Everywhere you look there is a new Apple product appearing on our shelves- iPhone 4S, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 or iPad 2 to name a few. However, delve a little deeper into the range of products on sale and it soon becomes apparent that lots of the newer (and much anticipated) features are only available on certain models. For example, features like Flyover and turn by turn navigation are only offered on the iPhone 4S or iPad 2 and the much advertised Siri is only available on the iPhone 4S or Third gen iPad.
Many consumers are angry that Apple withheld FaceTime over 3G on iphone 4 for no apparent reason as apps like Skype work without any problem. This trend worryingly suggests that Apple may start developing certain apps and software just for some specific products, making different devices completely incompatible with each other. Withholding features from certain models suggests that Apple is deliberately forcing people to sell mobile phones and pay for expensive upgrades to stay abreast of the technology.
Whilst it is understandable that technology moves fast and Apple needs to remain at the forefront of the mobile phone market, they also need to ensure that they don’t confuse and anger their customers. The 4GB iPhone 4 is currently just two years old, and although 2 years may seem like the perfect time for mobile phone recycling and upgrading, CDMA carriers have only had since Feb 2011 to get the model and the white version has only been out for a year. So you could potentially have a phone that is less than a year old and already it lacks many of the advanced features of the latest model.
Technology minded people will then be forced to recycle their mobile and pay for the upgrade. Some people may argue that the earlier models may not be capable of handling some of the more advanced features like turn by turn direction, but a number of the midrange Android phones support very similar technology, giving further credence to the suggestion that Apple has kept these features out on purpose. The iPad 2 has the same processor as the iPhone 4S but it is not compatible with voice command system Siri. Surely customers want fully compatible products from a company with a reputation for a high level of innovation and product design like Apple? It is currently possible to buy three different versions of the iPhone, each with a different list of features and also three different iPads.
Apple is really complicating matters for the consumer and, despite the strong legacy of Apple hardware, customers are no longer sure what each model is capable of without a large amount of research. Some features that have been around on Android for years aren’t available on certain Apple devices and this is disappointing for Apple customers. Things could get very messy for Apple if, when their new OS is released, they still have lots of devices available with older versions. Upgrades are fine, but if the older models were not still being sold, customers would feel less cheated by Apple and less tempted to trade in their mobiles and switch to Android.