I've read about a bazillion threads/reports/articles now on how Apple is becoming the Evil Empire, the iPad is a cage, Apple's Disney-esque lock down of content is Orwellian and that the iOS is a terrible loss of functionality. I'd like to offer some counterpoint, which I'm certain is destined for flame, but here we go.Last one first: iOS as a loss of functionality?
I assert that there's a lot more control in the way you can drive with a stripped down car - with a stick shift, roll down windows and a manually-tuneable radio. But that's just not what many consumers want anymore. There's no way that you could reliably/continually get the kind of economy out of that car that you can a new Prius (Oh stop it, Toyota will take care of the issues
) The essential function of moving forward, backward, turning etc is now a forgone conclusion. Much like the essentials of a GUI, word processing and email - we just don't even think about that being available on a machine anymore. IMO, many people do not want to deal with the stick shift, or the complexity of networking - they just want it to be a tool to get their desired result.
Some here will argue that this makes them stupid: I assert that it makes them much more efficient. They are not in love with, nor need they be in love with, the tech that is the superstructure of their tool. Clearly, if what you want to do is add tuned exhaust, adjust the mix yourself or decrease overall weight on the car, the newest offerings will not be to your liking. But that doesn't make the latest offerings any less strong, just different - and for a different target audience.Apple == Evil Empire & Disney-esque Content Restrictions
Hmmm. Hard one to debate, because this is really about choice.
M$ got that name because they came to dominance *outside* of consumer choice. There really was no other game in town and businesses needed to purchase systems to make them go faster. Consumers are really only recently able to "choose into" M$ - now that there are really viable *nix alternatives, the Mac and such, people have much more option in the computer world. But before that, M$ could dictate what you did in your computing life because you had no option. Apple is definitely clamping down on what I can purchase as an app.
So since I have the option of a Droid or Nexus or Blackberry or Treo etc etc I am not locked into their vision - I have to choose into it. And the web really offers the workaround - the day that Apple installs un-choose-outable filters on the web is the day I abandon them. Since tube8 works on the iPhone (well, can't say for sure, I've never been there, ever. Really, it's true
) I believe Apple can deny apps from their store because it simultaneously is not what they want associated with their product, yet I can get what I want elsewhere.
Some will argue that since I've purchased the phone I should be able to do whatever I want with it. Well, you can. Write your own apps for it. There's nothing saying you can't, just don't expect to put it unrestricted into the Apple store.
As a dad to teenagers, I am acutely aware of the notion, "when you're in my home you'll abide by my rules" - I think it's similar. When they're out they can do whatever the hell they want. But in my space, not so much. Apple has that same right, whether everyone likes that or not. Now: Does this offer them marketing challenges and perhaps limit sales? Perhaps, I don't think they care. Which is also their right and privilege.iPad as a cage
This is another perplexing idea. It assumes that you can do nothing other than purchase an iPad and you must abide by rules/laws or something that are all Apple. Well, if you choose to fork out the cash for their device, you've definitely chosen in. Every manufacturer on the planet, it seems, is already also in the game and ready to go. Analysts predict there will be 50 more tablet offerings in the marketplace before the end of the year - this *definitely* points to a lack of monopoly for Apple, and strong options for consumers.
The problem is that people want what Apple offers ... their way. "Listen Apple - I like what you've done, it's sexy and the bang for buck is good. But I don't want it that way, I want it my way. And if you don't give it to me my way, you're the evil empire and I live in a cage." Kind of like being able to go to Toyota and saying that you want a Prius with a Hemi. Or saying you want GMail, Wave or search engine placement without letting Google fondle your junk. Or purchasing Windows 7 Basic/whatever and saying you want the options available in Enterprise - why should those features be denied, dammit?
All purchases come with some form of concession. It's either more money, or privacy, or ability to modify or customize or or or ... the problem is that, much like Google Wave or GMail, the offering is really compelling. So the deal becomes a conundrum: am I willing to give up (privacy/money/the ability to modify etc) for (the product I am coveting)?
So wrapping up: Does Apple limit what you can do with their devices? Certainly. Does this piss some people off? Absolutely. Does this perhaps change the way they can be marketed or who will purchased them? No doubt about it. Is it a monopoly? No. Are they the evil empire? How can they be? They are not an empire I have to live in - they are a choice I can make.