PDA

View Full Version : With iPhone, 'security' is code for 'control'


MacBytes
Feb 7, 2008, 10:58 AM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: With iPhone, 'security' is code for 'control' (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20080207115845)
Description:: Buying an iPhone isn't the same as buying a car or a toaster. Your iPhone comes with a complicated list of rules about what you can and can't do with it. You can't install unapproved third-party applications on it. You can't unlock it and use it with the cellphone carrier of your choice. And Apple is serious about these rules: A software update released in September 2007 erased unauthorized software and -- in some cases -- rendered unlocked phones unusable.

Computer companies want more control over the products they sell you, and they're resorting to increasingly draconian security measures to get that control. The reasons are economic.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

TEG
Feb 7, 2008, 12:41 PM
Apple is unaplolgic about it because some unlocked phones actually screwed with the firmware. Apple has no right to fix something that you broke (on purpose), that is why they have the policy they do. You broke it, you bought it.

TEG

nagromme
Feb 7, 2008, 01:57 PM
That "complex list" of rules is TWO rules long and not that shocking. Four things must be added to any understanding of them:

1. Installing additional apps did make use of actual security flaws, which of course Apple had to fix.

2. Locked phones are nothing new in the industry, and it's AT&T, not Apple, who wants them locked.

3. Apple did nothing to brick unlocked phones or they would ALL be bricked--not just some. What Apple did is fail to test and support hacked phones. Of course. They didn't pay to prevent YOUR risk, which you took against their clear warnings.

4. A third-party SDK is coming from Apple this month, as was announced long ago. The platform wasn't ready to do third party apps WELL. Soon it will be. Repeating September news about third-party app installation now makes little sense.

shamino
Feb 7, 2008, 02:35 PM
A phone is not a general-purpose computing platform. It is not a laptop. It's a special-purpose appliance, just like an iPod, or a Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA/ref=amb_link_6219412_6?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-1&pf_rd_r=1XWVMYCYQ6SCP8KYAK2F&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=358282601&pf_rd_i=133141011), or a game console.

People have also swapped out the system software on RAZR phones, Linksys routers, and PlayStation consoles. That doesn't change what the device is, and it doesn't magically obligate the hardware manufacturer to support these hacked-up configurations.

Why should the iPhone be any different?

As for those people who got their iPhones bricked, cry me a river. It's not like you weren't warned. Apple explicitly said that hacked phones may be broken by system updates. When someone reads the announcement, installs the update anyway, and gets his phone broken, whose fault do you think this really is?

If General Motors issues a press release saying "our new engine-control firmware will cause failures if you have installed an aftermarket turbocharger", and you have installed one, and then you update the firmware, and then your engine fails, do you think GM has any obligation to get you out of your self-created mess?

Sedulous
Feb 7, 2008, 05:54 PM
I for one think it was silly to lock into a single wireless operator. Apple's job should be to sell the hardware. It would have been a more simple "gig" that could have been an actual worldwide phenomenon. Instead Apple has got to work out exclusive agreements and hardware/software locks, appeasing partners, etc.. Imagine an iPod that could only play songs you bought from iTMS; hobbled is the word and unsuccessful would be the result.

Many of my friends would have bought an iPhone if not for the artificial limitations.

If General Motors issues a press release saying "our new engine-control firmware will cause failures if you have installed an aftermarket turbocharger", and you have installed one, and then you update the firmware, and then your engine fails, do you think GM has any obligation to get you out of your self-created mess?

Only problem is that GM sold you a car that can only drive on "GM" approved roads.

Silencio
Feb 7, 2008, 09:01 PM
Dell's job should be to sell the hardware.

Fixed that for you.

Apple sells complete solutions, not just hardware. They are highly integrated hardware, software, and services, and that integration is one of the big reasons why their products work so well. That integration includes ATT for the moment due to the back-end work needed to implement visual voicemail, and the deal they struck for unlimited data at half of ATT's normal asking price is also compelling.

Anyway, why publish this article now? The release of the SDK is just around the corner and will render many of the objections raised here as moot. Would have been much more relevant in July or August.

nagromme
Feb 7, 2008, 09:40 PM
Apple sells complete solutions, not just hardware. They are highly integrated hardware, software, and services, and that integration is one of the big reasons why their products work so well. That integration includes ATT for the moment due to the back-end work needed to implement visual voicemail, and the deal they struck for unlimited data at half of ATT's normal asking price is also compelling.

Four other BIG concessions Apple asked AT&T for:

* A new activation process, in the hands of Apple. (A much simpler and easier process.)

* Apple control over marketing the device. That's not how this normally works--ads come from, and are controlled by, carriers.

* A huge blow to the established subsidy/"free phone!!!" business model--a model of benefit to carriers, not manufacturers.

* Apple asked AT&T to get on board and commit resources.... LONG before actually showing them anything! The iPhone itself was kept secret even from AT&T for a long time. Apple was asking for a lot of trust there.

So it's no wonder that AT&T demanded something in return, and it's no wonder that some carriers haven't wanted to work with Apple.

The temporary (but not short) AT&T lock-in is, like DRM on music, not something Apple WANTED. It's something Apple HAD to accept, because they have to give concessions to partners they depend on.

People like to parrot that teh Stebve Jobz refuses to compromise and makes Apple a bad partner. (Ironically these people seem to favor Microsoft!) Yet people also slam any time Apple DOES compromise with a partner--and lay the blame on Apple alone, when the BAD (for consumers) end of the deal clearly came from the partner.

Go figure :o

shamino
Feb 8, 2008, 08:57 AM
Only problem is that GM sold you a car that can only drive on "GM" approved roads.
... which was advertised and well known in advance, and you chose to buy-in anyway.

You are responsible for your own brain-dead decisions. Nobody else is.

If a product is crap, then don't buy it. Don't buy it, break it, demand free repairs from the manufacturer, and then get indignant when they tell you to get lost.

rjfiske
Feb 8, 2008, 05:17 PM
Only problem is that GM sold you a car that can only drive on "GM" approved roads.

No they didn't. They sold you a car whose engine requires unleaded... and you refuse to use anything other than biodiesel. ;)

Imagine an iPod that could only play songs you bought from iTMS; hobbled is the word and unsuccessful would be the result.

fyi, an iPod that only plays songs from the iTMS has never existed. So all we can do is "imagine" one. :)

nagromme
Feb 8, 2008, 09:09 PM
It's more like GM sold you a blue car, with a Honda bumper sticker, and glasses that made the blue look green. Then gave all the cops yellow glasses and all the other drivers red glasses. And then told the cops that bumper stickers were illegal, while giving actual Hondas discounts on biodiesel--which only GM cars could use, and only for listening to the radio. And then made the radios play only ads for Kia. Who--you know where this is heading--gives ALL the colors of glasses away for FREE.

I say anyone who buys a phone to do something OTHER than what is clearly stated, deserves to read endless car metaphors on tech forums :p

Sedulous
Feb 9, 2008, 11:25 PM
You are entitled to your opinions. Fact is that there is no technical reason for Apple to lock the iPhone so extensively. The AT&T terms offered above are only conjecture. None of us know what those terms are.
To save on the "car" analogies I return to my iPod analogy. Locking the iPhone to a single carrier was the equivalent of forcing iPods to ONLY play music purchased from the iTMS. Would people rationalize this move too?

To the poster that noted Apple's vertical integration: I call your bluff. Apple unlocked phones would offer the same integration as the entire iPod line. But there is a point where that integration has to end. Apple does not, and should not require .mac subscriptions to use the Internet. But that is what they have done with the iPhone. Sure, they could encourage users to USE an Apple preferred service (i.e. AT&T) through perks like visual voicemail, but as I PAID for my phone, it should not be Apple's decision to dictate how I wish to use it.
There is nothing special about the phone part of the iPhone that requires AT&T. There is no magical Apple wireless spectrum.

123
Feb 10, 2008, 12:36 PM
A phone is not a general-purpose computing platform.

A "phone" maybe not, but a general purpose computing device that also has phone capabilities certainly is.

elmo151
Feb 10, 2008, 01:46 PM
Apple is unaplolgic about it because some unlocked phones actually screwed with the firmware. Apple has no right to fix something that you broke (on purpose), that is why they have the policy they do. You broke it, you bought it.


+1

nagromme
Feb 10, 2008, 11:19 PM
Fact is that there is no technical reason for Apple to lock the iPhone so extensively.

Exactly.

It is AT&T, NOT Apple, who wants the lock-in. And they want it for profit reasons, NOT for technical requirements.

And they have the clout to make demands of Apple. Apple can dictate only so much--both parties hold power here.

I wish AT&T had no power in this, and I wish I could choose a different carrier. Sadly that is not the business reality. I am willing to settle for AT&T to get what the iPhone offers. Or, if I choose to hack my phone in any way, I will do so knowing full well that Apple won't spend any money making sure I don't have problems as a result.

shamino
Feb 11, 2008, 08:33 AM
A "phone" maybe not, but a general purpose computing device that also has phone capabilities certainly is.
... You mean like Linksys routers and game consoles? There are plenty of consumer electronics devices that have been hacked into running software the manufacturer never intended. The iPhone is no different from them.

You seem to think that the iPhone is somehow different from them all because it has some pretty pictures on the screen. You seem to think that Apple has an obligation to provide features and services they never promised (and, in fact, explicitly told you would not be provided.) You made expensive purchasing decisions based on wishful thinking instead of the product's reality. You seem to think Apple has an obligation to replace your phone when you hack it and break it.

If this was any other product or any other manufacturer, you'd be laughed off the stage.

123
Feb 11, 2008, 03:47 PM
You seem to think Apple has an obligation to replace your phone when you hack it and break it.

First of all, people who updated their phone to 1.1.1 were stupid. However, they didn't break it, Apple did. Apple knew exactly that the update was going to break things, they even posted a warning. Nonetheless, they didn't bother to perform a simple check and then refuse to update before bricking the phone. This would have been an easy thing to do, and a necessary one, given the number of people who have unlocked their phones.

Second, it has become apparent that Apple actively prevents people and developers from having fun with their phones. This is done in the name of "security" even though it is often not related to security issues at all (for example the tiff bug was a security hole but the octoprep symlink wasn't).


If this was any other product or any other manufacturer, you'd be laughed off the stage.

On the contrary, I wouldn't have to argue with fanboys.

123
Feb 11, 2008, 04:12 PM
Exactly.
It is AT&T, NOT Apple, who wants the lock-in.


Pigs can fly. Pigs can fly. Pigs can fly. Pigs can fly. Pigs can fly. See?

It seems that my previous post in which I called you a liar has been deleted. However, that doesn't make your statement any more true. Apple developed the iPhone. AT&T had absolutely nothing to do with it. Apple could have sold it unlocked in Apple stores worldwide and they probably would have sold a lot more than 10M by now. However, Apple has chosen to go the greedy route even though time is against them. Officially, they want customers to have the ultimate Apple experience. But seeing how they handle things in Europe, they are just going for the money.

Again, since Apple gets a cut of carrier revenue, and because it was their decision to make exclusive deals in the first place, the lock-in is entirely Apple's fault. You can agree with their decision from a shareholder's point of view. I certainly don't but it's fine with me. But please stop constantly blaming AT&T. They didn't develop that phone and they had no say until Apple let them.