The theme of this week’s Particle Debris is that technology advances are happening so fast that they are outstripping the ability of even reasonably informed people to make informed choices.
I’ll get to that, in some detail, further along.
But first, one of the key elements of Apple’s proactive system design has been the way iOS updates are handled on our iPhones and iPads. This is important because we’ve reached an interesting security inflection point. Instead of continuing updates making our devices more and more secure, instead, continuing updates merely hold the fort until the next round of updates.
Whether by awesome prescience or good policy, Apple anticipated the above scenario by seizing control of the iPhone update process. Jonny Evans at Computerworld nicely explains the process that started in 2007.
Apple planned for this when it began to use subscription accounting in April 2007.
Author Evans reminds us that system updates weren’t always free.
It’s important to note that operating system upgrades were not always free.
You had to pay for both Mac and Windows upgrades. Windows Mobile (at that time a threat) demanded a fee for its upgrades, but customers weren’t buying. Palm, RIM, and Nokia only seldom introduced OS upgrades, preferring a ‘built-in-obsolescence’ model in which customers were driven to purchase new handsets to get hold of a new OS.
Of course, customers neglected to do that.
Today, 95 percent of iOS devices are running iOS 10 or later. Evans explains, “This means 95 percent of all actively used iOS devices run an operating system that’s under 2 years old. No other platform has this.”
This turns out to be critical when it comes to securing the iOS platform against ongoing threats.
Diametric Views, Apple and Facebook
Moving from platform security to user privacy, Cult of Mac lays out the great contrast between Apple and Facebook.
Facebook lost more value today than any other company in history: US$120 billion. The massive selloff came after CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the growing privacy concerns of the public, and the likely response of lawmakers and regulators, will hit the company where it hurts: in the pocketbook.
Author Hardy lays out the stark contrast between the two companies and explores the continuing stress Facebook is under as users and the federal government acquire a new appreciation for how Facebook operates.
Facebook’s whole business model is gathering private data about users and selling it to advertisers. The people who use its social network aren’t the customers, they’re the product being sold.
But the company’s CEO just admitted that this is becoming increasingly difficult. Speaking to investors late yesterday, Zuckerberg warned ‘Looking ahead, we will continue to invest heavily in security and privacy because we have a responsibility to keep people safe. But as I’ve said on past calls, we’re investing so much in security that it will significantly impact our profitability.’
It’s bizarre how a statement that rings so hollow could spook investors. But we live in weird times.
Finally, one can reasonably conceive of the failure of Facebook if its growth stalls any more deeply and government scrutiny becomes more and more invasive and disruptive. Meanwhile, Apple continues to adhere to good principles of security and privacy. In a day and age when time to reflect on and manage our internet life is at a premium, it makes more and more sense to stick with a company whose values echo our own.
Next Page: The News Debris for the week of July 23rd. Advances that will leave your head spinning.