Why not, Apple?

Finally got around to watching the Apple Special Event from 9/9/09, and was very glad to see Steve Jobs back at the helm. As I mulled over what I’d seen, two questions came to mind:

  1. If Apple could place a niftly little camera in the new iPod Nano, why couldn’t they do it sooner for the iPhone? Why so much hedging on that issue? After all, it’s not like video cameras in smartphones were such an exotic item, even back when the first generation iPhones came out.

    ipod-nano

  2. If the iPod touch and the iPhone are such great gaming platforms, and they run a pared down version of OS X, why can’t I play those same games on my MacBook Pro or my iMac? Granted, I could understand they’re not made for the higher resolutions of a laptop or desktop machine, but still, they’d be running on much better hardware, so they should be screaming fast. Apple’s always had a bad rep for not being a good gaming platform. Seems to me like an easy flick of the switch to let people run those same iPod touch and iPhone games on their Macs and get more bang for their bucks. Or is this coming down the pike in the near future?

    ipod-touch-games

Images used courtesy of Apple.


19 thoughts on “Why not, Apple?

  1. Well, for the first question, the iPhone had a camera on it from day one. It just wasn’t until the OS update that it had video functionality. The technology was always there, I just assume that the couldn’t get the software bugs worked out before the launch so the left it out until later. The second question is pretty dumb too. App Store games use on screen controls, and many use multitouch or the accelerometer. They would all have to be modified to work with a trackpad or keyboard and mouse, and most of them wouldn’t transition well, having been made for a touchscreen device. I’m not an Apply fanboy, in fact I greatly prefer PCs, but these are completely flawed points.

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  2. I never said I used Windows computers. I just find the Macs lack real function in favor of looking shiny.

    I’m a Linux user, and I guarantee I will always get more use out of my PC then you ever will with OS X on your Mac.

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  3. I never liked Apple.

    I’ve never seen a single fact backing up the claims that Apple’s products are actually of a higher quality, whereas I’ve seen a MOUNTAIN of evidence showing that they are simply average electronics with extremely jacked-up prices. You will NEVER get your money’s worth from an Apple product, I certify it.

    Instead of spending all that on an average machine, you could actually spend an equal amount for PC parts and actually build a machine that could simply kick the “equal in value” Mac’s ass.

    Another problem with Apple products is they love to strip away features in their products. Stuff that’s been considered a “standard” for similar devices for some time. I could still find more features in my old Treo 650 than a current generation iPhone, for example. And I was lucky enough to test-drive Linux-driven devices (G1 and Palm Pre) and found them way ahead of the curve compared to the iPhone.

    Apple loves to abuse their control of their hardware. It was likely an *extremely* reluctant decision on their part to provide for dual-booting on the Macs, for example. I’d bet top dollar Jobs was actually hoping to keep Boot Camp OFF of most Macs unless Apple was given a sizable premium. The fact that all their other electronics don’t allow anything beyond what Apple wants for their users supports this. They go out of their way to break any hope of interoperability with every generation. They ONLY want people syncing their iPods/iPhones with iTunes. Period. And then there’s the fact that the only way to run any non-Apple blessed software on an iPhone is to root the thing and “break” it. I could already handily run just about anything I wanted on my Treo without pleading to Palm for permission, and on the G1, all I had to do was check a little box and it was just as unlocked as a rooted iPhone.

    Which brings me to my final gripe against Apple: Exploitation. Apple is one of those companies that pretends to be about open source when in fact they’re using it far too much as a way to get free labor in their software. Microsoft does this as well. See, the difference between IBM and Apple is that IBM’s use of open source software actually BENEFITS open source software. IBM actually gives somethign substantial back to what they use. Let me put it another way: There’s a STRONG reason Apple chose BSD over Linux as the foundation for OS X, and it’s because the BSD license is an EXTREMELY weak FOSS license. The GPL would have forced Apple to keep their code open, so we could actually see what changes they made. We have no way of knowing if they contributed anything really significant BACK to Darwin or Mach, or all the way back down to the BSDs. Fortunately, Apple has taken a few GPL’d projects over, such as CUPS, libxml, or Webkit (Technically, while Webkit was “created” by Apple it’s actually a full derivative of Konqueror’s first-generation rendering and Javascript engines, in other words, Apple technically didn’t being Webkit to the world as much as the KDE devs did.) And Apple also uses other GPL’d things but has no real hand in improving their development. BASH is one such case. That’s still part of the GNU project, and has been a part of Linux since long before OS X came around. And the actual graphical foundation for OS X is also fully derived from Xorg. I love how the Apple fanboys claim Apple is innovative, but can’t cite a SINGLE case where Apple truly innovated (Again, like Microsoft.).

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    1. “Anonymous”, your comment was very close to being deleted, not because of its content, but because of your lack of courage. I don’t understand why people will hide behind anonymous or made-up monikers when they’ve got something bad to say. If you’re honest with yourself and with others, you’ll have the courage to post as yourself.

      Your lack of courage notwithstanding, I don’t agree with what you have to say. It’s been my experience that Apple computers make my work more enjoyable. They look good, they work well, and they let me get on with what I need to do. Windows computers waste my time with alerts and updates and other such nonsense, so that I have to waste a half hour every time I boot them up. I can never just boot up and get to work on them. And if you build your own computer, you’ll have to run Windows on it. Or Linux, which is still unfortunately too limited in its software options. As for stripping away features, that all depends on how you look at it. I have a Nokia N95, and it has a ton of features, but most of the time, I can’t find them and the user interface is clunky and slow. I’d rather use an iPhone, which may have less features but I know right where they are and the user interface is smoother and quicker.

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  4. i hate macs and will never own one but that aside money is the only thing that makes a business tick. my friend who loves apple always looks forward to the 3rd-gen, 4th-gen stuff. that’s when their features actually become good and everything works

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  5. Lovely ideas indeed and I am sure the Rosetta-esque idea is possible. If I had a spare few months I’d be tempted myself. Thou porting acc. and touch based games without ruining the playability is quite a challenge. Imagine the difficulty porting something really simple (maybe like wii sports) on a keyboard without making it daftly simple!

    Indeed, future extras like a cameras and some other fairly obvious things definitely were engineered into the early iphone and itouch design. Even in earlier versions the iphones were pretty well thought out. Hence I can’t imagine this was for any other reason than planned roll-out of incremental upgrades. That’s really not cool.

    We all expect apple products to be stylish, well tested and well planned. After all they are a fair bit more expensive than the average. Since apple makes it bloody hard for 3rd parties to upgrade/alter their stuff a bit of longevity is essential. Spending $400 on a phone, only to have an identical model released in 3 months, but with the standard stuff you expected on your phone, is pretty harsh. Yeah, maybe you should have checked it but for $100 you can get a nokia one that you know you don’t need to check.

    I really like apple products and am glad to see jobs back, but I also totally see were Lok is coming from. Their business models seem to be tending towards fleecing the customers more and more. Lok’s totally right if Microsoft were doing the same we would all be up in arms. [Rant over]

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  6. the software is designed to run on the ipone processer (I amusing it doenst use x86 instruction set). So easy “porting” just because the OS’s might use similar commands is not possible with out rebuilding the game to run on a different machine or releasing a VM verison of the iphone.

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  7. Sounds like you’ve hit on the next money maker for Apple or some enterprising developer…an I-pod emulator for the Mac, so you can play those cool games and other apps. Apple should give that away for free.

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  8. It’s not just multi-touch that would have to be simulated via keyboard, but accelerometer tilt controls. If apple wanted to, I suppose it could make an app-store for the Mac, and release a Developer kit with APIs and such, to make keyboard-and-mouse-controlled games, but they don’t really have a huge incentive to do something like that.

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  9. The reason they can’t be ported to mac is because there built for the ARM processor architecture. In order to run on a mac either the mac would have to have an ARM processor or the iphone would have to have an intel/powerpc processor. Either way it’s not gonna happen.

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    1. Right, I forgot the processor is different. Still, couldn’t Apple have something like Rosetta, that will interpret the code and make it work on the Intel processors? They did this for the PowerPC processors. Even with the decrease in processing speed caused by the translation, the games would still be very fast, given their lower playing resolutions.

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  10. Apple basically will do anything for money (even worse than MS imho). They will release models with very few differences between the older models just to make people buy them, they had Blutooth in the iTouch since the beginning, but refused to activate it, while making an update to do this (which of course was not free). The same happens with the 3rd generation of iTouches, it seems there is a lot of hidden features that they will not activate, there is a FM receiver and space for a camera (so expect a camera in the next generation of iTouches).

    I wonder if MS did this, how people would react… Probably very violently and there would be massive rants all over the web, but since it’s apple nobody says a thing.

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    1. Robb, the game itself receives the same commands (up, down, left, right, jump, fire, etc.) from the touch controls that it would receive from the keyboard. The only difference is that the game would be looking to receive those commands from the motion sensors and the on-screen buttons instead of the keyboard buttons — but I imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult to re-map the controls.

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  11. You’re right, I’d love to play the games in my Mac, or in any computer whatsoever, since all games have the same formats and could very well be processed by the same multi-platform sotfware. Like an iTunes, but for games.

    And not only the iPhone, but the iPod Touch didn’t get a camera either, which is surprising considering how they gave one to the Nano, which is pretty pointless considering you could use the camera in the iPod Touch to take immediate pics of people and add them to the contact list, which is absent in Nano and present in Touch. It’s more logical for the Touch, which is more complex than the Nano, to possess the camera. Maybe Apple’s Nano sales were dropping and they had to revamp the design to hook people into that line of products?

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