Fear the Reaper (The iPhone Update Backlash)

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by jonnylink, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. jonnylink macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
  2. Fast Shadow macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2004
    Hollywood, CA
    The court of public opinion is a harsh and sometimes unfair venue, often ruled by emotion and perception rather than fact. A lot of Apple's great success (and Microsoft's shortcomings) came about via "rulings" from this court. Regardless of whether or not Apple is right or wrong in their actions and position, they're going to lose this fight when it comes to public opinion. The more they resist or the more they attempt to persuade/spin perception, the worse it gets for them. Big companies (and politicians) fall into this trap all the time. The best thing for Apple to do is put this incident behind them. If they struggle much more then the penalty to regain public favor will start to really escalate, until it reaches a level too high to be reached. That's where the RIAA ended up, Microsoft ended up, and it's also where Sony's been heading. It would be a shame if Apple ended up in a state of permanent condemnation, too.
  3. G4R2 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 29, 2006
    The article equates all consumers with consumers who patched their iPhones. This is incorrect. The vast majority of iPhone users are not hackers or hacker wannabes, have little knowledge of this controversy or the issues involved, and have no reason to be weary of Apple updates since they are using the device as it was designed to be used and will therefore benefit by the new features and value the updates provide.

    The only iPhone users who should be fearful of future updates are those who modified their devices. This should especially be true for users who hacked their iPhones to do things that are obviously trying to workaround the way the phone was designed, particularly SIM unlockers.

    While Apple shouldn't underestimate the negative press it has received due to this issue and its own inability to properly articulate a position or strategy, it doesn't deserve to be subject to willful exaggerations or misrepresentations. There's no denying that there are many unlockers who are basically screwed with future updates and from an objective standpoint rightfully so, but the question remains whether it's Apple's fault for not supporting whatever modifications they have made to their phones or their own fault for not accepting the associated risk of hacking their devices. This minority of iPhone users who have chosen to break their phones despite Apple's warnings and common sense, however vocal and disenfranchised they may be, do not and should not be allowed to represent the majority of users who have a completely different and probably positive appreciation of their iPhones and Apple's efforts to improve them.
  4. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    General consumers don't care. A small but vocal group makes it seem a bigger issue than it really is.

    Most iPhone owners will never modify their phones at all. They also don't mind if Apple tries to keep them locked down because they won't be doing anything that Apple doesn't endorse.

    The number of potential lost sales due to this is tiny. Apple has nothing to worry about.
  5. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
    I think the premise of the article is monumentally dumb.

    Most users never applied any hacks or mods to their phone so the update was a non-issue. They applied it, it worked, and provided more functionality. For almost all iPhone owners the update was a good one, not something to be feared.

    To be blunt anyone who got hurt by the update is complaining about it, is simply dumb.

    I think the idea that companies should disengage security and feature fixes to be equally dumb. There is nothing wrong with combining those in the same update.

    I wish people with the title of "analyst" were forced to get real jobs. I can guarantee 92.3% of the time anytime an analyst makes a statement it is something dumb.
  6. AHDuke99 macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2002
    Charleston, SC
    agreed. only a small fraction of users hacked their phones. an even smaller fraction unlocked them to run on t mobile. the overwhelming majority got an at&t contract and even hacked them at all to run 3rd party apps. my two other friends with iphones had no idea native 3rd party apps existed. i miss them after i updated, but apple added enough added changes in 1.1.1 to make life easier (double tap ".") so going back would be counterproductive. as nice as those third party apps were, most of them i rarely used except the customization apps.

    i do think that apple will endorse them eventually. it may not be until leopard comes out, but i do think we'll see an official SDK in the future. Jobs said they were looking to endorse apps at some point at the UK press conference, and I do believe they will in due time.

    As for now, i'll run 1.1.1 as apple wants it run, and keep faith that apple will open it up to 3rd party apps.

    as for the unlocking, i do see why they'd want to limit that. at&t and apple signed a deal giving at&t an exclusive deal. it's business--sucks for the consumer, but that's life. If it's illegal, then someone needs to sue. Apple promised at&t exclusivity, and they are obligated to honor that. plus, apple gets revenue from at&t for each iphone, and they do not from tmobile. it's the two companies looking out for each other. as for 3rd parties, i bet we see a solution soon. i wont say that for unlocking--not till 2012.
  7. jonnylink thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    No offense, but how many people actually read the whole article? How many even looked at it?

    key points for those who hate to read:
    1. there are undisclosed security patches bundled in
    2. some people have hacked the iphone and don't want to brick it
    3. some people who don't know otherwise have heard about "bricked iPhones" and are afraid of the update... these aren't necessarily folks with hacked iPhones
    4. people who aren't updating their iPhones for whatever reason are unknowingly leaving security holes on their phones, ones that will be exploited by people who reverse engineer the update to discover the security holes
    5. people in general might be afraid of updates from Apple (on the iPhone and elsewhere), even if those updates are safe and even if they close patch security holes

    This isn't crying about broken iPhones. This is suggesting what the repercussions of the iPhone update may be for Apple and how they should act in the future to avoid big problems.
  8. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I read the whole thing. Again, most people don't care. The normal iPhone owner isn't paying any attention to the tech stories about hackers and unlocks.

    From my personal experience, general regular iPhone users that I know (no hackers or tech devotees) aren't noticing anything about "bricked iPhones" or becoming afraid to update.

    I think it's a story written with an agenda attempting to incorrectly broaden the perceived effect of the firmware update.
  9. mpuck972 macrumors 6502


    Aug 31, 2007
    No matter which side of the argument you fall, one thing is for sure, this is not the best kind of publicity any company wants for a spotlight product. When you think about the rebate fiasco, now the update mess, thats two strikes in a row in the media for Apple. Regardless if what they did was right or wrong, the public perception of the iPhone in September suffered because of their actions.
  10. Sobe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2007
    Wash DC suburbs
    Don't miss the most crucial bit of this misleading (yes horribly misleading) sensationalist bit of "journalism."

    The headline is titled: " iPhone users now fear security patches, say analysts
    Last week's iPhone security update disabled modified or hacked iPhones, leaving consumers wary of accepting any future updates"

    This is an article reporting on what analysts think users are thinking.

    It's pretending to report on one thing (user fear and wariness) by reporting on something else (what analysts say).

  11. hard-case macrumors regular


    Jul 10, 2007
    No, but the normal iPhone owner does read the news, and when it hits major outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal...they're gonna know about it. Heck, I had a nice half hour conversation at lunch about it with a bunch of people, most of whom don't even own an iPhone (and no, I did not bring it up!), so word is getting around.
    An issue does exist, but the media is definitely making a mountain out of a molehill with it. Which shouldn't be surprising, as in a sense you they're just doing their jobs! To be honest, he should have said:

    Then again, I think the idea of 'normal iphone owner' is a very subjective thing. Of all the people I know who own the iPhone (six), currently I and one other person are the only one's running stock phones, and we ALL know about the brouhaha. Only half of us could really be considered 'tech weenies'. Are we normal users? Who knows....
  12. jonnylink thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    You might be right, but then again since the NY Times, wired, cnet, and others are already reporting it I think that maybe your perception of the public's perception isn't 100% accurate. I don't think everyone fears the Apple updates now, but if this becomes a pattern I think it will become a much more public perception. The article isn't about this one time, it is about the next time and the time after that. I think that is what people aren't understanding.
  13. jonnylink thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    Also, don't forget it is the tech weenies that a product/company lives or dies by. They are the early adopters, the cultivators, and the ones who get others to try it out. And they are on this site, mixed in with the switchers and the curious.

    If someone asks me is this update safe (which I do get asked) I now have to answer "it depends..." and most people translate that (even with an explanation) to "no." which I think is the only really worthwhile point in the article. Oh also, don't forget all the people who get half the story right— my brother who, aside from his iPod, is not at all a mac or tech person told me about updates breaking iPhones last night. How many people did he tell that to? How many people did the person who told him that tell? Right or wrong that is how a public perception grows. Not by fact but by word of mouth, which is almost always half wrong.
  14. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    They've sold over a million iPhones. The early adopters are pretty much done already as far as buyers go.

    But there are two sides to that. I'd say I am personally responsible for at least 6 or 7 people owning an iPhone. None of them have hacked their phones. I've enthusiastically endorsed the 1.1.1 update to them and they updated. At least 2 have bought music on the wifi store.

    Using the Windows analogy they do in the article, I personally don't know of a single person that won't just click OK to any official update from Microsoft. They have Windows set to update automatically, and always click OK, whether that's a good or bad thing.

    I just don't believe most people care enough to worry about it.

    As far as the publicity, Apple should probably work harder to make it clear that bricking only results from non-Apple endorsed activities. It shouldn't be too hard. The word "hacker" definitely has a negative connotation in the minds of the general public.
  15. jonnylink thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2007
    That's fair enough diabolic. I don't entirely agree with you, but I see your point. I hope you see the point that not everyone will be like you and your iPhone owning friends.

    I'd just like to say again that I don't think this article says how it will be (though it may try), what I do think is interesting to talk about is the idea of how it *might* be bad if Apple stays the course.

    From a PR standpoint it would probably be bad to try and push this on hackers since that would still be making news about broken iPhones... plus it apparently isn't happening to *just* hackers. And accusing folks of breaking something they didn't break is a real fast way to get bad and loud word of mouth.
  16. diabolic macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    You've got some good points. I could definitely be wrong. I just don't think it will be that bad overall for Apple. Investors don't seem to be worrying too much either since the stock price continues to rise.
  17. Luis macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    Costa Rica
    I agree that everyone should expect Apple to shut down hackers with every update. It's something that I for one expected and don't get angry about.

    However, I don't understand people who bash others for having unlocked their iPhones, I mean it's their choice and they should be fully aware of the consecuences it comes with, other people have no voice in the matter. Why don't other people just let the "unlocked people" live happily with the iphone the way they want it to work?

    I for one have unlocked my iPhone, my cousin's and my dad's (not because I hate ATT but because there's no ATT here mind you) and am not angry about the update. Why? Because I always expected this to happen, and if I wasn't happy with the features the phone offers then I wouldn't have bought it in the first place!

    People who have hacked their iPhones and are complaining are completely in the wrong position, it is obvious that apple would thwart this and if you did all the hacks to your phone you are completely aware of this! unless you are stupid or something. On the same page, people who bash others with hacked iPhones are complete morons, why can't they let other people live with the way they've chosen their iPhone to operate? It's their problem!
  18. Victor ch macrumors 6502a

    Victor ch

    Jun 19, 2007
    San José, Costa Rica

  19. Sobe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2007
    Wash DC suburbs
    Unlocking iPhone = unsubsidized iPhone at subsidized price.

    If people were paying ~$600 for an unlocked iPhone I don't think anyone would care.

    Instead, they are paying $399.

    It's a bit like herd immunity.

    Some people don't want to take the responsibility of vaccinating themselves or their kids because everyone else is vaccinated.

    As long as nearly everyone else is vaccinated, they won't get ill.

    The problem with that is that if everyone duplicated these actions, the entire system would crumble and fail.
  20. Luis macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    Costa Rica
    I understand what you mean, but you must take into consideration that the unlocked phones are a vast vast minority that could never cause the system to crumble. Also, people having unlocked iPhones do not directly affect you iPhone or how it works, so it is not like with the vaccine example. Even more, currently you can't unlock a brand new iphone because they come loaded with 1.1.1 making unlocks rather impossible as of last Thursday (or whenever the stores get the 1.1.1 phones).
  21. Sobe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2007
    Wash DC suburbs
    You're (slightly) missing my point.

    It is exactly like herd immunity because they can only make their choice if others make the effort to get vaccinated.

    It is a choice built upon shared beneficence -- in the case of the iPhone, that beneficence is a lower price in return for future payments via AT&T.

    Without those payments, they would be paying more for their phone.

    It isn't the numbers as much as the intent.

    Because I, and many many others, pay AT&T a monthly fee, Apple is only asking $399 for an iPhone.

    I don't care to be indirectly taken advantage of.

    Is it a big deal? Nah, it's not like it keeps me up at night. But I feel it is a point worth taking 5 minutes to make.

    The OTOH argument is that Apple could just sell them unlocked and it wouldn't be a problem.

    Sure they theoretically could. But they aren't.

    Therefore there is an inherent rudeness in watching other people play by the rules while taking advantage of the fact that some people do play by the rules.

    It offends the sense of fair play.

    I recognize that many people won't care how their actions impact other people. That's to be expected. I'm simply stating that it's not going unnoticed.
  22. Luis macrumors 65816


    Jul 19, 2006
    Costa Rica
    Ok I understand what you are saying and do have a point, however you need to think that many people don't do it to take advantage of ATT nor apple, they do it for the sake of simply using the device.

    I for example would love to use the iPhone the way it is intended to be, don't get me wrong. I would like to not have to worry about updates have consistent EDGE and have Visual Voicemail. However it is out of my control, and that is why these things "need" to be done and assume the consequences, but not in a way to intend to impact other people. At least that's the way I think of it.
  23. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    If Apple depended on the monthly fee to pay for the phone, they wouldn't sell the phone without a contract.

    And why then start the price at $600? The new $400 price is still almost twice what it costs to make, gross. (I've already posted an analysis as to why the R&D was paid for in the first week of sales.) But that's okay.

    The monthly kickback is all gravy to Apple. If it was given back to the customer as it normally is, the phone would be nearly free. We've been over this many times before.

    Personally, I'd love to see numbers as to how many phones were sold versus how many are activated on ATT. I suspect that a great many are in use, unlocked, out of the USA.

    This is like the warranty red herring. If you want to complain about non-ATT users, you should say instead that Apple is using the monthly fee towards updates that unlockers would get for free. Oh, but wait, they can't use the updates (yet) anyway.

  24. Sobe macrumors 68000


    Jul 6, 2007
    Wash DC suburbs
    I doubt Apple depends on the contract fees. But whether or not they do is immaterial.

    The point is what price is offered to people who do sign a contract and pay those fees compared to the price paid by those who hack the phone and avoid paying them.

    Since when is the manufacturing cost plus R+D as calculated on a forum the arbitor of what a private company charges for a product?

    It's interesting, perhaps, but ultimately immaterial, even if Apple is selling them for $25k and making $24,999 profit on each iPhone.

    The compelling issue here is what someone has to pay if they sign the contract versus what people have to pay if they don't.

    Again, it may be entirely gravy. What Apple's profit margin is doesn't explain away the discrepancy between what the two distinct groups pay.

    If the phone were given away free, does that mean people who hack the phone should get the phone and a $250 check from Apple?

    Of course not, but that is the direction your argument would lead unless you assign zero monetary value to the contract with AT&T.

    Quite clearly, Apple assigns a great deal of value to these contracts or we wouldn't have seen the 1.1.1 patch.

    Would be interesting, definitely. A great many? Sort of a nebulous term, but really no one knows. Whatever number is enough to make Apple care enough to throw 1.1.1 on the books.

    That's fine, but not at all the argument I am making.

    Either the contract is worth something or it is not.

    I have not seen anything from Apple directly on this, but I have seen reports that they get a decent cut of each monthly fee from an AT&T user. Perhaps as high as 10%, maybe less. The amount doesn't matter really. Even if it is $1 a month, it is real.

    If you want to make the argument that it is not worth anything, I think you'll have a difficult time establishing that.

    If it is worth something, then someone who pays the list price but fails to pay into that contract is getting something at a lower over the 2 year period.

    You can make a value judgment on whether people should be allowed to unlock their phone or how much profit Apple makes, but the bottom line is that a customer who buys an iPhone and pays his fees to AT&T over the life of contract will be paying more money to Apple than someone who does not.

    That it has been hacked in the past to circumvent making those payments does not negate the reality of them being made. And it certainly doesn't negate the fact that people in one group are paying one price over the life of the contract and other people are paying a lower price.
  25. mteahan macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2007
    Most people use their Macs (or PC's) to surf the net and answer email. Most of the marketing for computers highlights all of the creative higher level things that few people ever do.

    However, it is the sizzle that sells and we all WANT to be associated with those creative types that use them that way.

    The reason why all of the iPhone geeks should be important to Apple is because the press doesn't talk about Joe Average that just wants to show off a cool phone and Joe wants to have a phone that does all this cool stuff even if he never mods it himself.

    The enthusiasm for a product is always spearheaded by the same enthusiastic crowds that populate and peruse these boards.

    So, does it matter if many of us are a little less than happy about the updates to the phone and the lock down attitude of Apple?

    Yes. It matters a lot.

    Make peace with this rogue developers and put the apps on iTunes for $1.99 a piece. Apple gets control, the developers get to eat and the incentive to truly hack the back end is reduced.

    I'll complain about the locked phone when my contract is up. Probably a lot.

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