Whose side is Apple on?

by Volker Weber

While I like using a Mac and most of Apple's other offerings, its control-freakery is appaling. Either you use those products within the limits Apple sets for you, or you are facing an uphill battle. Three examples:

  1. iPhone: Apple controls what you can install, which carrier you may use, what features you have. Carrier does not want you to tether? Apple is going to prevent it. Found out how trivial it is to enable a feature like tethering? Apple will fix it for you, so it no longer works.
  2. iTunes: Apple controls which devices work with iTunes. Want to buy something else? Tough luck. Apple is going to fix iTunes for you, so it no longer works with your other equipment.
  3. AppleTV: Want to add features to it? You again face an uphill battle. Hack the OS to get control, break the update mechanism to prevent Apple from "fixing" things for you, then add your applications.

Apple has some great products, but you need to know that Apple is never on your side of a struggle.


who's side -> whose side ?

Jan Van Puyvelde, 2009-07-16

So it is.

Volker Weber, 2009-07-16

Great products created by a far-from-great company

Paul Mooney, 2009-07-16


Mariano Kamp, 2009-07-16

Thank you so much for summing it up, Volker. That is the reason I do not use their products.

Hubert Stettner, 2009-07-16

Musstest Du Deine Geräte mit zur ARD nehmen? Die Sammlung im TV kam mir verdächtig bekannt vor ;-)

Thomas Lang, 2009-07-16

Ups, mir fällt jetzt erst auf, dass der Kommentar beim falschen Beitrag steht. Sorry, das muss die Hitze sein...

Thomas Lang, 2009-07-16

After having used a Mac for almost a year I switched back to Windows. Too many limitations and shortcommings in the Mac OS for me. It is great for surfing with the superior multitouch trackpad. The keyboard however is, for a heavy keyboard shortcut user, a step back. Finder, USB, Trashcan, Hybernation all lack some important features. I am now looking forward to test Windows 7 and Chrome OS.

Felix Binsack, 2009-07-16

Brought to the point! I have used Mac for a year or so and besides having some technical reasons for leaving (for Ubuntu):
While I read this it becomes again clear to me how these typical situations just made me feel very uncomfortable relying on the mac to come up to my future needs.

It seems like Apple is personally offended if you use something not from their stack, or even something that Apple does not like anymore. The day that Steve Jobs publically bashed Java (I'm a most time Java Developer) was the day that I desperately needed to leave.

Oliver Weise, 2009-07-16

Apple excels because of its closed loop. And because of its sexy products. Sure, you've got some points.

1. Tethering: I dislike what the carriers do and what Apple does. But who needs Tethering with 48 kpbs upstream anyway? Pointless discussion. A built-in 3G option for the MBP would be much more useful...

2. Palm Pre, developed by Jon Rubinstein, comes as an iPod imposter. So it does not really come as a surprise that Apple blocks it in 8.2.1. All Pre users can go for Doubletwist instead of iTunes anyway...

3. Apple TV: You think everyone should be allowed to add features to (= hack) CE devices? I don't. If you want to tamper with the software, plz feel free to do so. But don't complain about the hurdles ;-)

Thomas Cloer, 2009-07-16


1 - Tethering would be great - Why should I pay for 2 data connections when I already have one on my iPhone. I dont' want to have to pay for another SIM or data fee.

2 - Blocking it is poor form. Its typical Apple. Their own products should be so good that the pre never gets a chance - the app store will typically win the fight for them, but forcing the paying customer to change their ways is unacceptable in this day and age.

3 - I paid for it. I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with it. Making it play what I want it to play should not be a hack.

BTW - I own 2 macs, iphone, apple tv, ipod etc etc etc.... I love my macs, but not the company.

Paul Mooney, 2009-07-16


1. Tethering would be great -- if only the iPhone had HSUPA. It does not.

2. What paying customer are you talking about? Palm should have made up a cooperation with Apple for iTunes to get it right.

3. You paid for what Apple advertised. Now you can do whatever the hell you want with it. But don't expect Apple to support that.

I own all the Apple stuff, too. And love it. And I like Apple. If it didn't do what it does, it would no longer be around...

Thomas Cloer, 2009-07-16

Thomas, Apple does not have to support my ideas. It would be just nice, if they did not intentionally break them.

Volker Weber, 2009-07-16

I think it's fair to assume that most companies you get service/products from are not "on your side" any further than they have to be. The exceptions are usually not-for-profits or companies who are trying to establish themselves. Do you have any good examples of companies that would not fit that rule?

Jon Walkup, 2009-07-16

Thomas - any level of tethering would be great - easily enough for replicaiton, mail or basic browsing using a tethered link.

"Palm should of made up a co-operation with apple" - I think we all know what Apple's response would of been.

As for the Apple TV - I can do what I want with it, but then they can try to turn all that off again.

Paul Mooney, 2009-07-16


Syabas Technology is open and does not care what you do with their products PopCornHour There is a lot off stuff already built in like a NAS, a torrent client, FTP, UPnP ect but you can also build and customize a lot of other stuff for example a Movie Jukebox
Nokia is also very open. All phones I have used have a VOIP stack so that you can add any SIP provider you want. There are at least two applications I am aware of that create your mobile in to a wifi hotspot for tethering (whs walking hotspot and jaikuspot) of course you can also use a cable or bluetooth for tethering. Nokia offers a really good navigational software which you have to pay extra but they never dreamed about blocking tomtom, garmin or copilot from developing applications for nokia phones which do the same.

we do not have an apple free zone ;) as my wife has an old iPod classic. But since she changed her computer she has no more iTunes. We use Yamipod. But there are many interesting alternatives

Andre Hausberger, 2009-07-16

jon, sorry reread your comment. whilst i think that syabas sells A LOT of devices it might fit the "trying to establish itself" category. However Nokia at least outside the USA is established.

Andre Hausberger, 2009-07-16

@Oliver same here. I have used Mac for a little more than 4 years and then switched to Ubuntu. A couple of moths ago I wrote 'Does Apple love it's customers?'.
It's about choice, respect and fair pricing, all of which Apple is lacking. Then again maybe I will ignore my principles and give in to the tempatation of an iPhone. Though outside the mac-world and iTunes it's probably only half the fun anyway and when Android will finally be matched to the hardware it deserves... Hey Google, thinking about gTunes and gStrings :-) ?

Moritz Schroeder, 2009-07-17

'Does Apple love it's customers?' the answer is: NO, they love your money like any other company out there. That Apple dictate who you should use their products, is IMO a sign that they seems to love their Products more than any other company in the business, I real hate to be dictated, but we can't not dictate how a company should sell their product.

Like any Other company Apple seems to care about their relationship with their Partners (ATT, T-mobile and so on).

In my opnion there no better Hack motivation than a system like apples. e.g: I have never seen so much people caring about Nokia memo Hacks like people care about Apples iphone. The Challenge that apple create bring us (Apple and Hacker community) forward.
As hack you can lern so much like no other; in my opinion even more than in any Opensource project. and apple can get a great Bug-report :-)

And Palm what Palm did is real silly ; the are not an Hacker Community it's a big company they should play it like Professionals and not like some script-kiddies;

Just my two cent

Sean Darwin, 2009-07-17

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