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Why I Still Don’t Love Apple

John on August 2, 2008 at 9:15 pm

I bought an iphone a couple weeks ago. As you can see from my review, I think it’s a terrific device. One of the things that made it so appealing was the Application Store. Basically this is an iTunes-based interface for developers to distribute their creations for the iphone and ipod touch. There are apps for everything. Games, search utilities…I even have the complete works of Shakespeare. And lots of this stuff is free.

The whole App concept was a reversal of what Steve Jobs had said a year or so earlier when version 1.0 came out. Back then, Apple was going to only allow Apple products on the phone. No third-party software. That, frankly, fits with Apple’s track record. They’ve always kept a tight grip on everything which is why PC is a better platform. With a PC you have choices. That’s great for me because I like to build my own machines. I’ve been doing it since the mid-90s. With Apple, you get what they want to sell you or you get nothing. So the App store was a change in direction and a healthy one for Apple. They were opening up the platform a little. At least that’s what I thought prior to today…

This morning, I decided to take my girls to the movies. I was in the kitchen so I grabbed my iphone off the counter and fired up the Box Office app to check the times. First show of Space Chimps, 12:30. We’d have to move to make it. I get to the box office 20 minutes later only to find out that all the times are different than what my iphone had shown me. We’ve missed the 11:50 show and the next one isn’t until 2:00PM. What happened? I fire up the Box Office app again, only now it’s not working at all. It just crashes. I try half a dozen times. It’s dead.

We end up killing time and eventually make it back to the theater for the later show. Finally I’m home and decided to reinstall Box Office, thinking mine is corrupted somehow. Only I can’t find it on iTunes. A little googling reveals that it was pulled by Apple yesterday. Why? No one knows. Here’s the developer:

Apple pulled the app yesterday without giving my any notification that they were doing it, or what their justification was for removing it.

I’ve tried to contact them about the issue, but it’s been a complete dead end. If anyone has a useful contact number for apple, please let me know.

I’m in regular contact with all my data providers, and none of them have had an issue with my app. Indeed, the response was the exact opposite. They like my app and have even asked if i would do custom application work for them in the future. Furthermore, all the data i use is licensed by the owners as ‘free for non commercial use’. i.e. precisely what BoxOffice is.

In other words, there’s no obvious reason why it was pulled, no explanation to the developer who undoubtedly spent dozens if not hundreds of hours on it and no warning to users. It just stops working because Apple says so.

Now I’m sure some Apple fanboys are going to come by and tell me I’ve got it all wrong. But, frankly, if Microsoft were going onto my home computer and disabling third party software because they felt like it, that would feel like an invasion of privacy. They would no doubt be castigated for doing so by blogs and it would undoubtedly make the tech news worldwide. Apple apologists would come up with some slick jokes about Bill Gates and his need to rule the world. Ha-ha.

In this case, Apple is essentially going onto my phone and disabling third party software. Why? Because they feel like it! Result: I’m driving across town with my kids at the wrong time of day. So let me just say, I don’t appreciate it, Steve-o. Actually, it goes beyond that. Thing is, I didn’t lease this phone I bought it. That means I own it, not Apple. It’s mine, not yours. See how that works? So, I think I have every right to say keep your micro-managing hands off my phone you jerks.

Bottom line: The iphone is great, but Apple still sucks.

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