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Sorry, but how do you qualify negative events?

First, let's take a look at what I suspect you think are negative events:

1) iTunes Music Store has DRM encumbered music

2) iTunes Video Store has DRM encumbered video

3) iPhone App Store has closed ecosystem with infuriating approval process

Now, let's peel back the bullshit and look at the reality of the situations:

1) Before the iTunes music store, the only way you could get music legally on the internet was a $10 a month subscription to the Real Player music store. You did not own your music and you could only play it on a number of devices. Concurrently, many music publishers were trying to develop technological means to prevent users from taking music from CDs they had purchased and ripping them to MP3's.

Overall, I rate that as a win for consumers. A double win considering the later removal of DRM from iTunes music.

2) Before the iTunes video store, you could buy a few DRM encumbered videos from Amazon (pretty sure they were the only game in town at that time). Some of the current stores for digital video don't even allow you to view video on a device different from the one you purchased it on. There is still not a really great source of High Def video.

Overall, I rate that as a neutral to slight win for consumers.

3) Before the iPhone App store, the only way you could get an application was through a carrier approved store. The apps themselves were 99% garbage and if you changed phones, good luck transferring them. With the iPhone App store, there has been a cambrian explosion of mobile software. Despite the denial of apps in several specific categories and contentious policies regarding duplication of built in software, for the most part there is an app for that. The best part though is that applications do not depend on carrier approval for the most part and handsets are free to transfer across networks provided they are hardware compatible. I would like to remind you again that before June 2007, this shit was fantasy.

Overall, I rate that as a win for consumers.




1) Before the iTunes music store, the only way you could get music legally on the internet was a $10 a month subscription to the Real Player music store. You did not own your music and you could only play it on a number of devices. Concurrently, many music publishers were trying to develop technological means to prevent users from taking music from CDs they had purchased and ripping them to MP3's.

This is simply, and provably, untrue. I had an eMusic account several years before iTunes existed. It has always distributed DRM-free MP3s.

2) Before the iTunes video store, you could buy a few DRM encumbered videos from Amazon (pretty sure they were the only game in town at that time).

I don't know about this, as I'm not a big movie/TV watcher. I'll leave it for someone else to debunk.

3) Before the iPhone App store, the only way you could get an application was through a carrier approved store.

Demonstrably untrue. There was a thriving and open application market for Palm devices, Windows mobile devices, and others, long before the App Store. The Sidekick had a similar marketplace model to the App Store and a similar approval process, and it was in place for many years before the iPhone. Pretty much all smart phones allowed installation of applications from third parties before the iPhone and App Store. The success of the App Store, for Apple's bottom line, was the primary motivation for several other vendors introducing similar markets.

But, I wasn't talking about iTunes (though there are probably things to say about iTunes, I don't really know enough about it; as I mentioned, I've been an eMusic user for many years, and have never wanted anything iTunes had to offer; besides that iTunes doesn't run under Linux, so I can't use it). I'm talking about specific negative things Apple has done for openness and creativity in the technology world with the iPhone and the iPad, which is the subject of all of these rants.

The iPhone and iPad are the most tightly controlled ecosystems in their respective niches (if we count netbooks and other tablets as in the iPad niche, which I kinda think we have to, for now). This is a bad thing.

And, I was saying that the kind of apologia you're using is enabling Apple to do these bad things. One shouldn't apologize for bad things Apple has done by presenting the good or neutral things Apple has done. We know that the closed nature of the iPhone/iPad and the App Store ecosystem is bad for developers and bad for tinkerers and would-be hackers. We should call them on that bad behavior.

Praise them all you want for other behaviors, but don't use it as an excuse for the bad things they do.

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eMusic distributed DRM-free MP3s for artists that most people didn't care about.

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And the eMusic catalog has expanded through the years to encompass most of the artists that matter. By the time iTunes came along, eMusic had a pretty good catalog...by the time iTunes started offering DRM-free music, the eMusic catalog included a huge array of major label acts.

But, I'm not really talking about iTunes. I'm talking about the hacker culture and the chilling effects of the closed iPad/iPhone ecosystem. I just couldn't let an utterly untrue statement go uncorrected. But it's not really the point of my rant.

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Seriously, I mostly listen to independent music, and I don't steal music, and I haven't bought a physical CD in something like 5 years so I'm pretty sold on downloading, and when the iTMS launched eMusic was absolutely not a draw for me. I think it's a little disingenuous to suggest that eMusic solved the same problem Apple did.

The original statement simply wasn't "utterly untrue". Sorry. I hear where you're coming from.

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> 3) Before the iPhone App store, the only way you could get an application was through a carrier approved store.

Actually, this isn't true. While it's now much easier for consumers to install software and for developers to get paid from software, the actual process of getting an application on a phone is much harder.

I wrote little cardcounters for poker in highschool to run on my WinMo 5 phone. Compile it with the C# compiler for ARM, and e-mail a little exe to my phone and run it. No fees, license agreements, provisioning profiles, etc. involved.

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There are step-by-step instructions -- it's easy. The only real impediment is $99. Getting an app on the iphone is several orders of magnitude easier than writing an app. Being able to run emailed .exe's is precisely the kind of stuff that is killing the PC for most people.

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I think the whole point is that while the average Joe shouldn't run .exe's from e-mail, the fact that you can't ruins this easy way to load your own app on your own machine because Apple is assuming everyone that uses their device is an idiot. Would it really be that hard to allow for a .exe blocking feature that can be disabled?

I think the whole point is that the $99 and having to use Apple's development package and going through Apple's approval process is an impediment to development. You can't write an app for whatever you want (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/19/banned-iphone-apps-...) because Apple censors App development. True open source should be open. Iphone and Ipad are not truly open.

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You're not answering the question : where is the win for the tinkerers ?

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I am a tinkerer, I have had many cell phones, and the iPhone is the first I made an app for. I specifically always bought phones with some kind of cable to a PC, but in reality I never did it. The secret sauce for me was

1. Great docs on the API including tons of 3rd party sites and books 2. A straight-forward way of getting the app to a store 3. Integrated payment 4. A market

With my other phones, I guess I could have created the app, and used it myself, but the extra incentive of making a few bucks (and that's all I made) was enough to get me to actually do it. I have lots of things I like to tinker on, so it's about prioritizing.

Also, I don't understand what the issue is -- if you want to put an app on your own iPad/iPhone, you can -- just get a developer cert and have at it. You don't need appstore approval. You are in a sandbox, but it's a lot more permissive than a web app is to the browser on your PC, and no one's claiming that that is an impediment to tinkering.

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How old are you?

When I learned to program, it was at night after my parents went to bed and using qbasic (I'm young); they wanted me to pursue more noble endeavors like athletics.

If I had tried to explain to them that I needed to pay $99 in order to learn something that they didn't want me to learn to begin with, how do you suppose they would have reacted? Yes, there is an emulator that you can run apps on, but where is the wonderment in that?

I remember how excited I was when I figured out how to make my qbasic programs dial a phone number using the computer's modem...that was AWESOME! This sort of thing won't happen on the iPad. Yes, there are people (people who are already developers) who get excited about it, but to a kid, it is a black box.

It's not that people are upset about the iPad specifically, it's that they're upset about the direction that it is nudging computers.

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You're being, probably not deliberately, a bit disingenuous here. If this was any time after the 80s, the BASIC that the machine came with was /not/ the same thnig that was used to make professional programs. A C compiler or assembler would cost you more than $99 in today's money.

On the iPhone (or iPad), you can run web apps you write with no restriction - and today's Javascript is hardly less powerful in comparison to the machine than yesterday's BASIC.

You can download and use, if you have Mac, Xcode for free, only having to pay the $99 if you want to load your app onto the device. I'd say this compares pretty favorably to the dev tool pricing of old.

About the only /practical/ argument I see here is that you can't program an iPhone or iPad using the device itsself, but that's not even entirely true - there are web sites out there that let you code in web technologies from a browser (hrm, maybe that's a business idea - code iPad web apps from the iPad Safari...).

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you say

"If this was any time after the 80s, the BASIC that the machine came with was /not/ the same thnig that was used to make professional programs. A C compiler or assembler would cost you more than $99 in today's money."

and

"only having to pay the $99 if you want to load your app onto the device. I'd say this compares pretty favorably to the dev tool pricing of old."

You have to pay 99$ per year. What dev tool pricing "of old" had an annual license fee of 20% of the device cost to load your program onto your device?

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You're correct - none. I could make the argument that many people would pay for the new upgrades to their compiler, text editor, etc at least yearly, but you're right that they didn't have to to continue using them. I'm not sure that matters though - even as a yearly fee, $99 just isn't that expensive compared to how thing were in this supposed Golden Age, even compared to the old one-off costs - especially inflation-adjusted.

To be clear, I'm not saying things wouldn't be better if this was all free of charge, or that Apple's tight grip on the platform is great for society (I think that's a different argument entirely). I'm just saying that the argument that everything was better and more accesible to new users in the old days is a bit of a 'rose tinted spectacles' one.

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I am a tinkerer. I want to jailbreak the thing. Make an app that track my bubblegums and is useful for me alone. I want to change the darn springboard icons and have my girlfriend's photo as the wallpaper. I want to install an utility that allows me to have tweetdeck running in the background. I want to install firefox. And Android. I want to crash and brick the stupid thing and then find a way to restore it to life. I won't care about the guarantee, because I'm a tinkerer and I want to OWN the f'ing machine that I purchased with my hard earned dollars and I don't want any one -- not even a skinny bald guy at cupertino who distorts reality -- to tell me what I can't do.

But they do. They tell me what I can not do and they will use every resource at their disposal to make sure that I don't.

I'm a helpless tinkerer.

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1) Before iTunes you could buy DRM free music from emusic

3) Before the iPhone App store, you could get applications freely without any problem on the Treo or even on windows mobile...

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1) Now you can buy DRM free music from hundreds of websites online. 3) You can still buy applications freely for any of these mobile platforms. (Jailbreak, etc...)

Good lord, ya' crybabies, just vote with your dollars. Apple is not beholden to us in any way and nor are we to them.

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So you think it's ok that the progression "really sucks" to "sucks" is something to praise Apple for? I have higher standards.

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