Yesterday, Apple held a media event to announce the new features being released in their iPhone 4.0 OS coming out this summer. The OS was released yesterday to a developer preview meaning that developers in their iPhone development program could install and work with the new OS but general release wouldn't be until summer.
All the bells and whistles were displayed and tricked up to show the latest inventions from Cupertino. The real story though for me was what wasn't announced so publicly. In more and more ways, Apple is becoming the little dictator telling the world, "If you want to be part of our team, you must follow our rules." Those rules are getting more and more constraining and, I believe, Apple might have gone too far with their latest moves.
The two issues for me are the lack of multitasking for anything but iPhone 3GS and the new EULA for developers further locking down and controlling now not only what they develop but HOW they develop.
Mentioned as a side note during the event was that iPhone 3GS would get all the features displayed but that only some would work with iPhone 3G or iPhone 2. Only the latest iPhone Touch would be able to handle all the features as well. Unfortunately, Apple has shown that this is a pattern of behavior and not some one off abnormality.
Jobs said himself in the presentation that they were not always the first with features. His comment was that they took their time but "nailed" them like they did with copy/paste. Really? Nailed it? It's copy and paste, it's not Wonkavision or anything. We've all be copying and pasting on our computers for decades. The fact that Apple added touch screen to it is not so revolutionary.
The same is true for multitasking. Computers have been doing this for years and, of course, Android does this without issue. Jobs cited concerns over battery life as to the reason they withheld it. While I appreciate the concern and think the iPhone does need work in that department, I would rather have more common features and have the option to manage the battery life myself. I'm no genius but I can monitor a battery indicator and adjust usage as needed.
Of course though the real issue is that Apple's shelf life for their products is shrinking by the minute. My iPhone 3G isn't even a year and a half and it's obsolete according to Jobs. My CONTRACT last longer than the phone itself? Really? Warning for you new iPad owners - your shelf life is likely to shrink from the one I experienced.
The other huge issue, perhaps even larger than the multitasking one, is that Apple has snuck in further restrictions to their EULA for developers. Apple has a long history of very public feuds with developers over the rejection of their apps from the app store based on seemingly arbitrary restrictions. The most recent was an app for the new iPad called Dashboard that allowed you to run tiny widgets similar to how many do on their desktops now. Apple's reason? "Contradicting the iPad's user expereince."
Now though, Apple has put language into their EULA for developers adding restrictions as to HOW apps are developed. From Apple's new EULA: