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Reality Distortion Field

Ok, I've got to vent about Apple here. But before I tear into them, let's start with a brief history.

Apple has always been hip and innovative. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started selling computers in the mid-seventies out of a garage. The whole idea behind these computers was that they were completely open source. You built them yourself, and programmed them yourself.

As Apple grew and grew, they became the "Alternative" computer. PC's were for those in suits, and Mac's were supposed to be for the non-conformist, open-minded free thinkers.

Apple, for years, has been a niche market computer. I have always thought they were great. I am typing on a nice MacBook Pro right now. Since Apple's business model is a "vertical stack" meaning they develop the hardware and the software, they are quite nimble in terms of being able to innovate. This has resulted in some great products over the years. I am a huge fan of Macs because of their ease of use, and reliability.
Then in 2007 the iPhone came out. I don't have to tell you, but it was a pretty big deal. Apple was profitable before, and now because of the iPhone they have more cash then they know what to do with.

I think all of the success at Apple has gone to their CEO's head. Take a listen to Apple's latest earnings call. And then strap in for an angry rant.

Ok, so lets break down some of Steve's comments. First, he says that Google calling its platform "Open" is disengeniuos. This couldn't be further from the truth. Lets look at Apple's iOS operating system. It's a completely closed eco system. You can only use it on specific Apple devices. As a developer, you are only allowed to use certain features of the phone. Your only method of distribution is through Apple's App store. Your apps can only get on the App store if Apple says it's OK for them to be on there. If you've been paying any attention over the past three years, you know that Apple exercises its right to remove apps from its app store for a variety of unfair reasons. I don't know about you, but this seems like Draconian control to me. It's Apple's way or the highway. Apple used to lockdown their app developers in NDA's so that they couldn't even talk to other developers about their apps!

Then there is Google Android. Google gives its Android software away for free. Anyone can use it on any device they can shoehorn the software into. Google provides an app store, and also allows apps to be sold though other app stores, and even directly off of developers' websites. In a nutshell, you can sell an app to an Android device anyway you want, with or without Google's help.

As a devoloper, you also have access to the entire phone. Do you want to make an app that will replace features that the phone already has? No problem, just write it. Apple would smite you to hell for even thinking about that!

Google's Android is a lot like Windows. Anyone who can write software can do anything they want with it. The only real difference is that Android is free, and Windows costs money.

This is the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion field at its best.

Steve also goes on to say that Android is fragmented. He's a little right on this one, but it works well. HTC and Motorola sell phones with customized versions of Android on them. I have used both, and they are both very easy and pleasant to use. The user doesn't need to be a "Systems integrator". That is complete bullshit. These phones are just as easy to use as Apple's conveted iPhone.

Steve Jobs also called out the devoloper of TweetDeck, a Twitter app for iPhone and Android. He said that TweetDeck had to make only one version of its software for Apple, and 244 versions for Android. This is completely untrue. See this Tweet from the TweetDeck CEO

In fact, not only did he Tweet this, he was quoted as saying that it only took two people to create and deploy their app for Android. Does that sound like a nightmare? Two people create and deploy an app that will work on many more devices then its Apple varient will? And these developers don't have to worry about Google approving, or disapproving their app. Google lets the public do that.
Even Andy Rubin jumped into the fray. For those of you who don't know who he is, he is the "father" of Google Android. He responded with this tweet:
This is the command line used where any developer can build its own version of Android.
I think all the success and fame has gone to Apple's head. Steve Jobs has to get his head out of the clouds and look around. His company's arrogance and obsessiveness may work in their favor now, but with more and more "open" platforms being offered, I'm not sure how long it will last. Once I made the move to Android, I realized that open is the future. I like freedom of speech, and since most speech is electronic, I like an open platform to do it on. Apple has jaded me, and I don't think I am alone.
I'll continue to use my MacBook. Anyone can develop for Mac OS, and let's face it, Mac's are better than Windows machines in my opinion. As far as mobile devices go, I'll stick to the open ones, no matter what the OS is. Until Apple releases its grip on iOS, you can count me out.
I'll leave you with one last thing, back in 1984, when Mac was the "Alternative, Free thinkers" computer, they ran this incredible commercial. You can see that the runner represents the Apple user, and the "drones" are all PC users. It's funny looking at that commercial now and I can't help but think how the roles have reversed.

So what are your thoughts? Open, or closed?