Apple’s Thinking Is Just Fine, Thank You.


TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld provides an indication of why Business 2.0 went under with a post on Apple that claims Apple is thinking like the phone company and Jobs should “think different.” For any writer to imply the iPhone is something the phone companies would ever have produced is reason enough to ignore the post completely.

It’s yet another post railing against not allowing unlocking or third-party apps apps on the iPhone. Yet, not only does the iPhone break many rules when it comes to the phone companies, Apple’s decision to not allow third-party apps also goes against the grain. After all, third-party apps are touted all the time for Windows Mobile, Palm, etc.

Let’s look at a few ways the iPhone broke the rules:

  • Activate the phone at home.
  • Easily sync contacts, calendars, pictures, media, music, videos, and other stuff easily using Mac or PC.
  • Uses WiFi and EDGE, automatically switches to WiFi when available.
  • Affordable plans that all include unlimited data.
  • Already been updated with new features twice, and obviously there are more coming.

And there are plenty more in just the software alone. My point is that the above, along with their differing views on third-party apps, are enough to make it clear Apple does not think like the phone companies. Not even remotely. How badly must you want to write an Apple screed to dream up such a ridiculous premise and then run with it? Maybe Erick had writers’ bloc, but then it would have been better to just not post that day.

Meanwhile, just as with Wil Shipley’s rant a few days ago, which I commented on, there are people jumping on this bus and leaving critical thinking at the station. Mathew Ingram has bought Schonfeld’s post completely:

“…I think people have grown used to the idea of Apple as a different kind of company — the company that makes things easier to use, not harder; the one that actually cares what people want and tries to give it to them. Was that idea just an illusion?”

Oh brother! So the iPhone is harder to use than other phones now? Just like Schonfeld, Ingram somehow doesn’t see all the phone company rules the iPhone changed, and how it’s actually — if there is such a thing — anti-carrier.

Plenty of people are jumping on this bandwagon. There’s a video on YouTube too pathetic to link to that actually “honors” iPhone hackers with the same monologue as Apple’s Think Different ad campaign. Are you people insane? Have you seen some of these apps that supposedly improve the iPhone? For all the screaming from the dev community about productivity and usefulness, I’ve seen Etch a Sketch, Popcorn Popping, Draw a Pirate Face apps, and similar. Please.

You wanna write apps for the iPhone? Use the web. You think you’re too good to use the web? Sucks to be you. A hack is still a hack. Even the legitimate web apps have a lot more chaff than wheat.

I’ll say this much: When third-party apps are allowed for the iPhone (and they will be eventually), there ought to be some killer apps from the dev community for all the crying they’re doing now. Sadly, I think the first thing we’ll get is Pirate Faces 2.0.

And no, I’m not anti-developer. In fact I have a very high regard for developers, and work with them every single day. Have for years. But that doesn’t mean they can’t pick the wrong fight. I think this is one of those times. I consider it misguided. Crying in your beer solves nothing. This has nothing to do with development, per se, but rather an illogical ranting, lack of patience, and loss of productivity (i.e., a developer railing against the iPhone is not producing something else).

shapeimage_1.pngMeanwhile, regarding “lock-in” with AT&T, why do people act as if this is some egregious thing? Palm just introduced a new “affordable” smartphone that’s exclusive to Sprint. Where is the outrage? They tout it as $99, but that’s only after a $100 mail-in rebate (6-8 weeks), only if you sign up for two years, only if you add a data plan in addition to voice, and only if that data plan is at least $25 a month. Hell, there are so many exceptions to the thing their lawyers needed a keyboard with two asterisks just to type the ad copy!

This new Palm, not the iPhone, represents normal thinking for the phone companies. IPhones were sold at one price (no asterisk needed), with two year plans that included unlimited data at lower rates than most. This was absolutely not thinking like the phone companies!

Most of the tech world knew what a game-changing device the iPhone was when it was introduced. How is it some have become so used to it that they’re either jaded or willing to believe the Telecom/MS pundits (shills?) and Apple-bashers who can’t recognize the future even when they hold it in their hands? They’re ticked off because Apple can’t act as fast as they can think.

Does anyone really think no third-party apps will ever be allowed on the iPhone? That’s just silly. The iPhone runs OS X, Apple is going to open it up. This is why I say the development community lacks patience. When third-parties (beyond web developers) are allowed to write for the iPhone they’ll probably pat themselves on the back for thinking they had a hand in it, but it’s obvious to anyone with a half-dozen brain cells that Apple will allow this in time.

Apple moves a step at a time because the music and cell industries are like huge tankers moving in one direction and it’s damn hard to turn those around. Still, Apple slowly makes progress, turns traditional thinking on its ear, and makes things that nobody saw coming a reality. Try doing that sometime and you’ll see why most people prefer to just sit on the blogging sidelines and complain.

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