How Apple Tricks You
Steve Jobs has already been busted for exaggerating the resolution of a new iPhone screen the Apple CEO unveiled yesterday. It's only the latest in a series of misleading videos, pictures and claims designed to part you and your money.
Writing for the nonprofit think tank Digital Society, former ZDNet technical director George Ou used a series of pictures and renderings to convincingly establish that Jobs' team used images to fake a pixel density improvement twice as good as actually delivered; on a pixel-per-inch basis, Apple's images showed an improvement of three to five times, versus the two times improvement actually delivered by the iPhone's new retina display (now at 326 pixels per inch vs. 163 pixels per inch before). His post is here, but here's his last slide (click for closeup):
The world is a better place for Steve Jobs' obsessive overachievement; his willingness to push his employees and products beyond limits of what was thought possible has resulted in the world's best phone, shiniest computer operating system and first popular computer tablet. But sometimes the Apple CEO doesn't know when to stop. When you push advertising past the limits, the result is fraud, not innovation.
This is hardly the first time Apple has gone out of bounds. Some other recent examples:
Photoshopping Flash into the iPad: When Steve Jobs first demonstrated the iPad during a heavily-publicized unveiling event, the New York Times home page rendered with big holes that were supposed to contain content in Adobe's Flash format, which the iPad does not support. Apple later released a promotional video showing the same Web page without any holes. It turned out, as 9to5 Mac first reported, that the Flash content had been faked. Apple pulled the video. [Pic: 9to5 Mac]
Putting the iPhone on crack: Apple's TV ads for the "twice as fast" iPhone 3GS showed Web pages loading lightning fast, GPS firing up instantly, and super fast file downloads. "This ad borders on bait-and-switch," wrote web entrepreneur Jason Fried. Someone made a video showing how real-world performance was laughably slower than Apple's video. Apple then added a disclaimer (left, via Fried's 37signals): "Sequence shortened." No kidding.
Apple was also slapped over an ad for the prior iPhone, the 3G, when Britain's ad authority deemed Apple's TV spot for the "really fast" smartphone was exaggerated. Apple said the ad was "relative rather than absolute in nature."
Other: Britain's ad authority also rapped Apple over claims that the original iPhone supported "all the parts of the internet" given that the device did not support Flash or Java, the formats in which many "parts of the internet" are written. The same board also upheld complaints that Apple was wrong to label the Power Mac G5 the "world's fastest personal computer," since only tests designed by Apple supported that claim. Well, that one's nitpicking, isn't it.