"Goodbye, Apple. I'm ditching my iPhone. Seriously, I'm gone," writes Newsweek senior editor Dan Lyons on his Newsweek blog. In his alter ego of "Fake Steve," Lyons also comments on all things Apple on his parody website The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.
Fake Steve/Dan Lyons hates AT&T's iPhone service — so much so that last December, in his Fake Steve persona, he launched what he intended to be a parody protest movement entitled Operation Chokehold. However, it turned out that so many non-parody-minded AT&T haters thought that Fake Steve's idea of slamming Big Phone's service was a real-world good idea, that he was forced to recant the idea and request that his Chokeholders chill.
But his distaste for AT&T's lousy service isn't the only reason for his defection from the iPhone. "I was already fed up with my lousy AT&T service," he writes for Newsweek, "and was seriously considering switching to the HTC Incredible, an Android-powered phone that runs on the Verizon network. But then, after seeing Google's new mobile-phone software, I've made up my mind."
The comparison is clear, in Lyon's mind: "The new version of Android — version 2.2, a.k.a. Froyo — blows the doors off the iPhone OS."
Lyons details some Froyo capabilities that surpass those of the iPhone, mentioning speed, tethering, Flash support and the ability to stream songs from your music library.
Referring to that latter capability, Lyons says: "I'm assuming that Apple could have done this already, but chose not to. Who knows why? Maybe they want to keep people locked into their old way of doing things. Or maybe because they were a market leader with no real competition and just got lazy."
And although the iPhone has a larger installed base than Android-based phones, Lyons thinks that Cupertino is no longer in the technological lead, saying that "while Apple might one day match what Google just introduced, the point is this: Apple now is chasing Google."
Lyons notes that when he talked with an "Apple spokesbot" about the recent NPD report that claimed Android phones were now out-selling iPhones in the US, he was "shocked" when he was told that the numbers were misleading because of Apple's larger installed base.
"I was shocked because it's a familiar line, one that I've heard countless times in my 20-plus years covering technology. But I've only ever heard it from companies that are doomed and in total denial about it."
Lyons appears to have come to the same conclusion that many users — and, perhaps more important, developers — with whom The Reg has spoken have arrived at: that Apple under Steve Jobs has morphed from a imaginative company focused on creativity and dialog into a condescending, selfish dictatorship.
"As sick as I am of my iPhone's dropped calls," Lyon writes, "I'm even more sick of Apple treating us all like a bunch of idiots, stonewalling and bullying and feeding us ridiculous explanations for the shortcomings of its products — expecting us to believe, basically, that its flaws are not flaws, but strengths. Steve Jobs has created his own precious little walled garden."
And so Fake Steve is switching to Android. After congratulating the unashamedly "mocking" Apple-bashing by Google execs at that company's just-completed developers conference, he notes: "Now Google is saying, hey, nice garden, have fun sitting in it. By yourself."
Real Steve would do well to sit up and notice. There's something to be said for Malcolm Gladwell's concept of a "tipping point," and if Apple's carefully polished public image tips from that of sexy, future-defining innovator to selfish, defensive control-freak, it will be no easy feat to tip it back.
Dan Lyons sees mounting evidence that the tipping has begun. "We've seen this movie before. In the 1980s, Apple jumped out to an early lead in personal computers, but then got selfish. Steve Jobs, a notorious control freak, just could not play well with others."
The Reg has seen that movie as well, and we agree with Lyons that Jobs appears perilously close to starring in the sequel: Hubris II: The Fall of the House of iPhone. ®