[Updated] You Sure You Still Want to Use That iPhone?

At 4:11pm today, I received an email from the University entitled “Security Alert 11.12.11”. Below is the email message:

We have been notified by the NYPD, that on November 12, 2011 at about 7:30 p.m. two males were the victim of an attempted robbery in the lobby of a brownstone on W. 114 St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave. The suspect […] was sitting on the steps of the brownstone and followed the first victim into the hallway. He displayed a gun and demanded the victim’s I-phone [sic]. When the victim stated he didn’t have an I-phone, the male gave it back to him. The second victim entered the hallway and the suspect demanded his Iphone. Once again the suspect handed it back when he found out it was not actually an Iphone. The suspect left the building and fled on foot down Amsterdam Ave.

For your information, “W. 114th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave.” is exactly where I live. The robbery might as well have taken place in my building.

This is about the third or forth crime reported this year around the school, but I am particularly shocked at this one.



The robber was already pointing a gun at somebody, committing a crime, and left empty-handed because the phone wasn’t an iPhone. He basically said no to the watch (~$120), no to the TI-83 (~$100), no to the laptop (~$1000+), no to the iPod (~$200), no to non-smart phones (~$100), and no to every other smartphone ever invented besides the iPhone!

I’m not sure if I should be laughing at his failed criminal act or admiring his steadfastness to the iPhone. Steve Jobs would be proud. Perhaps secretly.

Regardless of how I resolve my cognitive dissonance, if you have an iPhone, consider putting it back in the box and take out that Blackberry you retired from last year.

Watch out RIM, here’s your chance.

(Not really.)


Update Nov. 21, 2011:

You’ve got to be kidding me. This guy (or his good friend) came back!

Security Alert today:

On November 21, 2011 at about 11:50 p.m., a student was the victim of an attempted robbery on W.114St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. The student accompanied by another person was accosted as she was walking on the north side of W.114 St. towards Broadway. The suspect pushed the victim against a fence, threatened her and demanded her I-phone [sic]. When the suspect learned she did not have an I- phone, he fled east towards Amsterdam Avenue without taking any property. The suspect is observed on video walking back and forth on W. 114 St. prior to the crime. Moments earlier, he followed a student into Ruggles Hall but left the building immediately. If you have any information about this crime or this suspect, contact the 26Pct Detective Unit at 212-678-1351 or contact the undersigned. If you observe this person on the street, call the police immediately by dialing 911.

The incident is so serious that the University’s VP Public Safety wrote a letter addressing this issue:

In the past few weeks you have received several Security Alerts regarding crimes in our community. In particular, there has been a series of robberies and attempted robberies on W. 114th Street. I am writing to let you know that the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff, as well as others in our community, is our top priority. I would also like to share with you some of the things that the Department of Public Safety is doing to safeguard our campus, and the 114th Street area in particular, in order to help allay any concerns that you may have on the issue of safety here at Columbia…

I’m looking forward to the “iPhones Cause Crimes on Ivy League Campus” article in the next edition of the New York Times.

Buying the iPad

iBooks - not Kindle's replacement, but may kill your desire of ever buying one.

So I decided on a whim that getting an iPad for my dad would make him a very happy father.

While there is no question about the validity of my presumption, my purchase of the iPad has come under attack, scrutiny, mockery, and other forms of insult. The most unexpected of these exchanges, and possibly one of the more intellectually engaging ones, took place with strangers on the Facebook wall of a mutual friend:


(Context: a high school pupil of mine updated his status to say that “iPhones are about to get alot better” – probably referring to the OS4 coming out. This stirred some dismissal of Apple’s OS in general for the iPhone. Someone then commented that “iPads are about to continue to be useless,” which then ignited a series of attack on the iPad: can’t multitask, expensive, useless, cash-cow for Apple, bigger iPhone, what’s Steve Jobs thinking, etc. etc. etc. As a proud new owner of the iPad, I stepped in to express my opinions because, well, it’s a free country last time I checked. The names of the people are taken out for confidentiality purposes.)


The speed of the ipad amazes me. It’s going to sell not because it’s “apple”, but because apple offers a chain of services, incorporating the product into a system that has many “subscribers” already. People who are anti-ipad are usually also anti-iPhone, anti-mac, and anti-apple in general. Without using a mac or iPhone, u just cannot experience the connectivity and universality of apple products first hand. I’ve synced my boss’s blackberry before, and I’ve spent hours on the phone with customer reps dealing with various hardware and software issues, and my conclusion is that apple has found a system to attract and to keep, and those who are outside will have to refrain from ever trying apple if they desire to remain outside forever.
Sun at12:59am ·


As an owner of an iPod, and someone seriously considering getting an iPhone, I disagree. I appreciate that apple offers a spoonfed oppurtunity to be connected, and would have nothing against them if they didn’t charge an arm and a leg for items that have the same capabilities, but are slightly easier to use. But to each their own, and if people are willing to pay more for the same thing, so be it. I admit that all of their products are well designed, but the iPad is really bloody useless, and an abuse of their fanbase if you ask me. Get an iPhone for less, its the same, but a cellphone too.

As a person who has worked on a Mac, have had a hackint0sh, own (and absolutely love) an iPod Touch, had a Windows Mobile phone, an iPhone, and currently a BlackBerry, I claim unbiasedness and politely (and completely) disagree. There’s a sea of people on the internets that are the biggest mac fanboys – who also think that Apple is just milking the idiots.

The “speed” you mention comes from a 1GHz processor (pretty paltry), which is specifically designed to perform and do exactly what Apple wants and specifies. This is why Apple is terrible – complete lack of open-sourceness in order to make things “just work”. What do customers do to combat that? Jailbreak. Now that JB and Apple’s so called “multi-task” is being released for the iPad, I can only see that the iPad will struggle with it’s 1GHz A4 lamesauce processor.

And by the way, I do experience the “universal+connectivity” of Apple products every day – when I sync my iPod on my PC. It’s great, but why does iTunes have to struggle on a 3.8GHz i7 processor? Why does Apple such terrible developers? WHYY?!http://ragecomic.appspot.com/packs/rage2/images/Horror.png

TL;DR: Apple is fucking evil. We all know it.


yea i agree with albert, the ipod touch and iphone are way better compared to ipads. plus it fits into your pocket! 😀
i’m a regular commuter and i rather have something portable and mobility-friendly for the same functions as iphone or touch. and since i already have a laptop that i always carry to school, i guess i dont need it lol
but ipod touch or iphone i’ll take it 😀


The problem is not one of “need” but one of “convenience” – no one needs the iPad – it’s a device that did not exist in the market before. What it will bring to the table is a new way of completing tasks, new way of tracking information, new way of sharing and networking – and even doing new things that were not done before.For Albert and Bob – for the sake of this dialogue, have you guys gotten your hands on an iPad? If yes, do you find that it’s just as fast as your iPhone? Slightly faster? Or significantly faster?If you have not played with an iPad before, then I think this dialogue might be less meaningful. I initially rejected it as a “big iPhone” and was not going to waste my money on it. However, once I stepped got my hands on it, it was immediately clear to me that this thing was worth investing in if you intend to stay on top of the mobile technology world.You might also find this article helpful:


As a comment from the VentureBeat-Mobile Beat article puts best:

“The iPad is not a phone replacement, it is not a laptop replacement, it is not a portable gaming device replacement, it is not a portable DVD replacement, it is not a Kindle replacement (Kindle has a 10 day not 10 hour batter life, for example. It is also much lighter), etc. It is an entirely new personal device that has a place. I can’t tell you exactly what it is, but I can feel it. This is not enough to be an effective relayer of word-of-mouth. I bought my iPad as a personal indulgence and a desire to feel the future in my hands. That’s not mass market motivation.”


I would rather not pay $500 dollars for a convenience I did not need until this monstrosity was conceived. You’re only strengthening the argument that Apple is milking its fans by creating new niches that shouldn’t have been created in the first place. Bottom line – a Netbook is more functional, a cellphone is more portable and *almost* as functional (though, if you look at the HTC HD2 for example, it out-specs the iPad, LOL, so one can assume that *gasp* user created content */gasp* will allow cellphones to match the iPad in functionality), and it doesn’t support flash.
I’ll end with a quote from that link:
“But you have to think of this device as something like a MacBook Air. That, too, is missing a lot of functional things that other laptops have, but it is so thin and cool that people who buy it, and pay more money for it than a regular laptop, don’t seem to care.”
Lol MacBook Air.

I concede that it seems really cool, and is probably really awesome to use at first, but it has just absolutely terrible value for the amount of money you are putting in, and the novelty will wear off shortly.

And say I was to invent the iTurd, an amazing new device that fills the niche between a laptop and a desktop (requires an AC power source at all times, too big to fit in a convenient case, but small enough to carry around the house to a new location easily), so that its almost portable, but not really. It comes with the processing power of a laptop (the lowest common denominator in this situation), a price tag of a souped up desktop (the highest common denominator), and is very aesthetically pleasing with some very cool, unique user friendly functions that grab your attention but are intrinsically flawed in that a desktop would do them better. Would you get it?

P.S. Expect this in two years if Apple keeps with their current business strategy (invent niche, fill niche).


If you are happy with it, that’s great David. Canadian’s haven’t had the opportunity to play with it yet – I’m looking forward to visiting the Apple store soon.

“PC fanboys” (I use this term VERY loosely) have rejected the iPad for one single reason: it doesn’t do anything exceedingly well, although the price point says it should, especially for what you physically get. However, you’re right. No one needs an iPad, but no one should judge what a person can or can’t buy.

The way I see it, the iPad is a toy. If you need to do serious work, what are you going to choose – a mouse and keyboard or a touchscreen keyboard with no tactile feedback? If you’re outside and want to watch a video or play music, what are you going to use – an iPhone or an iPad? IF you want to play some games or use some over-the-top (aka useless) apps, I guess I’d use an iPad.

This new tablet niche won’t die. It’s a great concept, and it shows the amazing steps we have taken in technology over the years. The point I’m trying to make, however, is that Apple stepped forward with a product that lacks the software and hardware to take full advantage of this tablet niche, while charging an exorbitant amount. Let’s wait for the Google tablet (actually coming), shall we?

Apple will always be Apple – if that’s a synonym for being assholes.

My last comment:

Bob – very much appreciate your comment. I completely agree that the iPad is a toy – but it creates the possibility beyond what traditional gaming consoles can do.

With the iPad, I can imagine classes being remotely taught, house lights/sound/windows/curtains/TVs being remotely controlled, meetings being held (with an external camera), presentations being made, and more that I have not thought of.

If someone wants to tell me that you can do all of the above with some sort of software on a PC netbook – forget it. Niche softwares on PCs are glitchy enough that no one will devote the energy and time into making amazing softwares that will make the users happy with it. It will also probably cost a million bucks for something like that. I owned a netbook once – I hated it because the screen was too small, the keyboard was too small, the trackpad was too small, and it was also heavy for its size.

The possibility of coming home from school, taking out a device, turn on various parts of the room, turn on the clock app when going to bed, and set alarm for the next day; wake up, take device to school, read the news on the bus, take notes in class, draw pictures, record class lectures, and come home with homework assignments entered automatically from school’s server – this is the kind of combo beyond that of a netbook or a mobile phone.

I do not disagree the Google might be able to come up with something better – in fact I am very much looking forward to it as well. Competition is a positive trait of free market economy, and filling niches as a strategy is nothing wrong as well.

Albert – You mentioned that “Apple is milking its fans by creating new niches that shouldn’t have been created in the first place.” So what do you say about Microsoft? Sony? Nintendo? Or online farming games? I do not understand the concept of a niche that should *not* have been created. Innovation drives the world forward, unless you’re developing weapons.


So I just wanted to hear what are your opinions here. I might just be a blind consumer who’s trying to justify my impromptu decision. Let’s not focus on the tech spec too much here – ultimately, none of us are computer engineers or product managers with the knowledge base to debate the merit of the iPad’s intrinsic (endogenous) value. Rather, I think we should focus on the American consumer culture – who are going to buy the iPads, who will like it, how has Apple successfully marketed itself?

Steve Jobs with Apple's new game-changer.

Ultimately though, I am of course not going to regret my decision because after all, I am bringing the iPad to China. Consumer culture is completely different over there. Products derive value not based on their usefulness, but almost solely on their desirability. Desirability is in turn determined by numerous exogenous factors such as word-of-mouth, foreignness, or lack of supply (the Chinese golden rule of “物以稀為貴”).

As someone on Venture Beat comments:

“The iPad is not a phone replacement, it is not a laptop replacement, it is not a portable gaming device replacement, it is not a portable DVD replacement, it is not a Kindle replacement (Kindle has a 10 day not 10 hour batter life, for example. It is also much lighter), etc. It is an entirely new personal device that has a place. I can’t tell you exactly what it is, but I can feel it. This is not enough to be an effective relayer of word-of-mouth. I bought my iPad as a personal indulgence and a desire to feel the future in my hands. That’s not mass market motivation.

For most people, the iPad is simply unjustifiable. Kids may nag their parents for it (or not), but the parents will push back.

It’s too damn expensive and it isn’t a clear upgrade for anything. Who (besides developers and fools like me) can justify it?

Still, it’s one of the most satisfying consumer purchases I’ve ever made and I drink in the envy everywhere I go. I am so cool I don’t even need a refrigerator for my beer.”

Meet the iPad – a new gadget for developers, fools, and the Chinese.