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Apple has become the French

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:

"Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited)."

The prevailing opinion is that this is an attack on Adobe days before they launch their new Flash-to-iPhone app.  Apple wanted to prevent developers from developing in flash and then using Adobe's software to translate that into an iPhone app.  Unfortunately in doing this, Apple has taken the broad sword approach vs the scalpel.  There are some wonderful products out there (Sequoia's Unity and Appcelerator's Titanium for example) that may end up getting caught in the absurdly large net.  

At the base of all this is a more brazen shift in attitude from Apple.  In their past media communications they wanted us all to know that they were the cool kids.  Now, they are giving us a new message:  We're the French - we think we are so far above you and could care less if you disagree.  If you must behold our greatness, we will ridicule you and look down our noses while you admire us.

For my part, this is the likely the end of the road with my dabbling in Apple.  Sure, I'll keep my iPod but I'll likely move on to Android for my phone.  It feels like Apple has had their genius moments and now is trying to live off past successes.  They are like a band you once loved who had two or even three albums that were really great but then started to produce crappy album after crappy album.  The number of other music artists are growing though and with that choice comes less and less control for the dictators who once ran the show.  

I say, "Vive la Liberte!"


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