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Business - Written by on Thursday, September 27, 2007 11:19 - 4 Comments

More on the iPhone …. Apple vs. collective intelligence

The iPhone is no doubt the must have gadget of the year, one of those rare products that manage to live up to the pre-launch hype (Halo 3 being another mega success example, although the game was a hit before its release with over a million pre-ordered copies). The thing is that success has come in spite of Apple and AT&T teaming up to release what may be the most un-consumer friendly product ever (we are not talking interface here).

When you buy an iPhone you are told to play by Apple’s rules

  • You must use it on AT&T (ok, that’s reasonable, carrier subsidies etc…)
  • You cannot add any programs to the phone (a little odd, it’s a smartphone, as a user can I not make it smarter?)
  • You cannot even turn on the phone and use all the iPod and video screen goodness until its activated (Really, what is the point of that, and yes this may turn into a rant)
  • If you pay Apple a dollar for a song from iTunes you can’t use that as your ringtone. Yes, that’s right you must pay another dollar to download the music you already own and paid for in ringtone format (This part just made people angry and was a pure cash grab)

After all the rules and limitations Apple slammed on its new products what does the company do to its loyal earlier adopter customers. It slashes the price of the iPhone 33% less than three months after it was introduced. If that wasn’t enough, Jobs is now pledging to turn all ‘hacked’ iPhones into bricks with the next firmware update for the iPhone. Stating that unlocks that have been applied “will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed” (Does Apple remember the trouble Sony got into with the whole DRM/spyware issue, this sounds is 10 times more malicious)

I understand that Apple has to try and save face with AT&T and try to look like they are protecting the exclusive agreement, but is wrecking customers phones the best option? The ironic thing is that in most of cases these are customers who can’t even be serviced by AT&T if the wanted to as the live in other parts of the world. They are die hard Apple junkies who feel the ‘need’ to have the latest Apple products. Compound that with the fact that over 500,000 copies of the unlock program have been download, you are looking at almost half of all iPhone users owning a $500 brick.

The real problem for Apple however is they just don’t get it, I think we need to send Steve a copy of Wikinomics. The iPhone hack was created by a collaborative community of hackers (the iPhone Dev Team) operating on IRC channels and wikis. Jobs has now thrown down the gauntlet, stating that “It’s a cat-and-mouse game. We try to stay ahead. People will try to break in, and it’s our job to stop them breaking in.” It has turned into Apple vs. the collective intelligence of the world. HD DVD was cracked in a matter of days, IBM and other software giants have bowed to Linux (remember that Open Source collaborative OS) so why is it that Apple is trying to fight the community head on?

A spokesman of the iPhone Dev Team responded by saying that “We will provide you with a tool in the next week which will be able to recover your ‘nck’ counter and ‘seczones’ and even enable you to restore your phone to a factory-like state if you are really [determined] to update your phone”. Game on Steve Jobs, and good luck. I would love to see Vegas put odds on this, you just know Apple would be a long shot to win.


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Derek Pokora
Sep 28, 2007 15:52

There is also the possibility that Apple’s recent decision to void warranties for folks that unlocked their iPhones may wind them up in legal hot water. Apple appears to have broken a key warranty law relevant to SIM unlocks in the U.S. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law decades old, would seem to prevent Apple from voiding warranties in the way it is threatening to do with the iPhone. Apple can’t simply change the terms of a warranty after the product has been released can they?

And one more thing… Apple has great design, but the proprietary design of having a recessed headphone jack so that you can only use their earbuds just simply ticks me off. Thanks goodness for Belkin for creating an extender at a good price.

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Mar 26, 2008 15:38

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