爱思英语编者按:一边是移动设备开发商,一边是搜索引擎,看似不相关,现在双方却起了冲突。最新一期英国《经济学人》旗下《智慧生活》(Intelligent Life)杂志,刊登署名罗伯特·雷恩·格林(Robert Lane Greene)的文章,对苹果和谷歌在商业和文化方面的冲突进行了深入解读。


One is a gadget-maker, the other a search engine—but now they are at odds. Robert Lane Greene on a clash of cultures ...
From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Winter 2010
一边是电子科技产品供应者,一边是搜索引擎,看似无关,现在双方却起了冲突。最新一期英国《经济学人》旗下《智慧生活》(Intelligent Life)杂志,刊登署名罗伯特·雷恩·格林(Robert Lane Greene)的文章,对苹果和谷歌在商业和文化方面的冲突进行了深入解读。http://www.24en.com爱思英语网


When Apple opened a new store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan in 2006 it received an unusual complaint. Not the usual New York variety—you’re blocking the view I paid good money for, or you’re gentrifying the neighbourhood I just discovered. No, this new flagship store was criticised by an Islamist website. The steel-and-glass cube, the zealots complained, was meant to invoke the obsidian cube at the Kaaba in Mecca, and insult Islam.

The story was ridiculous—it was one extremist website (albeit a big one), and the clever fanatics running it had only seen the cube with a black tarp over it, while it was under construction. A number of New York Muslims stood up to say that they loved the new store. But it isn’t insane to call Apple’s stores Meccas. Beautiful inside and usually outside too, they are temples to devotees of Apple’s gorgeous products. Unlike most gadget-makers, Apple sells more than sleekly designed toys. It sells a way of life and a way of being. Call it Appleism.

Appleism isn’t quite a religion, but it features an almost godlike leader, Steve Jobs. And he even came back from the dead—fired by the board in 1985, he was rehired after a slump in 1997, and revived Apple’s fortunes. Many fans view Apple with devotion: Tony Curtis, who died in October, was buried with his iPhone, like a pharaoh anxious to update his Facebook status from the afterlife.
当然,苹果主义并非什么宗教,但是它却拥有一位几乎可以与上帝媲美的领导者,史蒂夫·乔布斯(Steve Jobs)。他甚至具有起死回生的本领——在1985年被董事会解雇后,他于1997年返回苹果,并带领苹果重获新生。许多粉丝对苹果满怀虔诚:今年 10月辞世的美国影星托尼·柯蒂斯(Tony Curtis)将他的iPhone作为陪葬品,就像一位法老渴望在身后继续更新Facebook一样。

With any faith, it is fun to focus on the fanatics, but not very illuminating. On a recent trip to the Fifth Avenue store, not many faces fitted the stereotype of Apple partisans as hip, rich, Western youth. There was a man who looked like a diplomat with the United Arab Emirates’ flag on his lapel. A gaggle of teenage boys from Brazil horsed around in Portuguese. A red-haired youngster put down his Good News Bible to play an online game called “Combat Arms”. A middle-aged couple used the Bed, Bath & Beyond website. Apple’s success has transcended the asymmetrical-jeans-and-black-framed-glasses market. It is now a movement for the masses.
无论是何种信仰,专注于狂热分子都会得到很多乐趣,但启发意义却并不大。如果你最近去过第五大道的苹果旗舰店,就会发现,那里的很多面孔并非传统的苹果信徒:时髦、富有且多为西方年轻人。这里的顾客千差万别:有衣领上佩戴阿联酋国旗的外交官模样的人;有用葡萄牙语嬉闹的巴西少年;还有放下手中的《福音圣经》,玩起了网游《Combat Arm》的红发年轻人;甚至还有一对中年夫妇,正在访问一家名为Bed, Bath & Beyond的购物网站。以往,苹果的成功只局限于那些穿不对称牛仔裤、带黑框眼镜的人群,而如今它已经超越了这一范畴,开始迈向大众市场。http://www.24en.com爱思英语网

Inside the store, most of the devices could be picked up and played with instantly. This is a smart move by Apple: it must wear out a lot of inventory, but it hooks the would-be buyer, and makes every store a hang-out, like the record shops of olden days. Only one place was inaccessible, thanks to the two-deep crowd that surrounded it: the iPad table.http://www.24en.com爱思英语网

The iPad, the tablet computer Apple launched in April, has been a phenomenon, selling 7.5m units in six months despite early scepticism, despite a $500 price-tag for the version with no 3G connectivity, despite the fact that it does little that other devices (e-book readers, games consoles, Apple’s own iPhone) didn’t already do. The iPad was Apple’s typically bold bet that it can create a brand new class of thing and people will gobble it up, almost because it was made by Apple. Apple, which stopped calling itself “Apple Computer” in 2007, now has three signature devices that are not Macs—the iPod, iPad and iPhone. It wants to be with you everywhere.
iPad,这款苹果今年4月发布的平板电脑,已经成为了一种普遍现象。尽管早期遭遇了一些质疑,尽管没有3G模块的版本售价仍然高达500美元,尽管并不具备多少其他设备(电子阅读器、游戏机以及苹果自家的iPhone手机)所缺乏的功能,但该产品上市6个月的销量仍然高达750万台。iPad符合苹果一贯的大胆作风,它创造出了一类全新的产品,而人们之所以买账,几乎完全是因为它出自苹果。苹果已于2007年停用“苹果电脑”这一公司名称,如今的苹果已经在 Mac电脑以外,拥有了3款主打产品——iPod、iPad和iPhone。它希望随时对地与你同在。http://www.24en.com爱思英语网

That brings it into conflict with another company that did not set out to make mobile gadgets, but which now wants to follow every step you take. Google began as a smarter way to find things on the internet; it is now a cloud of services that pervades every aspect of our lives. We google a good restaurant, google reviews of it on other websites, find it on Google Maps, google to check if the train is on time, and Gmail our friends to let them know we might be 15 minutes late.

Increasingly, we may do all of these things on a smartphone powered by Google’s Android operating system. Google makes no actual phones itself. But as it has licensed Android to more and more phonemakers, it is, for a company that makes no gadgets, the biggest competitor to the world’s most successful gadget-maker.  Google has taken a big bet on making Googleism something we walk around with too.

It wasn’t always so. Only a year or two ago, Apple and Google were so comfortably different that Google’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, was able to sit on Apple’s board (from 2006 until 2009). “Steve [Jobs] and I are very close personal friends,” Schmidt said this summer. “I believe he’s the best CEO in the world by any measure.” Their companies could have been a match made in heaven: Apple’s gorgeous devices running Google’s miraculous services. But smartphones proved too attractive for Google to leave the field to others. Android is now the bestselling smartphone system, after passing sales of the iPhone late in 2010. Jobs implied that Google had violated a tacit division of turf, pointing out at a conference in June, “we didn’t go into search” and “we’re not going into search”. Radiating self-belief as usual, he told the same audience that he would not be removing Google searchboxes from Apple’s devices, saying “right now, we have the better product”.
但事情并不总是一成不变的。就在一两年前,苹果和谷歌还相安无事,而谷歌CEO埃里克·施密特(Eric Schmidt)也得以稳坐苹果董事会(2006年至2009年)。“史蒂夫和我是非常好的私人朋友,”施密特今年夏天说,“我相信,无论以何种标准评判,他都是全世界最优秀的CEO。”这两家公司本应是“天作之合”:苹果的华丽设备运行谷歌神奇的服务。但是智能手机的吸引力令谷歌难以割舍。在2010 年末的销量超越iPhone后,Android如今已经成为最畅销的智能手机操作系统。乔布斯暗示,谷歌已经违反了双方心照不宣的“互不侵犯条约”。他在今年6月的一次会议上说:“我们不想进军搜索”,而且“我们也不会进军搜索”。乔布斯的自信一如既往,他当时对台下的听众表示,他不会从苹果的设备中移除谷歌的搜索框。“现在,我们有了更好的产品。”他说。 http://www.24en.com爱思英语网

The two companies have taken entirely different approaches to the mobile war. Apple’s Apple-made devices allow only Apple-approved applications (apps) on the handset. By contrast, now that it has moved into the phone business, Google gives Android away—it does not sell it—to be installed on dozens of phone models made by a host of phonemakers, including Sony, Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC and others. Android’s code is open, and the phonemakers can tinker with it to suit their needs (though Google tries to maintain a basic set of standards, so that an app built for one Android phone will work on another). And anyone who can create an Android app can get it into Google’s Android Market, the equivalent of the App Store. Apple is gorgeous but far more sealed and controlled. Eric Schmidt talked about the difference in July when he visited The Economist in London. “Google has a completely different world model,” he said. “The Apple view is coherently closed. Ours is the inverse model: the web, openness, all the choices, all the voices. And that experiment is running.”
在移动大战中,这两家公司采取了截然不同的方法。苹果的设备只能安装通过苹果认证的应用。而谷歌则通过免费方式,将Android安装到了索尼、摩托罗拉、三星、LG、宏达电等手机厂商的数十款设备上。Android代码是开源的,手机厂商可以通过修改,使之适应自己的需求(尽管谷歌试图维护一套基本的标准,以便让针对一款Android手机开发的应用也可以兼容其他Android手机)。任何人开发的Android应用都可以进驻 Android Market,这是一个与苹果应用商店对应的服务。苹果的产品很华丽,但是却更为封闭。施密特今年7月造访《经济学人》伦敦总部时,曾经谈到了二者之间的这一差异。“谷歌采取了完全不同的模式,”他说,“苹果的观念一贯都很封闭。我们则采取了相反的模式:网络、开放、所有的选择、所有的声音。而且这一实验还在进行之中。”http://www.24en.com爱思英语网