the 3GHz promise was just a strawman to excuse sacking IBM. Steve learned from his NeXTMachine failure that a software company is better off using cheap commodity hardware.

OMG this thing is the biggest ever (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443329)

And they havent even sold one unit!

I really can't wait for the iPhone to come out.

I've been dying for a phone with 3G capabilities and a decent web browser, bluetooth, and the ability to play all my divx files and nes games!

All for the reasonable price of 150 bucks! [treocentral.com]

Another example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443403)

And who could forget Apple's incredible followup to the newton? Oh wait...

Could the iPhone demos & Apple ads be simulati (-1)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443437)

Both the demos given at the Apple expos and the inspiring TV ads could be simulations created in Flash or another authoring platorm that make the interface and operation far slicker than it is when connected to the network. (Journalists have had hands on use of the iPhone, but that does not mean it was not running an interactive Flash simulation.) We all know how advertisements and pre-launch demos tend to gloss over any flaws. Of course, with today's technology there is no reason why the iPhone should not be capable of what we have seen - after all, the iPod Nano is much smaller and an amazing feat of engineering on its own. And the stuff the current iPod Video can do (see the in store demos) is quite cool. But but but, if people own an iPhone but are constrained by the speed of their connection or any other archillies heel, then they will be in pocession of the world's most expensive and cool looking brick(ette).

Re:Could the iPhone demos & Apple ads be simul (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443785)

There are rumors from people who have (supposedly) seem/operated the iPhone who say it operates about how you would expect. Regarding the slow network connection, it may be slow when using the Cell network (what can Apple do about that?), but it should at least be decent when within range of WiFi.

Re:Could the iPhone demos & Apple ads be simul (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444325)

Regarding the slow network connection, it may be slow when using the Cell network (what can Apple do about that?)

Wait, I know this one ... oh yes, put a 3G radio in it.

And then have none? (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444623)

Wait, I know this one ... oh yes, put a 3G radio in it.

And then have zero [slashdot.org] to sell at launch?

They need to be able to get them here to sell them.

Re:Could the iPhone demos & Apple ads be simul (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19444007)

They aren't. I've used one. It's better than the ads make it look. The interface is fast and smooth like you wouldn't believe. Even the 2.5 G seems to load content very rapidly. Far faster than my Razr does. I assume they are using prioritized data and a special proxy which compresses/tidys html, and possibly pre-caches referenced files (css, images, etc...) before the Safari instance on the device asks. It's faster than it should be:)

Re:Could the iPhone demos & Apple ads be simul (1)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445245)

Cool! I don't doubt Apple. I have owned most of their stuff since I purchased an Apple Portable for £8000 ($16,000 in today's money!) and am typing this on a Macbook black with 2gig RAM. They do deliver when they get it right and I plan to buy an iPhone soon as it's available here in the UK. BTW, I do NOT like the iPod. I find the interface far far too slow to navigate. however, the touch screen on the iPhone looks wonderful. Having played with an LG Prada, which is actually quite nice, I do believe that touch screens done properly are the way forward, in conjunction with a limited 'hard' controls.

Speaking of failures... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443717)

One definition of an expert is someone who has triewd every conceivable way of doing something wrong.

Long term put time is now (0)

Budenny (888916) | more than 6 years ago | (#19443761)

One was waiting for something like this. It is clearly the top, at last, and its time to buy the long term puts. When the Economist writes laudatory articles about a company just before it releases a product which is a huge gamble, you know. They ring a bell at the top.

You just have to know to listen for it.

Nonsequiter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443835)

The wider lesson is not to stigmatize failure but to tolerate it and learn from it: Europe's inability to create a rival to Silicon Valley owes much to its tougher bankruptcy laws.

Wait, what? What does that have to do with Apple having a few flops and then having later products succeed? Apple never went bankrupt.

Re:Nonsequiter (1)

spazLizard (1093769) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444057)

This comment does come out of left field, but I think they are trying to make a point concerning Apple's risk taking when their financal prospects were less than steller, and thus risked bankruptcy. At least that's my interpretation.

Appeared to have failed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19443843)

"Its recent computers have been based on technology developed at NeXT, a company Mr Jobs set up in the 1980s that appeared to have failed and was then acquired by Apple."

No, NeXT, was a real honest-to-goodness failure, not just the "appearance" of one. The only NeXT technology that appears in Apple computers is BSD.

Re:Appeared to have failed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19444133)

No, NeXT, was a real honest-to-goodness failure, not just the "appearance" of one.
NeXT was a failure in the sense that it only cost Gil Amelio's company $400 million to buy. I'd sure like to start a company that sells for $400 million. On the flip side, I have no idea how money was sunk into NeXT by investors.

The only NeXT technology that appears in Apple computers is BSD.
That and Steve Jobs and everything he brought back into the Apple culture, business model, and product line.

Re:Appeared to have failed? (5, Funny)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445141)

"The only NeXT technology that appears in Apple computers is BSD."

Well, there's Interface Builder. They got that from NeXT. But apart from Interface Builder and BSD, there are no NeXT technologies whatsoever in current Apple computers. Except of course for Cocoa, which is heavily based on NextStep/OpenStep, hence the fact that it has all those classes with names prefixed by "NS". But with the exception of BSD, Interface Builder, and Cocoa, there are no NeXT technologies in Apple computers at all. Unless of course you count Objective-C as a "technology", which NeXt licensed for programming in NeXTStep and OpenStep while Macs were being programmed in Pascal and C++. But I agree that apart from BSD, Interface Builder, Cocoa, and Objective-C, Apple computers are completely devoid of NeXT technologies. OK, I'll admit that Portable Distributed Objects also came from NeXT. I'll give way on that one. But if you discount BSD, Interface Builder, Cocoa, Objective-C, and PDO, current Apple computers are totally and completely free from NeXT technologies. Utterly without _anything_ from NeXT. Honestly. I mean, WebObjects, which is admittedly a NeXT technology, isn't even installed on most Macs, so _the majority_ of Macs are free from it. Well, they are. Really. So I can, without any pangs of conscience, categorically state that, with the exception of...

elite (0, Troll)

Darth Cider (320236) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444049)

Any of you posters who dismiss and disparage the iPhone's chances of success would still be impressed if one of your friends had one. You'd think he/she had something going on, maybe that they were affluent and stylish, maybe that they were lucky to be able to play with one, maybe that it reflected badly on your own utilitarian tastes, home-built computers, t-shirt wardrobes, and dorm-room outlook on life.

If you don't wear the likes of Armani and Rolex and think you never will, or if your car is generic and that's good enough for you, and if your diet consists of a lot of fast food, and if you are basically an ordinary person, then the concept of a luxury item may be something you don't truly understand. You might think of it as a needless or ostentatious ploy to gain status, whereas in reality a good segment of the population considers such things to be affordable and desirable on merit alone.

"It costs too much" says a lot about priorities. The fact is, the iPhone is a great piece of technology, and if they were free, everyone would want one. (But some people would complain about any price.)

Re:elite (3, Funny)

seebs (15766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444369)

You seem to be totally unaware that some things are actually better than other things, and some things are purely about status.

Not all status symbols are actually good. Most decent restaurants are actually better than fast food, but what exactly does a Rolex do that a regular watch doesn't?

A good segment of the population are, to put it bluntly, fucking morons who will believe anything they see on TV. That does not exactly bolster your case.

Re:elite (4, Insightful)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445315)

What does a Rolex _do_.? It costs a lot of money. This will occasionally impress some people. If impressing people who are impressed by Rolexes is important enough to you to make the $3000 cost worthwile then by all means buy one. Being impressed by $3000 wristwatches is totally incomprehensible to me.

I wear a $29 timex ironman. It keeps almost perfect time (loses 4 seconds a year), it has a countdown timer and 2 alarms and runs about 5 years on a battery. Nobody is going to hold me up for my watch either.

Re: inverted snobbery! (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445637)

I think you are wrong in describing fashionable people as 'fucking morons who will believe anything they see on TV' . Lifestyle magazines are more influential than TV to those fucking morons.

iPhone Gremlins (1, Insightful)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444249)

It's funny how the meme that Motorola's crappy ROKR was somehow Apple's design keeps getting replayed. Apple quite obviously floated Motorola's phone while also cutting off its legs with the Nano at the same event. Nobody mentions the iTunes client on the SLVR, which actually didn't suck (the phone, not the limited client).

It's like he can't resist tying an albatross around Apple's neck to desperately make the company seem less magical or something. Is it wrong to give the company some credit for blowing out amazing crap over the recent years? If so, I don't want to be right.

- iPhone Gremlins: Crashing, Security, and Network Collapse! [roughlydrafted.com]

"In addition to showing off the iPhone's pretty interface as part of its first impression--including the Google Maps client Steve Jobs used to locate a Starbucks in order to place a crank call for a thousand coffees at Macworld--he also described the rationale behind the closed platform iPhone as a security and stability issue. Was he kidding?"

Economist, inserting conservative views everywhere (0)

realisticradical (969181) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444445)

"The wider lesson is not to stigmatize failure but to tolerate it and learn from it: Europe's inability to create a rival to Silicon Valley owes much to its tougher bankruptcy laws."


So, has Apple recently declared bankruptcy and nobody's told me? Is silicon valley full of brilliant successes who have declared bankruptcy several times?

The thesis of the article seems to be that learning from your failures is important. Fine, but just because bankruptcy allows a company to wipe their debts and reorganize doesn't necessitate that companies will start learning from their mistakes. It's quite a leap to make that Silicon Valley is created by good bankruptcy laws.

Re:Economist, inserting conservative views everywh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19444635)

Is silicon valley full of brilliant successes who have declared bankruptcy several times?
Yes

Re:Economist, inserting conservative views everywh (1)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 6 years ago | (#19444951)

I knew that any criticism of Yurp would make the idiots of Slashdot go into a frenzy. BTW, how are looser bankruptcy laws "conservative"? Slashdot posters are the most mindless drones on the internet.

Article summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19444981)

HYPE HYPE OS X HYPE HYPE iPod HYPE HYPE HYPE iPhone HYPE HYPE iTv HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE Steve Jobs HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE HYPE ...

- sickofapple

Batteries, Batteries, Batteries (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#19445007)

After some experience with a few of these all in one wonders that have been recently released I have found they all fail severely on one point, battery life, having to charge the battery every day can become a bit wearing and the iPhone will suffer this to a greater degree due to its huge feature set. More features means more code, more code means a more power hungry cpu, all those pretty graphics on your phone will soon become your worse nightmare as you have to take a sync cable with you for your twice daily recharge.
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