Friday, 20 February 2015


"And the hype completes the deception..." 

Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! How are you? As always I hope that all is well in your world and that your tech is functioning as it should! Are you enjoying the Lollipop upgrade on your Moto G 2014? I certainly am!

Speaking of Motorola... Have you read Jony Ive’s thinly veiled attack upon the Motorola ‘customize it yourself’ concept?

“Their value proposition was, ‘Make it whatever you want. You can choose whatever color you want,” Ive said. “And I believe that’s abdicating your responsibility as a designer.” Jony Ive

Here’s what I think...

#Motorola #RickOsterloh #MotoX #JonyIve #ProjectAra #Design

Huh, huh... Yes, those guys over at Apple love to talk up a good fight and fall short – seriously short – of delivering the goods. The philosophy at Apple is, “Show me the money!” Cook’s syrupy sickly sweet tones are just another way of saying, “Cherching!” <The sound of a cash register> Treat Apple customers mean (by these jacked-up prices) and keep them keen! Yet Apple comes across as a New Age religion heralding the future... It is such an odd thing to see iPhone users lining up outside an Apple store faithfully to receive communion.

The truth is that Apple is a laughing stock in terms of technology and design. I will tell you why in a bit... Hold on!

Once one is labelled a guru one can either be humble and set the standards or feel the need to smite those that dare to sing from another hymnbook. “Me! Me! Worship me!” Another way of looking at Jony Ive’s outburst is that once he is done with Apple or vice versa he’s not going to leave much of a “design” legacy. The truth is that the iPhone is super-bland in its appearance; at best it looks like a device that came from a 1960s Sci-Fi movie or from the 80s Buck Rogers TV series.

Ive is supposed to be a “designer” but the iPhone has stayed practically the same from the first to the latest – just a little elongated! To me that is not what design is about. I think Samsung learned this the hard way with the Galaxy S5. They tried to make a design signature by making minimal changes from the Galaxy S4 to the S5 and, from where I am sitting, it didn’t work out as Samsung envisaged. Again, the LG G3 was able to stand out from the blandness with a great looking design. Yes, HTC did great with the One M series aesthetics but the cameras were a disaster! And, as you know, Motorola put in a sterling effort with the Moto range and when it introduced the front-facing speakers the design went from very good to awesome!

Ive’s comment about Motorola allowing the consumer to choose colours and materials for the back came across as idiotic! The basic Moto X is just gorgeous as it is – I should know as I reviewed it. Being able to specify colours and materials such as leather for the back is being able to personally decorate the cake! Check out here: MotoX 2014 Review.

So, in my most humble opinion, that’s what design is all about...’s about giving people a choice! The base Moto X 2014 is simply awesome and to have the ability to customize it is sublime! If Ive’s take on design is to not give the consumer a choice then why release the iPhone in a couple of different colours? Jony says, “Here’s the bloody iPhone! Take it or take it!”

That’s not a legacy I would be satisfied with if I were called a “design guru”.

Another technological design concept that is going to squash Ive’s iPhone into a tiny footnote (if he’s lucky) is Project Ara! Now if I were a designer I would have wished that I had came up with that concept! Put simply: Project Ara has the capacity to change the smartphone world! No matter how many times Cook and co utters the word “fantastic” in the direction of the iPhone it is never going to take away from the fact that an Ara phone goes beyond superlatives. When Project Ara goes global it will most likely eclipse any smartphone sales record. It just so happens that I have 9 Android handsets and I would want an Ara handset in addition to my Moto G 2014, Nexus 6, Galaxy Note 4, etc.

No, I am not a handset nut! Pardon the technical term... ...I just don’t see the point of reselling old handsets as I am never going to get true value from it. I would rather use the old handsets as experimental units for rooting and installing a custom ROM, etc. It’s always good to have a spare! Wink, wink...

In any event I do think that Ive is overrated as a designer. It’s Android that’s paving the way for design developments as all the OEMs want to differentiate from the other. Also the Android operating system itself allows for OEMs to design handsets (and tablets) that pushes the envelope of what Android can do! I mean the Air Gestures, Multi-Windows and S Pen from Samsung with the Galaxy Note series is just amazing! I love that you can operate the Moto X with voice commands without touching it!

The iPhone is not only bland in appearance but the iOS operating system is uninspired. Ive must know this deep down inside as he – along with Cook and co – keep trying to slate the competition.

Just one look at the Apple Watch design tells me that Ive isn’t much of a designer. The Samsung Gear S and Moto 360 are two fine examples of a smartwatch! All that Apple is doing at the moment is to smooch up to the fashion circles to get consumers to believe that the Apple Watch is a desired fashion item. It’s not!

And this is what I appreciate about the Android (and Tizen) based smartwatches – they sell themselves. The OEMs don’t try to sell you on fashion; they sell you on the functionality. I predict that the Apple Watch is going to stink once users figure out that they’ve been short-changed. The Apple Watch design is so, so bland. I can almost guarantee that the functionality will be hugely disappointing hence the need to hype it as a fashion item. No doubt that the parishioners of the Church of Apple will line up to get one to complete the set. But the other guys have such a great choice in smartwatches! Once again, when it comes to smartwatches it is Android that leads the way in design. Tizen too! As Tizen works with Samsung Android handsets it’s still an Android experience. I do appreciate with the Gear S that I don’t need an additional handset to make call.

Jony Ive is more hype than designer. Apple is good at designing hype. But to be fair, a lot of people buy into hype over substance. Not me!

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