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Nobody smells a rotten Apple?

OPINION

  • Hong Kong Apple store
Hong Kong Apple store (Getty Images )
September 20, 2012|By Ryan Smith, @ryansmithwriter | For RedEye

Guess I was totally wrong.

When I heard the iPhone 5 had racked up millions of preorders in the first 24 hours and lines were forming outside of some Apple stores a week before Friday's launch, I half expected to read that it was magic. But I scoured the features list and unfortunately, no, the iPhone 5 won't grant you the power of flight, decode your pets' languages (they all really just constantly say "feed me" anyway) or persuade that cute bartender to give you his/her phone number.

Instead, the iPhone 5 basically is a bigger, faster version of last year's model, which in turn was nearly identical to the 4 sans the creepy female robot voice you could talk to if you're a lonely celebrity wondering where to get takeout.

What I'm truly wondering is this: Why hasn't there been an honest-to-goodness backlash against Apple yet?

Over the past year or so, we've seen the Silicon Valley giant make some puzzling missteps and endure more than a few public relations snafus. Here's a short laundry list:

>>A highly publicized series in the New York Times earlier this year revealed that factory workers building Apple products in China often toiled in poor conditions, including excessive overtime and exposure to dangerous chemicals. The Times also reported recently that some Chinese vocational students are being forced by teachers to work on iPhone 5 assembly lines.

>>Steve Jobs' canonization into CEO sainthood took a mild hit when it was revealed in Walter Isaacson's biography that the Apple founder could be, to put it lightly, a world-class a-hole.

>>In the face of losing market share to Samsung's brand of smartphones, Apple proceeded to sue the pants off of its competitor for patents and win a $1 billion settlement. Raise your hand if you love monopolies!

>>A series of bizarre Siri commercials like the one in which hipster-in-chief Zooey Deschanel asks her iPhone if the rain pouring outside her window is indeed rain. (Spoiler alert: The answer is yes.) Meanwhile, a series of ads run during the London Olympics portraying Genius Bar employees as omnipotent beings sent to save us from our own bumbling tech-unsavvy selves were yanked after only a week because they were extremely lame.

>>The iPhone 5 switches for the first time to an entirely new dock connector, rendering all previous accessories like your silly mini-fridge iDock useless without a $30 adaptor.

With all of this in mind, plus the untimely death of Jobs (who I imagined kept his psychic hold on America with secret powers that combined the Wizard of Oz with the Eye of Sauron), I assumed Apple's gleaming spit shine image might finally wear off. I guessed that perhaps the "smart, affluent and educated people" who tend to make up the company's rabid fan base might check out the Samsung Galaxy SIII or the HTC Windows Phone 8 and realize that some other companies have caught up to, if not surpassed, the iPhone in the smartphone wars.

Instead, approximately 95 percent of people on my Twitter and Facebook liveblogged CEO Tim Cook's presentation of the iPhone 5 last week and Apple's stock rocketed to values that likely made Mark Zuckerberg's eyes bleed.

Siri, what's a better phrase for "The Cult of Apple is alive and well"?

Ryan Smith is a RedEye special contributor.

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