Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Case of the Cases, an iPhone 4 and Your Protection

There's been a lot of winging in recent weeks. It has been around the
launch of the iPhone 4, Apple's golden child, well its new one. It
comes from the line of products that much of the world fell in love
with, drove up Apple's profit margins to new heights and turned the
mobile industry on its head as well as helping facilitate the rebirth of
the bedroom programmer.

Apple's iPhone 4 though unfortunately came along with a design defect,
one they have in fashion that was quite typical of their previous
behaviour been in denial over and whilst there is no question the issue
regarding the aerial is a reflection of some poor testing what strikes
me is the reaction to this issue given what the solution to the problem
actually is, a case.

It struck me as odd that people would with such fervour be so quick as
to strike Apple down so harshly over this issue, whilst they could be
criticised for their (poor) PR when it's come to the handling of the
matter, what the remedy is is actually something users should be
adhering to anyhow.

The whole incident made me cast my mind back to an experience of mine
in the Apple Store. I was there to book a Mac in for repairs and there
were a number of those around me who had brought in their iPhones
having either cracked the device or it ceased to function after being dropped. The first thing that passed my mind is what kind of fools were these people to buy something as volatile as a smart phone yet not get some kind of casing for it. A year later when finally purchasing one myself the first thing I purchased with it was a case and a screen protector. Why? Because I like to protect my investments.

I understand the value of aesthetics to many people but in a world where
one can purchase an infinite variety of different types of phone cases
it can hardly be said that there isn't a phone case to match peoples
tastes for this aspect to even be an issue. So is the issue price? Well
considering they are spending up to £600 on the device is investing a
further £15, £20, £30 really spending that much more?

As someone with a lot of technology I like to protect my investments.
I have, not often, but it has happened on occasions, dropped items that
I have owned and the cases could be in part thanked for saving these
devices from otherwise potentially being destroyed or damaged. So when
reports say people can remedy the one usability issue of a device that
Consumer Reports says is otherwise the best smart phone on the market
with a measure that protects their investment is it really such a problem?

Would some of these same people go to equal lengths with other devices
they own? Let me list some examples here...
  • dSLR / Compact cameras - The screens on these often can quite easily be scratched so a screen protector makes sense to avoid this, it also is a form of protection against impact if the device is dropped and falls on its back. In addition to this most people also buy cases for their cameras which also protect them
  • dSLR and other lenses - These are extremely sensitive pieces of glass and much more so than any screen on an electronic device, it is both advised and extremely common that people have an associated UV/Sky filter that fits the thread size of the lens they have bought. This once again protects the lens from impact and prevents the glass from being scratched. Lenses also come with cases too
  • Laptops - There's nothing preventing people from carrying these around without a case or a laptop bag, but you don't see many who do. It's not just a matter of practicality but also ensures that this piece of machinery does not get too battered or damaged as easily
    when transported in a case/bag
  • iPods - Anyone who has ever owned an iPod would know they scratch and like any other device with a portable hard drive in they can also be damaged by shock / impact, so there was no shortage (if not a plethora) of cases and screen protectors one could buy for these
  • Portable gaming devices - These too often have a variety of cases available for them as like the other electronic devices it is just a matter of fact that it is good practise to have one
But let's take the analogy one step further and go to a software level.
Would you put a Windows based machine onto the internet without some
form of anti-virus / anti-spyware software? or would you do on-line
banking / purchases without a secure connection?

Those who do not take these measures I would take a moment to thank.
As these people can be credited with keeping companies more buoyant
due to the frequency with which they replace items due to having had
some kind of accident with them and subsequently the amount of cash
they hand over due to not just repairing but often having to replace
these items as they did not wish to spend a minor amount protecting

So this whole situation with the iPhone 4 and the remedy to its
primary issue is left with one question begging to be asked. If the
remedy is something which will protect your investment, is of relatively
minor expense and at the same time provide you with greater satisfaction then what REALLY is the issue?

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