A Battle for the Future Is Getting Personal
March 13, 2010 8:11 PM   Subscribe

This is the biggest ego battle in history. It looked like the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Today, such warmth is in short supply. One well-connected Silicon Valley investor, who did not want to be identified talking about the Google-Apple feud, says he is stunned by the level of rancor he’s witnessed. “It’s World War III. Amazing animosity is motivating two of the most powerful people in the industry,” he says. “This is emotional. This is the biggest ego battle in history. It’s incendiary.”
posted by fixedgear (202 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Haven't felt this way in years: Go Google! Kick its ass!
posted by fatehunter at 8:18 PM on March 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


Two of the largest tech companies in the world in conflict? Shocking.
posted by Huck500 at 8:19 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Two hefty monopolists. I guess I'll cheer for the less evil one.

(Not that it's hard to predict; Steve Jobs' relentless control freakery managed to cost him the desktop in the eighties, and I don't see the mobile device market shaking out differently.)
posted by rodgerd at 8:21 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a pretty misleading headline and article. Every example of genuinely personal anger the article cites is on the Apple side, and mostly from Steve Jobs.
posted by grimmelm at 8:25 PM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'm a Mac guy, have been since day one.. There are two of us in the house, we have 6 macs in use on a regular basis, in addition to a Mac Plus and a TAM that get fired up once in a while..

that said..

If it came down to choosing between Google and Apple... I would choose Google...

Apple needs to be careful on this one...
posted by HuronBob at 8:30 PM on March 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


i love google's stuff but think for a minute about the tremendous amount of data they have on you... it's remarkable. google is in the information collecting business and everything they do, every app they make, is designed around one concept: make products that are free, simple, and convenient and then use them to mine as much data about your personal interests as humanly possible. the end game cannot possibly be good. i don't see how they can ultimately monetize what they're doing without it being evil.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:36 PM on March 13, 2010 [13 favorites]


Google already knows absolutely everything about me. I use my iBook merely to connect with my friends at Google.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 8:39 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not that I wholly trust any corporation, let alone Apple, but you people seriously side with the company that can't wait - CANNOT WAIT - to know every single iota of information about you?
posted by basicchannel at 8:41 PM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


...aaaand beaten.
posted by basicchannel at 8:41 PM on March 13, 2010


This is an important fight; it's the war of the guy who wants to put shackles on your wrists to 'make your life better' versus the guys who want to let you do what you want with the hardware you own. Apple, with the iPad, has declared its willingness to use its hardware as a weapon against you, depriving you of the ability to patronize the competition or even run what software you want, when you want to, even on devices that aren't connected to anything but your own network. You do not own an iPad; you rent it. And Apple can retroactively change the terms of the deal anytime they choose.

There's nothing inherently wrong with Apple's software-garden mentality; saying to you that if you stay within these bounds, your phone/computer will keep working smoothly, is a fair transaction. That's an attractive model for many people. But attempting to force you to stay in that garden is not okay. Actively preventing other App Stores from coming into being is profoundly anti-competitive, and not at all for your benefit. That's Apple trying to reach into your wallet, not protecting you.

You don't fully own an Android phone either, unless you buy a dev unit, or crack it, just like an iPhone. I assume that this is the wireless companies at work, refusing to allow you full control over handsets they sell you, because they want to extract more money from you, just like Apple does. The fact that Google will sell you a completely unlocked phone, in all respects, tends to confirm this; I think they'd give you root on every Android device you own if it were purely up to them. Unfortunately, it isn't.

Google recognizes that freedom benefits both you AND them, and they're the people you should be cheering for. They're not perfect, but they're much better for you than Apple. They're using Free software as a basis to give you a fully functional handheld computer, one you can do anything you want with. Apple is based on a different variety of free software, the BSD stack, and they've used BSD's more liberal terms to build an OS, and then throw a layer on top to put shackles on your wrists.

Maybe you like shackles, but the computing world as it is today would not exist if computers had been locked down the way Apple wants them to be. It is absolutely inexcusable to lock down a device that doesn't even have cellular hardware. Apple is asserting that you may only run Apple-approved software on an iPad, even on your local network, accessing only local resources. If that model wins the handset war, we will all be much poorer for it.

Apple, in other words, is showing that they will be a far more terrible monopolist than Microsoft ever was. Making sure they don't get that monopoly is a worthy endeavor. Without a doubt, this is also in Google's interests, because they prosper in an environment of openness. Don't mistake that as making the two companies equally bad. Your long-term interests almost certainly align much more closely with Google's than with Apple's. As others are pointing out, data-mining is Google's business, but with an open handset, you can opt out, choosing to run non-Google services. With Apple's model, you can't.

There's nothing wrong with a software garden, as long as you choose to stay there. But it's indefensible to force you to.
posted by Malor at 8:46 PM on March 13, 2010 [113 favorites]


There's a bit of a tin-foil hat feel about the "google knows everything about me" position... yep, they know a lot, they know everything I'm willing to tell them... they target ads at me, I ignore them (for the most part)... they give me free stuff, they make my life easier.....
posted by HuronBob at 8:52 PM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


also:

Mr. Jobs returned to the topic of Google several times in the session and even disparaged its slogan “Don’t be evil” with an expletive, which drew thunderous applause from his underlings.

underlings? biased much?
posted by nathancaswell at 8:52 PM on March 13, 2010


Not that I wholly trust any corporation, let alone Apple, but you people seriously side with the company that can't wait - CANNOT WAIT - to know every single iota of information about you?

Since you decided to write "can't wait" twice and once in caps, could you please clearly explain what you mean by that? Is Google's information acquisition hasty in some sense? Would it be more palatable to you if they did decide to play it a little more slowly, maybe gave you some free coupons while they were at it? Do you object to the bald-faced way in which they are doing it?

I'm genuinely curious, because every company, and especially tech companies, is interested in gathering demographic information on their customers. It just so happens that Google does a lot of it because firstly, their customer base is near equivalent with users of the internet, secondly, they attempt to offer an extremely diverse array of services, and demographics help tune those, and lastly because, yes, their revenue is almost entirely through ads, and to serve good ads, they have to know you.

Google essentially has the wet dream of any company in regards to their demographics information, and I'm not so sure it makes sense to single them out for unique hatred for having just a little more information than most. Which is besides the fact that I trust Google with the information a lot more than I would trust Apple, for example.
posted by TypographicalError at 8:53 PM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is why I avoid Apple:

Apple believes that devices like smartphones and tablets should have tightly controlled, proprietary standards and that customers should take advantage of services on those gadgets with applications downloaded from Apple’s own App Store
posted by KokuRyu at 8:54 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


all this being said, i kind of have to side with apple just because it makes the app (final cut pro) upon which i depend for my entire livelihood and future.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:57 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Malor, the ipad is going to be limited to a certain level of performance because of its form, so if you were to treat it as a normal computer, you'd be massively disappointed with it. That's the same reason the iphone doesn't allow you to use as many apps as you please at the same time and doesn't have flash-- the performance would suck and people would naturally blame apple. They're basing their decisions around user experience, even if it limits freedom.
posted by stavrogin at 8:58 PM on March 13, 2010


the iphone doesn't allow you to use as many apps as you please at the same time and doesn't have flash-- the performance would suck

i get the feeling the iphone doesn't support flash because they want you to buy all your apps from them, not use flash based web apps.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:59 PM on March 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


If the future of computing is the Apple platform, we are in serious trouble.
posted by mek at 9:00 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


it's the war of the guy who wants to put shackles on your wrists to 'make your life better'

Are you seriously comparing a cell phone to slavery? The iPhone isn't even a particularly popular smart phone in absolute terms; Symbian devices blow it away and it's still pretty far behind BlackBerry. And compared to the overall cell phone market it's basically a non-entity.

There's nothing wrong with a software garden, as long as you choose to stay there. But it's indefensible to force you to.

I must've missed the part where Apple was forcing us all to buy iPads and iPhones or the part where owning an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad meant that one was forbidden from also owning or using more open devices.

Apple is asserting that you may only run Apple-approved software on an iPad, even on your local network, accessing only local resources.

Except of course for web apps. Or ad hoc distributed apps. Or internally-distributed enterprise apps. Or the fact that you can run just about anything you want if you pay $99/year to be a developer.
posted by jedicus at 9:00 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


i hate when mommy and daddy fight :(
posted by empath at 9:02 PM on March 13, 2010 [14 favorites]


The iPhone doesn't have flash because of performance issues?? My original iMac didn't have trouble with it.

Or the fact that you can run just about anything you want if you pay $99/year to be a developer.

...said without a hint of irony?
posted by mek at 9:02 PM on March 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


You do not own an iPad; you rent it.
I don't think so. If you buy it, and never upgrade the software, you won't lose any functionality and you can't have anything taken away. Granted, you can lose capability if you upgrade, but that's true of any piece of software.

You don't fully own an Android phone either.
Not so. You can buy a Nexus One unlocked.

I use the products of both companies. Right now, Apple's phones work better than Google's. That may not always be the case. When Android/Chrome OS eReader's come out, I'm betting that Google's offerings will be more impressive. Apple excels at integration, and where the phone/contacts/music all sync seamlessly and are relatively crash-proof (which is desirable on a phone), they beat Google by a country mile. For an non-phone device, those little touches may not be such a bit deal, and Apple will probably be forced to open the iPad or face a much smaller market share.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:02 PM on March 13, 2010


I'm genuinely curious, because every company, and especially tech companies, is interested in gathering demographic information on their customers.

Google collects a lot more than just demographic information. It stores (obviously) and analyzes the contents and metadata of your searches, emails, web browsing history, purchases made with Google Checkout, music and video consumptions habits, social networking, etc, etc. There's a huge qualitative difference between the kinds and volume of information that Google collects and the typical demographic data most companies collect (e.g. basic stats like address, age, gender).
posted by jedicus at 9:04 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


also, the ipad is a gimmick. don't try to catch the red herring in this argument. it's a macbook air minus the screen for fanboys and techheads/design nerds. only for the most diehard. the iphone is where the money is.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:04 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


minus the keyboard, not the screen. okay, too much wine.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:05 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple believes that devices like smartphones and tablets should have tightly controlled.

We know that's true of phones; tables remain to be seen. But it makes a certain amount of sense. Unrestricted Google phones do seem to crash much more often than restricted iPhones.


The iPhone doesn't have flash because of performance issues?? My original iMac didn't have trouble with it.


I think the main problems with flash are: 1) no API for battery life preservation, 2) frequency of crashes.

All defenses of Apple above not withstanding, I think Steve Jobs is being a whiny spoiled brat.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:07 PM on March 13, 2010


i'd rather push a ford than drive a chevy, amirite?
posted by TrialByMedia at 9:12 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apple believes that devices like smartphones and tablets should have tightly controlled, proprietary standards and that customers should take advantage of services on those gadgets with applications downloaded from Apple’s own App Store.

Google, on the other hand, wants smartphones to have open, nonproprietary platforms so users can freely roam the Web for apps that work on many devices.


It is a clash of business models - not egos. There are three business models involved: Apple's, the mobile operators' and Google's.

First the mobile operators. They make money on content - not content delivery. Delivering bits which carry voice communication (and roaming those bits across other networks) - i.e., the traditional mobile operator model - is far more profitable than just delivering bits (just compare your mobile bill to your cable internet bill to see the difference.) So they want to keep control over this type of content. (And if you like cheap, flat rate data plans so should you.)

For Apple, keeping the iPhone "tightly controlled" makes the device attractive to operators who would otherwise see their mobile networks used in ways far less profitable. Note that Apple (who have sold worldwide something like 30m iPhones) makes more profit from these devices than Nokia (who sell annually something like 600m phones.)

And Apple is doubling down. One aspect of Apple's iPhone business model is to work with operators in support of their business model, but they are also - with iTunes - in the content business. The iPhone supports both of these business models and it is unclear if they are prepared to choose one over the other. The fact that Palm devices masquerade as iPhones so that they can sync with iTunes makes Apple iTunes happy, but Apple iPhone not so much. So far no litigation between Apple and Palm.

Google is an advertising company. Full stop. Their desire for openness comes solely from the desire to expose your eyes and ears to paid-for advertising. In this way, Google has the oldest and least innovative business model of all three. With some notable exceptions (e.g. Maps) Google's innovation comes from attaching their advertising to other people's content which is really sweet. It's like not having to pay for the rights to broadcast the SuperBowl, but still being able to broadcast it AND the paid-for advertisements.

If it came to choosing between Apple and Google, it is more a question of choosing between business models. Frankly, as someone who understands that advertising works and who hates being exposed to it as a mandatory requirement for consuming content, I would like to see a situation where both can thrive.
posted by three blind mice at 9:12 PM on March 13, 2010 [10 favorites]



"Or the fact that you can run just about anything you want if you pay $99/year to be a developer."

...said without a hint of irony?


What's odd about that, exactly? Lots of companies require fees to be a developer. Virtually all game console development works this way, for example, and has for a couple of decades now. And given the iPhone & iPod Touch's growing emphasis on gaming, it's a pretty fair comparison. Think of an iPhone and related devices more like game consoles than computers: Limited devices running a closed source OS, developer fees, typically closed source apps/games, manufacturer approval for apps/games, and an emphasis on paid apps/games.

Yes, it sucks that you have to pay to install arbitrary apps on a physical phone (anyone can develop apps on the simulator), but there is a legal / Apple-approved route to arbitrary app installation on the iPhone.
posted by jedicus at 9:12 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Google collects a lot more than just demographic information. It stores (obviously) and analyzes the contents and metadata of your searches, emails, web browsing history, purchases made with Google Checkout, music and video consumptions habits, social networking, etc, etc. There's a huge qualitative difference between the kinds and volume of information that Google collects and the typical demographic data most companies collect (e.g. basic stats like address, age, gender).

How is that a qualitative difference? Because it more accurately pinpoints you? That's the very definition of a quantitative difference. Google just has better demographic info, and any other company would do it if they could.
posted by TypographicalError at 9:13 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought we already knew the iPad only runs App Store programs? I'm sure it'll be jailbroken as soon as it hits the market, but that's not the same thing. Also, I think it was just revealed the battery replacement program for the iPad involves paying $99 for a replacement unit. And you better make sure you backed up your data beforehand!
posted by kmz at 9:18 PM on March 13, 2010


[Google] sent out a software update to the Nexus One, adding multitouch capabilities and thereby openly crossing a line that Mr. Jobs had drawn in the sand.

This duel reminds me of this cartoon in which Bugs Bunny draws a line in the sand and dares Yosemite Sam to step over it. Sam does, so Bugs draws another and another and Sam steps over each one. Eventually, Bugs draws one at the edge of a cliff and Yosemite Sam steps over it and falls! I guess the question is, then, if Yosemite Sam is Apple or Google.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 9:21 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anecdotally, even my Macotologist friends seem to be in the "Steve Jobs is a douchebag" camp lately. I mean, they always were, but they used to say he was a douchebag with some admiration.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:24 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


stavrogin: Malor, the ipad is going to be limited to a certain level of performance because of its form, so if you were to treat it as a normal computer, you'd be massively disappointed with it.

That's not any different, really, than an Atom netbook. My first computer was 3.5 megahertz, maybe a thousandth as fast as an iPad. Speed issues are a bullshit distraction that's being used to keep your eye off the part that matters, the App Store and the huge amounts of revenue Apple extracts. It's not closed "because it would be slow", it's closed because Apple would make less money selling software.

Are you too stupid to install well-written, fast software? I doubt that very much. I know I'm smart enough to be able to manage limited computing resources. If you'd rather not worry about it, and would rather have Apple vet your software, that's fine.... stay with the App store. But you're not allowed to leave, and that's not for your benefit.

That's the same reason the iphone doesn't allow you to use as many apps as you please at the same time and doesn't have flash-- the performance would suck and people would naturally blame apple.

That's what the garden is about, and you should be able to easily escape it if you wish. If your iPhone then sucked, well, you'd probably go back to the garden. If they were competing fairly, they'd rely on the superior experience they were providing as their competitive advantage, instead of locked hardware.

They're basing their decisions around user experience, even if it limits freedom.

That's the spin version, but considering how easy it would be to let you out, and how they're actually calling phone jailbreakers terrorists, no kidding, it's not really about the user experience. It's about Apple's bottom line.
posted by Malor at 9:25 PM on March 13, 2010 [14 favorites]


Saying anything involving nerds, the biggest ego battle in history, could only be said by a nerd with no knowledge of history.

(Hello? World War II? You WROTE THE CHARACTERS OUT AND THEN PLOPPED "I" AFTER IT. Ah. Actually, that explains it...)
posted by effugas at 9:33 PM on March 13, 2010


Jobs is an auteur, and even if you think he's an evil genius, he's a genius. We're surprised that he might have a temper and hold grudges why? We're surprised he might be a douchebag why?

The whole story strikes me as that weird sort of thing where "news" consists of conflict, and where there's not sufficient conflict, they'll make some stuff up. There's a fascinating story to be told about the conflicts of business models (as three blind mice mentions) but it's so much easier to write a story about how it's a mythic conflict of Jobs vs Schmidt.

(and omg Apple makes a phone and a consumer device and it's not the way I like it. eeeeeeeeevil! burn the heretics!)
posted by immlass at 9:39 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


My netbook cost $350 and does everything an iPad does at the same time and with free software. For not a single dollar more I can tether my Nexus One (and use it's existing data plan) to it for 3G wireless. Bite me Apple.
posted by msbutah at 9:40 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


My netbook cost $350

What netbook do you have? No seriously, I want to know what netbook you have cause $350 sounds sweet.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:41 PM on March 13, 2010


Oh and PS. The Apple vs HTC lawsuits for pretty much everything a phone does demonstrates two things to me. First that our patent law needs some serious revision as to what is conceivably patentable and two that Apple is grabbing at its last chances to monopolize this money stream. Patent suits are a way of admitting defeat and basically drawing out the last blood from a profit stream before moving on.
posted by msbutah at 9:43 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


nathancaswell Acer Aspire One D250. It's showing up around $200-$250 now. When I bought it they were $350.
posted by msbutah at 9:44 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


The biggest problem Apple has is what happens when Steve Jobs is no longer around? I think Google / Android are going to win in the long run for this reason alone.
posted by fshgrl at 9:45 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Acer Aspire One D250.

Thx, I'm off to drunkenly buy a netbook.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:47 PM on March 13, 2010 [15 favorites]


Basically, Steve Jobs had his company's ideas stolen by Microsoft a couple decades ago, and Apple was nearly bankrupted by that theft. Google is trying the same stunt now, which is perfectly obvious to anyone who has personally used a Google phone.

Facts being what they are, Jobs is perfectly within his rights to be pissed. His legacy is being taken from him by the new Microsoft on the street. The question is whether the outcome will be different. The answer will depend on whether Apple fights back against Google or allows themselves to be bullied out of the market again.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:49 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Acer Aspire One D250.
Thx, I'm off to drunkenly buy a netbook.


Done... So am I gonna have to put some antivirus software on this puppy or what? It's been a while since I owned a Windows machine.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:02 PM on March 13, 2010


So am I gonna have to put some antivirus software on this puppy or what? It's been a while since I owned a Windows machine.

Go for Microsoft Security Essentials. It's free, minimally intrusive, and gets pretty high marks.
posted by Slothrup at 10:12 PM on March 13, 2010 [11 favorites]


The iPhone doesn't have flash because of performance issues?? My original iMac didn't have trouble with it.
And what version of iMac was that, and what version of Flash? The original 1998 iMac was a 233Mhz PPC, and nobody was insane enough to do complex Flash video and other crap like you see today.

On the other hand, my late 1980s Mac IIcx had no problems displaying full screen, full motion video. But that was because I had a ridiculously expensive RasterOps video pass-through board, hooked up to a Pioneer interactive LaserDisc. Oh it was wonderful, just push 2 numbers out through the serial port, and it jumped right to that timecode, and stopped playing at the final timecode. The only problem was getting video ON the videodiscs. I was doing Apple sales presentations back then, and Apple gave us tons of useful footage on Laserdisc. But if you wanted to play video off the hard disk with QuickTime 1.0, you could do about 4 fps with video the size of a postage stamp.

But getting back to the issue, in this case, Apple has a classic case of "first mover disadvantage." The first major product to market, creates the market. It's expensive to do that. Then the other companies, "second movers," jump in and flood the market with cheap imitations, denying the first mover the rightful earnings they deserve for creating the market in the first place.

I am with Apple on this, not because I have been a lifelong Apple fanboi, but because I think Google is evil. Google is a monopoly. Their orphan books project is another attempt to create another monopoly. That's what monopolies do, they use their overwhelming leverage in one market, to drive their way into a new market and set up a new monopoly. That's why they used to call Microsoft 'the Borg," they used their cash hoard to assimilate other companies and establish new monopolies. Now Google is the new Microsoft.
Apple represents freedom in the sense that you can do pretty much anything you want with your iPhone or iPad, and Apple doesn't really care, they want a few extra bucks from the iTunes store but other than that, they don't care. But Google wants to capture your searches and your private surfing habits and use them for marketing purposes. They want to become a new Library of Congress, administering copyrights, maintaining digital copies of all copyrighted properties, and profiting from the sales of those copyrighted products. I object.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:14 PM on March 13, 2010 [6 favorites]


Apple represents freedom in the sense that you can do pretty much anything you want with your iPhone or iPad

I want to write programs that run on those platforms, and I want to share those programs with my friends.

And, Apple has "first mover disadvantage"? In what space is that? If we're talking smart phones in general, I'd argue that Microsoft has the biggest first mover disadvantage -- the software is so old that it barely resembles the current "state of the art".
posted by Slothrup at 10:19 PM on March 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


I want to write programs that run on those platforms, and I want to share those programs with my friends.

Apple Developer Connection
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:20 PM on March 13, 2010


I thought it was obvious that I meant "without having to appease whatever the rules-of-the-week are over at the iStore."
posted by Slothrup at 10:24 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


recommending Avast.
posted by scottymac at 10:26 PM on March 13, 2010


Eric "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place." Schmidt (previously) may not have reached Jobsian levels of dickishness, but he's a fast learner. This is, after all, the guy who swore up and down while he was on Apple's board of directors from 2006 to 2009 that his company was totally uninterested in making competing products like a browser, an OS, a phone, or a tablet - all of which it now is. Why would it be a surprise that Jobs now bears him some animus?

For those who still retain some nostalgia for Google's "Don't Be Evil" phase, Valleywag's roundup article "Six Delusions of Google's Arrogant Leaders" makes for a corrective read.

Take this Q & A with Schmidt in Abu Dhabi: "All this information that you have about us: where does it go? Who has access to that?" (Google servers and Google employees, under careful rules, Schmidt said.) "Does that scare everyone in this room?" The questioner asked, to applause. "Would you prefer someone else?” Schmidt shot back – to laughter and even greater applause. "Is there a government that you would prefer to be in charge of this?" Of course, people traditionally rely on governments to protect them from monopolists.

Or what he said after the privacy fiasco of Buzz's launch: "There was a lot of confusion when it came out on Tuesday, and people thought that somehow we were publishing their email addresses and private information, which was not true. I think it was our fault that we did not communicate that fact very well, but the important thing is that no really bad stuff happens in the sense that nobody's personal information was disclosed." In reality, Google did precisely those things.

Someone should be pitching the movie version of this as a cross between "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" and "Aliens vs. Predator" movies: "Whoever wins... we lose".
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:33 PM on March 13, 2010 [10 favorites]


Full disclosure: The above was written (at 1:30 a.m.) on a MacPro and researched with Google.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:34 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


To be honest, I don't really care that there are limitations to stuff like the iPhone/iPad. But I may be a bit biased because I deal with real-world computer-usability situations and so I wholeheartedly advocate systems which let people do the stuff they want to do without exposing ways to get shot in the foot; if that means a controlled application-distribution channel which disallows some applications/functionality and holds your hand and doesn't let you punch the monkey to install Super Computer Optimizer Cursor Download Buddy 2010 XP Pro, well, so be it.

And, ultimately, a lot of what geeks don't like about Apple's mobile devices boils down to things which can be explained in terms of that tradeoff, instead of images of a rampaging Steve Jobs screaming about how his plan to dominate every aspect of our lives has been foiled by those meddling kids in Mountain View.

(worth noting that I say this as someone who has an iPhone and a Macbook Pro, and four machines running various flavors of Linux and Solaris)
posted by ubernostrum at 10:34 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Basically, Steve Jobs had his company's ideas stolen by Microsoft a couple decades ago, and Apple was nearly bankrupted by that theft. Google is trying the same stunt now, which is perfectly obvious to anyone who has personally used a Google phone.
what
Apple represents freedom in the sense that you can do pretty much anything you want with your iPhone or iPad
WHAT
posted by kmz at 10:34 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


(also worth noting that my conception of what people "want to do" aims for, well, things people tend to actually want to do, like play games, look at web pages, check email, find ATMs... "run a custom DNS server on my phone so that the IRC tunneled over SSH can use this alternate registry service which treats clownpenis.fart as a valid domain name while downloading files over gopher protocol" and other hardcore geek stuff is pretty much out of the question)
posted by ubernostrum at 10:38 PM on March 13, 2010


This is, after all, the guy who swore up and down while he was on Apple's board of directors from 2006 to 2009 that his company was totally uninterested in making competing products like a browser, an OS, a phone, or a tablet - all of which it now is. Why would it be a surprise that Jobs now bears him some animus?

Indeed. Jobs probably thought he had a corner on pretending disinterest in certain markets.

"It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore."
posted by Slothrup at 10:39 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


(also worth noting that my conception of what people "want to do" aims for, well, things people tend to actually want to do, like play games, look at web pages, check email, find ATMs...

How about listening to their Pandora station and doing anything else at the same time?
posted by kmz at 10:53 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Apple builds a walled garden for appliances.

Google builds a walled garden for data-mining, psychographics, and the infrastructure that is, literally, the next significant frontier of human expansion.

One of these is far more important, and far more problematic, than the other.

Bottom-line: Steve Jobs seems like an obvious, life-long, inveterate jerk, a narcissistic sociopath with a mean and petulant streak... but Brin and company are potentially far more destructive-- nice guys who are cheerfully, calmly building a system that will likely see ultimate use in quite evil ways.

Soylent Green Google Cookies are people.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:58 PM on March 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


anonymous sources with ego centric conflict! wow, sounds just like what passes for journalism of our politicians.
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:04 PM on March 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.
To be fair to Schmidt, there was context to this quote that was lost, though it was still a stupid thing to say.

This is, after all, the guy who swore up and down while he was on Apple's board of directors from 2006 to 2009 that his company was totally uninterested in making competing products like a browser, an OS, a phone...
Not true. Google purchased Android in 2005, and Schmidt recused himself from Apple BoD discussion about phone features. Google was also opening working on WebKit (the open source code upon which both Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome are based), though they had made no product announcements.

If you parse his comments, it's a classic non-denial "and our observation is that you have a number of fine browsers now, [and] people have some good choices." Google's response to questions about a "Google OS" have always been similar non-denials.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:17 PM on March 13, 2010


To be fair to Schmidt, there was context to this quote that was lost, though it was still a stupid thing to say.

To be fair to the people his company has collected data on, Schmidt won't be CEO forever.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:18 PM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I completely agree with Malor's argument that Google is the good guys. I must observe however that actually Nokia's N900 is the most open mass market phone in the world. In particular, Skype, SIP, and Google Talk are integrated into the native dialer application. Android does not similarly integrate VoIP technology.

I've been extremely impressed with how much Linux software installs from the maemo extras repository, btw. I've installed R, TeX, glom (sql gui), x11vnc, sshd, nethack, etc. Android by comparison requires that entirely new applications be written in Java. In fact, if you count all the console emulators and the strong flash support, the N900 probably has more games than all other phone platforms combined.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:33 PM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


I have never owned a Mac, so I'm far from an Apple fan-boy, but I think the crisis about the app store is a great thing.

Apple is using it's power to favor developers who know how to deliver good user experiences and this pisses off the ones who don't know how to do that. The world is changing, iPhone and iPad apps aren't about who can write the fastest algorithms, it's about who can deliver the best user experience and the best usability. Unfortunately, a small & vocal part of the developer community has a huge sense of entitlement, and they need to grow up and evolve. Good software is about more than what they teach in programming class.
posted by AlsoMike at 11:35 PM on March 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Basically, Steve Jobs had his company's ideas stolen by Microsoft

You mean Xerox's ideas, but I'm sure your little Jobs-encrusted head will be as impervious to facts here as it always is.

The first major product to market, creates the market. It's expensive to do that. Then the other companies, "second movers," jump in and flood the market with cheap imitations, denying the first mover the rightful earnings they deserve for creating the market in the first place.

Yeah, I think that's how Creative felt in the MP3 space, but I didn't notice too many Apple MP3 player users cheering on their lawsuits against Apple.

(And the first "internet pad" would be the Nokia N770. Plus we've had netbooks and Windows tablets for years. Less RDF, more facts, please.)

Apple represents freedom in the sense

...that MiniLuv represents it?

I must observe however that actually Nokia's N900 is the most open mass market phone in the world.

Indeed. I hope they've fixed the god-awful lack of decent PIM on the N770/800/810.
posted by rodgerd at 11:45 PM on March 13, 2010 [5 favorites]


all this being said, i kind of have to side with apple just because it makes the app (final cut pro) upon which i depend for my entire livelihood and future.

Talk to an Avid editor about how they felt in 2002.
posted by afu at 11:51 PM on March 13, 2010


Good software is about more than what they teach in programming class.

Seriously. I go to Stack Overflow and the questions are basically along the lines of "build this for me". Programmers today want to plug together A, B and C and cash in. Putting together a good app is hard fucking work.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 PM on March 13, 2010


You mean Xerox's ideas, but I'm sure your little Jobs-encrusted head will be as impervious to facts here as it always is.

I actually meant what I said, but then Metafilter loves to get its Apple hate on. So it goes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:00 AM on March 14, 2010


Oh yeah, all those fart apps are just so much better written than Google Voice or Opera Mini.
posted by kmz at 12:02 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I thought it was obvious that I meant "without having to appease whatever the rules-of-the-week are over at the iStore."

Google can take down applications for any reason it likes, at its "sole discretion".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:06 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I want to write programs that run on those platforms, and I want to share those programs with my friends.

For some reason not many people are aware of this, but with the device provisioning of the iPhone SDK, you can install your apps on up to 100 iPhones - and without running it through the AppStore approval process.

While it costs $99/year for the dev license, it comes with an awesome free tools suite (XCode), and $99/year works out to a lot less than the cost of Visual Studio Pro + upgrades, never mind an MSDN subscription.

I realize this rubs some people the wrong way, but the simple truth is that development for the iPhone is a sweet deal - great tools for a very low cost, an affluent userbase, a closed software ecosystem to discourage (but never prevent) hackers and pirates, a distribution channel that takes a fairly low cut... it's everything good about developing for a game console, and the approval process is nowhere *near* as stringent as Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo's.
posted by Ryvar at 12:50 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Google can take down applications for any reason it likes, at its "sole discretion".

On the Market. Android allows you to run unsigned non-Market apps (enabled by a one-click menu option- no jailbreak required.) As many people as you want can run unsigned apps with no additional work required by the developer.

While it costs $99/year for the dev license, it comes with an awesome free tools suite (XCode), and $99/year works out to a lot less than the cost of Visual Studio Pro + upgrades, never mind an MSDN subscription.

The Android dev toolkit, with Eclipse-based UI, is free and runs on all major platforms.

I realize this rubs some people the wrong way, but the simple truth is that development for the iPhone is a sweet deal - great tools for a very low cost, an affluent userbase, a closed software ecosystem to discourage (but never prevent) hackers and pirates, a distribution channel that takes a fairly low cut... it's everything good about developing for a game console, and the approval process is nowhere *near* as stringent as Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo's.

It's a great deal for developers, but I think that the overall impact of the console model is negative.
posted by theclaw at 1:49 AM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Installing it on those 100 phones is a pain in the heineken though.

I've written for both Android and the iPhone, and Android is lightyears easier to develop and distribute for. OTOH, I think the App Store barrier to entry isn't necessarily totally bad, and it tends to ensure a certain level of quality.

Personally, I'm more of a fan of Android (which is headed by Andy Rubin, who also headed up Danger, which made the Hiptop) than Google itself. I doubt that Eric Schmidt has that much to do with Android, which seems to be what's stoking the competitive Apple vs. Google fires.
posted by fnerg at 3:03 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]



My netbook cost $350

What netbook do you have? No seriously, I want to know what netbook you have cause $350 sounds sweet.


I'm currently on my Dell mini10 that shipped with Ubuntu and is currently running a solid install of OS X. Cost me about $250. Except for it's inability to handle Hulu, it's a freakin' sweet little setup. I'm sure if Steve Jobs came in my house right now, I'm sure he'd punch me right in the face.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:17 AM on March 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


Switching to Bing as default search engine would be a big mistake for Apple, but their options for moving away from Google are somewhat limited. They can't even opt for running their own search engine without a painful, drawn-out development and improvement process, during which they'd receive endless press attention highlighting any defects in it compared with Google.

The only sneaky option I can think of is for Microsoft to offer Bing as a white-label service under a totally different brand (maybe even via a spin-off company) purely so that Apple can then pay them to run an Apple search engine without such a direct Microsoft association. Bing wouldn't get promoted, but Microsoft would get cash and useful data, while Apple gets to ditch Google without most users freaking out as much.
posted by malevolent at 3:22 AM on March 14, 2010


This is an important fight; it's the war of the guy who wants to put shackles on your wrists to 'make your life better' versus the guys who want to let you do what you want with the hardware you own.

That would indeed be a very important fight. So, Apple and Google in one corner and who's in the other corner?
posted by DU at 3:27 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, Apple and Google in one corner and who's in the other corner?

The loser.

I will never understand how people can "hate" MSFT and Apple and "love" Google when all three are for profit entities who do not give a damn about you. Google's "openness" is a corporate sham.

The best situation is when the consumer can choose whoever she thinks is the lesser of three evils and there remains room for new, innovative business models to challenge all three.
posted by three blind mice at 4:36 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can't anyone express their preference for Apple's hardware/software model without being shouted down as an ignorant freedom hater? The open source zealots who want their toaster to be able to run Linux and make their own shampoo from a Creative Commons licensed recipe have defined technological patriotism and are on a fascistic crusade to convince everyone else of the error of their ways.

I like the way my iPhone works. The animosity towards the App Store model is very strange, because for the most part all Apple tries to do is maintain quality. This isn't to deny that there are crappy apps on the App Store, but at least I don't have to worry that they're going to corrupt my phone or send my e-mails and address book information to fraudsters.

The missionary zeal is cute, but some of us just don't care. If Apple starts meaningfully limiting my ability to use my computer or phone, then I'll happily jump ship and install Ubuntu on a Nokia N900 or whatever. Until then, can I just be left in peace?
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 5:46 AM on March 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


But getting back to the issue, in this case, Apple has a classic case of "first mover disadvantage." The first major product to market, creates the market. It's expensive to do that. Then the other companies, "second movers," jump in and flood the market with cheap imitations, denying the first mover the rightful earnings they deserve for creating the market in the first place.

In what universe was Apple the "first mover"? Nokia, Microsoft, Palm and Blackberry all had smart phones long before the iPhone. You can argue that apple put together a better and more integrated interface but there's now way that you can argue that they were first.
posted by octothorpe at 6:07 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is the biggest ego battle in history.

Now there's a guy with a real sense of proportion.
posted by Hobgoblin at 6:13 AM on March 14, 2010


If Apple starts meaningfully limiting my ability to use my computer or phone...

None so blind as those who will not see.
posted by DU at 6:17 AM on March 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


Nokia, Microsoft, Palm and Blackberry all had smart phones long before the iPhone.

For whatever it's worth on Metafilter, their products weren't called smartphones until the iPhone came out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:19 AM on March 14, 2010


Meanwhile, Microsoft sits on its 250 Billion dollar market cap and says: "Go ahead boys, duke it out. We'll watch."
posted by jeremias at 6:21 AM on March 14, 2010


DU, would you care to point out some examples other than 'oh noes where be the porno apps'?
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 6:42 AM on March 14, 2010


Installing it on those 100 phones is a pain in the heineken though.

And they only run for three months before you have to regenerate the provisioning profile and install it on all the phones. When I first signed up for a developer's account they lasted a year before expiring, now it's just annoying. I'm considering jailbreaking my phone to get around it.

There were many competing GUI's around in the 80's; Windows and Mac are both taken from the Xerox Star, the Mac partially once removed through the Lisa. They plus X11 are just the last three standing. The idea that Microsoft stole all of Apple's ideas is as simplistic and wrong as the idea that Apple stole all of Xerox's.

You don't get to the level of success of Apple, Google, and Microsoft without having a huge ego and being ruthless. There will be phases of cooperation and phases of lawsuits, many at the same time. All the time Apple was suing Microsoft, MS was also the largest external developer of Mac software. It will be the same with Google.
posted by beowulf573 at 7:18 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


For whatever it's worth on Metafilter, their products weren't called smartphones until the iPhone came out.

What?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:37 AM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I really think Apple has little to fear but plenty to be pissed about. They seem well within their rights to try to enforce patents they believe to be uniquely their own, and let the results speak for themselves. Reading a lot of these comments just confirms how badly people in the trenches of programming and IT miss the point with Apple. I've been heavily dependent on computers since my first PC in 95. I have three machines at work, all PC's, running medical software, Dragon, and a few other background programs, all of which crash once a week, and within 2 months of use start producing Window's usual litany of inscrutable error messages. You can deride people for their sheep-like passivity for participating in Apple's grand plan of uber-control, or you can try to understand that a huge catalyst of their explosive growth are people like me who finally realized they did not need to deal with the ongoing headaches of maintaining a PC. I have a Mac desktop, laptop, 2 iphones, and not a single one has ever done more than need an occasional reboot at most once in 6 months. I'm sure there is some good reason why I am a moron for thinking this makes them worth the extra cash, but I went through 4 PC's in the same time frame previously.

Google can flood the market with dozens of varietals of phones running Android, but I suspect ultimately they will become, for the user, just like everything else they do, i.e. mail, docs, calendar. That is, they will serve a minimum level of functionality with zero real malleability or attention to the user experience.

And don't be ignorant of the aesthetic equation, either. Holding a Mac product feels different than anything I've seen from HTC. The world is built around a culture of holding good design - in architecture, automobiles, public spaces and parks - in high regard. Knocking Apple for making this a priority is asinine.
posted by docpops at 7:51 AM on March 14, 2010


This is an important fight; it's the war of the guy who wants to put shackles on your wrists to 'make your life better' versus the guys who want to let you do what you want with the hardware you own.

I'm leery of any argument that immediately positions two sides as literally good and evil.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:57 AM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have a Mac desktop, laptop, 2 iphones, and not a single one has ever done more than need an occasional reboot at most once in 6 months.

Really? I've seen multiple friends (and my husband with his ipod, twice) boot up their macs only to be greeted by the sad mac icon thanks to total hard drive failure or some sort--two while they were thesising. I don't think this necessarily means that Macs are any more unstable than any other computer--just equally so, and, thanks to the initial cost of the hardware, a potentially more expensive failure. Where or not this is worth it is up to you. I'm a cheapskate, so dickering with kubuntu linux (which has gorgeous UI and design, for what it's worth) works for me--it's no more perfectly assured to work at all times, but in computing, as in so much else, nothing is.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:03 AM on March 14, 2010


Meanwhile, Microsoft sits on its 250 Billion dollar market cap and says: "Go ahead boys, duke it out. We'll watch."

I don't know what market cap has to do with anything, but all three companies are of titanic size:

Microsoft: 256.45B
Apple: 205.57B
Google: 184.28B

Also, all three are sitting on hoards of cash.

To echo another comment, none of these companies are your friends, or needs (or deserves) your help. They can already get all the help they can buy.
posted by Slothrup at 8:04 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


so dickering with kubuntu linux (which has gorgeous UI and design, for what it's worth) works for me--

But see, PBWK, that's the whole point. I'm perfectly content to learn how to defrag a hard drive or a few other basic maintenance chores, but even though I have a vague inkling of what you just said, 99% of the technology market, I would guess, does not.

The other point I failed to mention in my earlier post is the customer service aspect. Apple pretty much wins on all fronts. Who in the hell is going to walk you through your Android issues?
posted by docpops at 8:12 AM on March 14, 2010


"Say what you like about Mussolini, he made the trains run on time."

The iPhone development kit, as mentioned above, is a really nice environment. With a little extra work you can even share your own personal "hello world" app with all your friends. The Android kit appears to offer more "freedom" but it's a clunky hodgepodge, and when it comes right down to it, you aren't going to write any software for it. Neither am I, and I'm a professional developer who's fairly interested in this stuff.

What we're all going to do is download the 8 or 10 things it actually makes sense to have on your phone and a few games. Those 8 or 10 things are prettier, faster, and better tested on the iPhone than they are on Android. This is a fight Google can't win, but it costs them almost nothing to try, they just have to put out a reference platform and a few thrown together base platform apps.
posted by ecurtz at 8:27 AM on March 14, 2010


The other point I failed to mention in my earlier post is the customer service aspect. Apple pretty much wins on all fronts. Who in the hell is going to walk you through your Android issues?

Me and my friend google. Not that I have an android (wish I did, though!), or have had to google for "tech support" any time in the last year or so, anyway.

That's the funny thing about becoming self-sufficient with computers. You're . . . self-sufficient and no longer have rely on others to "walk you through" getting help.

In any event, if what you're saying was true--and only true of Mac, specifically--than they would have a majority market share. Of course, the ubiquity of windows has something to do with its continued success (though consumers seem to be adapting to vista just fine, so it's not for reluctance to learn a new OS, I don't think), but I think the price point of mac products continues to be an issue; for most consumers, it's just not worth what you pay for it.

I'm glad Macs work for you--we should all be able to pick products appropriate to us. But it seems a little short sighted and defensive to insist that other products (here, specifically google products) are callously designed and inflexible and therefore inappropriate for the use of other consumers. For example, I switched to google chrome about six months ago and love it--in terms of UI, in terms of function, in terms of frankly everything. And that's what gets me about this legal battle. Jobs wants not only to control the user experiences of those using products, but of everyone else, too--other consumers and users who just want to use the best software for them. For whatever reason, that's not a Mac. And yet it sounds like he can't deal. Ew.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:28 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Err, Chrome is just Apple's Safari browser with a new coat of paint.
posted by ecurtz at 8:35 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Err, Chrome is just Apple's Safari browser with a new coat of paint.

Is it? I wouldn't know. I can't use Safari on my computer, and lord knows I'm not going to pay not only for a new OS but new hardware, too, just to try it out.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:46 AM on March 14, 2010


ecurtz: "Err, Chrome is just Apple's Safari browser with a new coat of paint."

Safari is just KDE's Konqueror with a new coat of paint.
posted by octothorpe at 8:57 AM on March 14, 2010 [13 favorites]


I'm a cheapskate, so dickering with kubuntu linux...

Time is money, hence I usually hate dickering with OSes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:02 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it? I wouldn't know.

Basically, although there are some twists and turns along the way. There's no reason you should know, or even care, as long as it works well for you. My observation was just that Chrome isn't a good example of a Google developed application.
posted by ecurtz at 9:05 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, that last comment wasn't so much an argument starter (really, use whatever works for you), but just offering up how a how someone use might see the issue. I usually don't have to poke around with my Mac to keep it functional, with Windows I usually do, so the Mac is amore useful tool to me. YMMV.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree with you, Brandon--but I still think there's a good portion of the public still not willing to pay that premium for what they get in return (and, as I've said, anecdotally I've had plenty of mac-using friends have hardware/computer failures, so it's not like you get a perfectly secure and functional system in exchange for that premium price).

Can you guys give me a cite for the chrome-is-safari thing? Because it sounds like they use the same HTML rendering system, but otherwise, my googling is turning up nada.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:15 AM on March 14, 2010


Brin and company are potentially far more destructive-- nice guys who are cheerfully, calmly building a system that will likely see ultimate use in quite evil ways.

posted by darth_tedious

Schmidt won't be CEO forever.

posted by Blazecock Pileon



It seems to me that this is important. One coup in the boardroom and "Do No Evil" could be out the window. And there would be this really cool infrastructure in place to do all kinds of evil.

I like Google, but I see it grow and grow and I worry.
posted by Trochanter at 9:18 AM on March 14, 2010


Taking a big step back this whole kerfluffle is just a side effect of the passing of the general purpose computer as a common consumer item. Traditionally a state of the art computer has been so expensive that you could not afford to devote it to a single purpose; you needed it to be capable of doing any of a thousand things that might require its power. But that's no longer the case; now not just computers but computers capable of playing and recording music and video are small and cheap enough that we can have one to use as a phone, another to use as a GPS mapping device, another to use as a word processor, another to use for playing games, and as a result those devices can be tweaked and streamlined for their single uses in ways the general purpose computer never could be.

Apple, Google, and MSFT (as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other players) all see where this is headed and are trying to position themselves for the brave new world where normal people won't feel the need to own a "computer" any more because they'll have appliances specialized to the tasks they commonly do. That's the entire point of the iPad. It's the point of the Kindle and Nook, and every game console ever made, and it's why MSFT spent $billions to go after the Playsation's market. When you can do just about everything you need to do through the Web, and you can surf the Web through your TV and phone, the market for these arcane untrustworthy difficult to use "computer" thingies becomes a specialty sideshow.

I think Apple saw this first and most clearly, and the iPad is a very aggressive move in this direction -- no excuses there about keeping the phone carrier happy, it's all about delivering an appliance that notably isn't a general purpose computer and isn't meant to do everything a computer can do. I think Google is playing catchup, and MSFT is paralyzed with fear that they are about to finally miss a train that they should be catching.

And as for the rest of us, in twenty years we might not be able to buy a general purpose computer any more at all.
posted by localroger at 9:24 AM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


octothorpe: "Safari is just KDE's Konqueror with a new coat of paint."

As I said, twists and turns. I would argue that the khml to webkit transition was a much bigger change than webkit to Chrome. But I wouldn't be arguing with much conviction.

So maybe "Apple's" Safari belongs in the same category as "Google's" SketchUp, or "Adobe's" Flash.

PhoBWanKenobi : That's it, a browser is only a few standard bits, the big ones being the HTML rendering system (webkit, in this case) and the JavaScript engine (which came from somewhere else in the case of Chrome.)
posted by ecurtz at 9:26 AM on March 14, 2010


One coup in the boardroom and "Do No Evil" could be out the window.

The three of them (Schmidt, Page and Brin) they own more than 50% of stock so unless they sell off or start fighting among themselves, they can't be ousted.
posted by octothorpe at 9:27 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


but I still think there's a good portion of the public still not willing to pay that premium for what they get in return

*shrugs* Time is money. I've heard plenty of PC users complain about Apple prices (which really aren't that bad), then in the next breath complain about how crappy their PC is, always breaking, registry problems, viruses, etc. Just different priorities, I suppose.

As to Apple and Google, neither of them is all bad or all good, despite Malor's highly favorited, though extremely simplistic, comment. Both could stand do somethings better. Both could be a lot worst. I'd prefer that both remain, with theirdifferent philosophies, so that there's more choice for consumers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:27 AM on March 14, 2010


Ok--except what I like about chrome is the UI, particularly the combo search/address bar. Which isn't from Safari. Hmm.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:30 AM on March 14, 2010


Really? I've seen multiple friends (and my husband with his ipod, twice) boot up their macs only to be greeted by the sad mac icon thanks to total hard drive failure or some sort--two while they were thesising.

Your friends must be reeeeeally old-school. They haven't had the "sad mac" icon in like, 10 years.

Oh, and have you heard macs use two-button mice, too? Amazing!
posted by fungible at 9:31 AM on March 14, 2010


*shrugs* Time is money. I've heard plenty of PC users complain about Apple prices (which really aren't that bad), then in the next breath complain about how crappy their PC is, always breaking, registry problems, viruses, etc. Just different priorities, I suppose.

Heh, I agree. I had to leave work early Friday because our entire Windows network was on the fritz again, rendering our computers unusable. Of course, that's part of why I use linux at home--not only free-as-in-beer, but also free from most of the daily problems you get with windows. But then, I realize that when problems do arise (rarely), I can deal with them, while the average user probably can't.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:33 AM on March 14, 2010


Your friends must be reeeeeally old-school. They haven't had the "sad mac" icon in like, 10 years.

Yeah, I realized that after I wrote it. Must have been the "no!" sign thingie--I think I was conflating that and the hubby's "Sad IPod" failure icons.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:34 AM on March 14, 2010


How is that a qualitative difference?

Typical demographic information is about who you are. Google collects detailed information about what you do. It's the difference between knowing you have an address (and thus presumably send and receive mail) and knowing who you correspond with, when, and the exact contents of every piece of mail you send and receive. It's a significant difference in the kind of information collected, not just in the quantity of information.

The Android dev toolkit, with Eclipse-based UI, is free and runs on all major platforms.

The Mac & iPhone SDKs are free. In most cases only one developer on a given project needs to pay the $99/year fee. Is the Android development setup superior in many ways? Yes (e.g. completely free, multi-platform). Is it problematic in other ways? Definitely (e.g. hardware and OS fragmentation).
posted by jedicus at 9:40 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


None so blind as those who will not see agree with my technology prejudices.

FTFY.

Nthing the idea that none of these companies are our friends. We may more or less agree with their general philosophy and/or technical/design/UX approaches, but they're big corporations. Even Apple with its auteur approach to design is a giant corporation; I like their products but I don't delude myself that it makes Steve Jobs my friend or that he won't do things that I don't like.

Also Nthing whoever said Google is some personnel changes away from (officially, for those who think it hasn't already) dropping "don't be evil". I joke that Google has a reality distortion field as big as Apple's, because people actually seem to believe that Google has somebody's best interests at heart that isn't Apple. In reality, Google (not unlike Apple) makes deals with repressive governments to do business (frex) already; they have a slogan but they don't live up to it. Maybe no company could, but Google doesn't seem to try very hard. And their answer when people think they've screwed up these days seems to be some variation on "you don't understand what we're doing" or "fuck you" (see: Buzz).

I don't hate Google. I use them for mail with the understanding I sell them some share of my privacy for free mail service, and for docs and RSS with a similar understanding. But I don't trust them beyond that exchange. I wish them well in a broad sense with their products. But Apple's products like the iPad excite me because the human interface stuff is more interesting to me personally than the underlying pipes. The ego of various executives and fanbois of all genders aside, I don't see how that's a sign of anything but my interests. All the "your computing preferences are WRONGBADFUN" is just dumb.

(ETA: My first Mac back in the 80s had the sad Mac when it came out of the box, because of a failed logic board. I am under no illusion that Macs don't fail.)
posted by immlass at 9:45 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tim O'Reilly wrote some good commentary on this article.
posted by Nelson at 9:46 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


ugh, three-minute edit window

"Google has somebody's best interests at heart that isn't Apple Google."
posted by immlass at 9:46 AM on March 14, 2010


One last comment about self-sufficiency and computers - we rely on our vehicles on a scale that I would posit is comparable to our computers. Some days more, some days less. The winner in the vehicle department has been the company that could produce highly dependable vehicles that paid attention to user ergonomics and that didn't break down. The idea that as a population we are supposed to become "self-sufficient" with our computers is so laughably ignorant of history that it is painful. I'm rabidly interested in knowing how things work - did a lot of my own household wiring, my own landscaping, carpentry, etc. I simply won't abide by the notion that computers are the one place where we still should expect to have to actively participate as governors in order for them to run smoothly. Apple gets this, and every day thousands of people have the same epiphany.
posted by docpops at 10:00 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this thread. It's been oddly entertaining to see inebriated North Americans debate technology on a (their) Saturday night.

That's no dig at anyone, it's honestly very entertaining.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:29 AM on March 14, 2010


The winner in the vehicle department has been the company that could produce highly dependable vehicles that paid attention to user ergonomics and that didn't break down.

No offence, but I don't think this is true at all. It's WAY more about marketing. And about price. The Japanese manufacturers clawed their way to a share of the market by selling cheap. Now they sell their vehicles using the same marketing models as the American Makers. Tough guys drive trucks, pretty girls drive such and such a car and let their hair blow in the wind.
posted by Trochanter at 10:39 AM on March 14, 2010


This conversation opened up with blind cheering on for Google, but nobody's gone ahead and blindly rooted for Apple. So let me be the mindless shirtless fan to say: Go Apple! Boo Google! Rah rah rah!

I'm pretty antipathetic toward Google. I deleted my Google account late last year, removing with it some twenty or thirty services. Now the only Google service I use is Wave, which I'm admittedly quite a huge fan of. But I use Wave despite its glaring flaws, some of which are intrinsic to Google's entire corporate culture.

Here is why I am an enormous, pronounced fan of Apple, and why I likewise find Google distasteful. Apple is the one company in the entire industry that treats the process of making a computer like an art.

I'm not saying that this makes their computers necessarily better or faster. I'm not saying there aren't better ways of doing things than how Apple does them. Certainly there are. But when Apple changes a feature or modifies the way something works, there's a feeling like they're making the change not simply as a tinker but because they're trying to change the way I look at a part of my computer.

Take the genie minimizing effect, which some people point to as this perfect example of Apple going for gloss over functionality. I always saw it the other way around. When I minimize a window, and it gets sucked up into the Dock, then it's showing me exactly where my content is moving. There's no confusion in the process. And when Apple changed that process in Snow Leopard, allowing me to minimize to an application icon, the feeling is not that they're decluttering so much as they're changing how I view those app icons. Now they embody all the operatings within a program rather than simply letting me know the program's running.

Look at most things Apple introduces every year and you see similar thought-patterns. Like the way QuickTime X moves the UI to on top of the video, which fades as the video plays. They turned the video player into something that added no cruft visually beyond the moving video. They also incorporated movie editing tools and movie recording tools directly into the program, since all of these logically fit under the same video/audio umbrella. Now, that doesn't make QuickTime the best video player in the world — VLC functions better, even if it's vastly uglier, and Movist is even better and almost as pretty — but at the same time I get an enjoyment out of using QuickTime that I don't the others. It's just very well-designed.

Now, I'm not computer-illiterate. I can toy with the Terminal without getting confused, even if I still think emacs is a type of Kraft dinner. I'm self-sufficient in that sense. But at the same time, I don't really care to be self-sufficient. I want to know how my programs work and I don't care about knowing more than that. It strikes me daily that our tech-rich society is filthily spoiled by the technology we've got. I think of that every time I open Final Cut or Logic or Aperture. We have things so easy now that it's ridiculous.

And so I'm willing to sacrifice the ultra-cutting-edge for a little comfort and joy of use. While I do think computers will become significantly more awesome each month, I'm fine with waiting a little while to have that awesome. We've got things good enough that I can relax and savor my computer use. And Apple's good at making me savor things. I remember being excited for weeks because of, say, how Leopard's help menu works. You hit command-shift-q and instead of just getting a help file you get a search bar, and if you're searching for a COMMAND it opens the right menu and points you where you want to go. It's so beautiful and elegant! And because designers can hack their menus to include things like history and bookmarks (in Safari) it means that with that command I can instantly access my history and bookmarks with a few keystrokes. It's great.

Not to mention they have the best industrial design team possibly on the planet. Or that they have one of the best marketing firms. I love marketing, and I love companies that do it right, i.e. by showing off their product rather than inventing gimmicky fantasies. Apple's original iPod ads? Brilliant. Their iPhone ads? Superb. Their iPad ads I'm not a huge fan of, but they're still technically great. It's just another fun part of being an Apple fan, kind of like how being a Phillies fan has the side benefit of letting you wear garrish red t-shirts in public.

Google is made up of a lot of brilliant people, but they very rarely exhibit that same love for comfort and fine detail that Apple does. I loved Gmail when it launched 5 years ago: Visually and technically it was on a level beyond anything I'd used. Technically it's still superb, but I hate that visually Google never makes the effort to polish things or make them gorgeous. I hate even more that their reason being is that they've tested everything and found the lowest common denominator with which to please everybody on the planet a teeny bit. I prefer companies and designers that'll alienate a few people in order to make something they personally think look better. I don't believe in universal appeal. I much prefer the thought of half a dozen big successful companies each doing something a slightly different way, following their own vision.

Google occasionally does this. They did it with Chrome, which I absolutely adore. But they suck at constantly innovating with their ideas. I'm scared that two years from now Chrome will be in about the same place and Apple will have come up with a new brilliant way to use Safari that leaves it in the dust. Kind of like how Firefox used to be great and then it bloated up and decided to become inexplicably ugly, or like how Opera is a great browser but looks like it was built by a drunkard. Apple, for all its flaws, is very good at consistently winning my design trust. They have a few brief fuckups here and there but nearly always they recognize it within the year.

I also resent how Android companies (not Google, but certainly Verizon and I think a few others) are just so fucking rude. I hated the Droid Does advertisement for this reason. When Apple launched the Mac vs. PC ads, they did it with kind of a tongue-in-cheek attitude. It's critical of Windows, but it's critical in a playful sense. (And Microsoft and ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky made some tasty counterresponses that managed not to sound hurt and bitter.) Verizon, meanwhile, is acting like an absolute shit. It's not even that I think they exaggerate their product and belittle Apple's, it's that, even if they were making a better phone, they're so goddamned obnoxious about it. And those ads' flavors translate to the way I've heard people talk about Android. I was excited about Google's competing OS until the people I met who used it couldn't stop talking about what a fucker I was for using stupid obnoxious overpriced Apple's product instead.

I'm aware that my love for Apple is a love for certain standards in computing that other people don't care for, and a disregard for other standards that people care for a lot. I'm willing to cheerfully wave on people that don't have the same taste in product that I have. But I can't stand it when the other side gets outright obnoxious (not that many of you here are, though there're a few hyperbolics among us). It's just so goddamned childish.

Also, for the record: I love the idea of the iPad and hope it sells a million billion copies. It's not a distracting wealthy toy like the Macbook Air is (and I disagree that that's all the Air is). It's a modestly-priced computer that does a nice assortment of things, catch being that everything it does, it does beautifully. I bet that everything it does do, it does more elegantly and more prettily than anything that's done those things before it. I bet it's easy enough my grandparents will be able to do all that shit without asking questions. The instant I have five hundred dollars lying around, I'm going to get one for myself and use it for all my webbrowsing and musiclistening and moviewatching and maybe for a little bookreading. It's not about buying the features it offers as much as it's about buying the carefree joy that I get from using things that have been just immaculately designed.

In conclusion: GOOGLE FANS ARE JUST SMELLY STUPID PEOPLE GO APPLE SCORE A GOAL UNIT BASKET
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:41 AM on March 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


I love how all these people here are decrying Google for their data-harvesting ways…

ON A PUBLIC INTERNET FORUM.

Some of you really are complete idiots.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:58 AM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


No offence, but I don't think this is true at all. It's WAY more about marketing. And about price. The Japanese manufacturers clawed their way to a share of the market by selling cheap. Now they sell their vehicles using the same marketing models as the American Makers. Tough guys drive trucks, pretty girls drive such and such a car and let their hair blow in the wind.

And the dependable cars kill people through accelerator malfunction!

Bad timing for that metaphor.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:07 AM on March 14, 2010


The difference between apple and Google is that Apple forces you to do it there way, while Google makes it so damn convenient to do it there way that you don't really have a choice.

(but they're a lot better then sites like facebook, they support things like Data Liberation to make your day easy to extract from their services and google dashboard lets you see and delete all the data they have on you.

I don't think Google has any malicious intent with aggregating all this data. The problem is that all this data makes a compelling target for real malefactors. Like the Chinese government. Or, uh, other governments. And I don't like the model of aggregating accounts on lots of different accounts with data flowing back and forth. I don't actually want information about what videos I watch or favorite on youtube to flow out to everyone I talk to on gmail, for example. But that's the idea with google Buzz. Do something on youtube, it gets posted to buzz, and your followers are based on who you email. Annoying.
I also resent how Android companies (not Google, but certainly Verizon and I think a few others) are just so fucking rude. When Apple launched the Mac vs. PC ads, they did it with kind of a tongue-in-cheek attitude.
Oh dude, grow up a little. Mac vs. PC ads seem "cheeky and tongue in cheek" to you because you're an apple fan. They are incredibly grating to people who don't like macs. Android ads seem rude to you because you're so emotional invested in Apple. Honestly saying "you suck" in a cheeky flippant way is actually a lot more aggravating then doing it in a more aggressive way
posted by delmoi at 11:37 AM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


For whatever it's worth on Metafilter, their products weren't called smartphones until the iPhone came out.

So this Alcatel GSM smartphone (holds up to 350Kb of data!) must have fallen through a wormhole to arrive in 1998?
posted by robertc at 12:09 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Coming to this thread a bit late, it is kind of shocking how many people here are taking Apple's side. Ensuring good UIs at the cost of vetting everything that can possibly run on an iPhone is a terrible idea. And worse, it demonstrates that Steve Jobs looked over the fence at the loathsome development model of console video games and thought "Hey, now that's the way to manage a platform!" If he had done something like that in the days of the Apple II, Apple would have died--as so might have the idea of the personal computer.

Meanwhile Google lets you manually remove much of the data they keep on you using Google Dashboard. Plus, they only have so much data because they're the biggest name in search at the moment. You think iTunes doesn't remember every song you've ever bought? Apple is at least as bad as Google in areas of customer privacy, they just haven't had opportunity to show it yet.

These things seem obvious to me.
posted by JHarris at 12:13 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would argue that the khml to webkit transition was a much bigger change than webkit to Chrome. But I wouldn't be arguing with much conviction.

The V8 JavaScript engine, with native code compilation, and the process per site/tab/plugin were big changes which have since influenced the development of both Safari and Firefox.
posted by robertc at 12:18 PM on March 14, 2010


Ensuring good UIs at the cost of vetting everything that can possibly run on an iPhone is a terrible idea.

According to iPod sales, a lot of people don't think so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:24 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you seriously comparing a cell phone to slavery? -- jedicus
we just had a post on this but if you're so used to your computer that you use it without thinking about it, then mentally it becomes a part of you. So restricting a computer is like restricting part of you.

Imagine a microchip in your glasses or contact lenses that blocked them out whenever you tried to look at anything ugly. Corrective lenses are just a thing but people don't think about them that way.
Not so. You can buy a Nexus One unlocked. -- CheeseDigestsAll
Unlocked != "rooted", it just means you can use it with any provider. However you can Root a nexus one pretty easily. Rooting isn't like Jailbreaking, a rooted phone works just like a regular one, you can still use the market, and there are even apps for sale that require a rooted phone (like tethering apps). I think some apps aren't listed in the market, since a rooted phone can easily be used to pirate apps, but I think it's up to the developer.
What's odd about that, exactly? Lots of companies require fees to be a developer. Virtually all game console development works this way, for example, and has for a couple of decades now. -- jedicus
But not Google. You have to pay to get on the app store, but you can download an eclipse plug in, stick your phone on USB and go nuts. And you can distribute apps outside of the app store too. It's also only $25/year to join the android market too.
Basically, Steve Jobs had his company's ideas stolen by Microsoft a couple decades ago, and Apple was nearly bankrupted by that theft. Google is trying the same stunt now, which is perfectly obvious to anyone who has personally used a Google phone.-- Blazecock Pileon
Ideas aren't property. Especially nothing as nebulous as "look and feel" Besides from a guy who 1) 'Stole' all his ideas from PARC and then 2) ran around saying "Great artists steal" it's a bit much to whine about it. Patents are another issue, but software patents are bogus.
Google can take down applications for any reason it likes, at its "sole discretion".-- Blazecock Pileon
But you can still distribute your app outside of the android market if you want too. Can't do that with the iPhone (not that it really matters, and people need the free-but-obscure ADK, but it's doable)
Switching to Bing as default search engine would be a big mistake for Apple, but their options for moving away from Google are somewhat limited. They can't even opt for running their own search engine without a painful, drawn-out development and improvement process, during which they'd receive endless press attention highlighting any defects in it compared with Google. -- malevolent
Eh, that's not really true. That can always just rebrand someone else's search. The Yahoo BOSS API makes it easy. Remember when Cuil launched and it was a total failure? Well, someone at yahoo actually cloned Cuil entirely in like one day using the yahoo boss API. They had to take it down though. But building a branded search engine is not very difficult today.
In what universe was Apple the "first mover"? Nokia, Microsoft, Palm and Blackberry all had smart phones long before the iPhone. You can argue that apple put together a better and more integrated interface but there's now way that you can argue that they were first. -- octothorpe
They were the first company to do a consumer-focused phone in the U.S, but that was all politics. Other companies were doing stuff like that outside of the U.S. But most people are only aware of the iPhone because of of Apple's marketing muscle, just like how many people that the iPod was the first portable Mp3 player.
For whatever it's worth on Metafilter, their products weren't called smartphones until the iPhone came out. -- Blazecock Pileon
As someone already pointed out, that was wrong. And what's the deal with loving a company so much you start making stuff up to make it seem better or more 'virtuous' somehow then it is? It's just weird. (Religion? Sure. Politics? Makes sense. But cell phones? Seriously)
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Are you seriously comparing a cell phone to slavery? -- jedicus

we just had a post on this but if you're so used to your computer that you use it without thinking about it, then mentally it becomes a part of you. So restricting a computer is like restricting part of you.


You can go get a different type of computer and be "free". Slaves had to risk their lives to get their freedom, only to deal with prejudice instead of outright slavery.

The analogy is poor one and should not have been made.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:14 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, it's amazing the hate that comes out for apple on metafilter. We have two companies accused of less that savory business tactics but on metafilter google hate is over blown and we're all in trouble if apple is in charge of future computer platforms. Hyperbole is fine with one side but not the other.

I'm a fan of apple products, and I use google applications, so I guess I'm a fan of theirs also. But I'm not rooting for one over the other, and it's amazingly shortsighted for anyone else to hope apple, even if you don't care for Jobs, to fail. If google is the less of two evils now, I can't imagine what they'll be like if they're the only game in town. Be careful what you wish for.

also, the ipad is a gimmick. don't try to catch the red herring in this argument. it's a macbook air minus the screen for fanboys and techheads/design nerds. only for the most diehard. the iphone is where the money is.
posted by nathancaswell


You're wrong. If done right, and if the price comes down, it's a huge platform. Anyone that says a tablet computer isn't a real computer hasn't watched how the majority of computer users use one.

My netbook cost $350 and does everything an iPad does at the same time and with free software. For not a single dollar more I can tether my Nexus One (and use it's existing data plan) to it for 3G wireless. Bite me Apple.
posted by msbutah at 11:40 PM on March 13


Netbooks are great for certain needs. For most people they're a piece of crap. If they weren't cheap no one would buy one. There's no more clueless group than the 'my netbook is better than an ipad' one. I have no use for a netbook.

Steve Jobs' relentless control freakery managed to cost him the desktop in the eighties, and I don't see the mobile device market shaking out differently.)
posted by rodgerd at 10:21 PM


Can we retire this nonsense? It's been repeated for 10 years with mp3 players. Apple couldn't hold the lead. OMG here comes the zune! It's the computer all over again. Except, it's not. Not to mention, apple can be a successful company selling high end mobile products. They don't need to be number one. This type comment should be relegated to the 'apple mice only have one button' bin.

They were the first company to do a consumer-focused phone in the U.S, but that was all politics. Other companies were doing stuff like that outside of the U.S. But most people are only aware of the iPhone because of of Apple's marketing muscle, just like how many people that the iPod was the first portable Mp3 player.

I know, it's all marketing, isn't it delmoi? Apple wasn't the first in anything, we know. And yet, they helped pushed the desktop, and the mp3 market, and the the smart phone (if you believe android is here this fast without apple to lead the way you are delusional).

So Apple pushed the mp3 market, they pushed the smart phone market, and they're now going to push the tablet market (watch how many come out in the next year). You can point to marketing as the only reason if you want, that the only reason I use apple products is because of image, but that's a fact.

You really need therapy with your apple hate delmoi. Your Jobs voodoo doll has too many holes in it already.
posted by justgary at 2:07 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you have no use for a network, exactly what use do you have for an iPad?
posted by kafziel at 2:11 PM on March 14, 2010


My netbook cost $350 and does everything an iPad does at the same time and with free software.

Your netbook doesn't play Doodle Jump, so I ain't touching it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:18 PM on March 14, 2010


Coming to this thread a bit late, it is kind of shocking how many people here are taking Apple's side.

I'm surprised that anybody is taking sides on this at all. They're both good companies that make good products. Steve Jobs is being a little bit douche-y, but in terms of 'bad corporate behavior', both of these guys are big cuddly teddy bears compared to companies like, I dunno Goldman Sachs and Blackwater.
posted by empath at 2:20 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know, it's all marketing, isn't it delmoi? Apple wasn't the first in anything, we know. And yet, they helped pushed the desktop, and the mp3 market, and the the smart phone (if you believe android is here this fast without apple to lead the way you are delusional).

So Apple pushed the mp3 market, they pushed the smart phone market, and they're now going to push the tablet market (watch how many come out in the next year). You can point to marketing as the only reason if you want, that the only reason I use apple products is because of image, but that's a fact.
Bla Bla Bla. All of those statements are totally subjective, yet from the point of view of the apple fan, people are 'delusional' if they don't agree, and "need therapy"!

Lets go through the claims: The desktop market: Well, that's certainly true with respect to the Apple II, but I would argue that the company, the market, environment that produced the Apple II is nothing like what apple is doing now. That was totally open hardware, designed specifically for nerds.

The MP3 market: There were already MP3 players on the market, and piracy was HUGE. Millions of people were downloading MP3s and playing them on their computers. Napster shut down a few months before the iPod even came out. But Apple was the first company to really invest in advertising an MP3 player. But it was completely inevitable.

The smartphone thing is just specious. People had been using phones like that all over the world for a long time. Also, Google purchased android inc in 2005, two years before the iPhone even came out.

as far as the iPad, first of all hello? Kindle? Amazon proved that the demand for tablet style devices was out there. And there are already tons of tablets for sale or being announced, regardless of what Apple was doing.

But yeah, Apple zelots are going to forget about anything that came before, even genuinely popular devices like Nokia smartphones, windows smartphones, the Kindle, whatever. In their minds apple is always first, and everyone else is just copying them, even if they came out first!

But they are going to "push" the market, by spending a ton on marketing and PR! Which is exactly what you're accusing me of saying: that Apple isn't innovating, it's copying stuff and then marketing the hell out of it. Of course that in and of itself isn't terrible, but it's seriously annoying when Apple zealots don't seem to be able grasp this, think Apple is god's gift to mankind and that everything awesome in computers is due to Job's monumental awesomeness, anyone who ever does anything similar is just a ripoff or if it happened first it totally didn't actually happen (like the kindle), etc, etc, etc.
posted by delmoi at 2:35 PM on March 14, 2010


For whatever it's worth on Metafilter, their products weren't called smartphones until the iPhone came out.

This is just plain trolling.
posted by kmz at 2:37 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


they're now going to push the tablet market (watch how many come out in the next year)

Delmoi linked to tech magazine article which was reviewing 40 or so tablets that were currently available around the time the iPad was announced. So he has a point about Apple's marketing muscle, but I think he glosses over that it's far from just marketing. Apple hit home runs with the iPod and the iPhone. Their OS is widely admired as is their hardware. If they're doing tablets now, it's not surprising that everyone is suddenly taking a more serious look at tablets and expecting another homerun.

As to actual marketing, Apple just starting running its first iPad commercial last week. Before that, all they did was announce the damn thing, which got everyone into a tizzy. Face it, Apple knows how to design good products and everyone knows it and everyone (especially other companies) knows that they better pay attention to whatever Apple is focusing on, 'cause they company is that fucking good.

Samsung, Dell, HP, Toshiba, those aren't crappy companies with no marketing budget and they all have tablet computes available right now. But they aren't as focused as Apple. Seriously, go to anyone of their websites, and try and find their tablet computers.

Now go to Apple's. Even when the iPad is eventually bumped from their homepage, you'll still be able to go to the Apple store and at single glance on a single page, be able to see all their major products.

That's Apple's market muscle right there: a few products, tightly focused at target audience that isn't shy about wanting quality and avoiding crap from other vendors. They've got name recognition for being great (which is half the battle right there), a keen awareness of who they are as a company and what they want to do and a mountain of cash to market their products to everyone (and I do mean everyone) who has their noses pressed against the glass, wondering what they're going to do next. That's your marketing muscle right there and anyone who dismisses that as nothing clearly hasn't been paying attention for many years.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:45 PM on March 14, 2010


You can go get a different type of computer and be "free". Slaves had to risk their lives to get their freedom, only to deal with prejudice instead of outright slavery.

Malor's analogy wasn't to "slavery" it was to being "put in shackles to 'make your life better'", as in, restricted in some way but (supposedly) for your own good.

(My Analogy was to glasses that obscured everything ugly. I was trying to make a rather value neutral analogy, actually. A lot of people would probably think something like that would be cool. But I don't think anyone would like it if they were the only kind of glasses you could get.)
posted by delmoi at 2:46 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Delmoi, marketing is part of it, but I think clever design is most of it. Apple doesn't innovate, they refine.

Just using the iphone as an example, yes if you go feature by feature other phones were there first, but the experience of using one was just vastly different from any other phone on the market when it came out. Other phones COULD use the internet, but the iphone is the first phone that made the internet sing. I had a palm treo from work that I thought was pretty cool until I used the iphone and then I wanted to throw the treo through a wall every time I was forced to use it.

Same goes for the Macbook and iMac. I was never an apple person. I was a Commodore guy, then a hardcore windows guy, but after years of dealing with supporting Windows XP bullshit at work, using the iMac and Macbook for the first time was a revelation. It was like, holy shit, computers can just work? What finally got me to buy a macbook was literally spending months trying to get Ableton and a firewire audio card working on a windows laptop so I could use it for DJ gigs and never managed to get it to last more than 30 minutes without crashing. I had it up and running on my mac in less than 10 minutes, and it has never crashed during a gig once. There is no way in hell I would take a windows box to a dj gig. I wouldn't trust it.

Again, I know most of it was BSD and that it's a closed platform etc, but you can't deny that the experience of using OSX was just a quantum leap beyond what it was like working with Windows at the time.

Yes Apple products are overpriced, yes they have flaws, but for certain people (ie people that value their time more than money) they are well worth it.
posted by empath at 2:50 PM on March 14, 2010


As to actual marketing, Apple just starting running its first iPad commercial last week. Before that, all they did was announce the damn thing, which got everyone into a tizzy.
Oh come on. That doesn't happen by accident. And in this case lots of media organizations are literally hoping that this devices, and reading paid-content newspapers and magazines on it becomes popular enough to save their industry. That's where so much of the hype comes from. These companies are hoping for a miracle: they want people to start paying for content on a locked down machine, just like people do currently with iTunes for music. If the iPad/Kindle model is a success as a media consumption device (which is what it is) then they get to keep existing as ongoing concerns.

They didn't really like the Kindle because Amazon was playing hardball with them, in terms of pricing.

So one thing Apple is good at is inter-corporate politics. They got U.S carriers to agree to carry the iPhone. They got all the publishers lined up for (and therefore excited by and constantly talking about) the iPad.

(Bonus: Check out this video from '94 about how everyone would be paying for digital news on tablet computers (complete with interactive ads everyone would love!)
posted by delmoi at 2:57 PM on March 14, 2010


Oh, going back to the issue about google and privacy dANAH bOYD actually had something interesting to say about it: Google kind of fell into an "Uncanny valley" with privacy by using email contacts to populate Buzz. Just wrong enough about who we're friends with to be really unnerving. That's a great way to put it.
posted by delmoi at 3:08 PM on March 14, 2010


I know, it's all marketing, isn't it delmoi? Apple wasn't the first in anything, we know. And yet, they helped pushed the desktop, and the mp3 market, and the the smart phone (if you believe android is here this fast without apple to lead the way you are delusional).

By this logic you can thank Ford for that car you're driving, even though Benz invented it twenty years before Ford Motor Co. was founded. Oh, but the assembly line, right? Except Ransom Olds had already invented and implemented the auto assembly line a decade before the Model T came off the line.

Enjoy your Flavor-Aid.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:09 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Malor's analogy wasn't to "slavery" it was to being "put in shackles to 'make your life better'"

Lot of slavers in America thought they were doing blacks a favor by keeping them occupied and doing something productive.

It was a shitty analogy.

Oh come on. That doesn't happen by accident.

True. They had huge success with the iPod and iPhone before that.

These companies are hoping for a miracle: they want people to start paying for content on a locked down machine, just like people do currently with iTunes for music.

It is crazy, isn't it, companies wanting to be paid for their content, the nerve!

So one thing Apple is good at is inter-corporate politics.

Another thing Apple is good at is ignoring the extremely techie and extremely cheap segments of the population. They're clearly focusing on people who want to use a computing device to do a few simple things and don't want to be bothered with the details.

Check out this video from '94

No, it's Doodle Jump time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:14 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is just plain trolling.

Everyday people and the press didn't use "smartphone" as a category for phones that have the functionality of a computer, until the iPhone came out and pretty much established that class of devices.

As an aside, to you, any comment so far that has pointed out the ignorance or hypocrisy of Apple's detractors seems to be "trolling". In other words, you don't know what the word "trolling" means. And if you don't know what it means, perhaps you shouldn't be using that kind of language.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:37 PM on March 14, 2010


Lot of slavers in America thought they were doing blacks a favor by keeping them occupied and doing something productive.

It was a shitty analogy.
Whatever. That's like saying you can't call something Fascist because OMG THE HOLOCAUST even though there are lots of different types of facist, from the Nazis to Franco in Spain, which provided safe haven for Jews in WWII.
It is crazy, isn't it, companies wanting to be paid for their content, the nerve!
Yes, they want to be paid for their content, and therefore they are excited about the iPad. Which is exactly what I said.
posted by delmoi at 3:37 PM on March 14, 2010


Whatever. That's like saying you can't call something Fascist because OMG THE HOLOCAUST even though there are lots of different types of facist, from the Nazis to Franco in Spain, which provided safe haven for Jews in WWII.

Dude, it was a crap analogy. Quit trying to prop it up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:38 PM on March 14, 2010


Apple, in other words, is showing that they will be a far more terrible monopolist than Microsoft ever was. Making sure they don't get that monopoly is a worthy endeavor.

Will be? Hah. Always has been, which is why I abandoned Apple in the mid 90's.
posted by telstar at 3:47 PM on March 14, 2010


And worse, it demonstrates that Steve Jobs looked over the fence at the loathsome development model of console video games and thought "Hey, now that's the way to manage a platform!"

The main difference here, of course, is that consoles tend to be sold break-even or even at a loss -- with the "tax" on games necessary to make a profit. Apple's making good money at both ends (but mostly on the hardware directly). Hey, it's good business if you can get it.
posted by Slothrup at 4:14 PM on March 14, 2010


Everyday people and the press didn't use "smartphone" as a category for phones that have the functionality of a computer, until the iPhone came out and pretty much established that class of devices.

What does that have to do with anything? The word was invented and used nearly a decade before the iPhone, and it's always been used by the tech press to refer to that market segment. No one disputes the fact that Apple has effectively reinvented the category. But your insistence that the word simply didn't exist Before Jobs is not doing your credibility any good among the non-Kool-Aid-drinking crowd.
posted by Slothrup at 4:18 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyday people and the press didn't use "smartphone" as a category for phones that have the functionality of a computer, until the iPhone came out and pretty much established that class of devices.

Absolute bullshit. The manufactured crisis in the press in the mid-Aughties was how "smartphones" were killing the PDA market, when they are really the same damn thing, and have been all along.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 4:24 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyday people and the press didn't use "smartphone" as a category for phones that have the functionality of a computer, until the iPhone came out and pretty much established that class of devices.

I think you might be operating under some selection bias here:

Smartphones 101: past present and future
(PC Today) from February 2006
The first page of hits on google books for 'smartphone' is 6/10ths books published before the iPhone was even announced in Jan 07.

So, yeah, I think you might be wrong on this one, BP.
posted by Sparx at 4:25 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whatever. That's like saying you can't call something Fascist because OMG THE HOLOCAUST even though there are lots of different types of facist, from the Nazis to Franco in Spain, which provided safe haven for Jews in WWII.

No, it's like saying using the term shackles and implying slavery of a sorts for Apple's devices when there's plenty of other computing devices and people have the choice of using other computer devices is a shitty analogy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:27 PM on March 14, 2010


(No one disputes the fact that Apple has effectively reinvented the category.)

Interestingly, Apple didn't even allow apps on the iPhone until everyone started jail breaking them. They were basically forced into it. It's kind of ironic that they should get all this credit for "creating" the market. And there were tons of computer-like phones on the market before the iPhone. But the iPhone was certainly the first mass market, consumer phone in the U.S that worked the way it did (rather then more expensive phones targeted to business users)
posted by delmoi at 4:27 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


i get the feeling the iphone doesn't support flash because they want you to buy all your apps from them, not use flash based web apps.

Apple doesn't support Flash because people are clearly happy to buy iPhones, iPods and iPads without it. The tiny sales bump Apple would get from supporting Flash on the platform probably wouldn't even pay for the lawyer time required to negotiate the business relationship with Adobe, let alone the developer time required to integrate Flash with Mobile Safari, or the support/PR time required to explain over and over again why it's not Apple's fault most of the Flash content on the Internet wasn't designed to be controlled with a touchscreen interface.
posted by Lazlo at 4:30 PM on March 14, 2010


(PC Today) from February 2006

Maybe it's different now, but I don't think most people used read PC Today even back then.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:34 PM on March 14, 2010


Interestingly, Apple didn't even allow apps on the iPhone until everyone started jail breaking them. They were basically forced into it. It's kind of ironic that they should get all this credit for "creating" the market.

Are you arguing that jailbreakers created the market and "forced" Apple to build the App sore?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:40 PM on March 14, 2010


No, it's like saying using the term shackles and implying slavery of a sorts for Apple's devices when there's plenty of other computing devices and people have the choice of using other computer devices is a shitty analogy.

Well, the implication was that if you chose apple, then you were choosing to put yourself in chains. But anyway, it's not all that clear what makes an analogy "shitty". It supposed to illustrate an idea. You might disagree with the idea, but that doesn't make the analogy bad, somehow. Also, I think the idea that you can't analogize things to slavery is ridiculous. People use the term "Wage slave" all the time. Was Hayak making a "Shitty analogy" when he wrote The Road to Surfdom? And anyway, whether or not you feel like it was "implying" slavery, the actual analogy was only to one aspect of slavery, which is also an aspect of other things.

You could make an analogy to other aspects of slavery. You could say that Linux it forces you to spend all your time working on your computer, therefore it owns you. I disagree with that idea, but it illustrates the point the hypothetical person would be trying to make.

Anyway, total derail. But no analogy is going to be isomorphic, and a lack of isomorphism does not make an analogy 'bad'.

posted by delmoi at 4:41 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are you arguing that jailbreakers created the market and "forced" Apple to build the App sore?
Remember this quote from earlier:
And yet, they helped pushed the desktop, and the mp3 market, and the the smart phone (if you believe android is here this fast without apple to lead the way you are delusional). -- justgary


In the same sense Jailbreakers "pushed" the idea of apps. Apple didn't even really market their phone as being able to run lots of Apps, that came later. They famously said "all you need to develop for the iPhone is HTML and CSS" -- in other words, they wanted people to make web pages for the phone, not locally running applications. The jailbreakers were writing lots of interesting apps, and more and more people would have started jailbreaking their phones, and apple would have lost control.

Anyway, it's a subjective analysis. I don't really care, I'm just pointing out feature of the iPhone that everyone claims apple pushed wasn't originally even part of the platform.
posted by delmoi at 4:46 PM on March 14, 2010


First it's
For whatever it's worth on Metafilter, their products weren't called smartphones until the iPhone came out.

Then it's
Everyday people and the press didn't use "smartphone" as a category for phones that have the functionality of a computer, until the iPhone came out and pretty much established that class of devices.

Now it's
Maybe it's different now, but I don't think most people used read PC Today even back then.

So nobody said it, except people did. Then it's that nobody in the press said it, except press did. Now it's nobody in the REAL press said it. Where will the goalposts be moved to next?
posted by kafziel at 4:49 PM on March 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Where will the goalposts be moved to next?

I wouldn't call PC Today "the press", but obviously you disagree.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:51 PM on March 14, 2010


Engadget, perhaps?
posted by kafziel at 5:00 PM on March 14, 2010


But anyway, it's not all that clear what makes an analogy "shitty". It supposed to illustrate an idea.

If it does a terrible idea of illustrating the idea, it's shitty.

Here's what Malor wrote:
This is an important fight; it's the war of the guy who wants to put shackles on your wrists to 'make your life better' versus the guys who want to let you do what you want with the hardware you own.

That's not presented as a choice, despite what you may think, it's painted as a war between Apple, "the slave master" and Google, the wonderful do gooder, who wants to do what's best for us all.

It's a shitty analogy because it ignores reality and sticks to the simplistic and feel good sentiments of the anti Apple crowd.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:02 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't call PC Today "the press", but obviously you disagree

The New York Times, in January 2004:

"But the anticipation around one particular gizmo stood out over the past year: a so-called smart phone known as the Treo 600, made by PalmOne."

At what point in this silly troll game do I curb-stomp you and teabag your corpse?
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 5:06 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


For years, the phrase "PDA-phone combo" brought to mind clunky bricks that appealed only to the most connectivity-crazed early adopters. But the latest incarnations of these devices, now known by the more marketing-friendly tag "smartphone," are finally fit for the rest of us.

SO WHY DO YOU WANT ONE?

Beyond the obvious calling capabilities, smartphones keep your calendar and address book close at hand (and ever more easily synched with your PC), provide access to e-mail and the Web, let you view and edit word and excel documents, listen to MP3s, and even watch movies. Sell the PDA on eBay and leave the laptop at home
-- Popular Science, May 2005
--

As smartphones take on the role of traditional computers, they may be come prone to the same malaise that affects the traditional computer: spam, fraud and/or viruses -- PC Magazine 2005
--

But there's another option: smartphones. Falling somewhere between a PDA and a normal cellphone, the latest smartphones offer lots of PDA functionality in a more convenient formfactor. -- Maximum PC june 2006.
--

Smartphones can be used to store addresses and phone numbers, download small pieces of software (such as games), browse the Internet while on the move, store and play music, and jot down brief messages. And, of course, they are also telephones. Why carry both a phone and a PDA around, when you can carry a single hybrid device? - The economist, oct 2003
--

Need a quick way to check your e-mail and voice mail on the go? The new Microsoft Smartphone is one of the first cell phones to let you access your regular Outlook e-mail as well as offer personal-information management and multimedia features typically found only on PDAs. -- Time Magazine, november 2003
--

A computer for every pocket. That idea has been the core of Palm, Inc.'s strategy. Ed Colligan, president and CEO of the maker of the Treo smartphone and other wireless handheld devices, spoke with TIME's LAURA LOCKE about the future of mobile computing and why Palm joined forces with Microsoft. -- Time Magazine, November 2006
etc.

Maybe BP will give us a list of "Press" he considered acceptable. Or more likely, he's actually just trolling.
posted by delmoi at 5:14 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't call PC Today "the press", but obviously you disagree.

The article itself points to the history of the usage of the term 'smartphone' as a generally accepted phrase for 'a category of phones that have the functionality of a computer' which pretty directly contradicts your statement that they weren't called smartphones.

If you're sufficiently unimpressed by PC Today's press credentials (though you'd think a specialist magazine would know what the darn things are called) how about the Guardian which had 36 references to smartphones in 2006, down from 60 in 2003. Or the Times, first reference back in 2002. On preview, someone's already done the NYT.

It's a minor point, though, for certain internet-related values of minor.
posted by Sparx at 5:19 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe BP will give us a list of "Press" he considered acceptable. Or more likely, he's actually just trolling.

Maybe I just disagree with you that the term entered common usage, until the iPhone made it popular.

For people who go out of their way to pile on in Apple-hate threads like this, you throw that troll label around way too easily. Doctor, heal thyself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:22 PM on March 14, 2010


In the same sense Jailbreakers "pushed" the idea of apps.

Actually, a little bird told me that the Apple engineers wanted apps all along. The higher-ups wouldn't have it. Only after the stupidity of that decision was demonstrated were the engineers tasked with cleaning up the APIs for an SDK, on a grueling schedule.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 5:24 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you have no use for a network, exactly what use do you have for an iPad?
posted by kafziel


Where did you read I have a use for an ipad?

I have a macbook pro. It's a great computer. Why would I bring a netbook with me instead? Why would I leave a wonderful computer behind to save a few pounds? Smaller screen, barely usable keyboard, underpowered. I wouldn't. Maybe if I traveled for a living, but with the little traveling I do, an iphone is all I need.

I don't know if I have a place for an iPad. I might not. But at least it's trying to do something different, while a netbook is just shrinking what we already have

But for many people, that use a computer mainly for entertainment and communication, an ipad could certainly do the job better than a netbook, which brings the same limitations and problems of a computer, only in miniature.

Back on topic, I really believe the reason google is given a pass is because they're offering everything for free, while apple charges. It's much easier to give someone the benefit of the doubt when they're not taking your money. Not taking your money certainly does = convenience. Of course, it's not that simple at all, but for many, that's enough.
posted by justgary at 5:25 PM on March 14, 2010


I don't understand this absolutism, or how it's productive. They're both complex entities.

Like Google. Google's done the world an immense good, and in enabling keyword-based spam plays, they're encouraging people to rip off my site's RSS feeds and slap AdSense all over it (People's Exhibit A is their baffling tolerance of Mahalo).

And the Buzz debacle really spooks me: if you believe their version, the roll-out was a remarkably cavalier act where privacy concerns weren't given nearly enough consideration, which should trouble us all given how much data Google can reveal about us.

Apple's obsession with controlling their devices and delivering great experiences has had great effects: as someone who worked in wireless telecom, the iPhone's been an amazing change that finally broke the field open to innovations. But as an iPhone developer... yeah. Windows 7 isn't just great because it was created from whole cloth, it's great because it competes with OS X. I pay more for Macs because they suit me and in my experience they hugely reduced the amount of time I spent doing technical support.

That good's the result of Apple's control, which extends to this patent battle and their past litigiousness over leaks.

It's impossible, and a little silly, to try and weigh this out as if one is more or less evil than the other, and so one should win and one should be destroyed, just as we're not better off if Amazon or Apple wins in music or book distribution and forces the other out. Or Google or Microsoft in search.

We're right to be concerned about anyone, Google or Apple or whoever, gaining too much power and abusing it, and we shouldn't dismiss privacy concerns about Google or closed development ecosystems about Apple just because we hate the other side so very much.
posted by dmz at 5:41 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


dmz, nobody asked for or wants any of your damn common sense.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:55 PM on March 14, 2010


For people who go out of their way to pile on in Apple-hate threads like this

I'm neutral on Apple the company. It's Apple fanboys that raise my dander.
posted by Slothrup at 6:23 PM on March 14, 2010


In a recent Ars story, Apple was said to be pressuring record labels to stop taking part in Amazon's Daily Deal. I've often noticed that a number of bands put out iTunes exclusive songs and I've never held that against Apple. I don't know if Amazon is in any position to be exerting similar pressures on record labels, but my problem with this situation is that Apple is not at all doing what's best for the consumer. Instead of coming up with something to attract more customers, they're actively working to hurt competition.

Their iPad eBook deals are the same. In order to gain a larger market share, Apple seems to be courting publishers instead of their end users, thus driving up prices for everyone.

I would argue that after the first generation iPhone, Apple hasn't really done much to advance the device. The 3G provided faster data rates, and the 3Gs had a faster processor, but neither really brought anything new to the table. They put out a great device, and seem to be resting on that success. Now, with the latest numbers showing Android making significant advances and the iPhone stalling, Apple has chosen to sue HTC. Again, instead of improving their device, Apple has decided to take a course of action that hurts those of us that love gadgets.

I'm not arguing that Google should grow unfettered and unchecked, but I certainly would love to see Apple forced into changing their practices.
posted by SAC at 6:23 PM on March 14, 2010


In the same sense Jailbreakers "pushed" the idea of apps. Apple didn't even really market their phone as being able to run lots of Apps, that came later. They famously said "all you need to develop for the iPhone is HTML and CSS" -- in other words, they wanted people to make web pages for the phone, not locally running applications. The jailbreakers were writing lots of interesting apps, and more and more people would have started jailbreaking their phones, and apple would have lost control.

When did the App Store show up?
posted by effugas at 6:32 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher: (about the idea of vetting UIs as excuse to exercise editorial authority over the whole of the iPhone's software catalog) According to iPod sales, a lot of people don't think so.

Frankly, that's a fairly knee-jerk response. The iPhone and iPod have been successful for a lot of reasons--the fact of their success doesn't automatically prove that all of Apple's ideas therein have been good ones. The fact that Android is doing rather better than anyone suspected it would suggests that a lot of people may actually be dissatisfied with Apple's platform.

MalorThis is an important fight; it's the war of the guy who wants to put shackles on your wrists to 'make your life better' versus the guys who want to let you do what you want with the hardware you own.
Brandon Blatcher: That's not presented as a choice, despite what you may think, it's painted as a war between Apple, "the slave master" and Google, the wonderful do gooder, who wants to do what's best for us all.


I don't think Malor meant to imply that Google is all lilacs and springtime. But let's not forget: the fact that internet search is in any way useful for people is entirely because of Google. Before they arrived on scene, all the major search companies regularly allowed people to pay for search engine placement and didn't think it was worth mentioning when this influenced their results. And now, who remembers Excite? Infoseek? Altavista? What would the internet look like if Google hadn't come around?

The fact that Google has made some form of decent behavior profitable should not be held up as some kind of argument against them. It should be hailed as a kind of vindication. And for a lot of other companies, an indictment.

So yes, be wary of who has your data, yes, watch with interest what happens in China, yes, complain and rant when Blogger blackholes posts without warning. But don't pretend that Apple is somehow better.
posted by JHarris at 6:57 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The iPhone and iPod have been successful for a lot of reasons--the fact of their success doesn't automatically prove that all of Apple's ideas therein have been good ones.

I didn't say it was it was a good idea or bad idea, I simply noted that they've sold a lot of iPhones (which incorrectly called iPods), which indicates a lot of people don't seem to care about this issue of Apple vetting apps for the iPhone.

The fact that Android is doing rather better than anyone suspected it would suggests that a lot of people may actually be dissatisfied with Apple's platform.

Eh, there's several major phone makers. The success of Android just means there's another segment of the market that was missed. It's pretty clear Apple doesn't really care about the segment that Android attracts.

I don't think Malor meant to imply that Google is all lilacs and springtime.

Based on what he wrote, that's exactly what he meant.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:15 PM on March 14, 2010


Everyday people and the press didn't use "smartphone" as a category for phones that have the functionality of a computer, until the iPhone came out and pretty much established that class of devices.

As an University of Waterloo alumnus, I can only stare at this sentence in the vain hope that it will make some semblance of sense eventually. Is this something one has to be inside Job's RDF to get?

The Research In Motion head office is located right beside UW, whose students and faculty have taken great interest in RIM's achievements since day one. Canadian mainstream press was just as enthusiastic about our IT crown jewel, after the spectacular crush of Nortel. The word "smartphone" ("BlackBerry" in Canadian) has been on the public consciousness since the first half of 00's. But none of us would be so crazy as to claim RIM invented or established the product category. It took BlackBerry a while to overtake Palm, which most "everyday people" think of as the first smartphone (I know it's not).

Apple brought on the App Store and expanded the smartphone user base from office drones professionals to consumers. Those are certainly laudable achievements, but in no way could they be interpreted as... whatever the Apple fanboys keep at.
posted by fatehunter at 7:41 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe I just disagree with you that the term entered common usage, until the iPhone made it popular.
A statement so absurd... one that's been shot down a number of times with actual citations... and you fall back on "common usage." Maybe I don't know what trolling means either, but that looks and sounds like a troll. It also reads like goalpost being moved, yet again.
posted by SAC at 7:59 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe I just disagree with you that the term entered common usage, until the iPhone made it popular.
Yeah, disagree with me, time magazine, popular science, the NYT, the economist, etc. The reason I, and other people are saying you're acting like a troll is because you are totally wrong, you keep saying the same thing or a slight variation, ignore obvious evidence and don't do any research on your own, etc. In other words acting like a troll.

It's not a matter of opinion whether or not "Smartphone" was a common term before the iPhone existed. It was. You just didn't notice because you didn't care before apple started making theirs.
When did the App Store show up?
July 11th, 2008. The iPhone was on sale Jan 9th, 2007. So it was out there for about 18 months before the app store went online. And that means that the app store has only been around for a little bit more then half the time that the iPhone has been around.
posted by delmoi at 8:01 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


also, the ipad is a gimmick... it's a macbook air minus the screen

The ipad shuffle?
posted by eddydamascene at 8:13 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


One more point...
It benefits us all if we hold these companies' feet to the fire.

We all benefit if we all insist that Google pay more attention to privacy concerns when releasing any new features.

The day the iPhone was released, the first thing that I thought was, "damn... this would be awesome if they would let everyone write programs for it." I don't claim to know what was going on at Apple, but I know that online (yes, even on metafilter) people were repeating the party line, "native applications will make the phone unstable. All you need is AJAX." Now, when you see an iPhone commercial, Apple doesn't talk about the interface anymore. They don't talk about the form-factor. They talk about the apps.

All I'm asking is that people don't argue against features the rest of us would like to see on the iPhone. When we ask that Apple adopt a model more like Android's (where I'd be allowed to install any apps I want, while still maintaining whatever standards they want on the AppStore), please don't argue that Apple's doing you a favor by protecting you from the bad internet. When we ask that Apple let Adobe write an iPhone version of Flash, please don't argue that it'll make your phone unstable. None of these things ponies require that you want or use them, but your insistence on parroting the Apple talking points is annoying. It hurts both of us in the long run.
posted by SAC at 8:20 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's not a matter of opinion whether or not "Smartphone" was a common term before the iPhone existed. It was. You just didn't notice because you didn't care before apple started making theirs.

Precisely. And, I could sort of understand this kind of willful ignorance if Apple dominated the market now. But it doesn't, not even in the U.S.**. Can't fanboys wait a few years for Apple to surpass RIM before attempting to rewrite history?

** Worldwide, Apple will never dominate this or any other market. Perspective, please.
posted by fatehunter at 8:21 PM on March 14, 2010


Go Palm!
posted by oddman at 9:04 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, it's like saying using the term shackles and implying slavery of a sorts for Apple's devices when there's plenty of other computing devices and people have the choice of using other computer devices is a shitty analogy.

Shitty analogies aside, shackles don't necessarily imply slavery. They are just restraints. Prisoners might wear shackles too, and so might people with a certain kink, but we wouldn't equate such people with slaves.

posted by emeiji at 9:11 PM on March 14, 2010


Brandon Blatcher: Based on what he wrote, that's exactly what he meant.

Apparently, I failed at communicating in this area. I don't think Google is lilacs and springtime. In fact, I actively avoid most of their services, pretty much everything but search, because I can usually do things just as well myself, and avoid all possible privacy issues.

What I'm trying to point out is that, even if Google is completely evil, an unlocked phone means they can't hold you hostage. You're not forced to use their services. They sell you a phone, and you can do whatever the hell you want with that phone. If their flavor of evil becomes unpleasant to you, you can opt out freely, without losing use of the device you paid for. You actually OWN it, you're not just renting it.

It also, of course, means they have to be a lot more careful about how evil they get. When their customer base isn't in hardware shackles, and can easily opt out, they can't be very abusive. The relationship stays voluntary, no matter what current Google leadership happens to want.

What I see from a lot of the Apple cheerleaders here is the false dichotomy of 'customer experience' versus 'open phone'. This is just poor thinking. It's excuse-mode to avoid realizing that Apple, a company you love, is screwing you over. They can offer you precisely the same service, in exactly the same way, even with the shackles, but with one tiny change: they should also give you the key to unlock the device if you want.

That way, you can hide in the benevolent Apple ecosystem if you choose. Escape becomes a matter purely of choice, not of technical capability. People who DO turn off handcuff mode don't affect you, and affect Apple only insofar as it loses App Store money.

But Apple doesn't do that... instead, it puts a huge amount of effort and time into making sure you can't get the key. They're doing their damndest to keep their platforms locked, trying to shut down all possible competition. That's time and money they can't spend on improving your actual experience with the phone. And it's not for your benefit.

If it WAS for your benefit, they'd give you the key when you bought the phone.
posted by Malor at 9:20 PM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


@malor "Maybe you like shackles, but the computing world as it is today would not exist if computers had been locked down the way Apple wants them to be."

But I like Apple's shackles because they are unibody design, platinum coated, and it scrolls like butter

Less facetiously: You say it like Apple is going to be a terrible company. You miss that what Apple has always had going for them is artistry; they make technology palatable, useable, pleasurable. Like many people, I appreciate and benefit from the workmanship they put into their products. As consumers, we stand to benefit from real competition. I don't want either side to "win", I want a recursive-game-theoretic-interaction that generates welfare for all.
posted by polymodus at 9:22 PM on March 14, 2010


@jeffburdges "I've been extremely impressed with how much Linux software installs from the maemo extras repository, btw. I've installed R, TeX, glom (sql gui), x11vnc, sshd, nethack, etc."

But what's it like to use this software on a mobile device.

"Android by comparison requires that entirely new applications be written in Java."

Actually I prefer that; a new context needs new, innovative software for it.
posted by polymodus at 9:28 PM on March 14, 2010


Actually you write in Java, but it actually gets recompiled in to Dalvik bytecode. So, you can't do some hardcore javastuff, like generating bytecodes on the fly.

Also, you can now use the android NDK to write native code applications if you want.
posted by delmoi at 10:26 PM on March 14, 2010


The reason I, and other people are saying you're acting like a troll is because you are totally wrong, you keep saying the same thing or a slight variation, ignore obvious evidence and don't do any research on your own, etc. In other words acting like a troll.

You know what's acting like a troll? When you guys come in to every one of Metafilter's Five Minutes of Apple Hate and pretend Steve Jobs is a slavemaster, or that people who use Apple products are dimwits who are slaves to marketing, or call anyone who corrects or disagrees with you — myself included — a "fanboy" or a "troll", ad nauseum. You are even more tedious than I could ever be, and that's saying a lot.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:42 PM on March 14, 2010


@malor "the false dichotomy of 'customer experience' versus 'open phone'. This is just poor thinking. It's excuse-mode to avoid realizing that Apple, a company you love, is screwing you over."
"And it's not for your benefit."

But it is a dichotomy in practice. Show me an open-source technology with Apple's level of polish and finish, and I will gladly try it out.

There's another dichotomy you seem to be presenting, Apple v. Google. I can buy products from either company. Heck I can pick the company that most satisfies my current needs every couple of years, when it comes time to get a new phone.

Apple's realization here is that the technical needs of the masses lags behind what the industry can provide. For this subset of consumers, this slack manifests as unexercised freedom: they won't care that Apple is preventing this particular use or filtering that app. In fact, if you buy Apple products you probably already understand the idea that "less is more". It's kind of twisted, I know. I think of it as a devil's pact.


Disclaimer: I have 1 Mac and 1 iTouch. I do use Windows at home.
posted by polymodus at 11:07 PM on March 14, 2010


Blazecock, for what it's worth, I've owned four Macs, and use one every day. I like OS X pretty well, and am perfectly happy and comfortable there. I bought the latest Macbook Pro because it's an excellent piece of hardware engineering that I can use any way I want.

I'm not anti-Apple, I'm anti-abuse.

But it is a dichotomy in practice. Show me an open-source technology with Apple's level of polish and finish, and I will gladly try it out.

A jailbroken iPhone. It offers every Apple advantage, PLUS you can do whatever you want with it. It's demonstrably true that you don't need to wear shackles to get the other benefits that Apple offers.

Plus, it's my understanding that the latest open Droid firmwares are getting mighty, mighty sweet. The talk on a gaming technical forum I hang out on is that they're freaking fantastic. I haven't used one myself, but people I trust think highly of it.
posted by Malor at 11:15 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


"A jailbroken iPhone."

Clever example. But how do I get one? Where do I find the good apps? Hint: they won't be near polish or finish. The prospect of bricking is a practical dealbreaker. But never mind those issues; this is still a virtual example as opposed to an actual one that consumers can put their money behind.
posted by polymodus at 11:51 PM on March 14, 2010


You know what's acting like a troll? When you guys come in to every one of Metafilter's Five Minutes of Apple Hate and pretend Steve Jobs is a slavemaster, or that people who use Apple products are dimwits who are slaves to marketing, or call anyone who corrects or disagrees with you — myself included — a "fanboy" or a "troll", ad nauseum. You are even more tedious than I could ever be, and that's saying a lot.
No. I'm not sure you actually understand what a "Troll" is. A troll is someone who says things they don't believe in order to set people off and make them waste energy trying to disprove something that they didn't actually care about in the first place. The goal of the troll is to waste other people's time. And in "single-threaded" discussions, derail the thread.

The reason people said you were trolling is because you were displaying classic troll behavior: Saying things that obviously weren't true -- that no one used the word "smartphone" to describe smartphones before the iPhone came out -- and sticking with it and adding more nonsense until people dug up a shitload of citations from all over the media prior to 2007.

Saying "macs are great" isn't what's getting you accused of being a troll, it was that 'smartphone' derail, which really had nothing to do with anything other then the fact that you were wrong on some side point and were unwilling to admit it.

Btw, why would I care if you think I'm tedious? If you're so in love with a company you can't deal with people who criticize it, well, I don't really consider that my problem.
posted by delmoi at 11:54 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clever example. But how do I get one?

This is fairly hard, but it doesn't have to be. As I keep trying to explain, there's no reason why Apple can't just give you the key. It's only hard because Apple wants it to be difficult, not because there's any technical necessity for it.

Where do I find the good apps?

In the App Store? Jailbroken doesn't mean you can't run stuff from the App Store, it just means you have other options if you want to do something, like tethering or emulation, that Apple won't allow.

Note: it's possible that this may have somehow changed, but my first-gen jailbroken iPhone had no problem downloading and running stuff from the App Store, side by side with my free repositories. And the re-skinning stuff in the free repositories was very cool; it was possible to make an iPhone gorgeous in many ways that Apple wouldn't allow. I can't test it anymore, because my iPhone broke, and there's no way I was going to put any more money into it with how offensive the terms of use had become.
posted by Malor at 12:19 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


They can offer you precisely the same service, in exactly the same way, even with the shackles, but with one tiny change: they should also give you the key to unlock the device if you want.

I don't care. Seriously, it's just not a big issue for me. I get what you and others are saying on the topic and can agree with the philosophy, but it's just not a big issue for me. Give me a mini computer that can fit in my pocket, make it work and I'm good. I don't feel limited by the capabilities of the iPhone OS, quite the opposite. If I do become bothered by it, there are other phone options, so again I don't feel trapped and beholden to Apple.

like tethering or emulation, that Apple won't allow

It's AT&T that's dragging its feet on tethering in the US.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Frankly, that's a fairly knee-jerk response. The iPhone and iPod have been successful for a lot of reasons--the fact of their success doesn't automatically prove that all of Apple's ideas therein have been good ones.

Exactly. Look at Windows. Way more successful than OS X in terms of sales and yet not without issues.
posted by juiceCake at 8:42 AM on March 15, 2010


In other Google feud news: Google Says China Talks Continue, But Pullout Signs Grow
posted by homunculus at 9:01 AM on March 15, 2010


You guys are hilarious. Remember back when Microsoft was actually quasi-evil requiring OEMs to sign contracts that prohibited them from purchasing or pre-installing operating system from Microsoft's competitors? And now... no one cares.

It reminds me of a T.S. Elliot poem; all these companies will end not with a bang but a whimper.
posted by GuyZero at 10:57 AM on March 15, 2010


Maybe I just disagree with you that the term entered common usage, until the iPhone made it popular.

"Maybe I'll just believe whatever I want and totally ignore all the evidence to the contrary. Whee!"

Holy Jesus Christ I've seen some denial in my days, but for something so trivial? I gave the benefit of doubt at first, but it has to be a troll. Congrats. A good ~20 useless comments. Now ~21.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:15 PM on March 15, 2010


GuyZero: you might remember that there was this little antitrust suit that rather changed how Microsoft interacts with the world. Once they were declared an operating-system monopoly, that kind of abuse wasn't legally possible for them anymore. It pulled their fangs.

Just like we're pointing out on Metafilter that Apple is being evil now, we were talking on BBSes about how evil Microsoft was, back in the day. Its nastiness caused so much anger, in fact, that it fueled the rise of Linux.

If they were still pulling the same shit now, you can bet we'd be furious about it.
posted by Malor at 3:31 PM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even without the anti-trust suit would it really still be a big deal? Desktop OS license growth has flat-lined. MSN & Bing simply cannot match Google's market share (vs Google). Microsoft failed miserably in the smartphone market completely of their own accord (vs Apple & RIM). The simple truth is that rarely does any company managed to capture both a market and the market that follows it. Whatever the next big thing is, history would bet on it not being owned by either Google or Apple.
posted by GuyZero at 3:42 PM on March 15, 2010


Even without the anti-trust suit would it really still be a big deal?

Keep in mind Microsoft uses IE's market share to cripple the web's development. They obviously already use IE to promote bing, but they could have done more, like adding a search bar right on the windows desktop, or more deeply integrating their search engine into IE, or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 2:13 AM on March 16, 2010


Smartphone is only a cool term one Apple invented it.
posted by juiceCake at 8:11 AM on March 16, 2010


"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our trademarked name, or we can do something about it. We think competitors should create their own original names, not steal our word smartphone" — Steve Jobs. (not really).
posted by Nelson at 9:37 AM on March 16, 2010


But it is a dichotomy in practice. Show me an open-source technology with Apple's level of polish and finish, and I will gladly try it out.

Darwin. Game, set, match!
posted by JHarris at 1:00 PM on March 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I know there are lots of other issues involved that means Darwin isn't really the end of that discussion. I just thought it was funny.
posted by JHarris at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2010


Anyway, it's a subjective analysis. I don't really care, I'm just pointing out feature of the iPhone that everyone claims apple pushed wasn't originally even part of the platform.

No, you were implying that Apple never planned to have native 3rd party apps until people started jailbreaking their iPhones. I think others were saying that it was originally part of the platform, but that it just wasn't part of the product that initially shipped.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 1:33 AM on March 17, 2010


FINE, I'll check out Android with Verizon, but if it doesn't give me that special snowflake feeling, I'm not buyin'!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:24 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


« Older Data Analysis for Politics and Policy was written ...  |  There is now empirical evidenc... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments