Tag Archives: Apple

If Apple is going to control the iPhone app channel, it needs to do it properly

Fraser Speirs – App Store Review is broken.

"The problem that I and others are having right now is that it doesn’t scale. Apple requires that every single update to every app go through the same vetting process (although who knows exactly what this involves?). I submitted Exposure 1.0.1 to the App Store last Friday and, five days later, one version is “In Review”. The other is still, mysteriously, “waiting for upload”, even though I already did.

If Apple can’t guarantee a maximum 24 hour review process, they should drop it. What would happen if I was trying to correct a data loss or security bug, and the update sits in App Store limbo for five or ten days? Fortunately I’m not facing that situation, but these are fixes for painful crashing bugs that are really affecting users of Exposure. All the while, users continue to comment negatively on these already-fixed-but-not-released bugs in Exposure’s reviews on iTunes. Without demos, those reviews are an app’s lifeblood."

Fraser is completely right, of course. If Apple is assuming the responsibility of ensuring that each and every application meets some nebulous "quality" threshold, it has a duty to both consumers and developers to do things promptly. If a developer can’t release bug-fixes in a timely manner because Apple can’t check code, the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

I get the feeling that Apple is only now learning a set of lessons. How to handle an online software distribution channel, something that it appears to have assumed would be a piece of cake after its experience with music and video. And how to create and manage enterprise-level messaging infrastructure ("Exchange for the rest of us").

Unfortunately, it’s learning those lessons in public, and taking the knocks to its reputation as it goes.

Some thoughts on the Psystar/Apple case

Ahh, Psystar. We hardly knew you. And now, finally, Apple wants you dead:

"’Apple licenses the use of its Macintosh operating system software for use only on Apple-labeled hardware,’ the Mac maker says in the suit (click here for PDF) adding that the only way to get a full version of the Mac OS is on a new machine. The boxed software product, it says, is only an upgrade version, valid only for upgrading an existing, Apple-branded Macintosh."

If that was what Apple was saying, I could foresee problems with its suit. The version of (say) Leopard you buy in a box as an "upgrade" really does include the whole shebang – and that’s the kind of technicality that courts get sticky about, and which tends to lose you cases.

Looking through the PDF, though, the only claim that I can see Apple making is that the boxed versions are sold as an upgrade, with different licensing terms – which is a different kind of claim.

Software licensing terms can and have been ruled invalid on the basis that they form "contracts of adhesion". In this case, it’s possible that a court may rule that a full version of an operating system which is sold with a license only to use it as an upgrade on specified hardware may form such a contract. That consumers have other purchasing options (ie they could buy Windows or Linux) is not always a defence, as Linden Lab found to its cost in the Bragg vs Linden Research case.

I don’t think that Apple will lose, particularly given that, judging from the court filings, some of Psystar’s actions don’t inspire much confidence in it as a company. The fact that Psystar allegedly makes copies of Apple’s software rather than supplying original disks only almost certainly means it’s in deep trouble. While reselling the original disks for a copy of Mac OS X that it had bought legitimately would probably be fine, making available anything authored by Apple as a download is a definite no-no.

The danger for Apple is that a court might rule that some of its licenses are invalid, which could open things up to other, more savvy Mac clone makers, even if it wins the case. But given that the core of its allegations is that Psystar is making illegal copies of its code, I don’t think it really had a choice about bringing the case.

How green is your Apple?

In December 2006 I wrote a feature for MacUser UK on the environmental
impact of computers, and in particular Macs. MacUser doesn’t put its
features online, so I’ve decided to put this one up. This is the full,
unedited version, so any mistakes are mine rather than MacUser’s.Some of the rights for this article belong to Dennis Publishing: please do not republish this article anywhere else.

Everything that we do has some kind of impact on the environment,
from breathing through to burning millions of tonnes of crude oil.
However, one of the cultural trends of humankind during the 21st
Century is a striving to reduce this impact, and preserve our natural
environment as much as possible.

Although the detrimental effects of large scale industry like cars
has been known and closely followed for decades, a more recent centre
of attention has been that icon of the last twenty years, the personal
computer. Computer makes have come under attach from environmental
campaigners for their manufacturing processes, while computer users
have started to wonder whether using a computer – particularly one
that’s on 24 hours a day, seven days a week – is worth the undoubted
effects on the environment.

Apple in particular has been the subject of some dedicated
campaigning, in particular from Greenpeace. Over the past year, the
veteran environmental group has attacked Apple, claiming it uses
hazardous substances in Macs – substances that other manufacturers have
abandoned.

But what’s the truth about the impact that our addiction to
computers has on the environment? Is computing sustainable, or will
there one day be a crunch, when we’re forced to either slow down our
pace of technological change or just abandon computers completely? And
where does the responsibility lie: with manufacturers who churn out
ever-faster machines that must be replaced every three years, or with
consumers greedy for the latest and greatest PC? And, should the
environmentally-conscious consumer be choosing something other than
Apple if they’re looking for the greenest PC?

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Why Apple faces an uphill battle in the enterprise market

Via John Gruber comes this great quote which, I think, illustrates the issues that Apple has in cracking the enterprise market with the iPhone:

"I have nothing against iPhone. It’s great," says Manjit Singh, CIO at Chiquita Brands International Inc. "But we’re a BlackBerry shop, and I don’t think iPhone brings anything new to the table. It has a great user experience, but that’s all."

John’s slightly sarcastic about what the guy’s saying, but I think that it actually illustrates very nicely the issue that Apple faces in cracking the corporate market, both with iPhone and (to a lesser extent) Mac.

In the corporate market, the person doing the buying is the IT manager, not the actual end-user of the product. And IT managers have a different set of needs to end-users, largely focused on ease of administration and effective ties to corporate back-end technologies.

That’s why Apple’s focus with iPhone 2.0 on features like remote locking and integration with Exchange is smart. It gives something that IT managers need, without compromising on the usability (I hope!)

Why Microsoft lose and Apple wins, part two

There are some very interesting facts about the reaction of Microsoft to Spotlight after its first demo revealed in the comments to a post on Joe Wilcox’s AppleWatch blog.

"MSFT has worked on WinFS for more than a decade without success in
making it fast, reliable, and easy-to-use enough for release. The
Longhorn "reset" in 2004 was in large part the realization that WinFS
was still not ready for primetime.

At the June 2004 WWDC, Jobs blew away the MSFT engineers in
attendance by demonstrating lightning fast Spotlight searches on Tiger
(OSX 10.4). The court-released MSFT emails show how flabbergasted they
were, and the imperative of getting the Tiger preview DVDs back to
Redmond for reverse engineering. Comments by MSFT’s Jim Allchin and
Lenn Pryor were priceless.

Here’s Pryor:

" You will have to take Vic’s disk…I am not giving mine up. ;) Tonight I got on corpnet, hooked up Mail.app to my Exchange server
and then downloaded all of my mail into the local file store. I did
system wide queries against docs, contacts, apps, photos, music, and my
Microsoft email on a Mac. It was f*cking amazing. It is like I just got
a free pass to Longhorn land today."

Here’s Allchin:

"Yes. I know. It is hard to take. I don’t believe we will have search this fast."

And years later, Microsoft still does not have search this fast – and, from the looks of what Joe is saying, probably won’t have it for many years.

So why is Apple so good at this stuff, while Microsoft keeps churning out concepts – like it’s latest, "table top computing" – that it never implements properly?

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