Before Apple introduced the iPhone…

Despite all that’s stored, it appears the Internet has little memory. Exuberance for shiny new things often overtakes our willingness to remember how we got here.

This could be both good and bad. Not fully understanding how difficult a problem is can sometimes translate into a fresh perspective that can slay intractable problems. Understanding history, however, provides an appreciation of evolution, scale, velocity and effort that can help solutions come to fruition in the marketplace.

One of the shiniest memes around recently has been the incessant banging of the “Apple’s evil” drum. Most notably written in endless self-indulgent and self-righteous detail about how one self-important person or another gave up the iPhone…because “Apple’s evil.”


A farce…in five parts

There are several leitmotivs. One is that the iPhone fell short of their ideal of what a smartphone has to be. Another is their perception that Apple’s recent growth and profitability necessarily make it evil much the way Google is also considered as such, because all large companies must be, like Microsoft, evil. Of course, Apple is controlled by a single person named Steve Jobs, who, if you’re wondering, is evil. In their topsy turvy world, Apple is evil because it’s proprietary and closed; it doesn’t even blog. Clearly, on the “Apple’s evil” planet value doesn’t count: Apple is grossly expensive for no reason. Apple’s evilness is best demonstrated finally by the App Store, where somehow a rejection rate of less than 0.03% out of 65,000 apps makes Apple…evil.

This list of evil absurdities goes on. And could perhaps be interesting and informative if the self-important promoters of the “Apple’s evil” meme were somehow uniquely qualified to bring technical insight or business understanding to the subject that we haven’t heard before.

Apple just doesn’t get it

When one doesn’t grok the very core of what makes Apple Apple there’s really no room for reasoned discussion. For two decades, Apple — and sadly Apple alone — carried the flag of software-hardware-service integration against an industry that bought into Microsoft’s “My Windows, Your hardware, What service?” business model.

Even Microsoft has recognized what a joke this is when forced to compete in consumer markets. But “Apple’s evil” promoters still insist that Apple sever its integrated model; license its OS; tear down the App Store; let anyone load any app on the iPhone; turn a blind eye to competitors leveraging its iTunes platform without compensation; give up the subsidies from AT&T and jump into bed with CDMA that will be sunset in a year or two; and allow any number of slow, ugly and battery-consuming competing runtimes proliferate on the iPhone. Because not doing so would be…evil.

They know better

These Apple-hating self-promoters neither fully understand nor care much about Apple or how iPhone’s unique ecosystem and user experience are what makes nearly 50 million touch platform users the most satisfied bunch in the industry by a mile, year after year. The iPhone isn’t perfect, but these self-promoters have a megaphone…so there!

Needless to say, no company is immune to making mistakes. Not even the company that just created the world’s largest and first massively-popular mobile application store essentially in a single year. Just think about the logistics involved in that effort and the obvious fact that no other company has yet come close. But for the self-righteous few, that’s not enough…because “Apple’s evil.”

Remembrance of Things Past

So for a more reasoned perspective, let us take a breath and remember what the world was like before Apple introduced the iPhone:

  1. Carriers ruled the industry with an iron fist
  2. To access carriers’ networks handset makers capitulated everything
  3. Carriers dictated phone designs, features, apps, prices, marketing, advertising and branding
  4. Phones were reduced to cheap, disposable lures for carriers’ service contracts
  5. There was no revenue sharing between carriers and manufacturers
  6. There was no notion of phone networks becoming dumb pipes anytime soon
  7. Affordable, unlimited data plans as standard were unheard of
  8. A phone that would entice people to switch networks by the millions was a pipe dream
  9. Mobile devices were phones first and last, not usable handheld computers
  10. Even the smartest phones didn’t have seamless WiFi integration
  11. Without Visual Voice Mail, messages couldn’t be managed non-linearly
  12. There were no manufacturer owned and operated on-the-phone application stores as the sole source
  13. An on-the-phone store having 65,000 apps downloaded nearly 2 billion times was not on anyone’s radar screen
  14. Low-cost, high-volume app pricing strategy with a 70/30 split didn’t exist
  15. Robust one-click in-app transactions were unknown
  16. There was no efficient, large scale, consistent and lucrative mobile app market for developers large and small
  17. Buttons, keys, joysticks, sliders…anything but the screen was the focus of phones
  18. Phones didn’t come with huge 3.5″ touch screens
  19. Pervasive multitouch, gesture-based UI was science fiction
  20. Actually usable, multi-language, multitouch virtual keyboards on phones didn’t exist
  21. Integrated sensors like accelerometers and proximity detectors had no place in phones
  22. Phones could never compete in 3D/gaming with dedicated portable consoles
  23. iPod-class audio/video players on mobiles didn’t exist
  24. No phone had ever offered a desktop-like web browser experience
  25. Sophisticated SDKs and phones were strangers to each other

This list too could go on. But it’s sobering to remember that a single device by a company with zero experience in the industry and against all odds caused such a tidal wave of change. Change didn’t come because of Nokia, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, RIM or any other player in the market for the past 15 years bet their company on it. Android and webOS weren’t there before the iPhone. But it’s convenient to forget all this when the meme demands Apple to be smeared with the evil brush.

Yes, “Apple’s evil”…except for all the others.

198 thoughts on “Before Apple introduced the iPhone…

  1. Pingback: Thought this was cool: Apple Never Invented Anything | Monday Note « CWYAlpha

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  4. It’s true that iPhone revolutionized the industry in terms of mass appeal, power and numbers, but a lot of your technological advances were already available on the market in the form of Palm and other smart phones. iOS was a new take when it came out and, like all operating systems, it did some things better and others not. Like #9, phones should still be phones first. This is not a boasting point ( but I suppose it could be said to illustrate your point too.) as many people complain that iPhones drop calls all the time. There were also at least a few phones with developer communities and app stores already.

    What Apple did well was to take pieces of all of these and package them nicely. They also piggy-backed on the success of the already popular iPod. I remember thinking, “That’s just an Ipod with a phone.” People were already comfortable with it, so Apple had already created the emotional connection. That’s just smart marketing.

    While the hardware and software were and are good, they’re not great. The genius, as I said, was in the marketing strategy.

    The only thing I object to about it is that Jobs came out talking like he’d created the first ever smartphone. The strange thing is, people believed it.

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  6. Lol @ people supporting apple just because they think its something great. Comparing to hardware specs apple has got nothing great. What they try to do is build their own specs and ask software developers to make softwares on that platform which is a smart strategy. While in the case of Windows hardware anyone can customise any part and the parts are cheaper. Btw Mac OS is developed from Linux so those lamers who blame MS needs to stop yelling on how microsoft needs to charge more.

  7. That is a brilliantly written and well through through article.

    I do really like your blog and your command on the language itself is awe inspiring.

  8. Does any one hold anyinformation? I’m showing my assumptions based mostly on past track track record(the closest thing to information that anyone possesses right now) so, about the Nexus1, that dropped first within the USA so, not truly the same and as far because the HD2 it doesn’t matter how lengthy it took the point is it’s nevertheless coming to TMobile USA, so (IMO) this phone will head to T-MO U.S.A, Thanks. In addition ,nice blog

  9. Does someone have anyinformation and facts? I am saying my assumptions based on past monitor report(the closest thing to facts that anybody possesses right now) so, concerning the Nexus1, that dropped very first in the USA so, not truly the same and as far because the HD2 it doesn’t matter how long it took the level is it is nevertheless coming to T-MO USA, so (IMHO) this mobile phone will go to T-MO U.S.A, Thanks. By the way ,nice blog

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  12. I have quoted extensively from this article in a post response at PC World, with attributions to I hope that is ok?

  13. Pingback: Why the cellphone market wasn’t mature before the iPhone (and why this fills me with hope) — UX Hero

  14. Post it US centric. Assumes a lot of things weren’t available to the rest of the world before the iphone.

    When you apply your list of arguments to the rest of the world most of them can be crossed off as “I’m a poor yank who didn’t get a real phone until the iphone”.

    Try travelling.

    • Eh, not really. There are certainly a few items to which you critique applies, but the whole list? Most of it? No. You need to back that up with point-by-point examples instead of appealing to your own authority as as some kind of pan-global technologist.

      (Also, “try travelling” was just bitchy.)

    • True, almost the whole list existed in Japan from where Apple took most of the ideas. They integrated them better and created something as a global experience which the Japanese were not able to do precisely because of your points #1 and #2. Before everyone gets too defensive best to remember that Steve Jobs already acknowledged this. Apple added a myriad of small innovations to the list and then masterful packaging and commercial skills. The REAL innovation was that Apple broke the back of items #1 and #2 and the music companies.

      There’s no doubt that the dead hand of telcos in the Western world was killing innovation and customer satisfaction, and that the music industry wasn’t far behind. Breaking the back of those two giants is Apple’s huge contribution.

  15. Pingback: Cómo era el mundo antes del iPhone | aL bLog

  16. With regards the 000.3% reject rate, was this article written before or after the Google Voice App (and backtracked related apps) fiasco?

    The Apple iPhone is the best piece of kit I’ve ever owned. And has been a game changer. Just not in the ways or least not to the extent some of your article implies.

  17. In the UK I can only have an iphone if I move to 02. This restricts choice. Because of this lack of choice for the consumer the carrier is able to dictate price. As a consumer I am unable to move with the iphone to another carrier that have been offering unlimited data plans for far longer than o2 has been (Three UK) for half the price.

    Because of my restricted choice I have to put up with very slow download times on my ihpone because my carriers network is not up to the job and has very low 3g coverage in the UK (A small (relatively) country)

    because of my restricted choice I can only download 10mb itunes over the 3g radio. This goes for App updates too. Many apps which would ideally work over the 3g radio are not allowed to do so, despite “Affordable, unlimited data plans as standard were unheard of”.

    I wish I could be with Three:

    But wonderful Apple say I can’t because I’m just a f***** consumer and they only care about the subsidising Carrier.

    Microsoft offer choice of hardware, which in turn drives hardware prices down because it keeps competition in the hardware market. This allows more people to buy PC’s and in turn explodes pc usage.

    With regards Apple re-writing the rule book with regards carriers I sincerely hope they do so and in some ways they, such as branding.

    I dream of the day the carriers will be no more that ISPs.

    However rest assured that day is not here yet, not even close.

    Apple have now realised who their customer is in the phone market and it ain’t you and me, it’s the carrier.

    Your article is hypocritical but in a sense you prove your own point. Blogs are ill-informed emotional outlets for self-important pompous (You quote Proust in an article about a phone?) folks who know better….

  18. I shamefully must mea culpa: I did my own “Apple’s evil” style post, although I fell short of actually accusing Apple of being evil.

    I’ve never owned an iPhone, but I can’t stand the ever-growing list of platform lock-in stores, because for the developers that invested time and money into those %0.3 of rejected apps, it is a big deal.

    But I don’t hesitate to agree that apple pushed the state of the art forward. I’m not sure they can take all the credit for the proliferation of great new smart phones coming out, but they sure are the “high water mark” as of now.

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  20. Pingback: links on the current apple user experience —

  21. Where did you get the 0.03% rejection rate? Reading through their numbers, it’s 24%.

    That’s not counting the recent crap purge, which probably means it’s closer to 50% rejection rate. But I don’t really want to count those.

    Otherwise, a great article.

    • So with 65,000 apps in the store, a 24% rejection rate would mean that ~85,000 apps have been submitted and ~20,000 have been rejected.

      At 50% rejection rate, ~130,000 apps have been submitted and ~65,000 of them rejected.

      Oddly enough, I’ve only seen references to double handful of rejected or purged apps. The number is certainly not in the thousands or even hundreds or we’d be hearing A LOT more about this.

      Personally, I think Apple should open up the process, rejecting only apps that have the potential to open the iPhone to malware attacks.

      But love or hate Apple’s control over apps, there certainly isn’t this wholesale rejection going on as you are stating.

    • Who is, “their?”

      So you’re saying ~112K apps have been written, hence we are now at 75K apps per Jobs’ presentation this week?

      A 24% app rejection is highly unlikely. Highly.

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  23. I am weeping openly. Oh Apple, how could I have been so cruel. You beautiful, beautiful thing. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I can live without WiFi on my iPhone until my contract ends.

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  26. Pingback: Cómo eran las cosas antes que llegara el iPhone… | Youbbie

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  28. A lot of interesting comments – but you can certainly see the religious fanboi zealotry hard at work (perhaps from both sides). I’m not going to speak to the value of the iPhone – it doesn’t interest me – but many kids and folks that like shiny things do – and it’s their money… however…

    Laud the bundling all you want – when will the federal government step in and stop the madness?? Microsoft never bundled hardware/software directly (oh – I remember the OEM deals, but that was crushed), but even bundling capable applications with Windows is constantly quashed. Not that I am a huge Windows fan – I am done with all the pseudo-flashy OS’s built on jurassic technology (yeah – OS/X fits that model) – but let’s not laud an unfair playing field…

    To the “developer” who mentioned it – the Microsoft compilers are free… it is the environment that costs. If you don’t want to by Visual Studio – use SharpDevelop, or buy Borland’s product…

    Now – aside from the poke at the macaws among us, I haven’t really railed against iPhone – yet I await the flames :)

    • Because you think the U.S. Constitution mandates separation of hardware and software?

      Or because you’re oblivious to Microsoft bundling hardware and software for its latest generation of products like XBox and Zune?

      Or because you don’t understand the difference between hardware and software integration and illegal abuse of monopoly?

    • Not at all. I simply wish for consistency. I believe the XBox and Zune (I own neither) – are more fixed application appliances. I am simply pointing out that, to some point – most likely because of market penetration – Apple is bundling amount of functionality into many products in a way that MS would not be able to. I believe some aspects (speed, etc) of Explorer are hampered by the seperation of Explorer and IE. I very much understand the difference – but you are saying that an activity is not illegal – the impression of the entity performing the activity is what is illegal. Microsoft bundling is illegal because they are the most successful (not a value judgement, but a financial/market share one)??
      I think when a ruling is made – that it needs to stand for all, to some extent. As a note – I run several variants of Linux as well as a few Windows machines. I have had access to a Mac twice, but as it did not have the network monitoring apps I required to perform my job – I did not feel like adding a third device merely to play with media (popular, but not my gig – I can play FLAC and MP3 files on any of my systems).
      Again – not poking at the Mac. I actually recommended one for a teacher friend of mine just the other day – but it is like a multi-tool, appropriate for some – not so much for others…. and far off the track from your article – which I did not mean to do…

    • “Microsoft bundling is illegal because they are the most successful”

      No, because MSFT was actually convicted of illegal abuse of monopoly on several occasions on several continents. This has nothing to do with ‘success’ or integration of hardware and software.

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  30. Pingback: » El mercado de los móviles pre-Apple

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  32. Point #12
    yeah, I love the app store. I wish Walmart were the only super market on the planet, then my life would be complete.

  33. Pingback: Tim Cinel » Blog Archive » 3 Things About The iPhone That Has Evolutionised Mobile Phones

  34. Not to belittle Apple’s effort in various fields, their success proves them right. But one major reason for that success is that they have wisely choosen the right time to enter the market. It was just the right time for a big display + a powerful CPU that’s needed for the the rich xp when using the device. As for the technical things: other companies paved the way for a decade and calibrated them. They’re more like logical steps instead of Apple inventions. Many phones could do most of those things before, just sans the lifestyle factor.
    Concentrating on only one phone instead of a product line helps too.

    Their marketing department is very good too. No one’s interested in obvious shortcomings of the iPhone, the brand-customer relationship is more powerful here. I easily passed iPhone 1.0 because of the shitty camera and hilarious absence of copypasta.

    • It’s not always what you do, but how you do it.

      Palm Pre, for example, has had copy&paste from its inception, two years after the iPhone intro. But there’s no question that a) iPhone 1.0 was still highly usable without copy&paste and b) iPhone’s copy&paste is still much better than Pre’s or anybody else’s.

      At the end of the day, most consumer can appreciate that balance in design, and management of constraints.

    • “It’s not always what you do, but how you do it.”

      Of course, that’s why I still don’t have a 3GS. I mostly use my mobile for music, radio, photography, checking gmail, gps tracking and telephony/sms/mms. My Sony Ericsson C905 beats the iPhone on most points at half the size (replaceable memory chips as a bonus) – yet still at a loss of lifestyle factor (only mention the last point because it plays a major role in Apple’s success).

  35. Some of your points are very valid. The user-friendly interface (design, multi-touch, accelerometer), the App Store and the form factor of the iPhone are unchallenged on any other platform, as I see it.

    But now let’s turn some of those skewed, ambiguous facts (or in some cases, lies) into objective facts:
    1. Here in Australia many people, especially young people, buy phones outright and jump carriers whenever they feel like it – prepaid is very popular.
    2. Since I don’t understand it I won’t argue.
    3. See #1.
    4. See #1
    5. Still true in Australia
    6. That conception has always been true in Australia.
    7. We still don’t have them here in Australia. Data limits and prices are similar to when 3G became mainstream.
    8. That’s true, but it hasn’t happened here because most carriers offer it.
    9. Please. BlackBerry, Palm, Windows Mobile all allowed you to email, browse the web, run custom software, word process, manipulate spreadsheets, take notes, play games, watch videos, listen to music and troll 4chan.
    10. My last three phones had Wifi that was in fact, seamless.
    11. I agree – that was actually innovative.
    12-16. Essentially the same point but a very valid point. Apple took the same very successful formula for iTunes and changed the subject to applications. Bravo! However, I wouldn’t call this innovative since it’s just really just iTunes for applications instead of music.
    17,18. Again, my last three phones have had large touchscreens with few buttons (volume, camera, call, hang up)
    19. Multitouch is another fantastic innovation. Good work :)
    20. “Actually usable” is used very obviously subjectively here. Either that or you’ve never seen any other virtual keyboards.
    21. Accelerometers have indeed been in phones before. lrn2research plx.
    22. They still can’t. PSP and GameCube to a lesser extend have more graphics processing power than iPhone. Your clear hyperbole aside, iPhone does have impressive processing power.
    23. I guess ‘iPod-class’ audio/video players probably didn’t exist on any phones prior to iPhone probably because iPhone was Apple’s first phone. Ignoring your fallacious wording, the portable iTunes “iPod-class” interface is very intuitive and functional. Too bad you can’t just select any track and set it as a ringtone.
    24. It’s been said once and I’ll say it again. Opera. I’ve been using it on my phone for years. Oh and it has Flash, unlike iPhone Safari.
    25. You and your ambiguous language, do you work for Apple or something? “Sophisticated SDK” – what is that supposed to mean? If you mean “rich, flexible and fully featured” then I’d disagree because the Windows Mobile, Palm, Symbian, and BlackBerry SDKs are indeed rich, flexible and fully featured.

    Wow. I think I’m going to have to post this on my blawg since I’ve spent about 15 minutes writing it.

    As much as I hate to admit it, Apple has certainly changed the mobile landscape for the better. Revolutionised? I don’ think so – it’s more like evolutionised.

    • As a young person living in Australia, the only people who I know that use prepaid are my parents. Not a single friend or relative has bought their phone outright.

  36. Kudos Kontra, well phrased and balanced.

    One contention – anyone else old enough to recall the untimely born ROKR?

    Apple tested the water and found it uncomfortable. While there may not be a direct current in every part of the tech or real worlds – we should be grateful that they turned up the heat!

    • Yes. Remember there was tremendous pundit pressure on Apple at the time about “out-of-box” approaches to online services, streaming video, even the ‘certainty’ of iTunes losing to cellphones. ROKR was a stopgap measure by all appearances. It simply bought time for Apple to start developing the iPhone.

  37. This story may or may not be 100% accurate, but… My friends who worked on the Danger HipTop (aka T-Mobile Sidekick) developed a new OS revision. Better web browser, improved features, bug fixes.

    T-Mobile told them that they absolutely would not allow it to be shipped for current devices. If the customer wanted the improvements, they could pay for a new handset, and sign up for another two years of service.

    Even if you don’t believe that, you certainly can find plenty of examples of carriers disabling phone features — for instance, loading ring tones or music via USB — because the carrier charged for the service.

  38. Two simple case studies are what clinches it for the iPhone:

    1) Try upgrading the OS on a Windows Mobile device. I did it on a Moto Q, from 5.something to 6.0. Finding the upgrade package was nearly impossible. The instructions seemed to indicate that 9 times out of 10 I’d brick the phone.

    2) Once I tried to get Nokia Maps to work with the integrated GPS. I lack a computer science degree and was stymied because of it. Installing new maps? Better have a mess of time on your hands.

  39. “turn a blind eye to competitors leveraging its iTunes platform without compensation”

    To what does this refer?

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  50. If you are saying that the all the things you’ve mentioned have changed because of Steve Jobs then you are living in shellworld.

    There is many countries with markets that were not targeted by Jobs that undergone same changes recently. iPhone is not available there at all or is just expensive curiosity like many other phones.

    Take a note that Jobs didn’t even try to push iPhone in Japan because he would get laughed at because they had much better affordable phones earlier.

    Technology develops and Jobs is good at giving it nice wrapping and promoting it heavily.

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  52. Oh one more
    #9. Mobile devices were phones first and last, not usable handheld computers
    If you talk about a Windows Mobile phone it was a computer first and a phone last. (and that is not a good thing)

  53. OK, I also have to call this list out for not being accurate. I love my iPhone, but before that I had a Blackberry Curve, before that an HTC Wizard, and before that a Palm Treo (with Palm OS).

    4. Phones were reduced to cheap, disposable lures for carriers’ service contracts
    These phones were not cheap most cost around 200-300.

    7. Affordable, unlimited data plans as standard were unheard of
    I had unlimited data plans for all of these phones and my contracts were within $10 of the iPhone.

    10. Even the smartest phones didn’t have seamless WiFi integration
    All of these phones had WiFi connectivity, the interface was not as friendly but once you set up the networks it was fine.

    18. Phones didn’t come with huge 3.5″ touch screens
    The HTC Wizard wasn’t 3.5 but it was 2.8″. It only takes a look at the HTC Wikipedia page ( ) to see that in 2002 (!) HTC had the Wallaby with a 3.5″ screen. Granted the resolution was nowhere near the iPhone’s.

    Now if you gave me any of these phones I’d throw it in the garbage because the iPhone is a far superior device. I happen to think it isn’t because it was the first to do much, but that it has the typical Apple polish that the other handheld makers don’t understand. But this list is flawed and to be taken seriously these points should be removed or modified.

  54. (Repost from my post on Hacker News)


    these apply to the US only.

    9. Mobile devices were phones first and last, not usable handheld computers

    Pocketpc and Palm phones were fully fledged handheld computers for years before. If you don’t believe me check the list of apps at

    10. Even the smartest phones didn’t have seamless WiFi integration

    Maybe not seemless but functional. A search for ‘wifi switching iphone’ shows everything isn’t perfect yet.

    11. Without Visual Voice Mail, messages couldn’t be managed non-linearly

    Don’t know. Not really my thing.

    12. There were no manufacturer owned and operated on-the-phone application stores as the sole source

    True the app store is an innovation. It’s a great idea apart from the compulsory part.

    13. An on-the-phone store having 65,000 apps downloaded nearly 2 billion times was not on anyone’s radar screen

    This is a repeat of 12. However it should be noted that there would have been 1000s of pocket pc apps available in 2006.


    These are all basically about the app store. Pretty much repeating 12 and 13.

    17. Buttons, keys, joysticks, sliders…anything but the screen was the focus of phones

    There where popular touch screen which had only a few buttons. My recently retired HTC Magician (not Magic) was one of these.

    18. Phones didn’t come with huge 3.5″ touch screens

    Many Did. Some had bigger screens.

    19. Pervasive multitouch, gesture-based UI was science fiction

    Apple did bring many of these to market for the first time. I’m not sure if anyone had developed a phone intended to be used by hand as opposed to stylus. that said the stylus is pretty powerful in it’s own right.

    20. Actually usable, multi-language, multitouch virtual keyboards on phones didn’t exist

    Deliberate repeat of multitouch. Apart from that many virtual keyboard existed

    21. Integrated sensors like accelerometers and proximity detectors had no place in phones

    ‘The first phone from the company to feature an accelerometer was the Sony Ericsson W910 and the Sony Ericsson K850.’

    22. Phones could never compete in 3D/gaming with dedicated portable consoles

    I had quake running on my HTC Magicician in 2006. There seemed to be a lot of other games available.

    23. iPod-class audio/video players on mobiles didn’t exist

    Many phones had popular music players.

    24. No phone had ever offered a desktop-like web browser experience


    25. Sophisticated SDKs and phones were strangers to each other

    No. Wrong.


    so what are we left with

    1. helped in the process of freeing US users from bad carrier slavery

    2. The app store

    3. A user interface designed to be used with fingers including multitouch and swipe.

    Good achievements but they didn’t ‘invent’ the genre. If you take away 1. You are left with an evolutionary not revolutionary contribution.

    • Also, I can’t help but wonder why the app store being a single source (per the OP’s phrasing) is a GOOD thing.

      Another thing you missed is that plenty of phones had proximity sensors long before the iPhone; my Ericsson R520m from 2001 had one which not only did everything the iPhone’s does, it also provided some basic gesture controls for some phone functions (such as dismissing the alarm clock).

    • Just as Apple has inferred at product introduction (no change here) it’s all about the user experience!!!

      Users of the iPhone want to know that a selection from the App Store will provided an application THAT WORKS!!!

      Apple has put much time and attention to detail, has derived a development friendly environment of user friendly experience. Has established conventions, features to play well in the Apple ecosystem – no one component appears to have precedence over another.

      You will recall that the 1st generation iPhone had webapp development, a preview of how to play/work in the Apple world. When the App Store opened, the apps JUST WORKED!!! Refinements/updates are a continuous stream. I purchase, download, and update daily.

      I greatly appreciate that I am always current and operational!!

    • So has the idea of flying cars. :)

      Not a single phone came close to the kind of bandwidth consumption iPhone introduced to the mobile scene. AT&T would be the first to admit that data is now the focus of networks…and carriers have to learn to deal with that reality. In earnest. For the first time.

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  62. Great post.

    As someone who has developed for both the Macintosh (both OS 9 and OS X) and for Windows since the ’98 days, there really is no comparison. The Macintosh is a far, far superior environment in which to develop. (Just go to any developer conference that is not focused on the Windows ecosystem; it’s a sea of MacBooks. Yes, some of them are running Linux, but those are a minority.)

    First, as mentioned above, all the OS X development tools, documentation are free. 100% free. No “limited edition,” no subscription, nothing.

    Second, I have no idea why Macintosh OS X is a “walled garden.” Apple hands you XCode and wishes you well. If you want to write directly to the I/O ports and reformat the hard disk, on your head be it; just get the machine’s admin password from the user.

    Apple *is* a very arrogant company (I used to work there, and they were bad enough during the wilderness years; they must be insufferable now). The iPhone AppStore approval process has been lumpy and bumpy, and has rightly pissed off some developers with poor communication and inconsistent policies. Steve Jobs wants to make Apple the most profitable company in the world, and he does not feel your pain.

    But they still make great products, and they still provide a way for programmers, even individual programmers, to make a reasonable amount of money and reach a very large audience in doing so.

    Are they “evil”? Compared to Microsoft? Compared to pre-PC IBM? Compared to Oracle? Really? I think that some kind of perspective is called for here.

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  64. I agree with the most of your arguments but I think you should re-think the carrier part of your list. Think globally. The fact that “carriers ruled the industry” applies mostly to the US. This is why Nokia sucks in the US. They didn’t want to, know how to, or just could not give in to carrier dictation. Ericsson had some market there because they paid themselves in. For example the greater part of Europe had legislation that for example prohibited selling phones with operator locked sims. Now you can do that (in greater part of Europe) and if you want an official iPhone you are stuck with the one operator.

    • My view is admittedly US-centric.

      But please recall, what changed the handheld computer market (‘smartphones’) did not come from Europe or Asia. The iPhone changed the landscape not just in the U.S., but also everywhere smartphones are sold. Witness the current (and thought-to-be-improbable) popularity of the iPhone in perhaps the world’s most ‘sophisticated’ mobile market, Japan.

      In the end, Nokia may have enjoyed carrier independence outside of the U.S., but it did not create a caliber of device (hardware + software + service) like the iPhone.

    • Japan indeed. Plus, what’s holding the iPhone back more than anything else here is the lock-in with the smallest and by far most unpopular carrier, SoftBank. And still it managed to sell like hotcakes and is incredibly recognisable and omni-present. Just ride the trains in Tokyo and Osaka and you see vast amounts of iPhones.

      I would guess that, were iPhones available with DoCoMo or KDDI, they would have an incredible grab at marketshare, because remember: Compared to other phones and data-plans in Japan the iPhone plan is not all that expensive.

      Of course here, it were the big carriers who did not want to give up control and hence did not get the iPhone deal. For SoftBank the iPhone was a bet they needed to make.

    • I’ve bought powerful Nokia phones in the UK that had its default interface replaced by some crap that Orange came up with, hence crippling half of the phones features and negating a lot of the reasons that I bought the phone for in the first place.

      Don’t think its only the US where the networks used to be in control of everything.

  65. Indeed, the iPhone has transformed the smartphone market into an every-person market.

    However, you are just plain wrong on your history. I’ll concede point 23 (with the caveat that multimedia was not a priority for smartphone users) and 24, but beyond the ambiguity of your 14th and 15th points, the language of your 20th and 21st points, and your baiting in the 18th and 19th points, you are just plain wrong.

    If you want to argue that Apple transformed the market by making smartphones accessible and popular, then I’ll agree. But if you want to argue that what Apple brought to market was radically different that what smartphone users used and wanted, then I disagree entirely and would ask you to recall what the iPhone offered at launch and think about your list in terms of that. Palm and RIM may have not kept up, but it is a lie to say that they didn’t build the smartphone industry.

    • “Palm and RIM may have not kept up, but it is a lie to say that they didn’t build the smartphone industry.”

      What Palm and RIM built was smartphones. As you may recall, Jobs started his introduction of the iPhone by explaining why those devices were neither smart nor much usable, and how Apple was going to ‘reinvent’ the phone.

      iPhone, after all, is not (just) a smartphone (and Apple doesn’t use that term much), it’s a smart computer as a handheld device. The difference is a sea change, which neither Palm nor RIM led. They are in fact desperately trying to catch up.

    • @bleh
      You take issue with the “language” of the article’s list of points by using words that are themselves vague and indefinite. I can’t see anything in that list that isn’t completely true. Care to state your case rather than merely alluding to it?
      It’s always telling when someone blows off “popularity” as something that couldn’t possibly be achieved just by making a better product than the other guys.
      Given your rejection of the facts, I’m assuming that you are another person trying to ascribe the product’s success to some kind of Jedi mind trick on the part of Steve Jobs.
      What Apple brought to market *was* radically different, because suddenly an awful lot of people were _using_ it, and a lot more people _wanted_ it.
      Is it for everyone? No. Nothing could ever be. But as someone who has watched my early-adopting friends go through the pain of various Psions, Palms, Sony P800/900s, iPaqs, Windows Mobile devices, Blackberrys etc. over the years, I can say without doubt that the iPhone is the first and ONLY device ever to sell itself between existing and prospective users, simply through the way it WORKS.
      *That* is revolutionary.

    • I don’t want to reduce myself to ad-hominem, but I’ll skirt the line. If you don’t see something that isn’t “completely true,” then maybe you’re skewing history to fit your own perception. The fact is that both RIM and Palm made developer friendly platforms that supported and built both large and small companies around the idea that the device in your pocket wasn’t just a telephone but a portable computer. Both Palm and RIM were too content with their user base and its acceptance of their UIs and their idioms and were left behind when the iPhone brought Apple design to telephones.

      However, the iPhone did not (and still does not) have the openness that those platforms had and have, nor did it make available many of the technologies that those platforms did at the time (e.g., push mail, which was one of THE reasons to use such a phone at the time).

      I honestly have no idea how you can say that the iPhone introduced most of the ideas in the list above. Certainly, those things weren’t popular, but they existed. There were many, many people who like the idea of having a computer in their pocket before the iPhone arrived. Perhaps most cell phone users were super-excited about the new Razor before the iPhone, but that doesn’t mean that the iPhone created all the things that the OP claims that it did.

      And your point about it just WORKING and selling itself to both new and existing users is ridiculous. Yes, the iPhone integrates well NOW. But at launch? No SDK or third party apps (oh, that’s point 25) and no push mail (not even going to bait on the MMS issues)? How well does it integrate with Exchange even now? It was not a phone that some of us who used our phones as portable computers found particularly attractive.

      Again, I concede that the iPhone is awesome. I am an Apple user and a strong proponent of its devices. I have made purchasing decisions that have moved my organization away from Sun and into Apple. I am not saying that the iPhone isn’t revolutionary. When it isn’t locked into AT&T in the US, I will buy one.

      However, the HISTORY in this article is WRONG and I’m done arguing. Perhaps it is uncouth to disagree with an editorial and not see the argument through, but I didn’t make baseless claims to begin with and I’m not going to waste more time trying to make a point to people blind to reality.

    • You know, bleh, except for points 9 and 25, both of which require a bit of a subjective judgment call, I don’t see any points that are not an accurate description of the iPhone and its effects. The OP never said that Apple developed the smartphone, or the individual technologies, just that the iPhone did cause a sea change in the mobile market. This has always been Apple’s genius: to see what technology could be, when integrated in novel ways, rather than what is.

      I owned a Treo before I got my iPhone. They are not equivalent devices; they are both “smartphones” only in a market-segmentation sense. Yes, they both do phone things, have screens, run applications, but the iPhone combines those particular things together in a way that was new to the smartphone market.

    • “ad hominem”? Don’t flatter yourself. My opinion of your argument is based purely on it’s content.

    • I said that if you can’t see anything that isn’t completely true then you’re skewing history to fit your own perception–which is certainly ad-hominem.

      Learn how to read. Perhaps that’s why you can’t see anything wrong with this list.

  66. grep this page for palm or blackberry and no hits. What an amazing historical perspective on smartphones… Perhaps this is more a recollection of YOUR things past rather than things past for people who took advantage of smartphone and “3g” technology before AT&T made 3g part of your lexicon.

    • Don’t take my word for it. Google what top executives of Nokia and RIM said about how they recognize and, indeed, how grateful they are that the iPhone completely changed the smartphone industry. Also read up on how Palm ex-CEO said Apple wasn’t going to be able to come in change his smartphone/PDA industry overnight. And then look at how Palm essentially copied every imaginable aspect of the iPhone and even its TV commercials.

      If you think what the iPhone has ushered in is just about 3G and what RIM, Nokia and Palm have been doing for the past few years then we really have no common ground on this.

    • Well I think the original post is trying to point out that several of your historical facts are wrong. The carriers — all the carriers — were in revenue sharing agreements with RIM long before the iPhone existed. RIM did not capitulate on features to get carriers; carriers fell all over themselves to get the latest BlackBerry. Most BlackBerry users had unlimited data plans prior to iPhone, and in general these plans are and were $10 cheaper than iPhone plans. And of course your #10 is ridiculous, because not only did RIM have Wi-Fi before the iPhone, RIM had and continues to have VOIP over Wi-Fi which the iPhone still can’t do.

      Now I basically agree with your on points #11-#24 but I really think you have no perspective on the actual history of the smartphone.

    • As I’m sure you know, RIM’s revenue sharing agreement with carriers is a bit different than others’ in that RIM grafts a layer of email connectivity via its own Network Operations Center (NOC) in Canada. Carriers, in effect, outsource that connectivity to RIM.

  67. I’m an iPhone developer. I hate how Apple treats me. But the iPhone is the best thing around–perhaps the best piece of consumer electronics ever released–and I’ll stick with it until it isn’t.

  68. Good post, of course Apple changed the mobile market with the introduction of the iPhone.

    Talking about the applications rejected, the rate is low but look a little deeper on *what* has been rejected. I see in the App Store a lot of useless application that would have better been rejected and when we hear about someone complaining because its application has not been accepted it is probably an useful program.

    We don’t have to follow up Apple choices just because Apple did it, do you remember the old iPhone firmware without the cut and paste capability? A friend of mine said that cut and paste was not so useful, but now is ending up using it a lot.
    I think the same thing will apply to multitasking on the iPhone.

    • Apple has never said multitasking was bad/undesirable at all. It said, given the current battery/CPU/screen/radio/etc technologies, the UX on the iPhone would be suboptimal…now. I have zero doubt sooner than later iPhone will be multitasking.

      The unique aspect of the touch platform is that Apple improves it constantly without obsoleting the existing userbase, unlike its competitors. Yes, cut&paste came late, but it still is the best and most useful implementation of any. Achieving that balance is really, really hard.

  69. Hi, Kontra
    Great Post. This is my first post although I’ve followed your blog for a couple of years now.
    I have reread your insightful list 4 times now and each time it brought me closer to that feeling of absolute amazement I had as Steve unveiled all of those things, which we all now take for granted, at Macworld 2007.
    Visual Voicemail, scrolling, pinch to zoom, the touchscreen keyboard, etc. All that amazing tech stuffed into one device. One not 3 as others would have done.(RE: Microsoft).
    Again, thanks for the great post. It was almost to much to digest, sortof like Steve’s keynote

  70. Hey Kontra, excellent article!

    One thing I might add: smart phones weren't accessible until the iPhone. The iPhone has by far the most a11y features.

    — John;…

  71. Hey Kontra, excellent article!

    One thing I might add: smart phones weren’t accessible until the iPhone. The iPhone has by far the most a11y features.

    — John

  72. Great post. The number of comments seems like a good validation of your pent up readership since your last post. Now we eagerly await Mr. Job’s Next Act – the next step in development of the mobile computing age with the new touch devices rumored to be in the works.

    I think many of the dev complaints can be solved technically, if they target their app on WebKit instead of native OS, and when more device centric interfaces is made accessible to the browser platform itself, which I think will come in time. The Always-On-Always-Connected culture we live in kind of destroys the virtue of patience. But patience is good, as this post proved worth the wait.

    I think the success of the App Store is making Apple think long and hard about how to design and present the 3rd party developer environment for the new devices even better. I don’t know if there is a model in between the App Store and the completely open environment on the regular Mac desktop and laptop, but then I’m not smart enough to be on Mr. Job’s crew, unlike many tech bloggers and CEOs out there, who thinks that just because they’ve seen the new creation from Apple it automatically qualifies them on how to do it better. I do think we are only in the beginning of something phenomenal.

  73. I’m glad I didn’t drop you from my bookmarks of favorite reads each morning with coffee in hand. I’ve come to enjoy your “well thought and reasoned” insights and your ability to put them into words for us common folks.

    I’ve winnowed my list to just a few sites and yours is the last I check each morning, saving the best for last. Imagine my delight to be back from ten days in the family cabin without any form of electronics (a deluxe two-seater out back), pulling up “counternotions” and finding a new entry. Outstanding!

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  75. @ldrhawke

    Besides being BS, your desperation to get someone to listen to you has caused you to spout inane Talk Radio level simplicity into a reasoned discussion that has nothing to do with your POV. Way to go, you just inserted your political views in the most irrelevant way possible.

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  77. Kontra,

    I basically had this discussion last night with a few developers who are enamored with android right now, as an alternative to the iPhone platform. So I agree with your argument, however you must realize that there is a reason for these feelings from the development community.

    Even if there is a very small percentage of apps that have been rejected, the opacity of the approval process makes the perception of the gravity of these cases much greater than they are. Apple hasn’t laid out a very clear and consistent policy for these matters. The lack of details contributes to the mystery of why certain apps were rejected. Google Voice, for instance, wasn’t approved, but it wasn’t rejected. “We’re still pondering it.”

    The staff shortage at Cupertino’s iPhone division – specifically those responding to developer emails and the approval squad – also contributes to the tarnishing of Apple’s image. Apple has setup the one of the greatest ecosystems and marketplaces for phones, true. But it’s created an incompetent and slow processes for dealing with software developers. The approval process hasn’t scaled with the store.

    I’m sure there are more little grains of sand that irritate the development community, but the argument of ‘look how far we’ve come baby’ doesn’t really hold when you’re trying to do business with an approval process that is both mysterious to understand and glacial development support.

    A few things that could help… Make the approval process very clear – Increase the types of status that indicates where you are in the approval process. Over-communicate, call developers when something is rejected. If it’s a small number, treat those people with respect. They’ve spent the time to build great apps – help them do it. Increase support staff and respond to all developer emails in 24-hours.

    It’s hard for Apple to lose consumer mindshare… developers on the other hand, I’m not so sure about.

    • I think that Apple is making moves to improve on the process.
      Just remember the emails that Phil Schiller has been sending out recently.
      Matter of overwhelming success I guess.
      Give them a bit of time and I’m quite sure that they’ll tackle this problem.

      First time I read this blog, indeed a very good read. Keep it up, sure coming back to check here. Bookmarked…

    • Your reservations about the App Store would be valid if they were to persist too long and if they cause developer emigration from the touch platform to others with subsequent material losses for Apple. I don’t see either in the cards.

      What Apple has accomplished in a little over one year with the App Store is absolutely unprecedented in tech history. And Apple did it while advancing the platform and making sizable profit.

      To argue that all this could have been done much better some other way given the circumstances is easier said than done.

      There are some procedural, competitive and legal issues in being completely open with the rejection criteria. I can see reasonable causes for what appears petty or arrogant to some developers. Can this be improved? Sure. Will it be? Why not? Should Apple let competitors eat its lunch on its own platform? You be the judge. :)

    • @ldrhawke – Huh? That’s a non-starter.

      Despite the President’s crack(berry) addiction, I won’t be surprised if he’s a iPhone user at some point in the future.

      I don’t think he or his staff (nor like-thinkers) see capitalism or success as evil. I’d phrase it more like unrestricted, unregulated capitalism causes as many problems as it solves; and those problems affect the have nots out of proportion; while the benefits fall mostly (beyond a fair measure) to those who are more privileged.

      @Kontra – great article, I too appreciate your reasoned style and hope you’ll have more time to post in the future (one a month would certainly meet my quota.) I make a quota joke, for the benefit of ldrhawke ;-) For those who care, I also enjoy the more emotive style (yet still loaded with reason) of DED on Roughly Drafted. He rarely spares the political slants; but most of us will twist a political rant or two into our conversations (comments) as well. No harm in it (if you don’t count how it detracts from the focus of one’s point.)

    • It’s not that we consider capitalism and success evil. Not even close. Bush and his 8 years of Laissez-faire policies have exposed the myth of the self-regulating free market for what it is – a myth.

      AIG, Madoff, and their ilk have proven that a certain amount of regulation is necessary to rein in those who would abuse their stakeholders.

    • Except, there have been no Laissez-faire policies for a couple of hundred years now.

      There has been no “de-regulation”, only “re-regulation with different regulations”.

      I’m 46, and and no time in my life has there been a free market in any commodity.

  78. AUTO-CAD was the reason I bought my first Mac back in -92. I looked at several PC based CAD systems and they were all so expensive and complicated to use that I thought I could just as well keep on using Rotrings and film. Then a friend told me to look at what Apple had to offer.
    In short, I bought a Mac system at a fraction of the cost of a PC system, fully portable, never gave me any problems.

  79. there’s a lot to be said for and against apple as well as MS, and to get excited about. about a year ago i left all that behind and turned to OSS / linux, never to look back again. problem solved for me.

  80. Kontra says, “… the App Store, where somehow a rejection rate of less than 0.0003% out of 65,000 apps …” No developer would squeal over the rejection of less than one-fifth of one app. Math check?

  81. Kontra,
    Dude, I was wondering how long you could go before chiming in on all that has happened in Appleworld since the spring. As always, worth the wait.

  82. Great post and comments.

    Windows users, for the most part, have become so numbed by the inadequacies of their fav system that they accept ridiculous behavior of apps and OS as normal and just resort to finding a work-around.

    For example, my current employer (a very sizeable organization) just moved to Vista & Office 2007. The other day I had to create a flow chart in Word using the built-in tools. When done I selected all the elements and grouped them. I then copied the group and went into a second (existing) document and pasted the group. The text no longer fit inside the objects and text boxes. When I called the support line, the person basically said, “it does the same for me” … “it’s working as expected”. He couldn’t grasp the concept that copying and pasting from Word to Word should work flawlessly every time.

    I’ve found similar crazy thing in Vista and have received a similar lack of concern by tech support.

    If AutoCAD hadn’t become “the Standard” back in the DOS days, Windows would have died long ago.

    • I really think you hit the nail on the head. Windows users have become so conditioned to pitfalls of their OS that they actually consider it a badge of honor that they have acquired the ability to troubleshoot or work around the numerous shortcomings. I was approaching that status with my old Windows98se box before I moved to the Mac. Now I can state with pride that the only thing I know about my computer is that it works.

    • Apple users are so used to being told how to use their products and having limitations placed on them.

      For example, I was checking out my friend’s iPhone and wanted to see how you set a track from iTunes as your ringtone (Because most phones let you use music on the phone as a ringtone.) I couldn’t figure it out. I asked my friend and he said “Ohhh, you’ve got to use Garage Band or do some AAC thing in iTunes”. He couldn’t grasp the concept that a modern phone shouldn’t have this limitation.

      I have seen a similar crazy thing in OS X and it evoked the same indifferent response from an Apple user.

      If it wasn’t for the trendy “better than you” image, Apple would have died long ago.*

      * Well not really. They’re pretty good but their products have shortfalls.

      I hope you enjoyed my reply because I certainly enjoyed responding to it.

  83. A very good and insightful article, and great comments (notwithstanding the first one above, to which I disagree). I have only this to say about pundits like Michael Arrington, regardless of whether they are pro or anti-Apple:

    Those who can, do. Those who can’t become pundits.

    Think of it: what exactly does Michael Arrington add to the world? Someday, will we remember him for his great accomplishments, or will he be but a minor footnote? I think all his blather, and that of others like him, will be trivial and meaningless, not that it isn’t today. But we will remember who created the iPhone, and what it did for society.

    I rest my case.

    • I usually agree with what Daniel has to say. However, his writing style tends to be a little over-the-top. I enjoy Kontra’s subdued, reasoned approach.

    • Daniel is on the “rant” side of blogging. I would put Kontra on the “well thought and reasoned” side, like John Gruber of Daring Fireball or Jon Stokes and John Siracusa of Ars Technica.

      Yes Kontra. You are with the best. Great reading.

    • Thanks for the kind words people.
      Folks who take the time to comment here are a terrific asset to this little quiet corner of the internets.

    • It’s not “internets” Kontra.. it’s, well, it’s like a series of tubes… Try and keep up.

      I also enjoy Roughly Drafted and I smile when he sometimes spears off into a political rant. My only problem is that he has been known to undermine the power of his arguments by intemperate language.

      I have never read an article here I didn’t enjoy.

    • Thoughtful, informed, (and opinionated) bloggers like you have helped geek/fundamental investors make a lot of $$$ in the oh so volatile world of Apple stock.

      Your writing allows us the insight that Apple is an incredibly unique enterprise with the culture and leadership it takes to dispatch two huge disruptive (and wildly profitable) innovations (iPod, iPhone and a couple more to come – watch!). With that insight, investors like me can place our bets on where Apple is going (above $400) and just wait for the mkt to get it eventually.

      Investor Heaven’s Hall of Fame:

      – Yourself for high level overview and commentary

      – Daniel Elger,, for snarky, in your face, techno geeky deep insight into Apple’s tech, its history, and industry tech and history.

      – Turley Muller,, clearly explaining Apple’s acctg methods

      – Andy Zaky,, same as Turley

      – Deagol’s Apple Model,, focusing on Apple’s quarterly reports

      – Tom Yeager, writing about the Mac and the enterprise within the Mac thread at InfoWorld,

      Thanks to all of you!

      PS – Commenters, pls reply with your own Hall of Fame members.

  84. @Kontra, Great Post!!! People do have very short memories, indeed.

    @Tom, Great Comment.

    Calacannis came across like a complete moron in his rant. I had no idea he knew so little about tech.

    It proves the old adage, It’s better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you are a fool than to open it and remove any lingering doubt.

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  86. As a long time Apple Software developer I want to crush something up front. The Mac OS X is Open and Free Apple does not tell any developer what or what not to crate or sell. Apple even provides all the development tools to every Mac Purchaser Free. It’s also cheaper to be a part of the official Apple development community then it is to be part of Microsoft’s development community. The reduced title count of the Mac to Windows is not caused because of Apple! It’s caused because of Scale and scale alone. Apple as built-in to Mac OS X many many things to make development for the Mac OS faster, better and quicker then on Windows. While the Company I own no longer creates our scientific chemical analysts software or our Genetic Splicer Simulation software for Windows due to limitations in Windows that do not come with the Mac OS or Linux. Our Genetic Splicer Simulator for example maker use of Core Image and Core 3d so we’re able to complete development faster then in Linux were we created our own Libraries to achieve the same things. With Windows DirectX is not the same as Apple’s Core Image or Apple Core 3D, Windows also makes it very, very hard to use Open GL over DirectX. With the Mac OS we basically take our OS X code for OpenGL and paste it into our Linux Code and with a minor change here and there it works, That would and could not happen with Windows because it requires too much other code and changes to get OpenGL to work on Windows or it requires a complete rewrite to DirectX.

    If Microsoft Windows was Open for developers Microsoft would support OpenGL which is far superior to DirectX. Windows is designed to lock developers into Windows and slow or stop them from Porting their Applications to Linux and the Mac.

    As as company that creates very math intensive applications were are very excited about Apple’s OpenCL which will give us access to the GPU to help in our number crunching.

    Well that’s my rant. Developer’s for Windows need to wise up and start developing for Linux and the Mac they are both much faster for development and the development communities are friendlier and much more helpful. As an added plus Apple and the Linux community are both much more responsive when you find a bug in their OS.

    • All true..been an Apple dev since the 80’s. Nobody else even comes close and I’ve done most everything else. They aren’t perfect but its a hell of alot better than the script kiddie Windows dev tools. What a monstrosity those things have been over the years. Ugh. not to mention writing for such a crap OS is just drudgery.

    • You seem to ignore a few points…

      1) Developers develop apps to sell them to large numbers of people
      2) Why would I write an app that might sell 50 copies, when I can (statistically) sell 500 copies? (I am being generous and giving Apple 1/10 of MS market share)

      I am answering your questions – not necessarily making a value judgement (although I develop software for larger scale computing, not the desktop – so Linux and MS are my only logical options.) Again – all three are archaic and dated operating systems at the core…

    • 1) Developers don’t always need to sell to large numbers of people to make money. If you have a large install base, your support/infrastructure costs go up.

      2) You’re forgetting the sheer number of Windows developers. Sure, you can target 10x more windows desktops as you state, but you are competing against 100x more developers/products on Windows than you are on the Mac or Linux.

  87. In the mobile industry 2006 was the year every company tried to anticipate what Apple was going to do. Everybody knew Apple ate the music player market and was afraid of Apple’s music phone. Little did they suspect the list of 25 characteristics you’ve outlined.

    Thanks for a great read.

  88. Wow. You nailed it. Great commentary. Thanks, Kontra.

    Those few annoying and self-important Apple-is-evil morons need to shut up, suffer with whatever non-iPhone they want to use, and let the real iPhone customers (in the tens of millions) be smug and happy with their choice.

  89. I’m amused by the “MS is freedom” posts. If you want freedom in your software, run Linux. If you want a walled garden that provides a lot of integrated benefits, run OS X on a Mac. And if you want a legacy filled wasteland of mediocre experiences run by a company that hates any form of competition, run Windows.

    Apple got to where they are with legitimately good products. Microsoft got to where they are by illegally abusing their monopoly powers.

    • MacOSX is not a “walled garden” as you state. You can install whatever you want, whenever you want, from whereever you want. You can even run Linux apps if you don’t mind compiling from sources (or use fink or some other ilk). Apple has NO control over what you install on your Mac. Hell, you can run Windows apps if you use wine or parallels or fusion.

      Don’t spread tripe like this. IOS is walled, yes, but OSX is not.

  90. Thing is, Apple never pretended that the iPhone was going to be some completely open platform like MS pretends with Windows only to turn around and completely destroy any Office-like software competition, Powerpoint competition (remember Persuasion?) and Browser competition. Apple has warned developers from the get-go that certain types of software will not be allowed. Yet, in spite of everything, the iPhone app market is exploding, and Apple’s biggest problem is simply keeping up with it all.

  91. @ Barry

    You have been smelling the f**t of people like calalcanis, arrington and the latest fortt to really believe MS offers you more freedom.

    By the way the Mac have enough softwares and more will be coming as the uptake of Macs increases.

    @Kontra another great read, keep it up.

  92. @Barry

    There exist no freeware for the Mac platform? What rock do you live under?

    And let’s look at how awful and crippled Office for Mac is compared to Office for Windows. Who’s fault is that?

  93. @Barry

    “Microsoft is infinitely preferable a dictatorship to live under because the freedoms are much higher.”


  94. Kontra,
    Another great post (you really need to post more often). :-)

    You are absolutely correct in your analysis. But I would take it a step further: those who complain rarely have any stake in the game. The pundits don’t create the apps, have no stake in the creation of apps other than they may own an iPhone, they do not get their salaries from the market and typically it’s just hip and cool for the moment to berate Apple, so why not?

    The reality is, they 20-something walking into an Apple Store for an iPhone could care less. Really. I work at an ad agency of about 50 people. I can count on one hand those who do not have an iPhone. It’s shocking. And being the IT guy, I have yet to hear one person complain about Apple’s tactics, other than they wish there was an iPhone available from Verizon.

    We live in a country here in the U.S. where we want to whine and complain about everything. We are little children who can’t get our way. These pundits need to take a trip to Kenya where they are lucky to have toilet paper and a toilet. Then maybe they’ll think twice about how evil Apple is in the entire scope of things.

    • BTW, some of these self-promoters actually do have a stake in attacking Apple. Michael Arrington, for example, is about to introduce his own Asian-manufactured web tablet in a few months. We can all do the math. :)

    • This is why it bugs me that folks are parroting his views. He has absolutely no credibility and has conflict of interest flowing from his ass.

    • I have posted that many times whenever he runs his mouth about how much the iPhone sucks and how Apple is evil and how great Android is. But true to his scummy nature he deletes posts exposing his motives.

    • To be fair, Arrington has been a vocal booster of the future Apple tablet. He doesn’t see the Crunchpad being a competitor. In the end, he’s only after peoples eyeballs.

      What’s the deal with the “Asian-manufactured” bit? How long has Apple been outsourcing it’s manufacturing to Taiwan/China?

    • I’m far less sanguine about Arrington’s conflict of interest here. Who knows if he’s been a booster of Apple’s tablet or just the notion of tablets in general, with foreknowledge of what he was going to do? Crunchpad functionality will necessarily overlap with what’s rumored to be Apple’s tablet. I’m not going to take his word for that one.

      The “Asian-manufactured” bit is really about my not understanding whose idea was Crunchpad to begin with? Was it Asian manufacturers looking for an American vehicle or Arrington off-shoring manufacturing? I’m just not clear on it.

    • “We live in a country here in the U.S. where we want to whine and complain about everything. We are little children who can’t get our way.”

      No. Not everything. We only complain about pointless, insignificant things. If you want to know where citizens complain about whoever it is that is tried to screw them, well, that would be France.

  95. Pingback: stEve and the Evil Apple | The Minority Report

  96. Exuberance for shiny new things often overtakes our willingness to remember how we got here.

    From a historical point of view: every meaningful new development has to spend the first years of its existence with the predicate “evil”. The first trains were “evil”, the first cars were “evil”, the first cellphones were “evil”. The new development forces people, consumers and producers alike, to adapt to the new possibilities which causes pain. If you are confronted with something you never asked for that invades your life and cannot be neglected you would qualify that as “evil”…

    So the question isn’t: “How can a product with such a long list of benefits be qualified as evil?”
    The real point is: “How could a product with such a long list of benefits *not* be qualified as evil?”

    And just for the record – despite their being evil – trains, cars and cellphones are still among us.

  97. (Point being: there are *reasons* why software is harder to find for the Mac, and why you usually have to pay to get anything half-way decent, whereas there are usually free options for PC that serve perfectly well.)

    • As we turn our collective attention away from the desktop, Microsoft’s latest (integrated) products like XBox and Zune are not such ‘free’ platforms, are they? On the increasingly more important and lucrative mobile market, software is harder to find for WinMo as well.

      I also find your assertion that Apple is evil to its developers, but, by your own words, actually provides a more profitable platform for them to sell their products on, a bit contradictory.

    • Au contraire, it’s not that it’s more profitable, it’s that developers have to be compensated extra in order to tolerate it.

      I don’t care about crippled consoles or the zune either, fwiw.

    • “…it’s not that it’s more profitable, it’s that developers have to be compensated extra in order to tolerate it.”

      Ok, Barry, I don’t have any reasoned response to that – that’s just bullshit!

    • “Point being: there are *reasons* why software is harder to find for the Mac, and why you usually have to pay to get anything half-way decent, whereas there are usually free options for PC that serve perfectly well.”

      Are you freaking kidding me? Most Mac software is readily available as electronic downloads directly from the developer, not to mention there’s an Apple store or Apple authorized dealer within 25-50 miles of probably 90% of the people in the US and Canada. If it’s harder because it’s not in every WalMart and crappy OEM box assember retail storefront, then fine, I’ll concede that, but it’s not hard whatsoever.

      What really shows your ignorance of the Mac platform was the second part of your statement about free options. Mac OS X has a MUCH better selection of QUALITY freeware and shareware than is available on Windows. Most windows freeware and shareware is crap. Most of the same on Mac OS X rivals the quality of most commercial software on Windows. A better OS foundation with better APIs and dev tools and a company with a strong sense of direction setting the bar high for developers to follow by example is the reason. Mac developers look to Apple for cues on how to build better software and Apple makes sure their software is a shining example to follow. Microsoft on the other hand sets the bar really low and software developers have that to use as an example.

      Apple’s close ties to the open source community has also helped the platform gain a strong library of free and open source software solutions ported over from Linux and Unix platforms.

      Add to that the fact that most Mac owners don’t need to buy much at all to get more done with their Macs than they ever did on a Windows PC since it comes with so much already. Starting tomorrow with the release of Snow Leopard, we won’t even have to pay to connect to MS Exchange servers, something that even Windows users have to pay a couple hundred for the privilege of doing.

      Really, you should quit posting.

    • No, there was no point. You obviously haven’t looked for Mac software lately. In fact, there are tons of excellent free, low cost and paid options on the Mac. Office is $200 less for crying out loud! And if you hadn’t noticed, a lot of software is being delivered in the browser, Air, etc. So take your lack of knowledge elsewhere.

    • you have clearly never tried a mac because of your ignorance. i’ve used pc’s for most my life, and always wondered why apps are so horrendously ugly and unusable.

      been using macs for 3 years now, and cannot tell you how much better the selection of apps are on macs.

      adium > trillian, pidgin, and whatever else
      cyberduck (and transmit) > smartftp, etc…
      netnewswire (and even vienna) > feeddemon
      toast > alchohol or nero

      all are better looking and easier to use.

      but douchetards like you don’t deserve to use macs, so it’s understandble.

    • I have a Mac mini under my desk, and an iPod Touch, and my girlfriend has had two iPhones.

      But I never use the Mac because I detest it, while my Nexus One makes my girlfriend jealous.

    • I can see how the 3.7 inch screen on your Nexus One could make your girlfriend jealous (comparatively speaking). Although I wouldn’t go about bragging about it if I were you.

    • “Point being: there are *reasons* why software is harder to find for the Mac, and why you usually have to pay to get anything half-way decent, whereas there are usually free options for PC that serve perfectly well.”

      What a funny logic. So Microsoft developers should rejoice because they can write software for a platform which already has free software that do the job just fine? Whereas if they developed for the Mac they would actually end up making some money?

  98. Meh. Apple has been an evil developer-hating company since long before the iPhone or iPod. Microsoft is infinitely preferable a dictatorship to live under because the freedoms are much higher.

    • Yeah I can see that, I mean look at how good Microsoft is to its developers and partners. There was Zune killing the Plays-for-Sure partners, Microsoft stealing technology from Burst & Stacker. The threats to Apple to “Knife the Baby” using development of Office on Mac as leverage to kill Quicktime. Paying a software company to break its contract with Apple and take Quicktime code to make Video for Windows actually work. The shafting of Spyglass over IE which killed Netscape and destroyed the paid browser market, the entire tools market, the list goes on and on.
      Nobody should trust Microsoft, if you have a profitable market that Microsoft can see itself making money in it will kill you to take it, and subsidise the effort almost indefinitely from its monopoly profits in desktop software and OS markets.

    • You forget one of the first and largest of Microsoft ploys. Back when DOS was king and Macintosh was young:

      WordPerfect ruled word processing
      1-2-3- ruled spreadsheets
      dBase II ruled databases

      Microsoft told everybody about OS/2, which they were building with IBM and how wonderful it was going to be and how it was the Next Big Thing. So WordPerfect, Lotus, Ashton-Tate and, well, every developer at the time went and put big money and time into developing OS/2 apps.

      Then Microsoft said, “Well… OS/2?… Not so much. But hey, we have Windows right here. And look — Office!” And not a single developer was told about Windows until it arrived leaving them all out in the cold. When they went to develop for it — now late to the game — Microsoft reserved special APIs for itself to use with Office. Which meant developers could never match the performance of Office in their apps.

      Just Microsoft’s little way of saying “Screw You!” to developers. It’s been pretty much like that since they started charging for BASIC that other hobbyists were offering for free.

    • Ooh, ooh, ooh, you forgot to mention the whole detestable OS/2 misdirection and sleight of hand that birthed Windows and gave it an accelerated early growth spurt. The whole reason the Windows state of affairs even exists. Microsoft has been at it a long time. I am impressed you did mention Spyglass ’cause people don’t remember the origin of IE.

    • Oh, oh! What about the one where all the software you wrote for the Windows OS had to be sent to Microsoft for review before you were able to to put it on your personal computer or any of your friends’. Oh and the one where you had to pay Microsoft a yearly fee for the privilege of getting screwed in the above fashion.

      Then there was the time that Windows would only run on HP machines for the first three years or so that they existed. I’m mean if you’re a consumer and you like your Dell, then you just need a good cell phone provider, uh I mean PC manufacturer, like HP.

      Yeah I hate those bastards.

    • I actually think this is a good observation. As a user I absolutely *HATE* Windows for this very same reasons. It is that whenever I want to try out a new program this new program seems to hijack my computer and I have no possibility to remain in control.
      But I can understand that from a developers perspective this amount of control over the user is pretty comfortable. So obviously there is a conflict of interest between users and developers.
      This also gives more understanding of the Steve Balmer rant: “Developers! Developers! Developers!!!” and MUCH more appreciation for Steve Jobs’s achievement to put users back in control of their devices.

      So from a developers point of view it really is evil that Apple is taking their favorite toy away.

    • “put users back in control of their own devices” are you kidding me? I’m a mac/iphone user myself, but this is just plain wrong. It’s not just the iphone either, way too often apps skip nice-to-have preferences or control options cause developers think it would confuse new users or they can’t make the preferences screen look pretty enough with too many options. How does that in any way “put users in control”?

    • Yeah, right. And how about the fact that Microsoft launched the “Laptop Hunters” campaign, in which it blatantly commoditized the products of its PC hardware partners by portraying them as the first choice of pennypinchers everywhere, mere cheap alternatives to the Mac, while conveniently leaving their own name and product out of the conversation completely. Yeah, Microsoft is soooo good to it’s partners. Real princes, they are.

    • Barry Kelly = douchebag. Guy lists 25 ways the iPhone has revolutionized mobile devices and all you can come up with is “meh”? Microsoft is “infinitely” better dictator? You, sir, are an idiot.

    • How do you come to that conclusion. Last time I checked you had to pay for the right to develop on Windows (MSVC) but not on apple (Xcode is free). Tell me how that is developer hating. Since the iPhone Apple have introduced the fee to join the iPhone developer program but I look at that as more of a “show me you’re serious” fee. You can still develop for the phone without paying the fee, and if you jailbreak the phone you can even test with it. Perhaps the problem is you’re not actually a developer, so you don’t actually know.

    • What freedom you speak of. Do you know what microsfot can push through the so called security updates and do you know they can do that even when you disable the automatic updates option. Name one product thats a true innovation of Microsoft but not bought from some one else right from the companies original MS-DOS. I am an all windows user, but I always wanted someone to liberate from the ridiculously incompitent MS-Windows based software an OS that can’t even figure out how to manage a auto-hide statusbar without an error. Tell me a microsoft device that comes even closer to a word called user-experience except the flashy user experience index on the all opensource adopted featured Vista and Win& OS. I always wonder whats in there for 10GB of operating system while the rest of the OS’s can manage in a single age-old CD-ROM. Don’t say why aren’t you using it. We spent so much time in our lifes going thru the learning curves of Windows systems we like to use them not because we like them becasue we atleast know the work arounds and we can’t afford to spend so much time learning another operating system by starting from scratch in a field where we already gave ourselves advanced/expert users.

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