Apple’s New iPhone 4 Ads: A FaceTime Future?

Nevertheless, the ads are emotional proofs of concept for a future that will eventually be real for many millions, whether that future is brought about by the iPhone 4 or not.

You can see all four new ads on Apple’s site. I think they’re all well done, with my personal favorite being “Haircut”.

But the ads mean less to me than Mashable’s quote above. They seem to have forgotten Apple made FaceTime an open standard.

Unless Android handset makers are idiots, they should be fighting to be first to market with FaceTime on an Android phone. (Oh, and Microsoft should push for this in the first WP7 phone, too.) It’s not about Apple, per se, but rather the technology they’ve made available to everyone.

If hardware makers don’t blow it, this “concept for a future that will eventually be real for many millions” will be brought about through Apple’s work, not through their phone. For FaceTime, think of iPhone 4 as Apple’s model to show other hardware makers how it’s done.

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Silly Apple Criticism 2: Apple Has iAds, So Safari’s Reader Function is Hypocritical Ad Blocking

Critique: It’s hypocrtical of Apple to introduce their own ads while putting an ad blocker in Safari 5.

Safari Reader is not an ad blocker. To call it that is to misunderstand “reader” formatters, or ad blockers, or both.

An ad blocker blocks ads. Not trying to be facetious, but that’s what it does. It blocks ads. They’re blocked. You go to a web page, and you do not see ads. Ads are prevented (you might say, “blocked”) from displaying. When you browse with an ad blocker, you go from page to page sans ads. Are we clear?

A reader formatter doesn’t do that. You don’t browse with these. When you go to a page you see the same ads as everyone else. The ad impression is counted (for the content provider) and you’re free to click on any ad to view at will.

What a reader does do is determine if there’s an article on the page, and give you the option to display it more cleanly for easier reading. Yes, the ads (along with other formatiing) do not appear in the reading pane, but they’re still in the background with the rest of the web page, and when you exit the reader in any way—which you have to do to get anywhere else—they’re displayed again.

That’s a big difference. In fact, a reader cannot block ads; the page must load before it can even be invoked in the first place. No one accuses Readability, for example, of being an ad blocker. In fact, someone looking for an ad blocker would be extremely disappointed in the results if they tried to use one of these readers for that purpose.

Apple’s ad terms

Consider the flipside perspective, too. What if it were Apple honing in on Google’s lucrative search advertising business, building up profiles on Web searchers via Safari and displaying targeted ads within the browser during Google searches? Or selling the search behavior of Safari users to Microsoft so that it could improve Bing at Google’s expense? I can hardly imagine Google would be happy about Apple using Google search data to threaten its bread-and-butter business. In fact, whatever deal Google and Apple have struck for Safari’s search bar probably already prohibits that kind of behavior. Does that sound anticompetitive to you? Or is it just the sign of a company protecting its crown jewels from a fierce competitor?

The big difference is that, if Apple did attempt to “hone in” on Google search, and Google took steps to prevent it, Apple, not Google, would be derided as the aggressor. Such is the tech tide flowing against Apple.

Apple’s secrecy pisses tech pundits off. Push comes to shove, the majority of them will support the company with free-flowing PR every time. Any communication, whether vapor, marketing speak or statistical manipulation is better to them than a “no comment”, and typically reported with little question. It’s why they proclaimed Microsoft King the better part of 20 years.

About Google “Openness”

Google’s main product, its search engine, is still a very, very closed platform. If a developer wants to innovate off of Google’s search, they currently have two options the AJAX search API and Google’s Custom Search Engine (CSE) — both of which have tremendous limitations. The AJAX API limits results to just 8, and really just keeps trying to drive users back to Google’s properties. For CSE, the terms are quite limiting and only let you display Google ads on the results page

I’ve been saying for a while that Google is no more open when it comes to its key products than Apple is. When Apple’s competitors beat the ” open” drum, it’s BS. Most of the tech press don’t care—they just want a story to write—but it’s nice to see some people have no problem stating it clearly.

Apple Antitrust

It’s bad enough there’s no monopoly in phones for Apple to be accused of abusing, and nearly every article complaining about Apple admits this. Yet the subject keeps cropping because Apple’s competitors are asking the feds to slow Apple down, and it’s good PR for politicians. Whatever.

But now it’s gone so far as this:

But, Apple is walking a fine line, and will be increasingly scrutinized by the government. Each time provides additional risk for regulation.

This is nonsense. 

Let’s put it in sports terms: “Well, Bob, New York’s had three hits down the baseline that were close to being foul. The umpires will increasingly scrutinize further such hits. Each one provides additional risk for being foul.” 

That’s absurd. The thing is either fair or foul. No matter which, it’s over, done with, and has no bearing on future hits. Like flipping a coin 10 times in a row with tails, the next flip is still just 50-50 tails (spare me the mathematical precision that says I’m off by a few hundredths, the point stands).

This isn’t some freakin’ game where not only can you not break a rule, but apparently you’re only allowed a few times where you allegedly come close to breaking a rule—never mind Apple’s not close. This is lobbyists in Washington playing with politicians in Washington. It’s companies trying to to get their money’s worth. We should be appaled, not happy, if they succeed.

Don’t weep for Google and AdMob

Given that my highly evolved brain can’t tell one PC-based text ad from another (be it Google or, say, Bidvertiser), doesn’t this mean for all intents and purposes that us little ol publishers better not use anything but Google?

What? You mean tech media darling Google might have favorable ad terms of their own? Shocking.

In other news, Ford furious they can’t advertise in Chevy showrooms.

Five Reasons To Be Concerned About Google

Unfortunately, much of what is awesome about Google also makes them increasingly terrifying with each passing day

Though none of these points is new, given how few people seem to know them they bear repeating. It’s a shame so many people—and, unfortunately, tech pundits—will fawn all over free stuff without ever considering where the money’s coming from, and what’s being done to get it.

I’m not predicting doom, or suggesting we all run screaming into the night, I’m just saying that when the front-facing (i.e., consumer) portion of a corporation is free, but we know that corporation is making billions and trading stock at $475 a share, we should concern ourselves with the source. This isn’t some paranoid conspiracy, to me it’s just common sense. No one is filling Google’s coffers because they give away stuff.