Monday, July 21, 2008

Reasons to avoid the iPhone 3G - love story gone bad

iPhone 3G mobile phoneFirst of all let me tell you this - Not too long ago I fell in love with Apple. But then I was married to Microsoft when I got to know Apple. Apple looked more robust, sexy and appealing and I instantly started flirting with her. In the past few months, this flirtation has turned into a love affair and I thought of breaking up with Microsoft soon.

But not until I got to know the dark side of Apple. Phew... to think I almost tied the knot with her. I recently came across an article on FSF's website. FSF stands for Free Software Foundation. Here are the reasons outlined by them.

The 5 real reasons to avoid iPhone 3G:
  • iPhone completely blocks free software. Developers must pay a tax to Apple, who becomes the sole authority over what can and can't be on every one's phones.
  • iPhone endorses and supports Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) technology.
  • iPhone exposes your whereabouts and provides ways for others to track you without your knowledge.
  • iPhone won't play patent- and DRM-free formats like Ogg Vorbis and Theora.
  • iPhone is not the only option. There are better alternatives on the horizon that respect your freedom, don't spy on you, play free media formats, and let you use free software -- like the FreeRunner.

Hence you can see the reason for the immense emphasis on the visual aspect of the iPhone. Was this all a gimmick to plant the DRM into our pockets? The DRM basically tells the user what can be done and what cannot be done. Free software is a big NO NO! So what about those software that are freely available on the web? Apple wont be allowing them to be installed on the iPhone? Nonsense! FSF also points out that even though in the US, the Register of Copyrights has ruled that customers have the right to unlock the phone and switch to a different carrier, Apple still doesn't allow unlocking to be done outside the Apple Store.

I wonder whether this tactic by Apple will prevail in the long run. The iPhone is not a gadget which cannot be copied or bettered by another company. After all, most of the components in the iPhone are not owned by Apple. The processor is from Samsung, the GPS chip is from Infineon just to name a couple. I'm pretty sure that there will be alternatives available in the future and Mr. S.J will have to rethink his strategy one again if they don't want to lose customers.

Opinions anyone???

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Mark said...

Hi Raj... very interesting post. Its not going to stop me from getting an iPhone but at least I know what I'm getting in to. Thanks Mate!

Ravi said...

Very informative. Good information. I was thinking of getting one when I go over to the US and would still probably get one. Would I have a need for all those freeware? If they are related to SMW and cricket, I probably will :)

Raj said...

Hi Guys,
The 3rd party software for the iPhone mainly is on a pay per download basis. But still there might be some software out there which could be distributed as freeware... eg chat clients. So you wouldn't be able to enjoy it "free" anymore. I guess even though the price might be small, it still doesn't seem like a good practice to me. After all, if the author of the software wants to give it free, why not?

Ram said...

actually most applications from the appstore (this is the online application store from iTunes) are free. For some you do need to pay a small amount ($0.99 - $9.99), but its worth it.

And just to let you know, 3rd party applications can be installed on the iphone 3G. If you guys get one, let me know, I can help you crack it :) I have done it on my 1st generation iPhone upgraded to the latest iphone 2.0 software which is the same firmware running on iphone 3G.

Raj said...

Thanks Ram... good info. From what I heard, the DRM is also capable of monitoring your activities on the iPhone. Not to mention your location as well. Lets hope these assumptions are exaggerated!

Raj said...

Guys dont forget to read my post on Apple's ploy to disable unwanted apps