“The iPhone vision of the mobile internet’s future omits controversy, sex and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disneyfied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers.” – Tim Bray
Is this a radical view of the problems associated with pre-programmed technology?
Due to the accessibility of mobile devices, they are expected to present to the user an extent of functionality. An example of this can be presented through generative platforms (where people are invited to tinker with it a la Android) or through locked platforms such as Apple’s iPhone, where access permissions are restricted and are periodically added to by Apple itself.
But are locked platforms really all that bad?
To put it bluntly, the main argument towards a locked platform is mainly for the good of the user. By allowing the user freedom to mess with the coding of mobile devices, this could also lead to viruses and other unintended consequences which could harm the intended purpose of the device.
However is restricting content really the solution to preventing users from ‘accidentally’ ruining the technology that they paid for with their own money? By regulating the amount of freedom that consumers are allowed, Apple is reducing the potential amount of creative innovation that the public domain could create through the iOS. We can compare this to a generative platform such as Android, which has its open source code free in public domain to tinker with.
So are locked platforms really all that bad? Not necessarily. They present many constraints to the public with interacting with the iOS coding, but Apple technology still holds many virtues which appeal to the average consumer. However, if we look at the extreme example of Android vs Apple we can see that this method of control is quickly becoming out-dated if platforms that allow for collective intelligence are available.
And while Apple has been the trend-setter for many years, is it likely to continue further into the future?
Apple has created a personal ecosystem for its consumers to buy its products while also maintaining exclusivity. But by trading innovation for profit, and with the approach of Android’s cutthroat competitive corporations competing with each other, the appeal of Apple could fast be fading.
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