It’s Friday! Let’s think positive today: Three FUD-free articles on the iPhone.

There’s been a bucketful of negative iPhone articles lately, as usual. Want to read something more positive for a change? I’m linking to three articles that actually thought the subject through and have a realistic outlook. After all, why start the weekend on a down note?

I’m sure these articles won’t generate the number of page-hits the typical “The iPhone is insecure and has a touchscreen with fingerprints so it will destroy your life!” articles do, but you could help that by reading them.

These articles are not iPhone fluff pieces. They’re not fawning. They simply look at the subject matter at hand, apply a dose of cranium usage (i.e., thinking) and come away with a more positive picture than the FUD-spewing pieces that lack real analysis. I’ve picked one article each on the iPhone’s potential, its security, and its features.

1) I, Cringely writes about Apple and Google collaborating.

Not usually a big fan of I,C, but this is a positive article. Highlights:

“The iPhone absolutely needs AJAX applications for the phone to be a success on AT&T’s EDGE network. By pushing more functional logic into the browser, the bandwidth consumed per http round-trip is significantly reduced… Whaddayado? Introduce a Windows version of Safari, get a million people to download it in the first week, and scare developers into moving Safari customization higher on their AJAX priority list.”


“Where Google comes into this story is with the Google Web Toolkit (GWT), an open source compiler that compiles Java source code into optimized browser-specific JavaScript code… Now imagine you are the developer of an AJAX application and you suddenly have an urgent need to support Safari for Windows. The easiest way to accomplish that is through GWT. What this means for Apple is better and broader iPhone support.”

The above is all speculation, of course, and may not be what’s happening at all. Cringeley’s track record at prediction is not very good. However, that Safari was released on Windows at least in part to help ensure writing and proper testing of iPhone apps is not in dispute. What I like about the article is that, instead of fabricating one of a million theories on why the iPhone could fail, it’s a positive scenario on a way the iPhone could succeed.

My point is that if all you’re gonna do is theorize, there are just as many success stories to dream up than failures. They just don’t get the page hits, I guess, but it’s nice to see.

2) IBM on iPhone’s security.

With all the crap and FUD we’ve seen (and will continue to see) about the iPhone in business and not being secure, etc., here’s an IW article about what IBM security researchers had to say on the topic. Their reasoned analysis certainly goes against the FUD grain we’ve been seeing. Highlights:

“The plus side is that it should take a pretty sophisticated hacker to break into the phone’s system, but the negative is that… many hackers will be inspired to try.”

That “plus” is a great one, and with all we’ve been hearing about how insecure the device allegedly is, it’s about time somebody gave the UNIX-based OS X credit where it’s due!

“It’s going to be challenging for the bad guys to exploit them like they do other [smart phones]… We’ve seen some very determined attacks on other mobile phone platforms… A lot of these attacks are going to be very hard to launch against the iPhone.”

Finally, someone is being realistic about what is going on in the real world of hackers. Looking at existing hacks and weaknesses and examining the iPhone in light of those, instead of generic crap.

“And one major thing they’ve been focusing on is that the iPhone won’t have a software developer’s kit. While that makes it harder for third-party vendors to make software for the phone, it’s also going to make it a lot harder for hackers and malware writers to take advantage of it.”

Hey, these guys are smart. See the “crap and FUD” link above. In that article I stated: “Does Apple not get points for running a secure Operating System in OS X? Further, what about that fact that Apple has (so far) closed the device to third-party apps? Does the IT group have any idea what third-party crap is being downloaded by a user and put on their smartphone? Do you think there may be a security risk there?” Thank you IBM for seeing this as well. It’s a shame this obvious fact eludes those writing articles meant to do nothing but scare-monger and serve an IT agenda.

“He said another positive is that Apple historically has made it pretty easy to update their products… “We suspect the ability to update the phone will be relatively painless and robust. That’s been a major problem with other smart phones.”

This is where OS X and the iPhone’s integration with iTunes comes into play. The article ends on what I consider a positive note:

“So where does that leave the iPhone’s security future?”It will likely take a very sophisticated attack and a very sophisticated attacker to compromise an iPhone,” he added. It will take a level of sophistication that we haven’t seen much of…”

In other words, sure, people will try, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Was there any doubt people would try? No. Was there any doubt it would be difficult? Well, if you read the scatter-brained FUD articles pandering to IT managers, yes. But when reason is applied, an altogether different picture emerges.

3) Forbes suggests that maybe, just maybe, the iPhone is about features.

For my last article I’ve chosen a Forbes piece. What I like about this article isn’t just that it discusses iPhone features, but also takes a swing at the notion that the only people lining up for it are devotees of Apple. That point bothers me because the “iPod generation” is overwhelmingly non-Mac users. The suggestion in FUD-pieces about “Macolytes” being the only ones drooling over the device is just plain wrong.

Some highlights from the article:

“You mean, all the anticipation is about the actual, physical product and its features–and the Apple brand is at the bottom of the list…?”

Yep. Much is made of iPhone’s price, but what some don’t seem to get is that the very price that may drive some away is also cause for most people to think about what the iPhone actually offers, not who makes it.

“Could it be that great brands are the product (no pun intended) of something other than branding? In fact, they are!… Branding seeks to transcend tangible benefits… Great brands, meanwhile, are the result of compelling products and services.”

Good explanation of the difference between ‘great brands’ and ‘branding’. And here are the money quotes:

“But brands such as Apple didn’t become great because of good ads. Rather, the unique and differentiated propositions of the products made for good ads. Macintosh computers really are more beautiful inside and out: easier to use, and better to look at.””Great products speak for themselves. Not by coincidence, the iPhone ads are as straightforward as a product demo can be: a hand in front of a black background operating the device. Could Motorola or Nokia get away with this? Hardly. What sets the iPhone apart is its unique design and the promise of new features and a new standard in usability.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Of course, the features will have to work; there is no guarantee of success. But that’s the point. The Apple brand will do nothing for this device if it doesn’t perform. With so many articles claiming Apple’s recent successes are luck, or because of alleged “lock-in”, or because their fans are all “Macolyte” zombies, it’s nice to see a major publication suggest that it’s actually because Apple is developing products that people want to use because they solve real problems in an elegant and easy to use manner.

So, you see, there is some light shining in the dark, dingy corners of the frightening, IT-pandering, closed- minded, negative hit-piece, page-hit-generating FUD out there. Enjoy!

1 thought on “It’s Friday! Let’s think positive today: Three FUD-free articles on the iPhone.

  1. Nice round up of some of the postive speculation regarding the iPhone. It was gonna be on my blog for the weekend, having spent ages researeching links after getting fed up of reading all the FUD.


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