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Recipe of the Day

Posted on June 15th, 2010

The recipe of the day is beef with apple. To be a little bit more specific: my beef with Apple.

I couldn’t really have picked a better day for this either; everywhere around me, throngs of starry-eyed Apple lovers were crashing websites and going crazy about pre-ordering their new iGadget, the new iPhone.

Some people say that I’m just a big grump and that my disdain for Apple is unwarranted. I maintain that I have a philosophical problem with what Apple is doing, and I’m not alone. The main gripe is that I don’t like how Apple keeps such a totalitarian rule over what their users can and cannot do. The App Store approval process is extremely subjective and it deprives users of having true choice in the marketplace. What results is that applications that do make it through are locked down in terms of what they are capable of doing.

Take Google Voice, which is a service that allows users to make VoIP calls. It was well on its way to being approved and, without much notice at all, was mysteriously yanked a little while later. Same deal with tethering. Every other major smartphone platform has facilities to do this and, despite having some of the most advanced hardware in the world, users are not able to really take advantage of it on their iPhones.

Perhaps I am a little bit biased. As a very entrenched Google user, I have become very accustomed to the instant Gmail and Google Talk notifications that I get on my phone. (And I do mean instant; no stupid polling required.) I love how, whenever I make an international call, Google Voice kicks in seamlessly (in my phone application) so I don’t pay AT&T’s crazy international rates. So perhaps it is because the iPhone lacks all of these things that I refuse to get one.

Well, that’s not entirely the case either. The fact is that Apple has made it difficult for developers to make any of these things possible. In addition to the aforementioned Pandora’s Box of an application approval process, Apple is constantly behind the times with its software. Does anyone remember when they claimed that they didn’t want to allow background processes because it chewed up too much battery and made things slow? News flash, Apple: both RIM and Google made background processes work just fine. If you’re worried about stupid users getting carried away with running a ton of things, then say it. At least you’d be calling a spade a spade. But don’t make up dumb excuses for the laziness or ineptitude of your software developers. Background processes are nothing new and, to my point, your lazy and/or inept software developers managed to finally figure it out.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect Apple for some of the innovations that they have made over the past few years: the idea of the iPhone, the idea of the iPad, the iPod, and the simplicity of Mac OS X are all brilliant. Steve Jobs was able to turn an ailing brand and company into one of the most prolific and recognizable corporations today. Apple has an amazing user interface, through and through; everything is sleek, simple, and sexy. They push the envelope with their mobile hardware. And they’re an environmentally conscious company to boot.

But, in a world that has become too captivated by how something (or someone) looks, I am not convinced. There’s promise to make the whole package more appealing, but Apple still has a long way to go before it can win me back again.

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