Apple > L.O.D.M.I.U ?

Yeah. LODMIU. The time-ticking bane of any product. The greatest fear any Sales team has as time passes. Also, the reason why I cant eat more than 7 pizza slices at one go.

There is a cosmic force that links LODMIU with everything we use. For those of you inquisitive compulsive quizers or Scrabble addicts, who may have already “Googled”… Oh wait. my bad. Who may have already “Binged” what LODMIU is (you really should switch to Bing. Its pretty cool), you may have figured out by now that there is no such thing as LODMIU. Thats because, I just came up with it. ūüėõ

LODMIU, is actually an acronym I use for the “Law Of Diminishing Margin In Utility”. (coming up with the acronym would perhaps be my only contribution to the field of Economics)

To briefly give you an idea of what LODMIU is, we first need to understand what Utility of a product is. Utility is best defined as “the amount of satisfaction to be derived from a commodity or service at a particular time”. What is interesting to note is, that Utility of a commodity has nothing to do with its usefulness. Now the reason I’m spewing out theories of Economics on a Sunday morning is simple. I’m bored. So I had to make an observation.

As a developer, if I have to be good in my field, I have to have an open mind. So even though I may sound biased towards Microsoft products ( as my mother pointed out after reading my previous posts), I must point out here, that I do respect the innovations made by Apple. What I simply do not understand however, is the consumers¬†who don’t mind paying through their nose for a product they do not seem to understand.

I was comparing phones the other day with a colleague, and he happened to mention a very relevant point. From a normal, non-technical customer point of view, Apple made a badass product a few years back, and hence, they have never had to improve it much. Now, I get that. But this is what worries me. When I ask Apple users what they like about their Apple product, or potential Apple users, why would they buy an Apple product, the standard reply I always get from 9 out of 10 people is: “Coz, Its Apple!!”.

Very few Apple users¬†can tell me what is so unique about an iPhone. Almost every single WP7 user confidently mentions that they love the way they have personalized their phone to the way they want it. Also every WP7 user knows what Metro UI or Lives tiles are. But when it comes to Apple products, nobody really knows why they want it, other than the brand value that Apple has created for itself. So much that a friend of mine¬†once asked a cute girl why she wanted an Apple product, and she replied, “So that I can play Angry birds on it. *blushes*”. After hearing that, I guess¬†Obi-Wan’s scene from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (3rd Movie),¬†kept playing in¬†his head:

Jumping back to where LODMIU comes in. Any product, no matter how exciting, after a certain point, gets old, annoying, or boring. That is one of the main reasons why people switch to some other product which can give a better utility value.

Let me jump back to the pizza reference at the start of this post. Imagine a scenario where you are really hungry and haven’t had anything the whole day. You finally order a pizza. When you munch through the first slice, you don’t even bother savoring the taste. At that point, the utility of that pizza slice is relieving you of hunger. Now when you reach the 2nd or the 3rd slice, you start enjoying the way the cheese melts in your mouth. At this point, the utility is taste. Now, have you noticed how the speed at which you eat the last few slices is considerably lower than the first 2 slices? This is the concept of LODMIU. The same thing applies to all commodities. Have you observed how you eventually start losing interest in a game you were once completely addicted to? Even Apps. You get bored of them eventually.

Apple however seems to have found a way to brainwash people and break the Laws of LODMIU somehow. People who own Apple products, struggle using it (quite a few of them at least), and yet when Apple comes up with the next release, they stand in huge lines and pay A LOT of money for the product in that line. To be honest, if I had to look at the iPhone from what it is now and what it was a couple of years back, I really dont see too much of a change. Yes, functionality wise, a lot has changed, but how many non-technical people actually know this? AND HOW IS IT THAT THEY NEVER SEEM TO GET BORED OF IT???

Now looking at these phones, can anyone tell the difference between the iPhone 1st generation and the present iPhone 4s other than the icons looking slightly different?

Again, don’t get me wrong. I really respect Steve Jobs, and I think he was a brilliant innovator. But more than being an innovator,¬†I respect his¬†marketing skills, with the way he managed to sweep the minds of the people all over the globe. May his soul rest in peace.¬†I respect the iPod. I think it was a brilliant innovation. It was infact¬†what made Apple a¬†titan.¬†I may think that any model of the Windows Phone 7 is way better than the present iPhone 4S, but the iPhone is by itself a brilliant product.

The MacBook however, I don’t understand and personally, I find it irritating to use. And what‚Äôs even more irritating, is when I am woken up at 1 AM in the night, by a 4th year Computer Science student who just recently bought a MacBook, and asks me to help him change his IP address, because he can’t find it. At this point, I *facepalm*.

When I ask him, if he is finding it difficult to use the Mac, why he bought it, he replies, “I was finding it difficult to cope up with virus problems and more importantly, I wanted to be a part of the fad”. At this point, I go *facedesk with a cape*.

I guess my point is this. If you are going to pay an exorbitant amount for any product, at least learn how to use it. Learn its features. If you are going to buy an iPhone, consider other options too. See what a Windows Phone has to offer. See if you like it better. Don’t switch to another product simply because “it is so cool to have”. See if what you are going to buy can really help you or is suited to your needs. Its OK¬†to be buy something costly and sophisticated.¬†But if you do end up buying a product you dont understand, and find no real use for, but bought it just because you thought it would be “cool” , please, DO NOT WAKE ME UP AT 1 AM in the night!! ūüėõ

In other news, my research paper got published in the international journal Engineering Review. For those of you interested in Steganography and Encryption techniques, you can read the paper by clicking on this LINK.

Guess that’s it for now. Cya soon folks.

DISCLAIMER: The examples and incidences I use in the blog post are not targeted at any individual. I may have changed some details just to make sure that any person does not feel targeted. Do understand that this is to make a point based on certain observations and not to insult any user.

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Windows Phone 7… Who??

Ever observed, how one of the most common questions among aquaintances is, “Which phone do you have?”.

Now, I’m¬†OK with judgemental¬†people wanting to know what type of phone¬†I¬†own.¬†What is irritating however, is the¬†snotty look of derision I usually get when I tell them that my phone is a Smart Phone, but not an iPhone or an Andriod phone.¬†Not to exagerate, but at times, it borders on people giving me the dramatic chipmunk ¬†look too.¬†¬†Dont even get me started on Blackberry users. (If researchers ever¬†need a new study on addiction, a good place to look out would be all those who post their BB pins as their gtalk or Facebook status.)

So, What’s the deal with Windows Phone 7? I guess its best if I explained it using this short 90 second¬†video below:

So as you can see, the basic idea behind a Windows Phone, is customizability. It is one of the stellar features of the WP7 that makes it so different from any other phone. Being a developer, I get to meet a lot of people who have a diverse understanding of various technologies.¬†After¬†hearing their biased¬†and sometimes unbelievably biased opinions, it¬†would be safe to claim that the general consensus is that the Windows Phone focuses more on giving that “Personal Touch”.

Compare any 2 iPhones. The major difference you would notice would be the icons of the Apps installed. Now compare any 2 WP7s. Yes, they do have similar¬†tiles. But each tile would have been customized according to the user. That makes a difference. The live tiles, the People’s Hub, that gives the Windows Phone something unique to really¬†admire about. Now I am not trying to bad mouth any other product by any other company. I’d be a fool to say that the iPhone is a piece of junk. It has its own strokes of brilliance. But when I compare a Windows Phone 7¬†to any other phone, I will say that the WP7 is the hands down winner.

Essentially, Windows Phone, is a mobile operating system developed by Microsoft. Its predecessor, the Windows Mobile, was primarily aimed at the enterprise market unlike the Windows Phone, which entered the Consumer Smart Phone market sometime in the second half of the year 2010.

The fundamental concept of the new UI¬†(User Interface) introduced by Windows Phone, was “Metro”. The concept of Metro however, isnt really that new. It was used as early as in the 1990s’ in products such as Microsoft Encarta 95. Metro is based on the design principle os the Classic Swiss graphic design.

It is interesting to note that the Metro UI is partly inspired by signs that are commonly found at public transport systems. I was a little surprised when I read this at first. But as it turns out, it’s quite out there, if you really look for it. The other night I stumbled across this banner while on my way to the Dubai Jazz fest:

If you observed the tiles in phone shown in the Video and the tiles in this banner, you can actually see the similarity.

The real beauty in all this is that, since Microsoft only makes the Operating System and provides phone manufacturing companies like Nokia, Samsung, LG, HTC,¬†etc,¬†the chassis (guidelines to be followed, like minimum hardware requirements, support etc), this gives manufacturers a chance¬†to use their creativity to make the phone’s physical appearance classy, or jazzy, or simple, or sleek. The icing on the cake is that, all these phones are much cheaper than any other smart phone that can come even close to the specs of these Windows¬†Phones.

To give you an idea of what I mean (about the looks of phone) :

Well, that wraps it up for today.

More on “WP7” Vs “the Rest” in the next post. Till then, Take care folks.