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  • EFF: ‘Apple’s devices are like beautiful crystal prisons’

EFF: ‘Apple’s devices are like beautiful crystal prisons’

Posted: , by Victor H.

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EFF: ‘Apple’s devices are like beautiful crystal prisons’
“Apple's recent products, especially their mobile iOS devices, are like beautiful crystal prisons, with a wide range of restrictions imposed by the OS, the hardware, and Apple's contracts with carriers as well as contracts with developers. Only users who can hack or "jailbreak" their devices can escape these limitations.”

That’s the harsh verdict coming straight from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), but it’s hard to call if untrue. The EFF is another place calling for more openness from Apple, after co-found Steve Wozniak wished for Cupertino to apply more open standards and be more like the Apple Computers he started with Steve Jobs.

The EFF’s statement actually mentions Woz’s position and supports it, and that’s a huge endorsement, that will make this call better heard.

On the other side of the isle, though, are Apple defenders arguing that its walled garden is what keeps the company successful and nearly 80% of the industry’s profits. You can take the App Store as an example of the controversy. Pro-Apple sources defend the curated model saying it leads to more quality apps and a generally safer and more refined experience, while for others it restricts their freedom and doesn’t allow their apps to get published. Also, there’s Apple’s 30% share that seems too much to many.

The EFF takes a clear stand on that issue, vouching for lifting some of the restrictions in Apple’s App Store.

“Apple changed the way we think about mobile computing with the iPhone, but they have also lead the charge in creating restrictive computers and restrictive marketplaces for software,” the EFF said. “You may have purchased an iPad, but unless you’ve exploited a vulnerability in iOS to jailbreak it, there are many things you cannot install on it. The App Store has thousands of apps to choose from, but your choices are limited to apps that both Apple has approved, and which can function without ‘root’ or ‘administrator’ privileges.”

Bottomline is that it all boils down to freedom. The Electronic Frontier Foundation rightly notes that denying the freedom to change the system or the freedom to leave is a major hurdle stopping Apple from perfecting its system. Hit the source below for EFF’s detailed explanation of the freedom and openness problem at Apple, and don’t hesitate to hit us back with your stand on the issue in the comments below.

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posted on 30 May 2012, 10:35 31

1. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Defensive whining by iFans in 3...2...1...

(Disclaimer: if you're willing to live with the Apple ecosystem, bully for you. However, don't expect the rest of us to be willing to as well.)

P.S. Bulls**t statements about the imaginary consequences of having a more open app market will carry their own consequences. Beware.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:06 19

19. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

I'm sorry, but it's not about what's right and wrong...it's about what works for you. I'd be all with EFF on this if Apple was the only choice...or if Apple's model was the one that everyone was following. But it comes down to simply what your preference is. Thankfully, Android is there if the Apple model doesn't work for someone. But Apple's model does work for a lot of people and there is nothing wrong with that.

But here's the thing...although you have your iOS defenders/enthusiasts, I don't think there is one of us that will say you HAVE to use iOS. I do get annoyed by people who say iOS is the end all be all...on both sides.

But I can't agree with this one because it's trying to say that Apple is wrong...and when it comes to anything that is subjective...there is no right and wrong...only what works for you.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:10 2

21. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Thing is - Apple's model IS the one that everybody is following.

There may be no right or wrong - but there is good and bad.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:14 6

23. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Hey Jeff, nice to see you commenting more frequently. :)

If you pay attention to the EFF, their critique of Apple is not surprising in the least. I get that "what works for you" is the rule that should define your smartphone choice, and I don't begrudge those who are willing to live with iOS's restrictions in order for the (in my viewpoint) very few advantages those restrictions offer.

I was just predicting the normal snarky bullcrap that comes from people like you-know-who and you-know-what which usually takes the form of ill informed potshots at Android or blind defense and claims that the OS isn't restricted or something.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:15 7

24. frydaexiii (Posts: 1464; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)

See, we need more logical iFans like this guy.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:15 9

25. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

I 100% agree Jeff. Good comment. iOS is a choice. If you don't like it there's plenty of other choices.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:19 2

29. anywherehome (Posts: 971; Member since: 13 Dec 2011)

And what is worse Apple is complete rotten company.....sues everyone for stupid patents, fixing e-book prices, lies (Jobs: "no problem with antenna"), ...
Thats Apple and we are stupids making this company rich....

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:28 15

31. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

Oh, I usually ignore the prediction of snarky comments. Usually the prediction is what brings on the comments themselves.

But the critique bothers me a bit. Not because it isn't valid, but because I do believe there is a market for what Apple is doing. I've been a computer nerd since I was in the 5th grade back in 1995. That's around the time the internet was becoming commercially available. But for the next decade, the internet was usually limited to nerds. People who knew how to use the internet and not get caught up in viruses or worms (for the most part). Nowadays, EVERYONE is on the internet, including a large portion that has no freakin clue how to protect themselves. People who are far too trusting. People who are willing to give their bank account number to an African Prince.

I've said this before, but the reason I like iOS is because it does what I want. I don't have to worry about malware or even do work to prevent it. Do I think my apps are boring? No. The only Cydia apps I use are 3G Unrestrictor and PDAnet for tethering because my carrier sucks. Other than that, my iPhone works. I don't care to customize it because overcustomization slows any phone down.

Now, for the general public...especially those who are fond of African Princes...it protects them. Sure, they could learn how to use their technology safely...but a lot of them just don't want to. I'm 27, but when I worked for AT&T, the majority of the people I saw were people who spent half of their lives (if not more) not needing technology. Half of them had no clue how to add their email. iOS works for them. It doesn't make them bad people or even stupid people. You can't judge the intelligence of a fish by how fast it can run.

My point is, Apple has a place in our tech world. For people like me who are big tech nerds...I want awesome apps and iOS has them. I could care less what the OS itself does. But more importantly, it gives non-tech savvy folks a gadget or a computer that they can worry a lot less about. They can use it and be done with it. I can't think of another company that does that specifically.

Is it a crystal prison...sure it is. Is it protecting people who don't have the knowledge to protect themselves, heck yeah it is. Is that a bad thing? No. It's just a different kind of ecosystem. But to say that one right and the other is wrong or that one is bad while the other is good just isn't fair in my opinion...especially if you're fulfilling a niche that hasn't been fulfilled in the smartphone world.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:31 1

33. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)

then why do I get attack for defending my preference in OS?.. then..

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:36 5

35. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Look Jeff, I get what you're saying, but with Android those dangers of malware you're discussing aren't really the big issue the naysayers claim it is. You don't have to "actively work" to avoid malware/viruses on the system, because, especially if you stick to Android Market (which most people do anyway) you just won't encounter them unless you delve into the darkest corners of it.

And really, who is going to have that time?

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:38 7

36. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

So who are you okay with making rich? Google said it would be okay if your cell phone company defied Net Neutrality on your cell phone as long as it wasn't on your computer at home or at work. So is that a company you want to make rich?

Honestly, that's the problem...stop looking at these companies as if they are perfect. They are run by people...

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:41 9

39. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)

It's not just that...it's also the ease of use. How if you go from one iPhone to another, there isn't a huge learning curve between the two. It's not just one thing that makes iOS work for a large amount of people.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:42 10

40. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Because you have a propensity for showing arrogance and making dumbass remarks.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:49 7

42. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Android isn't really hard to use either. Early iterations were harder, admittedly, but it's gotten much better. In fact, when it comes to more advanced features, I find Android easier to use than iOS.

I'm not saying that iOS isn't easier in some respects, especially for a first time user (I actually think WP7 is even easier, but whatevs) but this myth that Android is somehow this big clanking machine or some kind of insane instrument control panel that no one without training can pick up is just that, a myth.

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:52 1

44. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)

so fandroids say dumb comments all the time.. jeff comemnts have been right on point. and he still gets thumb down but blind fandroids that thumbdown anything that is not praising android

posted on 30 May 2012, 11:58 4

46. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Yeah, and you know what? I don't support fandroids who make dumbass remarks. In fact, if it's dumbass enough I'll thumb it down, and if it's REALLY bad I'll even call them a dumbass.

Jeff is a reasonable guy, and if you'll notice he's not being attacked like taco is.

posted on 30 May 2012, 12:05 6

48. remixfa (Posts: 14323; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

Thats probably the best iOS arguement I've seen in a while. Kudos, Jeff. If only your ilk could be half as intelligent or well written.

Just for discussion purposes:
Just about all of that you have written can be applied to Android as far as the "it just works", "awesome apps", "does what I need" and "non tech savy folks can use it without worry or hassle".
But it does all of that with user freedom. Android now is not like android 1.5 was. Gingerbread was a great OS, and ICS is really where its at. It has all the great beginners tools and even has hints that pop up as you do things for the first time, to help guide you through the OS. For basic users, its uber easy. For advanced users it has the free open roads to do as you wish. Its fast, its stable, it has 500k+ apps, it gets better battey life than iphone, and comes in a wider variety of shapes and sizes.

It really is a user choice between the 2.

Back to the article though, I think part of the bit that was missed is that Apple's super controlled ecosystem really prevents people from leaving once your in. People dont want to "give up" on the apps they paid for to go to a new OS, nor do they want to "waist their money" by having to buy all new connection equipment, ect ect. Thats also part of the reason things are so expensive. "But I paid 40 bux for that case, i dont wanna just throw it away!!". Its a mind set exploit.

Its a shiny but super sticky web that is near impossible for many users to get away from. I think that was the point of the crystal prison more than the OS itself. Once your in the box, your stuck in the box.

Of course, that's great for Apple's bottom line and the entire point of why Apple does it, so its a catch 22.

posted on 30 May 2012, 12:07

49. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)

he will not fall into you guys game which is different.. me and taco are different just like you are a blind troll and a closet Apple fan boy.... which you wont admit. I am sure..

posted on 30 May 2012, 12:07 4

50. remixfa (Posts: 14323; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

but there is a difference between making someone rich and encouraging a company to continue to try to price fix the industry to their benefit, illegally i might add, by continually buying their products.

The only way to hit them is with lawyers or boycotts.

posted on 30 May 2012, 12:09 6

51. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

You know what I said about dumbass remarks like, two seconds ago? Yeah, you just made another one.

Closet Apple fan boy? You really have no clue.

posted on 30 May 2012, 12:37

55. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

I agree with Gallito. You and remix have iPhone envy and are closet Apple fans.

posted on 30 May 2012, 12:39 1

57. gallitoking (Posts: 4720; Member since: 17 May 2011)

aren't you in every Apple article and probably care more than me... that makes you a closet Apple fan boy.. clue?... I do have a clue it was Colonel mustard in the observatory with a knife...

posted on 30 May 2012, 13:05 2

59. DigitalBoy05 (Posts: 223; Member since: 04 Jun 2011)

Android has definitely gotten more user friendly especially with ICS. I now feel like I have a clean and functional OS that rivals the aesthetics of iOS while being just as reliable. They way I have my phone customized is by not having app shortcuts but rather widgets as they provide a quick glance to literally everything I would need my phone to do. Tap the button for the app drawer and wallah my phone looks even more like iOS with its grid of apps.

posted on 30 May 2012, 13:08 2

60. DigitalBoy05 (Posts: 223; Member since: 04 Jun 2011)

This is why sniggly calls you a dumbass. dont take others opinions so personally. its just a operating system.

posted on 30 May 2012, 13:09 8

61. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4618; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

This is starting to sound like my nephews and their friends. You guys talk about defending your OS, and that would be fine if that's all you did. But then you take it a step further and tell people that they're idiots for liking what you don't, that they're envious of what you like, or the worst of all, that they just can't afford it. I have made my reasons I'm not an Apple fan known in previous posts, mostly due to their business practices and their issues with support after the sale (my own experiences). The reason I prefer android over iOS is because it works better for my needs. Where I take issue with you is when you tell people that what they're using is inferior & you can somehow know that iOS is better for them without knowing anything about them. When I work with customers face to face to tailor a communications or sound system to their needs, even then it's extremely difficult to get it 100% correct. But yet you can somehow do this over the internet going off of a few comments on an article.

Educating people on the benefits of your preferred OS is fine and promotes learning. Berating people for using what you don't like is ignorant may end up accomplishing the opposite by driving them away due to your attitude. When you do it without even trying what you are berating is even worse. I don't begrudge anyone using what they like or what works for them, but don't tell me or anyone else that you know what's best for us when you know nothing about us. Now, can we try and have a civil and informative discussion like what Jeff started without name calling or trying to irritate others?

posted on 30 May 2012, 13:22 3

63. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4618; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

See, right here both you & Jeff make great points. There is no perfect company because companies are made of people, and no one's perfect. Google does a lot of things I don't particularly agree with, just like I don't agree with trying to gain market dominance through litigation rather than competition. The innovation over the last 2 years has been overshadowed by this issue. From a business standpoint you could almost judge a company more by how well they're doing in the courts rather than what they're introducing or how much they're selling. I truly long for the day when they get back to competing on the sales floor rather than in the courts, and that'll benefit the consumer rather than the lawyers, as it should be.

posted on 30 May 2012, 13:25 1

65. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)

Sniggs and Jeff, Personally i agree with you in both of your own areas. I agree with sniggly as Android isn't that hard to use, and that malware isn't a bad problem. I myself have downloaded hundreds of apps and never encountered this malware. Its all about checking networking&permissions.

posted on 30 May 2012, 13:28 1

67. remixfa (Posts: 14323; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

you know.. that bit about judging a company by its litigation success.. that is so unfortunately true... i mean very unfortunately true.

it used to be all about out competing each other, now its about how well you can use the system to screw the competition. OI.

posted on 30 May 2012, 13:29 1

68. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)

Lol, what's there to envy on the iPhone?

I mean really.

posted on 30 May 2012, 13:31 1

69. DigitalBoy05 (Posts: 223; Member since: 04 Jun 2011)

the last thing we need is more lawyers involved. the simple solution is consumer awareness.

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