As a geek these are exciting times. Smart phones like the iPhone, Androids and Microsoft’s still-to-be-seen efforts are putting major computing in your pocket. They’re powerful enough that I’ve sometimes been guilty of disregarding my dinner companions as I work the phone (actually everything but the phone).
Of course nothing like this happens in a vacuum. Everyone tries to protect their territory. There’s so much my iPhone can do, if only Steve Jobs would say yes!
Seriously, my phone is purposely crippled in many ways.
An example is the Dragon Dictation app. It does an amazing job of translating spoken words to text. Unfortunately Apple says it can’t speak directly to the email or SMS programs. In order to use DD you have to cut and paste.
By keeping programs like Dragon Dictation separated from other functions Apple has made a powerful feature nearly worthless. I love the app. I never use it!
This is totally Apple’s choice. They could let it happen tomorrow and I’m sure Dragon would have the updated software waiting.
This is just one in a series of arbitrary or puzzling decisions.
Some friends say I should just ‘jailbreak’ the phone–remove Apple’s grip with a simple unauthorized software download. Good idea, though jailbreaking alone will not make this particular software work as it should.
Maybe I own the iPhone, but only under a strict license which says what I can and can’t do, what I can and can’t load into it. It’s as if your Ford was only allowed to use Ford gasoline and could only be repaired with Ford parts. Maybe you should only be able to chill GE water in your GE refrigerator.
Don’t get me wrong, this phone is killer. I love it. I am frustrated though because I can see what is being done to keep Apple as gatekeeper.
Now Apple is reaching out to keep competitors from competing. Yesterday they sued HTC, who makes smartphones under their own name and for others. This has to do with HTC’s phone that use Google’s Android operating system.
“We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We’ve decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.” – Steve Jobs
Apple is enforcing its software patents. That itself is pretty controversial as software patents are a recent ‘innovation’ seemingly granted broadly and with little scrutiny. A software patent case is on its way to the Supreme Court right now.
Though companies with these patents say they are (and probably are) just protecting their investments in research and development, others say patents on software limit innovation.
It’s interesting to hear organizations perceived as liberal, like the Electronic Freedom Foundation use concepts normally reserved for the right.
Software innovation happens without government intervention. Virtually all of the technologies you use now were developed before software was widely viewed as patentable. The Web, email, your word processor and spreadsheet program, instant messaging, or even more technical features like the psychoacoustic encoding and Huffman compression underlying the MP3 standard—all of it was originally developed by enthusiastic programmers, many of whom have formed successful business around such software, none of whom asked the government for a monopoly. So if software authors have a proven track-record of innovation without patents, why force them to use patents? What is the gain from billions of dollars in patent litigation? – http://endsoftpatents.org/
None of this seems to be happening for our (my) benefit.