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

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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119 Comments

112. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Apple has a closed system, They had their reasons for doing it that way, one of which was ensuring a smooth stable experience across all of their supported hardware by controlling the hardware with an iron fist by making it themselves, WP does something similar by dictating the phones specs. That is pretty much the nature of the beast with closed OS's. You don't like it? Well there is no reason to fret, because there are other OS's to chose from. There is no reason to dump on another OS because it was not your cup of tea. Jeffdabeat understands this, and I feel Remixfa's problems stem from disagreements he has with the company Apple itself, but Taco, and Gallito, you guys just HATE Android, I see no reason for this hatred other than blind fanboyism. I have a RAZR, and a 4th gen iPod Touch, I use BOTH OS's, I LIKE both OS's I WILL be getting an iPhone 5, are YOU open enough to new technology to try it like that? Be like the WOZ and try all the toys.

111. tumchaaditya

Posts: 71; Member since: May 21, 2012

Nice article. Everything has its pros and cons. But, Apple SHOULD be more open in my opinion

109. amazinghorse

Posts: 38; Member since: Dec 14, 2009

I put your mom in a crystal prison. And she loved it.

100. ivanko34

Posts: 617; Member since: Sep 04, 2011

I hope it will continue to be a prison If not I may buy apple products again My last apple product was an Apple2 it was really freedom

81. mahoganyheart

Posts: 11; Member since: May 23, 2012

It's interesting how Apple can restrict their IOS to make it more productive/secure/better"Whatever"!!, and they can get away with it, but take Microsoft next OS Windows 8, taking the stance to protect some of the the software core access to make it a more safer/better OS, it gets hammered by complaints and possible court inquiries. If Apple can do it, why not Microsoft?

91. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

There is a double standard there, which I believe stems from the problems they had with "monopolistic practices" in the PC market awhile back. The reason I think it differs is because while safari is the standard browser for example, you can choose others and use them. Android phones mostly come with Google's browser (some with Bing) but again you have alternatives. From what I've read of W8, they are trying to make IE the only browser available for use on their devices, which is where the problem lies.

105. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

The restriction for IE is only for the ARM-based tablets, and it isn't limiting it to IE, just recommending it as the default due to hardware capabilities

80. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

what I think is funny after looking through the threads. Jeff comes on and makes a brilliant post about iOS. You may or may not agree on all of the content, but the post itself was very good. Then many of the "android regulars" come on and start civil discourse with Jeff, and just about everyone agrees that there should be more "iOS" posts like his. There is good conversation going all around for just a short moment.... Then the trolls, not content to be left out view, jump on board with their tired and lame lines, attacks, and non nonsensical arguments. Somewhere in the middle, Jeff disappears from conversation and its pulled down into the lower pits of fanboy stupidity by the "iOS regulars". Why cant we have more jeff and less taco!?!?!?!

83. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Exactly my point. Note that Jeff's posts aren't buried in red thumbs like Gallito and Taco's posts tend to be.

88. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

Jeff represents not only iOS users but users who embrace all OS's not only that he also respects Google, Samsung, and Apple's success as a business... i'm glad he was finally heard. he's not the only person that feels that way... the problem is... everyone who makes a comment like he did either is challenged by some aggressive android user or thumbed down by everyone. whats silly is if PA puts up an article that says "new leaks of iphone 5 case" i guarantee you there will be the aggressive android users (not the dumb trolls) that will have some funny negative joke or wont give any type of credit to the article. i dont know whats yall problem... "Why cant we have more jeff and less taco" that should be a question for BOTH sides... If Tim Cook says "we're working on Siri improvements" it doesnt mean android users bombard the article saying how Siri isn't innovative and bringing up a totally different topic that the post is talking about... thats the problem... There's hundreds of android articles that are never commented on by the aggressive android users... they are so stuck on proving apple articles wrong... come on guys... lets get along...lol

90. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Exactly the point I was trying to make. Respect goes both ways. If you can't try to respect someone's opinion, how can you expect any respect in return. I like android currently because it suits my needs the best. I used to be pro apple, but a support issue soured me on them. I also used to like Samsung, but not anymore for the same reasons. Now I could just go out and say "Apple & Samsung are junk" and call it a day. But, while I have had bad experiences with them, that doesn't mean everyone will. So while I may relate my experiences to them, I don't expect them to take it as the gospel truth. I don't expect anthing. I hope they add it to anthing else they've learned, and make a cautious and informed decision. But they can just as easily dismiss it as well. The only thing I know is I tried to help them with the knowledge I have.

92. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

There are some posters who make posts to provoke responses. As long as people keep responding to them either by thumbing or responding, they will continue to do so.

101. taco50

Posts: 5506; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

Exactly llike remix and sniggly attacking siri and saying it's not innovative. They're out to prove android is better, not have a discussion.

103. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

everyone, here is exhibit A.. oi..

113. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

for the same reason we can't have more whateverman superandroidevo and less remix andro and sniggly...

8. bella92108

Posts: 8; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

Maybe the government should also go after windows for being so crappy? Or car companies for breaking down so often? Oh, or the people who make the Mr Clean Magic Eraser because it always shrivels up so fast? Comon, it's a business, leave them alone. Let consumers make choices for themselves for once. I'm not a fanboy, but I'm tired of the government telling businesses how to operate their product development group.

11. ilia1986 unregistered

If the government wants to remove restrictions and create a more open and free world - good for them, I say.

66. Stuntman

Posts: 843; Member since: Aug 01, 2011

The government can't do that. Who do you think contributed to getting them elected in the first place?

6. khmer-thai

Posts: 4; Member since: May 28, 2012

M sick of ios

10. The.Average.Fanboy

Posts: 12; Member since: Mar 28, 2012

Are you sick of your house? Are you sick of your job? Are you sick of the sky being blue?Are you sick of sunlight being bright? Tell me, are you sick of life's limitations? Please understand that restrictions are part of nature- and I find the iPhone to be a closer reflection of nature than Samsung's Galaxy S III.

12. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

Shame to compare iOS with such things like a life, unless you are brainwashed...

13. ilia1986 unregistered

YES we are. And shouldn't we all be? Why should we be restricted when we don't have to??! Why must we only have limited choice? HUMAN NATURE demands unlimited creativity and freedom.

15. PhoneArenaUser

Posts: 5498; Member since: Aug 05, 2011

True.

37. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

thats why we have rules and laws.. we can be running around doing what you want.. sorry i dont agree

117. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

what rules by BANNING OUR CONSUMER GOODS? when people pay GOOD MONEY like the ONE X and the EVO which was BAN BY APPLE. I think not. you're comment is irrelevant

14. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Sick of your house? Sell it and move. Sick of your job? Find another one. Sick of the sky being blue? Wear red shades. Overcoming restrictions is part of human nature; therefore, the iPhone is a direct contradiction of our nature. I mean, really, you can't compare devices to nature itself. It's easier to compare these systems to economic systems. iOS is a totalitarian society, much like Equilibrium: everybody is "safe" because everything is controlled. Sure, the people who aren't being controlled may be more erratic, but when you lift the controls off of your life you can suddenly find beauty in even small things, like seeing a sunrise or hearing a piece of music for the first time. So Android is more like a free market, and iOS is more like a centrally controlled economy. Between the two, I'll take more freedom.

16. ilia1986 unregistered

Precisely, Sir Sniggly. The.Average.Fanboy - Want a place where you eat the same food, wear the same clothes, do the same things, and almost nothing changes in your life? You can get there. It's called PRISON.

17. xtian1103

Posts: 364; Member since: Feb 11, 2012

sniggly has also been knighted? i've missed the ceremony

20. ilia1986 unregistered

From Wikipedia: "Knights of the medieval era were asked to "Protect the weak, defenseless, helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all.""

18. SleepingOz unregistered

hahaha TRUE!

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