response to Stephen’s rant about the “Apple way”

I tried to post this as a comment [on the OLDaily post](, but got rejected with a “Permission Denied” error.

>Wait. Wired produces a bloated, braindead “magazine” that’s really just a CD-ROM’s worth of images of magazine pages, and you complain about bloat being the “Apple way” I don’t get it, Stephen. Apple had nothing to do with the app. And AT&T in the states is the bad guy for imposing the caps, not Apple. An Android phone running on AT&T would have the _exact same_ limitations.

I seem to be consistently putting myself into the role of Apple Apologist, but this kind of confusion pisses me off. Apple doesn’t control the network. AT&T (in the States, at least) does. And they do a really shitty job of it.

Take tethering, for instance. It’s worked just fine on iPhone OS 3 up here in Canada on Rogers. But AT&T blocks it, saying it’s not available until iPhone OS 4 is available this summer. Apple produced an OS with support for tethering over a year ago. It’s worked great. But AT&T blocked it, until, I assume, the were able to selectively enable it so they could charge more money for it. The bandwidth problems with the iPhone are entirely AT&T’s, not Apple’s.

And the Wired app is a joke. There’s no way in hell that the model of CD-ROM-sized bundles of images of text is going to fly. It’s shiny press release fodder “hey! we have a native app! totally! it’s cool!” but it is the worst kind of suck. We’ve seen this on the internet. It didn’t last. It’ll pass on mobile devices, too.

But, let’s at least get the facts straight, and blame the real offenders rather than jumping on the hate bandwagon.

Don’t even get me started on the constant conflation of App Store and The Web. A moderated App Store in no way prevents anyone from putting their own stuff on the devices.

13 thoughts on “response to Stephen’s rant about the “Apple way””

  1. “Apple doesn’t control the network. AT&T (in the States, at least) does. And they do a really shitty job of it.”

    I don’t pretend to be particularly well-informed on this subject… but didn’t Apple willingly enter an exclusive arrangement with AT&T? Is there any reason it needs to be exclusive? Presumably they get some benefit that is more important to them than AT&T’s performance.

    If I recall correctly, Apple does have some leverage in these matters. Weren’t there reports a few years ago of Apple withholding iPhone shipments to Canada to pressure Rogers to offer more affordable data plans?

    1. I agree. Apple should be beating AT&T with a stick. I’m sure they are, behind closed doors. I haven’t seen the contracts between the companies, so can’t comment on what agreements they put in place years ago. AT&T had some leverage in the early days, before the iPhone was launched, because Apple wanted to change the way cell phones were managed. Before the iPhone, phones were typically managed by the network carriers. You were completely at the mercy of the carrier for functionality, updates, etc.. Apple wanted to change that by making the phone paired to a computer, which would be used to manage the phone. To install content. To get content off the phone. To install apps. To install software and OS updates. This fundamentally changed the power structure, and AT&T had some leverage to make Apple agree to things they probably didn’t want to (including a long period of exclusivity in the US). Once the iPhone took off in the US, the network carriers in other countries didn’t have the same leverage. So we have multiple carriers, and full functionality. But AT&T still has the initial contract they signed with Apple before the iPhone was even launched, when it was a gamble taken by both companies.

  2. So is it Apple or Wired that came up with and promoted the idea of having a separate ‘app’ for pretty much each and every website out there?

    The purpose is to create an environment where there is Apple-specific content created by site owners, including Wired. True, Wired approached this in a particularly boneheaded way. But when compared with what they did on the web, which is lightweight and elegant, I can’t help feeling Apple shoulders most of the blame here.

    That said, I think I made it pretty clear that it was Apple plus AT&T that created the situation. Though, honestly, again, I think Apple shares a certain amount of blame for (a) producing a bandwidth-intensive phone, and then (b) banning the only really lightweight multimedia & video platform from running on it.

    I don’t think I’m jumping on any bandwagon. I’m just calling it as I see it.

    p.s. It wasn’t a simple ‘permission denied’ error on my site, there was an error message that explains why the spam filter rejected the content, but I don’t know what it was.

    p.p.s. Yes, before Apple, phones were controlled by the carriers. Now they’re controlled by Apple. The fact that you still have to “jailbreak” them shows that there hasn’t been any progress in that regard (and it’s even more concerning that jailbreaking phones and unlocking content will be illegal under canada’s proposed copyright law).

    1. When the iPhone came out, there was no app store. Apple said “build web content, and we’ll treat it as a first class citizen on the phone.” They were crucified for it. The app store (and SDK that enables it) was requested/demanded by customers, and does nothing to lessen the ability of people to distribute content as web apps.

      I can’t see how Apple shoulders any of the blame for Wired hiring Adobe to build a crappy imitation of a static magazine. They could have deployed as a standard ePub document. They could have built an app around web standards. They could have done it so many different ways. But they chose to publish screenshots of an InDesign document. That is Wired and Adobe’s decision, not Apple’s.

      The phone isn’t necessarily bandwidth-intensive. In the 10 months I had a phone, I never went over 100MB in a month. Most months, it was closer to 20MB over the 3G network. And I’m a pretty heavy user of the network.

      What lightweight media/video platform did they ban? Surely you’re not conflating the “no flash on the phone” issue with “we can’t build proper software and content for the phone.” Of course people can build effective and lightweight content for the phone. Without Flash. That’s such a misleading argument – the lack of Flash in no way impacts the ability to develop high quality content for the device (or any other, using standards). And the video that is supported (standard format, too) is hardware accelerated, so performs much better than a Flash video could. At lower bandwidths. And anyone can easily create their own video in that format, to distribute on the iPhone (and any other device) any way they want.

      Flash isn’t available for any mobile device yet, either. Android 2.2 will have it, in some form, when it’s available. But even then, Flash sucks the battery dry, pegs the CPU, and renders the phone unresponsive (from early reviews of Flash on Android 2.2). Flash isn’t a magic bullet. It’s not the ideal interface for a mobile device.

      p.s. I don’t recall the exact error message. I don’t think it mentioned spam at all, but I do remember it saying that I needed to be logged in to comment.

      p.p.s. just because some geek called the process “jailbreaking” doesn’t mean you’re literally breaking the phone out of “jail” – you’re overriding the supported firmware, and exposing the otherwise stable and secure device to all kinds of fun stuff. The only malware exploits known for the iPhone are resulting from jailbroken phones. The device is designed the way it is for a reason. You may not agree with the reason, but it’s not done that way to screw customers over, it’s done that way to provide a consistent experience.

  3. steve mobs wants you think different! if you want value, you have to pay a little more for it… c’mon people, creativity isn’t cheap; you creative people should understand this more than anybody…! The carriers are not the problem, it’s your jobs that are the problem. peons need more money to fuel creativity!

    btw kids, the reason the wired app is bloated is because mapple banned flash from the platform, so everything had to be converted to images. but it’s not mapple’s fault, flash was eating up the batteries and mapple can’t have that, now can we?

    just remember, think different ™

    1. um. okay…

      so, which other development platforms should they support, to avoid being described as restrictive? Java? .Net? Cobol?

      They support a very rich development environment already. If people don’t want that, they also support a bunch of very useful (and open) standards to display content.

      What would it take to satisfy people?

      1. i don’t get the apologetics. like i am a linux guy, but i will call it like it is… some shit on linux just plain sucks; i am not afraid to admit it. further i am not afraid to admit the type of losers that use linux heh. as for what they can do. for one they can make their api available for other languages to build on. you can write shit for gtk+ or the windows foundation is whatever language you want. no one cares. also no one puts clauses that prevent you from cross compiling shit. i understand you like the product, but call a spade a spade… apple is a greedy company, and their products are not perfect and neither is their philosophy. i understand you have emotional attachment to their products… but to me that really makes no sense as it’s just another product from another company… no more no less.

        1. I don’t see this as an emotional connection. I’m trying to be as unemotional and objective as possible. I don’t get the anti-Apple hysteria. If you don’t like the products, or don’t agree with what some part of the company is doing, don’t buy their stuff. Extremely simple. Unemotional. But, base any decisions on reality, and not on imagined conspiracy theories.

          1. No you’re acting as a zealot for a mega corp and rationalizing it… Apple is bigger than Microsoft, their business strategy is one of the most exclusive out there, more so than Microsoft. They have created their own eco system that they guard tyrannically. This is not conspiracy theory stuff, it’s pretty evident. They dress up their empire in a ton of rhetoric, about how they are different, and how their products are so great and revolutionary; they don’t seem that way to me. I personally don’t care that much; I am already set in my ways and not going to ever buy Apple anything; I know no one is forcing me to. I would prefer though to speak out against the tyranny, any tyranny, when I get the chance. I don’t like Steve Mobs, I find his personality to have douche written all over it. But that’s what it looks like from here. Your lens may be different because you think differently ™.

            1. Also all the rationalizations that you throw out there about how it’s not Apple’s fault, etc, that’s Apple’s propaganda at work. The fact of the matter is that Apple knows what it’s doing with its captive consumers. It makes a show of lashing out at everyone else and rationalizing its decision as good for the consumers, because just like Google it doesn’t give a shit about any of the industries off which it drives its profits but only selling their own shit… which is both expensive and closed…

              So the strategy is very simple. First create an extremely closed product. Then create an extremely closed market of goods around that product. The market of goods should drive sales of the product and everything related to it. Don’t let in any competition, ever. This is less than Microsoft’s embrace and extinguish strategy, but still the end result is the same — nothing exists except to server your platform and only your platform. Then attack everyone else who is trying to protect their own business model as not knowing what they are doing, not being innovate, etc, and you know what you are doing… Then make billions off that rhetoric.

              It’s true no one is forcing you to buy anything, but neither is Microsoft. It just happens that nothing works with Microsoft Word, etc. Nothing at all works with Mapple. No one seems to notice, no one seems to care.

    1. if you don’t like how AT&T runs their subsidy program (that’s why phones aren’t $699 to begin with) just buy one at the full price. No need for long term contracts, either. If you want the cheap(er) phone, you need to put up with their subsidy rules. Can’t have it both ways.

      1. when a company tells me I’m valued, and I’m getting an upgrade, I don’t
        expect to be treated like a non-customer who hasn’t yet proven their value.
        if only we were on the European plan… 🙂

Comments are closed.