Look, Don’t Touch

Kenpo- iPod-jacket

“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?

Probably not.

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.

References;
http://www.tgdaily.com/business-and-law-features/48892-new-google-man-slams-apples-disneyfied-walled-garden
http://yupnet.org/zittrain/archives/6
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/05/apples-crystal-prison-and-future-open-platforms

Image courtesy of;
http://www.travelizmo.com/archives/cat_travel_sport_clothing.html?start=15

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7 thoughts on “Look, Don’t Touch

  1. I think you’re absolutely right that there is a time limit on locked devices. In my opinion the IPhone is the perfect device for the technological transitional period that we’re going through. We are in the process of old to new our generation watches old technologies become redundant all the time, and it definitely seems that this process is in favour for generative platforms, so eventually Android will dominate. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is interesting that you say apple is reducing the potential amount of creative innovation that is possible, yet somehow apple products remain hysterically popular among the population, it might have been good if you explored this further with stats or some information about users reasons for remaining faithful (but i realise there is a word limit). I preach iOS products and i love that your post has actually made me question why..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. even though it looks like generative platforms like Android is in favor, but I don’t think Apple will lose its position that fast. The main difference between two platform, just personally, is security capability. This is a huge advantage of locked platforms such as Apple, in compare with Android

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You make a good point that the apple systems are simpler to use and less susceptible to viruses…However i agree with you in saying that the apple platforms are certainly reducing the potential for innovation and user content creation. If only there was a way to combine the usability of the ios systems with that of the generative environment android and other open platforms available. But then again, would that lead to the destruction of the level of user freedom currently enjoyed by these innovators. An interesting piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really enjoyed reading your post! It’s clear and i really like how you integrated Apple platforms into your post. I do have to agree Apple is extremely restrictive however people find it extremely appealing and many people i know still prefer what it has to offer. I do think though we live in a world that is continuously producing evolutionary products so i suppose time will tell if Apple can continue to dominate. Good job!

    Like

  6. Personally i see the closed platform/open source as being an on going battle, rather than something that will come to an end. Both push and pull each other and the result is we as consumers benefit. As someone with limited tech ability, i tend to fall on the side of closed source platform, and leave the innovating to people ho know better and can provide me with a secure and trusty device.

    Liked by 1 person

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