Quashed: Top 10 myths about Apple, Steve Jobs, the iPhone and iPad

Features Richard Goodwin 16:34, 16 Mar 2012

We take a look at 10 of the biggest misconceptions about Apple

Apple has launched its newest iPad, the imaginitively named 'new iPad' in the UK, justten days after the announcement. The new iPad 3 features a 9.7-inch Retina Display, LTE-support and a new A5X CPU as well as an improved 5-megapixel camera, now known as iSight, and some brand new iPad-specific applications in the shape of iPhoto and Voice Dictation.

Initial reviews of the device are very positive. But if we’re honest, we didn’t expect anything less – Apple’s iPad is the de facto tablet device for planet earth, and it will continue to be for some time to come. But is this fact enough to make camping outside an Apple Store for an entire week like some kind of decadent super tramp acceptable behaviour?

In a word: no – the idea that people would queue up in the cold and rain for a days on end just to part with £400 of their own money, when they could just as easily have pre-ordered one online, is as weird as it is disturbing. But that’s the power Apple’s brand now commands over consumers.

With this ‘brand power’ in mind it’s easy to see why some people, most in jest, but some in all sincerity, believe Apple to be a cult – it’s not by the way. And like all good cults, Apple has a distinct and very interesting mythology surrounding it, which includes strange ideas about the company’s history and its founder, Steve Jobs, as well as its products and how it does business.

Most of which, of course, are not true. Apple is a business, plain and simple. It’s not a cult and its founder Steve Jobs was as human and imperfect as you and I – maybe even more so if his new book is to be believed.

Below is a list of some of our favourite misconceptions about the world’s biggest consumer electronics company. Enjoy!

Apple invented Apps
Many people think Apple invented mobile applications. This isn’t the case, however, despite the fact that Apple’s iPhone and iPod are largely responsible for popularising the phenomenon of mobile applications with consumers en masse.

Applications like Calendar applications, Ringtone editors and games like Snake have been around like the late 1990s. Following the development of new data transmission technologies like GPRS and EDGE, the deployment of applications became simpler. Nokia was quick to capitalise on this trend, as was Microsoft with its original Pocket PCs.

By 2002 companies like Palm were releasing smartphones, like the TreoSmartphone, which included include wireless web browsing, email access, computer sync, and a third party suite of applications – and all well before Apple’s iPhone, iPod and App Store.

Apple invented the tablet
Apple did not invent the tablet, although like applications it is largely responsible for popularising the concept with consumers. The history of the tablet PC goes all the way back to the 1960s with the arrival of the Dynabook concept, which was created by Alan Kay in 1968. Targeted at children, the Dynabook concept embodied all the elements of a graphical user interface, or GUI, as early as 1972.

To say it was ahead of its time was an understatement. The Dynabook was revolutionary – but it wasn’t the first properly commercialised tablet PC. That accolade goes to Microsoft, which launched a series of largely unsuccessful Microsoft Tablet PCs in the early 2000s – a whole 10 years before the launch of Apple’s iPad.

The iPhone has always been awesome
When the original iPhone first launched in 2007 it was little more than an iPod Touch with calling functionality added. There was no 3G connectivity, no multitasking and the hardware was pretty low-end and a hefty price tag.

The iPhone featured a 3.5-inch screen 320x480 pixels display, four, eight or 16GB of storage and a 412MHz CPU. The device was more a proof-of-concept device than anything else, showcasing what Apple could do within the mobile sector.

The device sold well, shifting around six million units worldwide, and was quickly proceeded by the iPhone 3G in June 2008, which aimed to capitalise on the mass roll-out and adoption of 3G in the UK, US and Europe.

Tim Cook can’t replace Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs tragically passed away shortly after the launch of the iPhone 4S in 2011. It was a sad day for all involved in the technology industry, knowing that one of the industry’s most charismatic individuals was no more.

But the idea that Apple can’t function without Steve Jobs is ludicrous. Apple is in a growth phase that will last well into the future, it’s got strong products on the market and more on the way in the form of the iPhone 5 and the new iPad 3 (as of today). Then there’s the rumoured Apple iTV television set and the company’s ever-growing PC business.

Couple with this Apple’s recent $600-a-share stock valuation and record iPhone 4S sales and looks like investors and consumers alike are more than happy with Apple’s performance and future post-Jobs.

Plus, as How Stuff Works points out, ‘it's easy to overlook the fact that, in spite of his charisma and influence, Jobs didn't conceive of or design many of Apple's greatest hits. Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of industrial design, gets credit for the original iMacs, the click-wheel iPod and the iPhone 3G

Apple is friendly
Apple is perceived by many as a friendly company, generally speaking – the acceptable face of global capitalism and consumer electronics, if you will. Look a little closer though and you’ll see that Apple is actually no different from any other multinational corporation.

Sure it may have pretences about the ‘liberal arts,’ ‘design’ and ‘experiences’ but like any other large-scale corporate entity it uses offshore accounts to avoid paying tax, exploits cheap labour in developing countries and has even been accused of price fixing by the US Justice Department.

Adam Lashinsky’s new book – ‘Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired and Secretive Company Really Works’ – aims to throw open the doors on one of the world’s most mysterious corporations by examining what makes the business tick, as well as highlighting the bizarre lengths it goes to to ensure secrecy.

Steve Jobs, according to the book, claimed that any Apple employee that disclosed Apple secrets would not only be terminated from the company but also prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, which doesn’t sound particularly friendly to us

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