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Apple Is an Acceptable Evil (1codingwhale.medium.com)
13 points by tigroferoce 15 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 22 comments



The most important lesson I learned in my university course on argumentation and debate is most of us have the same values, we simply prioritize them differently - and that's where most arguments stem from.

Apple provides convenience and simplicity at the price of freedom. If those align with your value priorities then you're going to like Apple. It's really as simple as that.

The fact that different people have different value priorities means there will always be multiple competitors filling those different market segments. That's why I see this Apple/Android/Linux/Windows "debate" as silly. Different people are going to make different choices based off their preferences and priorities. There's no sense in being a fan boi and defending your personal choice at all costs.


>price of freedom

Freedom of what? Apple is not really restricting anything, it simply doesn't provide alternative ways to do stuff and I am yet to hear for someone getting in trouble for finding their way in their iDevice.

As for the running apps, you don't even need to hack or reverse engineer anything. You can compile, sign, load and run any code you want on even the most walled iDevice, iPhone.


> As for the running apps, you don't even need to hack or reverse engineer anything. You can compile, sign, load and run any code you want on even the most walled iDevice, iPhone.

That's simply not true. For example, you're not allowed to install a different OS on an iPhone. You're always restricted to using the APIs that apple exposes to developers.


You are allowed to do whatever you want. Apple not providing the tools to do it is not the same as forbidding it.

BTW, without taking the reverse engineering path, you can install any software on iOS by getting a developer account. The code signing happens locally, Apple wouldn't know if you are installing a torrent client or anything else. Yes it's paid if you like having the app all the time, but the phone itself is also paid. Simply incorporate that into the cost of ownership price, if it's too expensive then don't use it. There are plenty of alternatives out there.


Installing software blessed by the father, the son, and the holy ad-hoc signing key of a dev account is not equivalent to installing an alternative OS on your iDevice. Especially if the key can be revoked at any time. The local(over-usb) signing key has a O(week) limit before it expires and can also be revoked at any time.

The boat-loader is locked down, without an exploit, you can't unlock it. No legitimate reverse engineering is going to grant you access to a low level signing key.

That is a restriction on "whatever I want" and quite a few other things.


> Installing software blessed by the father, the son, and the holy ad-hoc signing key of a dev account is not equivalent to installing an alternative OS on your iDevice.

Then do that. I don’t see why Apple should be obligated to help with that though.

If this doesn’t work for you, simply buy something else.


The baseband is locked?

Lets pretend an oracle handed me a fully functioning version of Android 5.1 (the best looking version of Android) for the iPhone $whateverIsCurrent. Installation is fully automated and works 100% of the time. All I have to do is plug-in my iphone to a Mac, paste in the signing key, and hit okay.

I am no closer then to installing an altOS then I am now. I can't install it without getting my hands on the signing key. Which means, hacking or corporate espionage. One is probably illegal in some countries and the other is definitely illegal in most country.

For the record, I don't care if I run iOS or anything else. A phone is a phone is a phone. But a few comments up, the claim was made that Apple isn't stopping owner's from doing anything and that simply isn't true. It is using software to place the weight of the law against the user.


You can always find a way around. The point is, you can do whatever you want with the device you purchased. That being hard doesn’t mean anything.


Maybe it doesn't mean anything in the sense of what you're allowed to do _legally_, but what you're allowed to do _practically_ is ultimately what the end user actually cares about.

I was thinking along the lines of some people like libre software, some people like FOSS software, some people want to be able to use different app stores and still others want to be able to install different browser engines. I was loosely referring to those things as "freedoms" that you lose in the Apple ecosystem. Obviously a lot of people don't care as much about these things, or they care more about convenience and simplicity, or they care more about something else entirely - whatever it is Apple is fulfilling their needs better than Apple's competitors.


But you can install whatever FOSS you want, as long as you can figure it out or find it on App Store. Not providing easy way to do it outside of their platform is not the same as not allowing it.

People are framing the argument against App Store as if they are blocking people from installing software into the devices they bought. Probably this attracts more sympathy but the reality is different, what Apple restricts is the access to its software distribution platform. That's why it's not the users that are pissed off but the developers.

Apple is not selling the right to install software to your iDevice, that's the developers who sell the right to install the software they created. Apple sells the right to distribute software to the devices they make, it's called Apple Developer Program and that's the one that costs money and has restrictions.


> My Mac just works. Since years. Day after day, OS update after OS update it just works.

Since very many other people have vastly different experiences, we can conclude that the author is either very lucky, or that the author does encounter problems, but forget them immediately or don’t consider them “problems”. I.e. that the author has confirmation bias.


I think in comparison to Windows or Linux this could be true on the aggregate. It seems like Apple owning the whole hardware/software stack makes the product marginally more reliable. My experience mostly mirrored the author.


In theory, this is reasonable, but on the other hand, hardware companies are almost universally bad at making software, and this should also apply to Apple, which would be an opposite force. So theory alone is no help here.


Well, in your first reply you state boldly that

> Since very many other people have vastly different experiences, we can conclude that the author is either very lucky, or that the author does encounter problems, but forget them immediately or don’t consider them “problems”. I.e. that the author has confirmation bias.

Now you say that "hardware companies are almost universally bad at making software, and this should also apply to Apple".

Who's biased now?

Considering my experience with myriad of Apple devices, Android, Linux, Windows and whatever tens and tens of gadgets I owned, I could oppose that although most hardware companies are supposed to be bad at making software, this seems not influencing Apple.

We are all biased to some extent and this should come as no surprise.


Who's to say whether Apple falls into the "almost" part of "almost universally bad at making software"? Why is it reasonable to apply industry-wide averages to a company as exceptional as Apple?


I have 4-5 Macs now, access to tens more and had many in the past and just one broke down or had actual OS problems. YMMV.


I wrote a Twitter thread[0] on this topic in response to Alex Russell's recent blog post on how Safari on iOS limits the web[1].

My point is: yes it's problematic that Apple prevents any browser diversity on iOS(by not allowing other browser engines than Webkit), however their behaviour is also keeping chromium's dominance in check. Neither of these two things are good, but I think I prefer the acceptable evil of Apple.

0: https://twitter.com/K0nserv/status/1388814683709362176

1: https://infrequently.org/2021/04/progress-delayed/


This doesnt really meet the intellextual curiosity requirement, does it? It's just a list of low effort flame war inducing things someone likes about Macs?


Also no offense to the author, I feel the same way about my OS of choice!


Author here. No offence taken at all, everyone is comfortable with their particular stack and it should be allowed to choose it. In my past I have suffered some employer that forced me to use a particular stack and I hated it. I just didn't feel at home.

The main point I wanted to express is that we are (more and more) forced to choose some evil that we MUST accept because there are no alternatives or because alternatives are even worse. And this is sad.


The author of this post doesn't see this as a problem and is willing to accept drawbacks for a simple life; I think it's a useful point because it sums up the attitude of the public at large.

There are quite specific systemic problems brought upon society by the indomitable ascent of large multinational corporations and corporate capitalism.

One of the most egregious, is the reduction of power a single person has in relation to the larger corporate structures they become reliant upon. This about some of the arguments used against Apple today .. almost all relate to the concentration of power this single, unelected legal entity has.

This is a problem for society now. Without something happening to change the rise of corporate capitalism, the problems posed will only become more difficult to solve.

Apple is not the problem; it actually just evidence that should be used to solve it. A symptom of a capitalism system that needs to be improved for the good of society.

It's definitely not an acceptable evil, when examined through this lens.




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