The beginning of the end for Apple

iPhone 5 is almost here, but does anyone really, really care?
iPhone 5 is almost here, but does anyone really, really care?

I was asked by my good friend Simon Egan today to comment on what I thought about this article on the BBC about Apple, which basically says they are no longer innovative and have become merely followers. And, despite being an Apple user for well over 20 years (before it was this widespread) I have to say, I agreed with it.

In fact, I completely agree. Apple is no longer special or surprising. It’s too ubiquitous to be different or sought after.

iPhone five with its new dock will annoy masses of people as it will render all their own kit worthless. I have a beautiful Valve based Amplifier that was totally designed around that very connecter. Admittedly I use it with my old style disk based chunky iPod and not my iPhone, but it means the end is nigh.

My sixteen year old daughter broke her iPhone (by dropping it down the toilet) and moaned for a few days but it’s all gone quiet. She is now using my old Nokia and has just stopped complaining because it’s a better phone and you can still text. The rest is a waste of time done better by other devices. I experimented a few years back and lived without my iPhone for three months. I enjoyed it and may well go back there.

Unless apple do something truly radical it will begin to fail. The new Televsion they are due to launch will give them a big positive blip but I can’t see them being able to do much after that. Most of our tech is covered and unless they invent a new category like they did with the original iPod, they may well be left high and dry.

They could obviously extend into Domestic appliances? But for me, that really will be the end. Look at Bugatti, Dualit and the other once great brands that have gone into pastiche brand extensions. That’s where apple will arrive soon enough unless they go back to where they should be and innovate.

A dog at work makes you more efficient

Over the least few weeks my dog Frankie MooMoo Thumbelina the Schnauzer puppy has been coming to work with me and i’m convinced it’s making me work more efficiently as I now have to work to a very specific routine to keep her happy through the day.

Frankie comes to work at Purple Circle
Frankie comes to work at Purple Circle

What this means is that you work in small windows and take proper breaks. So from 08.00-10.30 I know I have to get things finished before I take her for a walk. Then 11.00 until around 2ish and then another longer walk. And then work through until we go home again.

In these 2-3 hour windows, rather than putting things off until later as I normally do, I have been aiming (and succeeding) in getting things completed and out.

It’s also introduced me to some beautiful parks in the city that I didn’t really know about. St Mary’s Rest Garden is not big, but it is beautiful for a city park that is council run. It’s looked after by one chap on his own, who takes great pride in his work place.

St Mary's Rest Garden in Nottingham City Centre
St Mary's Rest Garden in Nottingham City Centre

So, i’m not saying you need to bring a dog with you to consider changing the way you work, but think in smaller windows rather than whole days and it seems to me that you start working an awful lot more efficiently.

The End

87 days after the experiment started, it has ended.

Quite suddenly.

I was speaking to a friend yesterday (hello Simon) and I was getting complaints that he couldn’t hear me and that I sounded like I was mumbling. I came to the sad conclusion that my old Nokia had seen its best days and was now effectively scrap. So the iPhone came back out again.

But what have a I learnt?

1. Push email is a total pain. I would rather wait until I got back to my computer and dealt with the emails properly. When I was away on holiday last week, I left with no emails in my inbox. As it stands today, there are now seven. That is a huge improvement from my position at the start of the experiment. I have become more efficient.

2. There was very little I missed on the iPhone. Most of the apps are nice to haves. Almost none are need to haves.

3. I saw a new sale board for our client Royston and Lund. This was the first one we had done where each property has a unique QR code to allow you to view the property details for each house they list. I did feel a bit left out not being able to jump out of the car and grab the code to start browsing. I think this will become increasingly important over the coming years.

4. The amount of extra thinking and reading time I have gained has been amazing. I will vow to keep off the apps and on my reading. I have watched almost no TV since I left the iPhone at home and feel better and brighter for it.

That’s it, the end. It’s been a blast.

Life without an iPhone day 66

I am now 66 days into this experiment and still going strong. My old Nokia is working well i’m getting very few complaints about people not being able to hear me. And guess what, it doesn’t randomly reset itself, run out of battery or burn my ear like the iPhone did.

I have used the iPhone a few times, but only as a speed camera detector as I have done so many miles over the last few weeks/months.

I did think I would have gone back to it by now, but even though I am getting loads of pressure to hand over the phone to the kids for their own personal use, i’m still carrying the iPhone just in case.

Any new lessons?

1. It’s actually quite liberating driving around listening to the radio.

2. I haven’t had any crashes or hit any wildlife because i’ve been checking my emails.

3. Apple are advertising quite hard again, which means they must be reaching a plateau in sales. Many people seem to be buying things a bit like an iPhone, like an HTC or other Android Phone.

4. Others have tried it too. But I can’t find many who have stuck to it.

Maybe I am odd after all?

Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment – Day 31

Okay a full month has passed and I am still off my iPhone 4. What have I learnt so far?

1. I get more work done

2. I am far more able to work in a linear fashion and do the job I have in front of me before being distracted by the next job that appears via my email inbox.

3. I have spent more time talking on the phone as my crappy old three year old Nokia 6300 is a better phone than the iPhone 4 and it doesn’t hurt my ear when I use it.

4. The battery life of an iPhone 4 is amazing if you never use it. It just sits there on standby in my bag in case I ever need it. I’m sure i’ve only charged it two or three times in the whole month.

5. My kids are absolutely disgusted with me and think they should have first dabs on the iPhone.

6. I almost lost my bottle at the weekend and brought it with me as we were going shopping for Duke of Edinburgh gear for my daughter and felt a bit exposed by not being able to price check what we bought. In the end, we just went to Sports Direct where everything was cheaper anyway. Their Field and Trek instore section is remarkable value with a brilliant Karrimor sleeping bag reduced to £18 from £50.

7. When and if I do switch back, I will not switch push email back on.

8. The reason I will keep with my Nokia is more to do with the weakness of the phone element of the iPhone than any of the features and apps that I have barely missed at all.

9. The reason I will probably switch back at some point is the quality of the camera on the iPhone 4, which is excellent compared to the 3g and my crappy Nokia.

The experiment continues.

Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment – Day 7

The first week is done and for me, it’s been a genuine success. I seem to have been far more efficient with my emails. At the end of Friday I went home with 29 in the inbox, compared to 74 the week before.

I am not ‘grazing’ information I don’t need and without doubt moving more logically from one job to the next. I am not being distracted as much as usual.

I have also had a surprisingly positive reaction with Rosie McArtney being genuinely supportive and believing that more people will switch their own iPhone/Blackberry/Smartphone off. It may not be a coincidence that she lost hers earlier in the year and has been working with a nrmal phone for some time now too.

I’m spending more time on the phone speaking to customers and suppliers – again this has to be a good thing. That’s okay now as I’m using a phone that was designed a phone (Nokia 6300) and the battery life is awesome. It hasn’t needed charging since I switched it on, on Wednesday.

So am I going back now my week is up?

No. Not for now.

I’ll live week by week and see whether I drift into the same lazy habits I had fallen into before I underwent this experiment.

Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment – Day 4

I’m starting to quite like this. I am definitely spending less time with emails and more time actually doing work. For me this is a huge progression. But firstly a few confessions.

1. The phone I bought was crap – I had a few people complaining that they couldn’t hear me. It may be that they were trying to prove a point and were taking the mickey, but I suspect you get what you pay for and as a casual user it would be a fie phone, but for a business user, it is a little weedy. If yu know of any kids or deserving causes that want it, let me know and i’ll donate it.

I have now had my much older Nokia 6300 unlocked and taped the micro sim in place as the adapter still hasn’t arrived. The iPhone still functions as a wifi device, but no longer as a phone. I have to confess to feeling a little more comfortable with it as a piece of technology. A phone that works as a phone is a good start.

2. I have used the iPhone a bit – Mainly to make outgoing calls as I burnt the credit on my £10 sim in about ten minutes flat. That is now over as I am back on my normal number.

3. I have even accessed an email – I know, I know. I was in the car (parked) and trying to get the number of a supplier. The easiest way was to look at an old email and ring them from that. It was a quick in and out. Honest. But I did immediately go and look at Sky Sports App ad a few others.

It made me feel slightly dirty and not in the spirit of my experiment. Sorry.

And now onto the positives

1. I am working in a more linear way – Dealing with requests once and getting tasks completed and filed.

2. I have more time – I am definitely spending less time worrying about emails and more time doing actual work.

3. I am a safer driver – I have not even touched my phone, checked an email or read a text whilst i’m driving. Car kit or no car kit.

An early conclusion?

I am not wanting to cut my nose off to spite my face, but I do feel it is making me change my (dirty) iPhone habits. I may go back to the iPhone at some point in the future, but I am pretty sure the default position will be to have the email push switched off. If this has only taught me that much, it’s been worth it.

My worry of living without it, is already overpaying for Christmas.

Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment – Day 2

Okay, not very scientific but the first business day is done and it’s been a bit of a success.

Only ten email messages in my inbox and lots of the things on my written list already completed.

I did get a lot of Twitter activity today and a friend Ben Afia recommended I look up the book ‘David Allen’s Getting Things Done‘. So I have and it is on its way from Amazon. ben then told me afterwards that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so i’ll probably hate it.

Battery life is still completely full on my cheapo phone and at 50% on the iPhone 4 which I have been carrying about in my laptop case on standby.

Looking easy so far. maybe i’m getting cocky too early.

We’ll see.

Living without an iPhone – a social and business experiment – Day 1

Okay. the first day of my new era. Life without an iPhone 4 and it all seems pretty smooth so far. Sadly I haven’t got my phone number sorted yet so can’t receive texts, but have managed to redirect all phone calls from the old number to the new. A clever feature of iPhones. Hmm.

I’ve already had to learn how to use predictive text again that I had forgotten. That was easy enough.

So what am I hoping to get out of this?

A few things spring to mind immediately. I’ll try and keep a track of what else appears through the week.

1. The ability to work in a more linear fashion – Rather than being constantly distracted by all the attractions of the Internet and every email that arrives, i’m hoping to be able to deal with them properly first time and then archive them.

A friend of mine sent me a link to this, so i’m clearly not the only person to be thinking along the same lines.

2. More time to read – I am convinced that I will create more thinking time by being away from my iPhone. Hopefully i’ll use this for extra reading and thinking.

3. Not being tied to my charger – The battery on an iPhone 4 is much better than on my previous iPhone 3g, but it’s still crap and has to be plugged in for power at least once a day.

What am I missing about it so far?

The camera.

Sky Sports App

Shazam (but that is one of the main distractions)

iTorch app

Quick access to the timer/countdown timer.

Not sure how important they are yet.

Number of emails in my inbox – 74