I really enjoy listening to Jason Calacanis when he’s on TWiT, and I think he generally makes a lot of sense (and considering his success, he clearly knows more than me). However, his anti-Apple rant (like so many others) is really off-base (I’m not the only one that thinks so).
There is no technical reason why the iTunes ecosystem shouldn’t allow the ability to sync with any MP3 player
The iTunes ecosystem does allow the ability to sync with any MP3 player (even more so now that music is DRM-free). You can build an application that uses the XML library description that iTunes creates to figure out where all the music/video is, and do what you like with it. The way I see it, there’s no reason that iTunes/Apple should be forced to support any MP3 player with their software. Apple clearly makes some money from the iTunes music/video sales, but it’s clearly not the main profit generator is the ecosystem – the high-margin iPods/iPhones are. Apple has spent a great deal of time and money building a store and an application to make the players more appealing. Why should any other player get to piggyback on the top of that? If (e.g.) Palm wants to create an online music store and develop an application that works with it and the Pre, then they should be able to (and I see no reason they can’t).
I like iTunes more than other media applications I’ve used, but it’s certainly not perfect, and it shows that it started out as a music player and is now a great deal more. I love the iTunes Store, but Amazon completes with it (I can’t tell how well, since they won’t see to me in NZ) as does the Zune Store – which even offers a subscription model (no idea if this is available in NZ – it’s too Windows-centric for me). There’s absolutely room for someone (e.g. Palm) to build a better store (or interface with an existing one like Amazon) and built a better application. Do that, and build a better device, and you’ll get customers. Don’t expect that Apple should have to help you compete against them.
Think for a moment about what your reaction would be if Microsoft made the Zune the only MP3 player compatible with Windows.
The iPod/iPhone isn’t the only MP3 player compatible with OS X. However, isn’t the Zune is the only MP3 player compatible with the Zune store? The “PlaysForSure” idea got thrown out some time ago.
Simple solution and opportunity: Not only let the iPhone work on any carrier,
How many countries is the iPhone locked in? It certainly isn’t locked here, or in many other countries (e.g. Australia). This is only an issue in some countries, like the U.S. – it’s a U.S. Apple problem, not an Apple problem. From what I understand, it makes business sense for Apple to have an exclusivity deal with AT&T, at least for now. I don’t see anything wrong with that. If AT&T was bad enough, then people wouldn’t use it, even if it was the only iPhone choice. If other companies made phones good enough on other carriers, then it wouldn’t matter which network the iPhone was with. I presume this is a temporary issue and the U.S. will join the other enlightened countries before long and have unlocked phones, anyway.
but put *two* SIM card slots on the iPhone
A nice idea in some ways, but about as un-Apple as you can get.
3. Draconian App Store policies that are, frankly, insulting
This is actually points 3, 4 and 5.
Yes, every application on the phone has to approved by Apple, and if you were interested in something adult in nature…well…you can’t do that.
From all accounts, the approval process needs a lot of work. One suspects that now that Jobs is officially returned to work (and Schiller is speaking openly about at least some things) that changes will happen before too long. I think Apple must surely realise that the situation is getting out of control, and will start implementing changes. For now, there are still a lot of applications that I really love, there are none that I know of (which is an issue, of course) that I wish I had, and only one that has been pulled that I love (which is Amazon’s fault, not Apple’s). I’m willing to give Apple a bit more time to fix this – I suspect that even they didn’t realise quite how successful this would be.
4. Being a horrible hypocrite by banning other browsers on the iPhone
Again, this is really just a specific case of #3. Personally, I see almost no demand for Opera anywhere apart from by a few (very extreme) fans. I don’t even see much desire for Firefox or Chrome on the iPhone.
5. Blocking the Google Voice Application on the iPhone
There’s a lot of talk about this. It seems overblown to me, considering that Google Voice isn’t even publicly available (I believe it’s an invite-only beta) and is U.S.-only. I think it’s just that a lot of the noisy tech pundits use Google Voice, and so this impacts them directly. I think there are much worse cases of App Store approval problems. In any case, this is again just another instance of #3.
Making great products does not absolve you from technology’s cardinal rule: Don’t be evil.
It seems to me that the cardinal rule is more “make great stuff”. I’ll still buy from Amazon, even after they killed my favourite iPhone application. I dislike some of how Apple handles App Store submission, but I’ll still buy various products from them. I dislike DRM in general, but the iTunes Store is good enough that it’s still worth using.
1. Do you think Apple would be more, or less, successful if they adopted a more open strategy (i.e. allowing other MP3 players in iTunes)?
Less. A huge part of the appeal of the Apple ‘ecosystem’ is that because they control all parts, everything “just works”. If you use all-Apple products, everything works so much nicer than if you mix-and-match.
2. Do you think Apple should face serious antitrust action?
3. Do you think Apple’s dexterity and competence forgive their bad behavior?