There's a huge amount of gushing, almost fawning media adulation about Apple's new iPhones, its Watch, and its new payment app, Apple Pay. I remain less than convinced that they're worth all the hype.
For a start, don't forget the revelation a couple of months ago that Apple has deliberately built security weaknesses into iOS.
Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski ... reveals Apple’s complex tools inside iOS that would allow Apple to share certain user data at the request of law enforcement without the user knowledge.
More importantly, with or without Apple’s help, spying agencies such as NSA and other third parties that are very familiar with how iOS operates can apparently use these vulnerabilities to grab plenty of data from an iPhone, or to install applications for spying and other malicious purposes without the user’s knowledge.
Zdziarski shared his findings with “a room full of hackers,” explaining how Apple’s iOS has evolved over the years and describing some tools inside iOS that Apple is yet to acknowledge or account for.
. . .
These iOS tools that facilitate spying are not for iTunes or Xcode, the Genius Bar/Apple Support, developers or engineers, and the code discovered in iOS versions isn’t something Apple forgot about as years passed. “Apple has been maintaining and enhancing this code, even with iOS 7; they know it’s there,” the researcher wrote.
There's more at the link.
Would someone please explain to me why anyone in his right mind would run a payment app on top of an operating system that's deliberately designed to allow others to infiltrate the device(s) in question? I don't care whether it's a law enforcement agency requesting information from Apple, or a third-party app making calls to the same functions, or a hacker who's learned how to access the backdoors Apple's built into iOS. We know there are deliberate security flaws in iOS. How can we possibly trust it as a secure payment tool? As far as I'm concerned, security issues alone mean that no matter how good it may be in other respects, Apple Pay is a non-starter. Period. It's intrinsically non-secure; therefore it can't be trusted.
Second, there are the bigger screens on the iPhone 6 and 6+. Big fat hairy deal. Samsung and other manufacturers have been offering them for years. Sure, the iPhone may have a fancy wrap-around glass surface and other neat-looking bells and whistles, but I don't buy appliances for their looks - I buy them for their functionality. I don't see anything in the new iPhones that offers compelling advantages over competitors' products. As for iOS Version 8 that debuts with the new phones, it seems to have leapfrogged the latest version of Android in some (but by no means all) respects, but Android will catch up within six months to a year. It always does. A few new software features aren't sufficient reason to switch.
Then there's the Apple Watch. Many commentators have not made it clear that it's not a stand-alone device. It requires having an iPhone on your person to make it work. As Yahoo! News pointed out:
"Syncing Apple Watch capabilities to iPhones ... means that the overall cost of strapping one on could near $1,000."
A thousand dollars? That's not chump change. What that figure says to me is that these products are aimed at the affluent. That's a risky market segment. It's far more fashion- and trend- and fad-conscious than lower-end consumers. The latter have to live with what they buy, and are therefore more cautious before putting down their money. If Apple loses its high-fashion status, or something else comes along to rival it, it'll spell trouble for the company. (And, of course, if the economy goes south - as I and many others expect it to do in the not too distant future - what will that do to the sale of expensive, high-end products if people can no longer afford them?)
I'm sure Apple will sell a bunch of its new toys to its fanbois - those who are fanatically loyal to the company and have made it a part of their lives. They're 'Apple-inculturated', if I can put it that way. Whether there are enough of them to make this the game-changer and corporate earnings revival engine that Apple hopes it will be . . . I have my doubts, just as I did about Amazon's Fire Phone. I think both companies are trying to dazzle consumers with technology. Well, this consumer ain't buyin' the hype - or the products.