Is Apple screwing up?

October 3, 2007

It’s been a while since I talked about anything Apple related. Recently there’s been a lot of fervor among the press and Apple’s user base regarding a few iPhone issues. I’d just like to weigh in here, since I think there’s a lot of overreaction going on.

First, there was the iPhone price cut. Yeah… this one kinda sucked. You know what though, that’s just the way the technology game is played. It may have been a little fast by Apple standards, but it wasn’t that big a deal among cell phones in general. This happens all the time. Whether it happened when it did, or in January, or whenever, the price was still going to be cut. That’s the life of an early adopter, you pay more. We all knew what we were getting into. Apple more than showed its generosity by giving that $100 credit, something it didn’t have to do and no other company would have done. Anyone still complaining, get over it. Sour grapes.

The next is ringtones. This one I will not defend. This is bullcrap. I have to buy a song for 99¢, then pay another 99¢ for the right to play part of the song I already own as a ringtone? And I can’t just drop a file onto the phone like you can do with any other phone, including the RAZR I moved out of? I think not. I already used one of the workarounds that tricks iTunes into accepting generic AAC files as rings (I figure this safer than hacking the phone itself). The problem here is whose gates do we storm with torches and pitchforks? Is this Apple’s doing, or is this something pushed on them by the record industry. My gut tells me the latter, but I’d be damn surprised if Apple wasn’t making anything off the deal too. Seriously guys, don’t tell me it’s a better deal because it’s “only” $1.98. That’s like saying I shouldn’t complain about you kicking me in the balls just because someone else would kick harder.

The last thing is the iPhone 1.1.1 update. I’m actually more annoyed about the third party apps thing than the bricking. I see where Steve is coming from when he talks about stability on a phone. Thing is, if they just had an option in iTunes that said “Enable third party app support” that warns you when you turn it on, it’s free and clear. They don’t have to support it, but why try to stop people who want to do it? I can only think it’s to prevent you from using VOIP and instant messaging to circumvent AT&T’s services.

Now, for the people with bricked iPhones, I sympathize somewhat. But you know, unlocking the phone is a bit more serious hack than the jailbreaking that allows the third party apps. There are serious modifications done to the phone’s firmware, including the baseband modem that go beyond what a simple software restore will fix. If you perform such a major hack on a device, then go ahead and install a software update without waiting to hear what the effect will be… frankly, you have nobody but yourself to blame. I would doubt Apple did this deliberately. That would be just pure bad PR, and it has been. Obviously they made some changes to how things work, probably to disallow the third party apps, and now you have an incompatibility with the hacked firmware. While it sucks they did that, it has nothing to do with intentionally bricking unlocked phones. What we have is a vocal minority loudly complaining, and frankly anyone who was capable of performing that hack should have known better than to apply a vendor software update on top of it.

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