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I Want The Same Power As Steve Jobs

I Want The Same Power As Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is well known for his flawless, well scripted product introductions. During many of them he displays an iPhone/iTouch/iPad on the projection screen. It's handy technology to demo his product goodness to the world. Recently MP3tunes wanted to show how users can buy a song on Android and listen on an iPhone and vice versa.

As Steve does, I wanted to display an iPhone and was disappointed to find out that it's not possible. Well, it is possible - we know that because Steve does it. However, Apple has made the decision that others should not be able to do it by blocking all such applications from the app store. Without access to software this functionality is not possible.

It's his prerogative to control what programs he allows in his app service but it's my prerogative to avoid such gated communities. I want to be able to get the most out of the devices as possible - just as Steve does to further his goals. I want a world where I have the same access as Steve or anyone else. I want a world where I have freedom to control what software runs on my devices.

You will notice that the video I finally created did in fact display an iPhone on screen. To accomplish this required unlocking the device or what is known as jailbreaking. It can be a technical process and for most people it's too complex to be practical. Recently the copyright office ruled that jailbreaking is OK. This is why I recommend people consider an Android device which is a competitor to Apple's i-empire, but more importantly it has an app store (they call it Market) which allows all programs that are accurately described and don't do harm.

Some argue that consumers will only be safe with the parochial approach (ie: policing the system) that Apple has instituted. It may be true that it's less likely that nefarious software sneaks into the Apple app store than the more open Android store. It's also true that China has lower crime rates than the US. But increased safety at the cost of freedom is almost never a good bargain. It should be noted that the Android community closely monitors apps and reports anything out of the ordinary in the Market and actions are quickly taken if there's a misbehaving program. Android users don't want bad software in the Market so they have an inherent incentive to police the list of applications.

The benefits of device freedom are not just an abstract theory or philosophical, but a true value to consumers. I recently returned from a lengthy trip where I used my Android phone to save hundreds of dollars by using the portable wifi hotspot feature. This allows the mobile phone to act as a network connection for other devices meaning that my laptop and other portable devices could all connect to the internet. While the same function is technically possible with an iPhone, such software is banned from the app store. Here's a list of popular banned apps for iPhones.

I have huge admiration for Jobs brilliant mind which delivers industry shaping projects and has led Apple to an amazing position of tech leadership. (Here's a table which illustrates that, depending on your measurement, Apple is either #1 or #2 best tech company.) However, I reject the closed controlled world he advocates. I choose freedom.

--MR
michael@michaelrobertson.com



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