Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 23 Aug 2010.
I certainly hope its not the last time we see 'hidden functionality'
It's not about the device, it's about the company.
Apple have a long history of control-freakery over their users (which is why I will never touch an Apple product, despite having starting in computing with an Apple ][) and in the case of the iPhone, it is clear that they intend to make more money from users by pushing advertising in their faces (iAds).
This is where jailbreaking becomes a problem for Apple - those phones won't be earning iAds money, so Apple have a financial incentive in stopping jailbreaking and they have several ways to do it (on-air updates to disable jailbroken phones, having iTunes silently revert firmware, adding firmware verification on any supplied iPhone software). Jailbreakers should therefore expect increasing levels of hassle and inconvenience, courtesy of Apple's consumer-contempt policy.
I don't fully agree. My experience of iAds is that they are very unobtrusive. You can click on them or ignore them --your choice. They only appear on freeware apps so if you don't like them you delete them.
Apple indeed makes no money from jailbreak apps (or the ads copiously spread in those) but it would be shortsighted of Apple to block jailbreaking for that reason. Jailbreaking increases the potential user base by offering more choice and possibilities in how to use the product. As such Apple stands to sell more devices and associated services and makes more money.
I think that Apple's stance towards jailbreaking is more to do with its concern about the (perceived) user experience of its products. Jobs wants people to see Apple products as elegantly designed, beautifully engineered and above all easy and reliable to use products. Jailbroken devices mar that because like most modded devices they are inevitably a bit more complictated, flakier and more 'Heath-Robinson' in appearance and use. Just look at the Android devices --they are extremely polished but you never know which app will run on what device, some open source apps are suspect and there are all sorts of other technical aspects that would confuse the noob. That doesn't bother us geeks (in fact we prefer it that way) but it is daunting to the casual user who just wants an easy to use, reliable smartphone.
Of course they can simply exercise their choice not to jailbreak their device. But Apple is not worried about the customers it already has, but all the other potential customers looking over their shoulders at them using the product. If the custom GUI looks garish, if it looks a bit flakey and there are all these jailbreak hacks at work, it all looks a bit complicated and inelegant. And not knowing that they are not actually looking at a representative example of an Apple device (the noob knows nothing about jailbreaking) they decide it's not for them and to check out the Blackberry instead.
The thing with smartphones and other social network devices is just that: they are social devices. People see you using them. You show them to other people. It's not like your desktop PC which most people (outside from your geeky mates here) will ever get to see. So it doesn't matter how complicated or obtuse it looks. My non-geek friends look at my home-built liquid-cooled dual Opteron and are awestruck. They barely dare to touch the thing. Never mind that it is no different from their generic HP laptop at home in daily use (although generally a bit faster). They could do anything on it they could do at home. It is a low maintenance machine; there are no fans or pump speeds to regulate and no temps to monitor --I deliberately made it that way. Its Fluorinert coolant means that it is fill and forget; the coolant loop needs no maintenance. But it looks complicated so they approach it like the chimps did the black monolith in 2001.
Expect Microsoft to go the same way with their Windows Mobile 7. But is it such a big deal? I've jailbroken my phone and found that in reality there has been very little it has added to the device's functionality for me.
Even given that to be the case now, how long do you think it will continue? Internet advertising generally has become more and more intrusive and if you consider AOL's software (back when they were a proprietary network with their own client - a closed garden quite similar to Apple's) that also increased its ad presence over time. Apple have clearly gone down this route to increase income so it seems likely they will try to maximise that income as time progresses.
However Apple would make more money with a non-jailbroken iPhone, receiving a portion of the network-operators' revenues as well as advertising. There are clearly other reasons also (for example, Apple modified the firmware on iPods to block use of third-party software which had no financial impact), but the money factor is one that is likely to increase in future.
Again I must disagree. It would be diametrically opposed to Jobs' product design philosophy to allow advertising to become intrusive and interfere with the simplicity of it's GUI. iAds is a closed garden too --for advertisers.
Apple would not make more money on a jailbroken phone unless jailbroken apps compete with Apple store apps. They obviously don't; jailbroken apps exist because there are no Apple alternatives (with the exception of Wifi tethering which is what Apple's problem with jailbreaking may also be about. Network operators see revenue disappearing with free tethering apps. Apple has to keep the network operators on side).
Did someone say Apple and jailbreaking in the same sentence?! I dont really care one way or the other cause I dont care for Apple products at all. I am by no means a proponent of the android OS, but it does rock. However Motorola ( I am sure) has received tons of flack for their release of the droid x and droid 2 with a bootloader that checks the OS constantly for legitimacy. I stand back and say 'wtf? I thought android was open source for a reason'. Although it dosnt matter much now cause they have already rooted both phones.
But even as comparing both phones is quite literally comparing Apples to androids, I see more of a the geek community going to android just because of open source. And being a geek myself I would not want something so closed, it just comes across as someone wanting to control me and how I can interact with their model of a user - I refuse to conform to such mind sets.
Now to get back to my Windows 7....
Maybe, but for how long would such a philosophy last when put against a (likely) increasing financial incentive? Jobs isn't going to be there forever and Apple have done clunky designs in the past (iTunes itself can be described in such terms depending on the criteria applied).
I presume you meant to say less there - I would just note that a jailbroken iPhone would not be locked to a particular carrier (so loss of network revenue shares) and would not need to use the Apple store (loss of distribution fees - how many developers would stay with the store if jailbroken phones started to make up a significant portion of the userbase?).
There are doubtless other reasons too, as you indicate, but the advertising issue is one that would seem most likely to increase in importance.
iTunes is a bit clunky on Windows because it was ported there, rather than developed on it.
As for Jobs being swayed by financial incentive: not likely. Apple could be making a lot more money by making products of a slightly lower standard and lowering the prices to suit. But it doesn't; it creates high-end hardware with high-end prices. It is happy being in that niche because a high-end reputation earns money in the long run.
And if once Jobs leaves Apple decides to stray off the path, well, Android and Windows Mobile 7 phones should just have come into their own by that time.
Yeah, I meant 'less'; I was hung over and posting from the tiny screen of an iPhone... Of course the carriers have a valid concern. Mine for instance has just sponsored two-thirds of the cost of my shiney new iPhone 4 (about £400,--). I can't blame them for wanting to see some return from that. If you don't want to be tied to a carrier, just buy the iPhone from the Apple store for its full £600,-- whack and shop for your own contract.
Many app developers would choose to stay with the Apple store because the vast majority of iPhone users are muggles who don't even know what jailbreaking is. What's more, they don't even care. If you can buy an app for as little as 60p in the knowledge that it will work and is secure, then what do you care about jailbreaking? Only us geeks do --and we are by far in the minority.
I like to think dedicated to the cause of geek.
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