Skip to main content

Whether Steve Jobs Liked It Or Not, Apple Created the Market For Android

As Steve Jobs' authorized biography is released, we are getting some of the first public looks at his perspective.  I'm not surprised to hear about his view of Android as a "stolen" product.  Android is a smartphone OS that features a lot of the same usability aspects as the iPhone OS.   However, the reality is that Android fills a need that the iPhone's closed architecture doesn't: The freedom to run almost anything you want on the device you own.  Apple created the market, now largely owned by Android, when they decided to withhold that freedom from their developers and users.

Interestingly, Google was already thinking about Android well before the iPhone came out.  They acquired the developer in July, 2005, almost 2 years before Apple's announcement of the iPhone.  So whether it's really a theft is up for debate... An expensive debate that is being waged in court, and probably will for years to come.

Regardless of that outcome,
...the people who love Android over iOS are generally people who care more about freedom than having the perfect user experience.  
...Freedoms such as being able to choose from a wide range of devices, with a wide range of prices.  The freedom of installing applications that aren't necessarily published in "The Market".  The freedom to choose your own music management system.  The freedom of customization.

Now don't get me wrong, I'll be the first to admit that the devices in the Apple ecosystem work really well, in part or in whole, because they have such a controlled environment.  As Android has helped demonstrate, more things can go wrong when there are fewer limitations.  Maintaining a controlled environment is necessary to serve the "I don't care, I just want it to work" segment of the market, the one that Apple best associates with.  Apple routinely bans apps from the app store, without much of an (if any) explanation as to why. Incidentally, not all of them are adult or poor taste apps - some of them are actually useful.  Some go fairly unnoticed, others have a much larger impact. They probably have their reasons, and even if they don't, iPhone users are getting what they signed up for.

By limiting the apps and capabilities the user has access to, they limit the variables that can create unforeseen circumstances.  This rule is important when designing successful user interfaces, and it makes sense that it would carry over to product development.  However, this should be viewed as a "tough decision", and Apple certainly needs to be accountable for the fact that some developers and users were and will be alienated.   It's these folks who have likely found themselves at home with the Android OS.


Jason said…
Amen ta that brutha. I've had both and I completely agree with you. Apple makes a wonderful product but caters too much to the people who "just want it to work". They live too much in a fantasy world where everyone should just accept the limitations because it's "superior". Well it's not superior anymore...time to start suing everyone who is now.

Apple has been ripping off ideas since day 1. They all do. It's called advancement of technology. Patent reform is where it's at.
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Popular posts from this blog

Reaper, Linux, and the Behringer X-Air - Complete Studio Solution, Part 1

Introduction and Rationale This is part one of a major effort to document my experiences with recreating my home studio, entirely using Linux.  Without getting into too many of the specifics, a few months ago I decided that I was unhappy with Windows' shenanigans - to the point that I was ready to make a serious attempt to leave it behind.  For most in this situation, the obvious choice is to switch to Mac OS.  With its proven track record, support, and options for multimedia production, it is naturally the first alternative to consider if your goal is to simply use something other than Windows. For me the choice was not so simple. I despise Mac OS and, in general, the goals and philosophies put forth by Apple in an effort to ostensibly provide users with an "easy" working environment.  It does not help that I have also failed to find any aspect of the Mac OS UI intuitive, but I realize that this is a subjective matter. With my IT background and user-control* favori

Timbaland rips off a Demoscene artist

I knew this day would come. The new Timbaland/Nelly Furtado song "Do It" uses a song made in 2000 by Finnish demoscene artist "Tempest" (Janne Suni). It's a 4 channel .mod (the ripoff is from a playback using the C64 SID soundchip). The song was hosted on's servers (the main repository for all everyones demos and tracked music, etc.). As you might expect, no permission or royalties were paid to Tempest. Just to clarify, we're not talking about some kind of coincidence here. There is no question that this track was used to create the song "Do It". In an interview, Timbaland tries to downplay it, saying things like "he sampled it from a video game". (This track was not written for a video game- it was actually written for the 2000 demoscene music competition, in which it won 1st place). Regardless, he basically claims he has no legal obligations because it's just like all the other pop artists that sample other m

The Hellscape that is Google’s Web in 2023

Alternate title: "were we better off in 2015 2007?" Time now for another anti-capitalist, “get off my lawn” posting for all the folks out there who won’t see it anyway, because they don’t read real blogs for the reasons specified in this very article. The web has existed for 30 years now. One would think our ability to access information on it would keep getting better. However, I watch as web search is instead devolving every year, to the point where people are giving up and hoping for the next thing.  While this sounds dire, this kind of behavioral change has historical precedent. Remember running your own mail or web server, or better yet, having a phone that you might actually answer calls to, even if you don’t recognize the caller’s number?  Yes, those ideas are gone too. It's all thanks to the uncontrolled thirst for advertising. Let’s walk through the experience of someone doing a simple Google search for “how to control poison ivy”.  The desired outcome would be