By now you are undoubtedly aware of Apple’s closed platform of OS X available on the iPhone, which prevents third-party software from being created for the device. In fact, you may be encouraged by the fact that the device will offer future software titles through easy-to-use iTunes stores. What you may not realize, however, is that Apple is closing the door in terms of a rich and diverse software landscape for your tech favorite.
Apple is dealing a major blow to the mobile software industry as a whole. By promoting software as a feature of hardware, the company could perpetuate the assumption that software is no longer a separate entity from a mobile device, leaving consumers with the perception that hardware manufacturers are the only providers of titles. high quality compatible. It almost brings you back to the old days of Mac vs. Windows.
While Mac vs. Windows on the PC platform was partially relieved when Apple allowed MS Office titles and windows to run concurrently with OS X, there is no foreseeable end in sight for Apple’s granting of software development rights. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Steve Jobs stated that “the iPhone is the most sophisticated software platform ever created for a mobile device.” Adding: “We believe that software functions are where the action will be for years to come.”
This “action” is sure to mean increased revenue for Apple and less choice for consumers. Did I also mention something called Microsoft Exchange? Because without it, you won’t be able to efficiently perform work tasks alongside the Microsoft-based software your office is likely to run on. And when it comes to your personal email and phone calls, good luck getting your IT department to allow you to use IMAP for confidential company emails.
The true cost of Apple’s closed platform won’t be immediately apparent. In fact, it may not have an immediate impact. However, the mobile software industry will suffer a significant setback if Apple can shift consumer perception to thinking that software is a unique component of the hardware on which it runs. When in reality mobile software is, and should be, its own separate entity from any particular product line or hardware.
If this is allowed to happen, the diversity and number of available software titles will slowly diminish until once again, as in the early Mac and Windows wars, we are tied to a specific and lonely set of device-based applications that is bought. If I remember correctly, the Mac was on the short end of the stick in terms of applications and software in those days. And even though Apple’s 10 million units sold seem like a huge number, it’s still only a fraction of the mobile device market with Blackberry and Windows Mobile-powered smartphones overshadowing Apple’s sales target multiple times. Therefore, Apple will have to create some very robust applications to compete with the thousands of developers around the world who work to create software for the Windows Mobile platform.