Oli Warner About Contact Oli on Twitter Subscribe

Apple needs to respect its users

Friday, 28 September 2007 apple iphone rant

They warned you but Apple decided to follow through and give those iPhone enthusiasts exactly what they wanted: shiny, bricked iPhones. Well done Apple. Way to meet the needs of your customers.

There were warnings but many thought them only a deterrent. Not so. The latest iPhone “patch”, while adding some features and fixing some security flaws has been bricking unlocked iPhones.

Apple has always enjoyed its locked-down status. It affords them stability and control over their products with ease — something that more open systems have trouble with. The iPhone has been a roaring success for them (especially as this is their first phone) but it has introduced challenges that they’re not dealing with well.

Application development is the major crime on the iPhone. There’s no Apple-given way to make your own native applications and install them on the phone — something that many other smart-phone brands thrive upon. And there is a lot of demand for this on the iPhone. People far and wide have been hacking their expensive little phones apart to let them install what they like.

The second crime is locking the phone to one network. In the US they’re locked to AT&T and when they’re released here, they’ll be locked to O2. Why does Apple think it has the right to control how I use something I’ve bought? If you bought a car you wouldn’t expect to only be able to drive on certain toll roads, would you? So people have been unlocking their phones from AT&T so they can use them on any network they like. This update, however, is causing some problems…

Rather than check for the presence of an unlocked phone, Apple’s patch appears to charge in and assume everything is as it was when bought. Therefore on modified phones, things aren’t as expected and when the iPhone tries to reboot, nothing happens. Nothing good anyway.

What were you thinking, Apple? Your customer tries to use the item they bought from you (at great expense). You know many users are unlocking them — and the unlock code is all over the internet so you could build your patcher to accommodate for it. But instead of respecting their wants, you issue a warning saying that (and I believe this to be a lie) the unlocking process causes “irreparable damage” and push out an update that makes it a reality.

So it’s the unlocker that causes the damage, is it? Tell me Apple, what do you consider more damaged: a unlocked and working iPhone or a bricked one after the user runs your updater?

The update has also been blamed for nuking home-installed applications along with contacts, photos and music… even on unmodified phones! Didn’t you test it? This so-called “update” would certainly get my vote for worst patch of the year.

And I know other companies (**cough**Sony**cough**) are equally evil in this respect but Apple still has the “Apple can do-eth no wrong” image. I’m sorry but that’s bullshit.