TECH

Apple is already facing strange criticism for developing artificial intelligence that has not yet launched

Apple'only a couple of months left until WWDC

Apple is in the best position to change public perception of artificial intelligence and how it is used in the home, on mobile devices and everywhere — and ordinary people who regularly spread falsehoods about the company are already, as always, taking potshots at the company and its efforts.

So far, 2024 has already seen the splashy debut of Apple Vision Pro and a quieter refresh of Macs and iPads using Apple's latest M3 chips. And in January, Apple CEO Tim Cook signaled that the company would unveil something big with generative artificial intelligence in 2024, likely at WWDC 2024.

That's not a bad first six months for a company that is supposedly just “smoke and mirrors of marketing” with no ability to innovate, as long as you listen to the people who have regularly gotten it wrong in everything they do Apple. the last few decades.

Can't innovate? My advertisement!

Over the last decade and a half of the iPhone, Apple has undeniably been a driving force in smartphone development. Every year, Apple defines what Android will look like next year, but fails to deliver on the short-term fads its phone competitors tried the year before.

Apple introduced its capacitive multi-touch iPhone into a world full of keypads and slide-out keyboards that tech critics railed against, but which soon disappeared from the market because critics were generally wrong about what customers wanted.

After every Android started looking just like an iPhone, Apple released its iPhone X with a thin bezel and a terrible, disgusting “notch” that everyone immediately stopped laughing at and started duplicating. Bloomberg led the way, insisting that it was obvious no one would pay an absurd $1,000 for a phone.

It ages like milk.

iPhone X

Samsung's existing curved screens disappeared as quickly as they came, and technocrats have stopped making noise about “when Apple is expected to release its own curved-screen iPhone.” Instead, these same people pretended to be excited about an Android tablet that turns into a super-thick Galaxy phone for an affordable price of just $2,000, not including repairs.

Once again, Bloomberg has taken the lead in promoting a false anti-Apple narrative.

Then Google and its minions showed off their tiny pinhole cameras that took up almost no space in the cutout. Around the same time, Apple released Hail Mary, its dynamic island on the iPhone 14 Pro.

On this Dynamic Island, Notch instead became a prominent, expanding blackness that integrated notifications and app status with cameras and touch hardware in such an ingenious, desirably complex and unusual way. Following the lemming trajectory laid out by everyone else, Android innovators had to rush back to their drawing boards for a quick copy-and-paste operation.

I could tell the same story about historical trends in smartwatches attached to the Apple Watch, or how set-top boxes largely navigated the seas of smart features by using Apple TV on their The North Star, or how all the tablets that weren't iPads simply sank. or how AirPods took the wind out of competitors' sails.

But I already have them, and you've probably already read them. No one who regularly reads AppleInsider should be convinced that this is all a controversial concept.

Is it too late to say “that ship has sailed?”

The critical gap between PCs and electric vehicles

I'm always amazed how tech bloggers who position themselves as consumer tech enthusiasts always criticize Apple for being a leader, despite the fact that it is somehow incapable of innovation. At the same time, they will root for teams that wear the same uniform because they are truly united by playing for advertisers, not spectators.

Are they fans of the sport or just hate the home team because it's Apple? Shouldn't critics remain skeptical even when they're being monetized by the same ad surveillance source that drives Apple's competitors?

In other industries the situation is different. Among automakers, for example, auto magazine writers don't just pick one company with the most desirable cars to complain about and give free reign to all companies copying their designs and strategies.

Just the opposite. Back when Tesla shook up the car market with its flashy high-end electrics with gullwing doors and proprietary supercharging hardware that actually “just worked” and tied them into a walled garden with conveniently located power stations to make long-distance commuting easier. . that have prevented electric vehicles from reaching critical adoption mass, automotive critics have applauded to the point of applause.

Tesla

Car enthusiast content creators weren't desperately trying to come up with some derogatory names for Tesla's signature features or organizing a pitchfork mob to demand the EU force Tesla superchargers implement existing ones — although problematic — universal chargers and protocols, and they certainly weren't telling their readers not to consider Tesla until it implemented de facto industry standards like CarPlay.

There wasn't even a finger to wave after Tesla's hugely expensive Full Self Driving car feature, which it erroneously calls Autopilot, never materialized in a form close to what it promised to be, even many years after Elon Musk. assured consumers that if you buy a Tesla, it will pay for itself by moonlighting as an Uber robot driver.

It turns out that after all these years, even Tesla's very limited calling feature can't be expected to crawl into a parking space for you, let alone navigate an underground garage or even a parking lot. shopping center parking.

Apple would have been criticized for releasing a car that claimed to be fully self-driving but couldn't actually do it. Apple is still criticized for its decision not to release a self-driving car that would not be able to do so and would benefit the company for a long time.

I've owned a Tesla for several years now and can report that its backup cameras are as slow as a 2010 Android phone, and even the automatic wipers that are supposed to “just work” when it's on. rain works less impressively than cars that had this feature a long time ago.

Last winter, Tesla drivers had to deal with frozen batteries that couldn't automatically warm up (although technically they could if the software was written for it), and Tesla's CEO had to come over like a crazy fascist tweeting something about genocide, Blood and Soil style, before it became unpopular to worship the man as supposedly Steve Jobs, who founded electric cars.

And this is true, even though Musk didn't even create Tesla, he bought it and insisted on being retroactively named as the founder because he had the money. Jobs founded Apple twice: once at the opposite end of IBM's PC dominance, and then under Microsoft's unchallenged PC monopoly.

Unlike Musk, Jobs did not promise fire, but simply spewed out hot air.

Every move Jobs made up until the moment of his death was scrutinized, and every product launch was cruelly ridiculed as flawed and incomplete. After his death, Apple's successive moves were compared to what Jobs supposedly would have done, which was ideal because suddenly the man was being worshiped by those who previously would have just as easily seen him spit-roasting and now claim that he never made mistakes. .

Apple was reviled under Jobs' leadership, and then reviled for his departure. In its entire history, Apple has never caught a break, whether as a beleaguered underdog or as an industry leader. It was never about Jobs or the market position.

I have never known a company like Apple so jealous of the critics, cantankerous pundits and industry analysts who seek to disparage its achievements, denigrate its high self-imposed standards, and dismiss its quietly generous and a humanistic corporate culture.

While everyone else was copying the Mac desktop, iPod, phones, tablets and watches, Apple had to force the rest of the industry to follow its leadership in accessibility, hardware recycling and environmental protection. , workers' rights, working conditions, and customer safety and privacy.

Apple is like the Star Trek Federation in a universe of Romulan treachery and Borg monotony. Technology critics and foreign governments are demanding that Apple give up its phasers and give in unchallenged, using its platforms for free and providing the best-selling features for Android, because resistance is futile and why should the good guys win every time consumers vote with their dollars?

Critics don't lead, they follow, muttering their displeasure

Unlike the world of cars, fashion, or anywhere else, where bold innovation and amazing creativity are applauded, in the world of consumer technology, about the only thing bloggers and newspaper journalists get really upset about is Thinking Different.

The most famous critic of the original Macintosh was the prolific and overly argumentative John Dvorak. He hailed the Mac with disdain for its mouse and graphical desktop in an article for the San Francisco Examiner in 1984.

“The nature of the personal computer is simply not fully understood by companies like Apple (or anyone else, for that matter). Apple makes an arrogant assumption, thinking it knows what you want and need. Unfortunately, this doesn't address the question “why?” equations – like, why do I need this?” The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a mouse. There is no evidence that people want to use these things.”

The Apple mouse and related developments would subsequently dominate computer technology for the next two decades. . In fact, 23 years later, the mouse allowed Dvorak to publish another opinion, this time advising Apple to “turn off the iPhone” because “there is no likelihood that Apple can succeed in such a competitive business.”

Apple didn't invent the mouse; he created a market for it

Many bloggers were wary of the iPhone. They were also very concerned that it didn't have Nokia's bulletproof rubber casing and replaceable batteries, JavaME and Flash compatibility, or tiny keyboards, which Jobs said smartphones shouldn't need because they were so much more powerful. instead a large raster screen.

I spent many years defending Apple's iPhone choices when most people thought I was wrong. But even more controversial is my opinion of the value of the iPad, for which many tech critics were even more united in their disdain.

Apple's iPad release was widely regarded as “just a big iPod touch”, while critics praised Google's plans to surpass the iPad by first releasing Android 3.0 Honeycomb, then Android 5.0 Lollypop, as well as its own Nexus 7, Pixel C Tablet and Chromebook Pixel.

Critics were mostly optimistic and favored Android and Chrome OS to somehow shake up tablets or at least dethrone the iPad. Even their acknowledgment of Google's shortcomings was mostly framed as hope, or perhaps waning excitement, that Android apps optimized for tablets would one day look as expected.

Bloomberg provided disproportionately informative coverage of Google Pixel products without caring how well they sold

Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and Japanese journalist Nikki were consistently wrong about Apple and its iPad, while the same critics were so hopeful about Google's Android and Pixel tablets that I noticed at the time:

“If someone gives you the wrong direction one day, you can forgive it as a mistake. destination.”

Criticism of the Future

When Apple introduced development tools that support machine learning devices for organizing your photo collections and identifying objects in images and text, critics have largely yawned. When machine learning was recently renamed “artificial intelligence” outside of Apple, they were very excited.

They demanded to know when Apple would enter the AI ​​race? Is Apple hopelessly behind in releasing a tool to scrape everyone's existing work and create derivative content from it, or is it more of a Microsoft/Meta/Google thing?

There are many new things Apple could use to power AI. While some tech writers have expressed real criticism of AI takeover, the scarier part of it will be who will be doing the “taking” part and with whom will their interests align: customers or advertisers?

Imagine a smart home with artificial intelligence that controls how your home management processes should happen. Perhaps the light turning on depends on how you have turned it on yourself, such as when it senses you have entered the room, or perhaps has to do with how you have previously turned on outdoor lights at night in the past.

Should this be tracked on remote cloud servers that also host the ads you see based on what websites you load or what social media posts you see? Or is it better to do it on a HomePod or Apple TV that you can control?

Would you trust eye tracking in virtual reality or mapping the environment in your home to an advertising company that collects your likes and views and sells them to its advertisers? Or with a company that explicitly blocks third-party apps from accessing this information unless you explicitly consent to its inclusion?

Apple has the ability to sell artificial intelligence as a feature of hardware devices and implement that intelligence securely and privately on devices you can control.

Can you trust such intimate knowledge of almost every step of yours, which will be carried out remotely by a company that is trying to sell you things— or, more accurately, to sell you to their advertiser clients?

Or do you want it to be done by someone who creates your experience specifically for you and only you?

It will be interesting to see how critics change their views as WWDC approaches and Apple further reveals where it plans to use machine learning and generative artificial intelligence.

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