3 June 2010

Twelve fatuous arguments for the iPhone and iPad remaining jailed

1. You can just jailbreak them

…except Apple holds that jailbreaking is illegal, and will not provide even hardware warranty support.

2. There will be lots of malware without the jail

Mac OS X and Linux have no jail, and they have no malware problem.

3. The jail keeps out porn

Add a parental lock, like the one that already exists in OS X and Safari. End of problem.

4. The jail keeps out poor quality applications

Oh, like all those fart apps, web pages turned into apps, I Am Rich, SimStapler, iBeer, Cow Toss, and so on?

OS X has no jail. Does it suffer from too many poor quality applications compared to good ones?

5. The jail keeps out malware

There has already been spyware found in the app store.

6. I don’t want anything Apple doesn’t allow

You don’t want Google Latitude, syncing over wifi, VoIP, video game emulators, useful info on the home/lock screen, free turn-by-turn navigation? That’s fine, but plenty of people want those things.

7. Only tech geeks care

Tech geeks–the early adopters–often drive the opinion of other consumers. Any market research company will tell you that. One big reason OS X saved Apple is that its Unix underpinnings appealed to geeks and developers.

8. Only developers care

Yes, and developers build the apps. Drive away the developers, and the flow of new and innovative apps dries up. Apps stop working with new OS releases, and eventually developers abandon the iTunes store entirely and their apps stop being available for download.

9. Users like the walled garden

Then they can continue to install apps only from iTunes. Nobody’s suggesting that anyone should be required to turn off the safety barriers. Apple could make the button as obscure as they liked, and even refuse to do anything other than a system wipe and restore to fix software problems if the button had been used. All we’re asking for is user choice. Those who want to stay in the safe curated garden can do so.

10. There’s no need to do anything until sales dry up, and Apple’s doing fine

That’s a dangerous strategy. There’s a lag between developer exodus and apps disappearing, and further lag between app selection falling and sales drying up. By the time sales fall, it may be too late to recover. (See: Palm.)

Apple has already been knocked into third place in the US market at 21%. Once their market share drops to 5-10%, the iPhone platform will start to die the way the Mac started to die in the 90s.

How successful do you think the iPod would be if the iTunes store was the only place you could get music for your iPod?

11. You have no business telling Apple how they should run their platform

I have every right to offer an opinion on how Apple should operate. I write as a Mac user who would like to see the iPhone and iPad succeed. I believe that the walled garden dooms them to becoming a tiny niche market. It may continue to be a profitable niche, but it will be even more of a niche than the Mac. I think they could be so much more, they could be products that I would personally like to own.

12. You can write web apps

That wasn’t a good enough solution when the iPhone was launched, and it isn’t a good enough solution now.

© mathew 2017