There’s a lot of fuzzy thinking and whining going on about Apple, Steve Jobs, and control. Let’s look at things in a new light.
Here are the facts:
1. A very small number of Apple iPhone developers don’t like the constraints Apple has placed on them. Let’s remember who they are: businessmen.
2. In an era of instant communication and blog-mania, they complain about it bitterly. Businessmen and women never want restrictions of any kind. It’s in their blood.
3. News sites, always on the lookout for something to write about that has the potential for both agitation and getting under Apple’s skin, pick it up and then start to editorialize on top of that. The result is questionable editorial opinion material like: “Is Steve Jobs Big Brother?”
It’s a simple and deceptive editorial sleight of hand to move from Apple’s policies that are restrictive for iPhone/iPad development to being Big Brother for consumers. I really doubt that the average iPad or iPhone consumer feels very restricted. Let’s do a test:
Fire up Safari on an iPad. Where is it you can’t go because of Apple? (Adobe Flash is not a location, it’s a feature.)
Fire up Mail on an iPhone. Who is it you can’t e-mail? (You can even e-mail Mr. Jobs.)
It’s only when we get into the Wild, Wild West of applications that choices are restricted. Like Porn.
One of the things that developers overlook is that by doing business with Apple, they are partners. Partners that reflect on Apple. Apple, being large and responsible, is looking out for its own customers, the same way the government (tries to) look out for citizens. Both want to succeed. When the government caves in to business special interests and fails to protect its citizens, all hell breaks loose.
Being more specific, it’s similar to zoning. When a city says I can’t build a liquor store or a bar on property zoned for residences and schools, is the city being authoritarian? Big Brother? Or is the city setting a community standard for the benefit of all, not just a greedy businessman who wants no restrictions at all.
Lest we forget, the zoning restriction against bars in a school zone is what gives children the safety and freedom to play on the playground without fear. It cuts both ways.
When Steve Jobs points to 200,000 apps, he’s essentially saying that the restrictions aren’t, in effect, all that onerous. Lots of imaginative developers are making good money. I know; I hear from them every day. In many cases, developers get too imaginative and come up with apps that would circumvent something new and exciting that Apple can’t yet talk about. Explaining why the app is rejected would give away an Apple competitive secret.
Lately, we’ve all come to realize how much harm can come from businessmen who want every restriction relaxed and who want total freedom to sell or do anything (or drill for oil at sea in any fashion they chose). Restrictions on businessmen for the general good are nothing new.
There has been altogether too much fuzzy thinking about all this — needlessly at Apple’s expense.