Saturday 1 August 2009

Why not to buy an iPhone

Mac computers are great and, although my personal favorite is an AMD-based processor with Ubuntu GNU/Linux operating system (OS), I often recommend that folk buy one as opposed to one running an MS OS. But would I buy an iPhone?

* you cannot install your own software application onto it
* it is afflicted with DRM (Digital Restrictions Management or Digital Rights Management, depending upon your viewpoint.)
* you can't even open the cover to replace the battery, so once it cannot hold charge, you have to send it in rather than replace it yourself as with the vast majority of battery-powered devices.

Apple's iTunes is now marketing all their songs as "DRM-Free", but sees no problem with designing DRM into iPhone. Surely this is control-freakery, with profit as the motive and the rights of users as the loser?

I tend to agree with this statement from expert Bruce Schneier, who says that with iPhone, "security" is code for "control":

"Control allows a company to limit competition for ancillary products. With Mac computers, anyone can sell software that does anything. But Apple gets to decide who can sell what on the iPhone. It can foster competition when it wants, and reserve itself a monopoly position when it wants. And it can dictate terms to any company that wants to sell iPhone software and accessories."

These fundamental points must be addressed and resolved, and I for one will hesitate before buying an iPhone.