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Apple vs. Microsoft: a Tale of Two Mobile Updates 257

Posted by timothy
from the all-things-to-many-people dept.
snydeq writes "The latest mobile updates from Apple and Microsoft provide a stark contrast, one emblematic of the differences between the two companies, InfoWorld's Ted Samson writes. Militantly on time, Apple's iOS 4.3 update offers significant new functionality, total disregard for what Apple considers outdated systems, and mandated silencing of user complaints. Microsoft, meanwhile, has finally managed to push out an alleged February update to a subset of users, along with a lamentation about having to deal with handset and carrier fragmentation."
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Apple vs. Microsoft: a Tale of Two Mobile Updates

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  • Precision (Score:5, Funny)

    by kirkb (158552) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:15PM (#35459116) Homepage

    On the one hand, you have Apple, which quietly rolled out iOS 4.3 with the precision of a Swiss watch. The update came a day earlier than expected, in fact.
    For a watch, that's pretty crappy precision ;)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:21PM (#35459174)

      It might have been an iPhone alarm clock app

    • by peragrin (659227)

      Given that there are still some bricked WP7 phones out there from MSFT's last update, and something like 60% of android phones never get an update. it is damn good

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Google could do that as well, if it had control over the handsets as well as the operating system. You can't have it both ways, people that get Android phones (like me) want something that's more open typically than what Apple will allow. The downside is that Google has little control over what "enhancements" the carriers and handset manufacturers put in place. And Google also doesn't control how locked down those handsets are either.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        something like 60% of android phones never get an update

        Citation?

        In order to reach that 60% at least one of these phones has to have not received any updates:

        Samsung Galaxy S.
        HTC Desire.
        Motorola Droid.

        Wait, they've all received a 1 version upgrade and the first two are looking at getting the next version.

        So bollocks to that troll, try harder next time.

  • by romanval (556418) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:30PM (#35459274)

    Which essentially is updates "if the carriers & manufactures feel like it (but secretly they don't because they don't want to devalue their newer offerings)". Barring that, the end user either follows some obscure steps to upgrade their phone from some Android hacking website, or is told to go pound sand. Not very good options for common non-techie end users like my aunt.

    Historically, most Apple devices you buy new today is good for about 2 years of firmware updates.

    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      If your aunt is a "common non-techie end user".. then she would hardly be affected at all. She would continue to used her phone oblivious as to what she was missing.. It]s only the enthusiasts, who can't stand their buddies having a newer release than them that get so bent out of shape over this.. All previous versions work.. I had 1.6 for 15 months before upgrade to 2.2 .. phone always did what I needed.. yes I wanted 2.2, but it was hardly a "hardship" or cause of stress and anger that some people seem to
    • by dudpixel (1429789)

      But if an Android phone already had the features that Apple is just now putting into updates (just a hypothetical example), what is the difference?

      isn't the update content more important than the timing of the update?

      the only real reason to want regular updates is for security patches, and that side of things does suck with android.

      features-wise, you should buy a phone for what it does now, not hope for some future update.

      if feature updates mean that much to you, you bought the wrong phone - simple.

    • by Wdomburg (141264)

      Of course the iPhone 3G was sold through 2010-06 and received its last update on 2010-10.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:47PM (#35459432)

    The article is considers Apple releasing this update on time and Microsoft releasing theirs late and in a piecemeal fashion as an indication of what the companies are like, but the author forgets two things. First, the iOS 4.2 was delayed (actually cancelled and later released as 4.2.1) when a WiFi bug was found. Granted it wasn't as long a Microsoft's delay, but still...

    Second, the iPad was stuck at iOS 3.x for a long time after 4.x was available for the iPhone and iPod. It skipped 4.0 and 4.1 until it finally hit OS parity at 4.2.1. This was despite Apple controlling both the hardware and software as the article suggests.

    As to Microsoft's offering, I have never considered WP7 to be a released product until they fixed the basic things like copy/paste. The old adage of always waiting for a ".1" release of a Microsoft product was true again. It was disappointing after they got it so right with Windows 7.

  • Flamebait summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by diamondsw (685967) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:49PM (#35459446)

    Microsoft issues an update: it's supposed to update the updating system for future updates. It bricks phones.
    Apple issues an update: Adds a few minor features, fixes bugs, improves web browser performance. It Just Works.

    I find the trolling with "mandatory silencing of complaints" ironic since one of the features in iOS 4.3 - a user preference for the switch on the iPad to function as orientation lock or mute - is specifically in response to user feedback.

    Meanwhile, Google issues an update. You can't use it until your carrier/handset manufacturer says you can (it took a month for Gingerbread to show up even on Google's own Nexus).

    • by 6ULDV8 (226100)

      If you choose to wait for your carrier to roll out a bloated OTA Android update, you are free to do so. If you choose not to wait, you are free to use one of the many alternative distributions or even roll your own without fear of repercussion.

  • by addikt10 (461932) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:56PM (#35459510)

    Which phones out there get vendor supplied updates after 3 years? Certainly not any that I've ever owned.

    My company got me a Droid Eris (I had no choice). 6 months later, no update to Android 2.2. (Maybe 8. Whatever)

    I'm not sure why Apple is getting dinged for not supporting a 3 year old phone. No one that I know of supports 3 year old phones.

    • Which phones out there get vendor supplied updates after 3 years? Certainly not any that I've ever owned.

      Nor I, I'll admit.

      That said, here's the problem--especially as it relates to the iPhone: This update includes various bug fixes for the Safari browser which improve security. Yet I can't get those if I have an iPhone 3G. And it's not like I can say, "Well, I'll just use another browser" because Apple won't allow Chrome or Firefox browser in their store. So my choice is...buy another iPhone.

      Don't get me wrong--I have no problem with Apple saying "Hey, you don't get any of the cool new features of iOS 4.3

      • by seifried (12921)
        Opera mini web browser is available for the iPhone and it's a free app. Granted I think it sucks compared to the native Safari, but you do have at least one easy option.
      • Apple lost me when it wanted me to fork over another 20$ to get a mpg to mov converter for the iMac. I paid premium price for it, and I do not want to be nickel and dimed. Yeah, I know enough to download and install ffmpg, and handbrake etc. But still it feels like buying a Lexus and then the sales man wants 20$ more for some floor mats.
        • by jo_ham (604554)

          What do you mean mpg to mov?

          mpeg is is a format, while mov is a container format. mpeg can go *inside* a mov container, but converting one to the other is like saying "I need a converter to change my coffee beans into a coffee jar".

          If you mean the mpeg2 encoder, which Apple doesn't include by default with Quicktime (only the decoder) then that's the licensing fee problem. Apple are just passing the cost on. I guess they could eat the cost (like they do for the H.264 fee), but you'd have to take that up with

          • I think he may mean QuickTime Pro which has extended functionality over QuickTime. However he could get the same functionality in a free package and he somehow felt cheated. That's a rather puzzling reaction.
        • Apple lost me when it wanted me to fork over another 20$ to get a mpg to mov converter for the iMac. I paid premium price for it, and I do not want to be nickel and dimed. Yeah, I know enough to download and install ffmpg, and handbrake etc. But still it feels like buying a Lexus and then the sales man wants 20$ more for some floor mats.

          Apple is a business and no one said you had to buy all your software from Apple; the fact you can get the same functionality for free from another package kinda defeats your entire complaint. Also there is a difference between standard functionality and enhanced functionality. Play mpeg or movs should be standard. Converting from one format to another may not be. Most business define the difference even if you don't like that there is a line between the two. After all, do you get Office free from MS

    • by rayd75 (258138) on Friday March 11, 2011 @10:52PM (#35460358)

      Which phones out there get vendor supplied updates after 3 years?

      Does it matter? Do we judge fairness by the lowest common denominator? The fact is that Apple was still happily signing people up for two year contacts with AT&T on brand freaking new iPhone 3Gs until last June. Now, it's ok that people who are contractually obligated to pay for service for the next 14+ months be left vulnerable to attack? This, just because Apple first started selling the device in '08 and other manufacturers have track records of treating their customers like crap? It may be a three year old phone to the guys currently playing with iPhone 5 or 6 prototypes under black curtains, but to some, it's well under a year old. Maybe these people shouldn't expect multitasking, (no way on that hardware) wallpapers, or the other various cool new iOS 4 features, but they sure as hell ought to be able to surf the web without their devices being compromised.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Salvo (8037)

        Once your car is out-of-warranty, is the manufacturer obliged to keep parts in stock to restore it to showroom condition?
        What about Building Materials for your house, or Matching Furniture (if you break a chair for your dining room table) once the product has been taken off the market?

        The Brand new iPhone 3G purchased 11 months ago was like a car that had been sitting on the lot for 3 years. It was in a runout sale.
        Apple have certainly learnt their PR lesson here, the iPad 1 is available for $100 less than

        • by jelizondo (183861)

          Your UID shows that you should know better; typically cars have all parts available for at least 10 years after production.

          Is it old age or plain stupidity showing on your comment?

          If you can't make a proper car analogy, don't use it.

    • Which phones out there get vendor supplied updates after 3 years? Certainly not any that I've ever owned.

      My company got me a Droid Eris (I had no choice). 6 months later, no update to Android 2.2. (Maybe 8. Whatever)

      I'm not sure why Apple is getting dinged for not supporting a 3 year old phone. No one that I know of supports 3 year old phones.

      Computer World did an interesting comparison of which companies have offered upgrades to Froyo, and for how many of their phones. [computerworld.com]

      Even the highest score (HTC) was only 50%. Here is the breakdown:

      HTC: 50%
      Motorola: 15.4%
      Samsung: 11%
      Dell: 0%
      LG: 0%
      Sony: 0%

    • by Gnavpot (708731)

      Which phones out there get vendor supplied updates after 3 years?

      I always find it strange when someone counts support time from the release date of a product.

      What if the product is sold for 4 years but only supported 3 years from release date?

      Support time should be counted from the date the product is pulled from the market.

    • by Wdomburg (141264)

      They were selling the iPhone 3G as new hardware until June of last year. I don't think it unreasonable to think a smartphone vendor should release at least security updates for the duration of a standard service contract.

  • by Talez (468021) on Friday March 11, 2011 @08:58PM (#35459528)

    What other phone has seen active updates for 28 months?

    I mean besides the original iPhone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by binarylarry (1338699)

      Every android phone running Cyanogen mod.

      • Are you kidding?! (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Looking at the instructions for a Sprint HTC Hero [cyanogenmod.com], you have to:
        • Install an Android SDK and configure it to talk to the phone.
        • Download some packages from 'somewhere', and run a bunch of command line commands to root your phone.
        • Now your warranty, extended warranty, etc. is VOID
        • Download and install a ''Recovery Image'
        • "Flash" your radio
        • Flash CyanogenMod and reboot
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          If you post on slashdot you should be able to handle that. Not sure about that phone, but most have a simple root app then you just install rom manager and away you go. It handles everything from inside the app.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Basically yes, although my Nexus One was really convenient to root, basically just reboot with a special handshake and confirm that I was OK with Google no longer being responsible for software problems.

          This reminds me, I should update my phone, I haven't updated since I switched over to cyanogenmod.

        • What's the problem exactly?

          The warranty's not doing you any good when they don't update the phone now is it?

          By using CyanogenMod I get to run Android 2.2.1 on my very old HTC Dream (G1).

      • by jo_ham (604554)

        So if we're allowing that sort of thing, the iPhone 3G is still supported. Just install Android on it.

      • by 517714 (762276)
        So zero Android phones trump 6.1 million iPhones? I believe the only Android phone that is 28 months old is the T-Mobile G1, and that doesn't seem to be supported: http://www.cyanogenmod.com/devices [cyanogenmod.com]. I don't think having to rely on a roll your own version counts any more than jailbroken iPhones. Obviously the claim should be true in a year or so, but Apple may have provided an update to Safari by then.
        • As someone else posted, the G1 (Dream) is fully supported by CyanogenMod. There are versions for both radio subsets as well (EBI0 and EBI1).

      • 12 months is the standard warranty. 24 months is the standard contract. On the plan I signed up for (in AUS), it was cheaper to buy a phone on contract than buy one outright and go SIM-only. Of course the phone I bought was obsolete within 6 months!

        At the end of 2 years, they generally throw in a free phone to roll your contract over. I dare say it's normally a low end phone they'd soon EOL.

        I have about a year to run so I just hope an HTC phone with at least an 800Ghz CPU is low end by then - at least I'll

    • by ArtDent (83554)

      I dunno, but the Nexus One has received two major Android updates since its release just over a year ago. That's as many as any iPhone has ever received. And, they've both been at least as significant as any iOS update.

      It's not clear to me why iOS's slower update cycle is anything to brag about.

  • So what happens if you bought a 3G last May (before they were discontinued) and your phone gets hacked? What will they do if you take it to the Apple store? It's still under warranty until at least this May. It's one thing not to support new features on older phones but leaving a phone still under warranty vulnerable is inexcusable!
    • by NiceGeek (126629)

      If it's still under warranty, Apple will either fix it or replace it. Why do you assume they won't?

      • by Macthorpe (960048)

        What's the point replacing it if the phone is still vulnerable afterwards? Or do Apple have a policy of taking phones you report as vulnerable to malware and replacing them with the next model up?

  • Here in Australia, when you get a phone,t he contract is 2 years. I still have 3 months left on said contract - the phone? the 3g. The IOS 4 update slowed it down alot, now banning on features for the 3g, that is bad business practice. Just a note for the fanboi's before they start up - the 3gs wasn't released (or announced) when the phone was purchased.
  • I don't know how to break it to you or Microsoft but your cell phone is not a device with a 5 year support contract or a place to run mission critical applications.

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