Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Apple vs. The Czars

My son had his Apple iPod Nano stolen at school. I don't remember if it was from his backpack or his locker. I do remember that I got mad at him for bringing it to school in the first place. This all happened before Christmas and his birthday, so an obvious present for him was a replacement MP3 player.

I was concerned about replacing it just to have it stolen again. I would prefer he buy it with hard earned money in order for him to place greater value. I wanted to keep our losses to a minimum by buying the cheapest alternative.

Notice all of the "I"s in the previous paragraphs.

So what did my son ask for? An Apple iTouch. Ouch! That's an expensive alternative! Of course my lovely wife thought we should get the iTouch, since she has a different philosophy:
  • Christmas and birthday presents are supposed to be about what the recipient wants.
  • Presents don't have to be practical.
Luckily she helped me realize that I was acting a little too much like a czar. A czar is all about top down decision making. The czar knows best.

So my son got an iTouch and I got a LG Chocolate Touch cell phone. The LG is the first new cell phone I've ever had, since I am always practical and take the hand-me down phones from my wife.

The LG Chocolate Touch is pretty cool.
The iTouch (and iPhone) is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!
So what's the difference?

The difference is top down planning vs. free market. Both LG and Apple use top down development to create cool technologies, but Apple uses the free market to completely blow away LG. The difference is in the "apps" or applications you can use.

Apparently LG uses the czarist or top down approach. The czar defines what will be on the phone and the peon developers implement their plan. I'm not insulting the developers; just the czars. The developers probably have a lot of great ideas, but weren't allowed to do them or had no incentive.

Apple, on the other hand, understands the amazing power of the free market. They made it relatively easy to create apps for the iPhone/iTouch, provide a store for selling your apps, and give you 70% of the selling price! (I bet the LG developers are lucky to get 1% of the selling price of their apps). The result is over 100,000 very cool apps.

Why does this work? It's all about the protection of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". Get rid of the czars and let the people create freely. Give people cool options and they will spend money.

Here's a few of the iTouch apps:
  1. Koi Pond - Relax while you watch koi fish in a pond. Touch the water and it sends ripples and the fish scatter. Hold your finger steady and the fish come and nibble on it (at 4:50 in video).
  2. Earthscape - Spin the earth and zoom into anywhere to see satellite imagery. Find your house or go to Paris or Egypt.

  3. Shop Savvy - Find the cheapest prices. Take a picture of a bar code and find out the lowest price and where to buy it online.
  4. Flute - Hold your iPhone like a flute and blow into the microphone to create music. Use the Google Earth map to find other people playing their flutes and listen to their music.
  5. Finger Twister - Like the classic game twister, but you play with two fingers with a friend.
  6. Level - Use your iPhone as a bubble level. Place it sideways on a shelf or picture frame to see if it is level.

  7. Fishing - Pick a fishing spot, make a casting motion with your iPhone and then real in the fish using the touch screen.


Shelly Carter said...

I love your post it makes me really want a Iphone mabe for my Birthday!!!

Kevin said...

Last week on a business trip, we were all eating out after a very long day, and I found myself where the person on my left, plus the two people directly across from me had iPhones; the person to my right had a Droid.

I had the same LG flip phone I've had for the last three years. I experienced something of an "Aha!" moment, and resolved to buy my spouse an iPhone. I still can't justify one for me, since there are so many places I can't take it. But she definitely needs one...yes, definitely.

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