It’s an unhappy day for Apple fanboys. Dan Lyons Newsweek’s tech correspondent just ditched the iPhone for Android, slamming the phone and Steve Jobs’s control-freak strategy in very harsh terms.
It might be tempting to dismiss this on the grounds that Dan Lyons is, not to put too fine a point on it, a fool whose confidence in his own judgment is in inverse proportion to its quality; his gullibility about SCO’s allegations in their lawsuit against IBM became legendary, and some of the stuff he’s written about blogging is hilariously stupid. Given his track record, betting directly against his technology and market projections would be smarter than betting on them.
Yes, but…Newsweek is an awfully big megaphone. And the larger news isn’t the bad stuff that pushed him away from Apple, it’s the good stuff the pulled him towards Android. The Android 2.2 feature list is a body blow from which the iPhone, already trailing Android devices in unit sales, may not be able to recover.
I’m not going to be coy about this. You can talk about all the other cool 2.2 features all day long, but the real killer is that Android 2.2 phones will be on-demand WiFi hotspots. This by itself will have all the laptop-toting road warriors I know falling over themselves to switch to Android phones. Imagine, no more airport and hotel connection fees; it’s easy if you try. Buh-bye Apple.
Announcing Flash 10 support twists the knife. OK, Flash is fragile crap and we’d all be better off if it disappeared, but as a way to ram home the contrast between Google’s “do what you want” and Steve Jobs’s “do what I want”, Flash support is a marketing gesture that’s pretty tough to top.
I’m not going to count off the rest of the feature list here, because I want to focus on the larger picture. Apple has been outflanked by Google’s multi-vendor strategy, outsold in new unit sales, and is now outgunned in technology and user-visible features. Again, I was expecting this…but not so soon.