Law in the Internet Society
REVISED PAPER 1 - READY FOR REVIEW

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PRISON REFORM FOR iOS

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*Introduction*

Apple's handheld software is largely proprietary rather than “open” and Apple actively blocks third-party efforts to implement innovative software on iOS devices. From the moment Apple released its handheld devices users were imprisoned. Apple restricted the devices such that any new software would come from or with the approval of Apple, and Apple alone. Not only were users unable to install third-party software, but also they were prohibited from using their devices on “unauthorized” networks, and performing certain functions or tasks. To free users, an underground community of software developers, “jailbreakers,” began investigating ways to “open” Apple's handheld devices. These jailbreakers sought to enable third-party’s to develop innovative programs and functions, make them available for installation by the average user, without Apple’s approval, and allow users to operate their phones on a carrier of their choosing.

Natalie Harrison, an Apple spokeswoman, stated, “Apple’s goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience.” This statement is unfounded. The jailbreak community, like Apple, has it in its best interest to insure reliability; people won’t jailbreak if doing so will crash their device, just as users won’t buy apps from the App Store if those apps will crash their device. Thus, it is unclear how jailbreaking, which could bring a plethora of valuable and innovative functions to iOS, will degrade the user experience. In waging war against jailbreakers, Apple subordinates its goal of offering truly innovative and efficient products to the goal of profit maximization, often to appease the major telecom companies. If Apple embraced the jailbreak community by removing the arbitrary restrictions it places at the behest of telecom companies, Apple would maximize innovation and efficiency, while still profiting substantially, likely without severe backlash from the telecom companies.

*Testing the Theory*

With the iPhone 4, Apple introduced FaceTime, a feature allowing users to video chat with other iPhone users. To this day, FaceTime? is restricted to use only over Wi-Fi connections. Kim Streich, a third party programmer, quickly developed 3G Unrestrictor, an application enabling FaceTime? over 3G connections, allowing users to video chat on the go, instead of only in stationary, Wi-Fi-connected locations. This application is clearly useful and would greatly enhance the user experience, but Apple swiftly rejected 3G Unrestrictor from the App Store. The application quickly found its way into Cydia, an unauthorized app store, in the form of a paid app. Streich stated, “people are so annoyed by Apple and their shit, and if you give them the opportunity to go around it, then they’ll even pay for it.” Within just two weeks of its introduction into Cydia, the app garnered $19,000 in sales. This demonstrates that if Apple embraced the jailbreak community, thereby permitting apps like Unrestricted to be sold in the official App Store, Apple could profit. Creators are not deterred from using the App Store in favor of Cydia because of Apple’s fees. Cydia creator Jay Freeman, like Apple, charges 30% per app sale. Thus, creators are deterred simply because the App Store, as it currently operates, implements arbitrary restrictions which hinder achievement of optimal functionality. Without arbitrary restrictions on functionality, there would be no reason for unofficial app stores.

*Should Apple Care?*

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, reported that over 250 Million iOS devices have been sold worldwide. In China, Apples second largest market (16% of sales), over 35% of iOS devices are jailbroken. If Apple removed arbitrary restrictions on functionality, formerly unauthorized applications could be available on the official App Store, for 100% of all iOS users to purchase. The 35% of Chinese users would convert to the official App Store for purchasing their applications, as there would be no need for any unofficial app stores. Further, many people purchase non-iOS devices specifically because Apple is a “"closed" system” with arbitrary restrictions. Removing arbitrary restrictions will induce people to convert to Apple and iOS, and as a result, Apple would sell more handheld devices and applications. Thus, Apple stands to profit substantially from embracing the jailbreak community. Moreover, the user experience will be greatly enhanced; innovation and efficiency will develop unfettered, thus achieving Apple’s stated goals.

*Possible Complications*

Some argue that removing restrictions that were implemented at the request of the major telecom companies could actually hinder Apple’s profit potential and could have an adverse affect on users; Telecom companies could simply charge more for mobile service. Given the current structure of the mobile device industry, however, this is an unlikely result. Sprint pledged $20 billion to Apple for the iPhone. As a result, AT&T and Verizon are now facing further potential competition; Sprint will do whatever it can to realize its investment in the iPhone. Given that Sprint subsidizes the cost of the devices, Sprint intends to make the most off of service charges. Thus, Sprint will do whatever it can to divert customers away from AT&T and Verizon to gain subscriptions to its service. Adding Sprint into the mix only decreases the likelihood that Apple and its users face backlash from the major telecoms.

Further, there is no reason to assume AT&T and Verizon will act collusively. For example, assume AT&T harms Apple users (i.e., increases service charges) as a result of Apple’s decision to “open” iOS. Verizon could then react positively to the change in an effort to gain disgruntled AT&T customers’ service subscriptions. Given the substantial market share iOS commands, the increase in customers to Verizon could offset any losses Verizon would incur as a result of an “open” iOS. Each telecom company stands to gain should one of the other telecom companies react unfavorably towards Apple and iOS users.

*Conclusion*

Thus, by removing arbitrary restrictions on functionality, and thereby obfuscating the need for an unauthorized app store, Apple stands to achieve its stated goal of improving the user experience, while substantially profiting, without severe backlash from the major telecom companies.

-- AustinKlar - 09 Oct 2011

-- AustinKlar - 05 Dec 2011

RESPONSES TO PROFESSOR'S COMMENTS ON OLD DRAFT

With the introduction of the iPod, MacBook? , iPad, and iPhone, Apple nestled its way into the lives and homes of millions around the world, consistently increasingly its market share of the portable consumer electronics industry.

Natalie Harrison, an Apple spokeswoman, stated, “Apple’s goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience.” This statement is unfounded. The jailbreak community, like Apple, has it in its best interest to insure reliability; people won’t jailbreak if doing so will crash their device, just as users won’t buy apps from the App Store if those apps will crash their device. Thus, it is unclear how jailbreaking, which could bring a plethora of valuable and innovative functions to iOS, will degrade the user experience. In waging war against jailbreakers, Apple subordinates its goal of offering truly innovative and efficient products to the goal of profit maximization, often to appease the major telecom companies. If Apple embraced the jailbreak community by removing the arbitrary restrictions it places at the behest of telecom companies, Apple would maximize innovation and efficiency, while still profiting substantially, likely without severe backlash from the telecom companies.

Not really. The importance of any analysis of Apple begins from the tiny share of everything that it actually commands. The corpse of Mr Jobs makes 5.6% of the world's mobile phones, for example. Another way to think of that is that more than 94% of the people who use some such product in the world don't use his. The corpse of Mr Jobs makes more than 50% of the world's profit on handset manufacture, however. In other words, Apple is a manufacturer of luxury products, sold in small quantities at insanely inflated prices. Millions of units in a market of billions, sold to people who do not bring to the purchase any sense of the relevance of value to price, because the handbag or shoe or handset is being sold on a "personal identity facilitation" basis: you're becoming the sort of person who wears Louboutin, carries Kate Spade, or submits to Jobs. Most of the rest of us (could you say of us, given the inevitable forecast now that the wizard is dead, that we are at very least the 95%?) tend to regard the result with something like shock and disgust and something like outraged helpless boredom, as we do with all the other "let them eat cake like mine" behavior displayed all the time by the world's privileged, educated, complacent, self-absorbed, narcissistic stupid people, whose insecurities about technology and about themselves make them Apple's ideal customer.

I don’t know if I would characterize the iPhone as akin to Louboutin. iPhones are not prohibitively expensive. They cost $199, the same as many other smartphones on the market. Whether or not Apple makes a substantial profit on the phone has nothing to do with whether or not the phone is a luxury good akin to Louboutin. Absolutely the iPhone is a luxury good. But so is every other smartphone in the world. No one needs the newest android phone or the newest iPhone, or any smartphone for that matter. People want them though because they are useful tools. Further, The percentage of people who buy Louboutin in the shoe market is drastically less than the people who buy iPhones in the smartphone market. The fact is that I buy an iPhone because it works well and it looks nice. I’ve tried many other smartphones and don’t like them as much. The “Louboutin” factor, as you refer to it, has nothing to do with why I buy an iPhone. More of my friends own iPhones than not. I think I have at most two friends who actually own Louboutin. It’s a different class/type of luxury. The iPhone is democratized luxury.

The software on Apple’s handheld devices, now called iOS, is a critical factor that has enabled Apple to gain its stranglehold control over the market,

What stranglehold? Expensive smartphones are a tiny fraction of the world's handsets, and Android is enabling manufacturers all over the world to turn out es equivalent product at immense cost advantage. Even in its own tiny segment the iPhone is not capable of strangling a kitten, which is why the real market is becoming not smartphones but patents you can use to block your competitors smartphones, which Apple and Google are buying from other people at immensely inflated valuations at lightning speed.

I certainly agree with the idea that patents are becoming the tool by which these companies war against each other. The Nortel patent deal, as you discussed in class, is clear evidence of that trend. However, in my paper, I’m not only referring to iPhone. I’m referring to iOS as a whole. While the iPhone market might not be enough to “strangle a kitten”, Apple’s share of the tablet market and the music player market I believe constitutes a stranglehold. No other company comes close to Apple’s tablet market and no other company even tries making music players anymore. So, while you are certainly right that the phone market itself might not be as dominant, the iOS market as a whole is much more substantial.

propelling the company to becoming, literally, the most valuable company in the world.

No, not literally, figuratively. No one actually thinks you could sell the assets of Apple for more than the assets of IBM: we're not talking about book value. We're talking about "market capitalization," which is the number of shares outstanding multiplied by the price the last fool paid for what he bought, based (unless as a fool he invests on the greater fool theory) on his guesses about the future sales of the various companies whose "market capitalization" we are comparing. Apple's "literal" value is slight. As you may know, it doesn't make anything. It sits atop the most complicated and far-flung supply chain in the business, assembled by the current stand-in for the Corpse Of The Greatest Businessman and Genius in the History of Humanity, Tim Cook. Mr Cook is a man who really really really knows how to buy plastic, which he used to do for Compaq before he went to become the Corpse, Etc.'s COO. Mr Cook's effort in assembling and managing this extraordinary supply chain is part of Apple's "goodwill," from an accounting point of view, like the Corpse's personal talent (which was undeniable, and is now undeniably dead) for making things primates like to stroke. These intangible assets of the business are supposed to be so much in excess of tangible book value that they enable us to guess that Apple is worth 14.46 times its annual earnings. Even though those earnings were earned before the most important segment of Apple's goodwill died a more-or-less natural death, and the business of designing the cult's artifacts has descended on one of the world's most experienced plastic-buyers.

Yes, Steve Jobs is dead. And I agree with you 100% that the intangible asset factor will be affected by this. He was the company; He made it what it is. And he is gone. Of course this will affect the company monetarily. All I was saying was that as of this time, people were valuing Apple as the most valuable company in the world. The point I was trying to make with the “most valuable company in the world” issue was that Apple has become extremely successful. They might not be talking about selling physical assets. They could be talking about book value. Either way, in some form of “value” that people measure, Apple is (or was when I wrote this), the most valuable company in the world. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-09/apple-rises-from-near-bankruptcy-to-become-most-valuable-company.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/how-much-is-apple-worth_n_1035973.html According to this, Apple pulled in $37.5 billion in cash profits in fiscal 2011. Further, Apple has over $80 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and market securities. Sounds like they make quite a profit. You even said earlier that “Mr Jobs makes more than 50% of the world's profit on handset manufacture”…To me it sounds like Apple makes substantial profit. I have only the SEC filing report and the Wall Street Journal to go off of for that information.

Apple has built itself up as a proprietary, rather than “open”, company, and has actively sought to quell efforts by third parties to promote free software for use on its handheld devices. This free software seeks to provide the everyday user with the ability to perform functions and run applications not authorized by Apple, on Apple devices.

No. Untrue. Apple has never prevented free software from running on Macintosh computers. The operating system OSX is made predominantly from free software parts. Other free software runs on Macintosh computers of all types, without restriction. All software running on iOS objects must be signed by Apple, and in that sense must be permitted. Apple does not prevent third-party free software from running under iOS; it prevents software it and its telecomms partners do not want distributed for business reasons from running on iOS devices, regardless of license terms. There are other nuances, but the statement is wrong and unfair to Apple.

You are right, I misspoke. Crystal made a similar point and I have since changed it. OS X is very reliant on free software. What I meant was that iOS is largely proprietary and this is largely because Apple stands to make a lot more after sale of the handset than it can after selling a laptop. I changed this in my subsequent drafts. By proprietary, I meant that it’s functionally proprietary. Even if a third party’s software wants to run on it, it needs Apple’s permission to do so, or you have to jailbreak or perform some other technological circumvention to enable the software on the phone. The statement is wrong. You are correct and I changed it. Thank you for pointing it out to me. I will attempt to be more clear with my intentions in subsequent drafts.

The dynamic between Apple and these third parties is truly unique and ironic. One of Apple’s main strategies to squash the free software movement has been to take the software developed by third parties and actually incorporate it into iOS itself.

Not so far as I know. What facts are you relying on?

Things like the latest notification system. That notification system has been on jailbroken iPhones for I believe over 1.5-2 years now and Apple implemented basically the same exact notification system natively in iOS only in 2011. People who wanted to jailbreak before to get the cool new notification system now no longer need to. Apple has given it to them as part of native iOS 5.

After Apple includes these programs in iOS, thereby recognizing as valuable and innovative these third party programs, Apple bolsters its protections within the software code itself to prevent third parties from hacking the system and developing more useful programs.

Now we appear to be talking about jail-breaking. That raises different issues. Once again, modifying a handset so that it will run unsigned applications is orthogonal to the question of the licensing of the programs themselves. One could jail-break an iPhone and run only proprietary software there. Conversely, even on a jail-broken iPhone, any program that can run will need to use the iPhone SDK, and that SDK is not free software. Work on a free re-implementation of the iOS SDK for handset development may be proceeding, but that again would be orthogonal to the issue of jail-breaking.

Through these actions, Apple implicitly recognizes the true value third party developers bring to the iOS platform, and demonstrates that its proprietary model is not ideal for fostering true innovation.

Apple's "model" is not very well-defined by talking about the licensing of software. Apple makes luxury service platforms. Whether that model is "ideal for fostering true innovation" is irrelevant to whether it makes real money.

Right. But my point is that the stated goal of Apple according to this spokeswoman is to foster true innovation, to make the experience the most enjoyable. Making money comes from having the best experience on a handset. They are separate issues but they necessarily touch upon each other. And the proprietary model cannot be ideal for fostering true innovation when it comes to free software. That is the point of free software, as I understand it from class discussion. People are able to change and adapt the software to make it better, more usable. So if free software is blocked, it hurts progression and innovation.

From the moment Apple released its handheld devices users were imprisoned. Apple restricted the devices such that any new software would come from Apple, and Apple alone.

Certainly not. The App Store was the most important step, the creation of an iTunes market for third-party software.

Right. But the App Store has a fairly rigorous approval process, which is why it takes so long for apps like Gmail, and Google Voice to be approved, and why people speculate as to whether or not they will ever be approved. What I meant by coming from Apple and Apple alone meant that Apple has final say on what is released to the public through its App store. Many truly great products like 3G unrestictor are rejected from the Apple store and are only available through jailbreaking. I will make my intentions here more clear in subsequent drafts.

Not only were users unable to install third-party software, but also they were prohibited from using these phones on a network other than AT&T.

But tying handsets to networks is The American Way. That wasn't either an innovation by the Corpse or even the way it turned out at maturity. It was not part of his plan. His plan, which he couldn't execute for long, was to be unique in the mobile business by owning the customer.

To free users from this industry-created jail, an underground community of software developers, “jailbreakers,” began investigating ways to access the system disk on Apple devices and open it.

A poor way of describing what jail-breaking does. Why don't you actually describe the technology instead of giving a Windoze-lite metaphor?

I linked to the Wikipedia article on jailbreaking in my final paper.

These jailbreakers sought to enable third-party developers to create programs, to make them available for installation by the average user, and to allow users to operate their phones on a carrier of their choosing. The applications available for jailbroken phones were organized in a single application on the handheld device from which the users themselves could download any program from the catalog.

But that's irrelevant. That's just to say that iPhone uzers don't understand how to get software except from an App Store of some sort, so you have to make one if they're going to be able to load the software at all.

Yes, I mean, isn’t that true? I don’t know how to get Applications from outside the App store. I don’t see how that fact is relevant though. Apple does what it can to reach the most people possible, to make a profit.

As the jailbreak process became as easy as typing in a website URL, more and more users began jailbreaking their phones. Apple viewed jailbreaking as a threat, as users began relying less on Apple to give them the programs they wanted. Apple swiftly responded with the App Store, an application distribution program managed by Apple itself, which allows users to download new applications directly onto their phone from a single online catalog.

Excuse me? You think the Corpse didn't think up the App Store until we thought up jail-breaking? You are giving him too little credit, and us too much. Where'd this history come from?

I changed this in my subsequent drafts. My point was that jailbreaking allowed third-party software on handheld devices before Apple allowed third party software. Whether Apple knew they could do it is not relevant. It only matters what Apple actually did. And what they did was not have an App store until after jailbreakers made third party apps available. But, that doesn’t mean Apple hadn’t thought of it earlier. You are correct.

Third party developers were now “allowed” to create programs for Apple devices, and, if Apple approved the application, to post it in the App Store. In return for the privilege of acceptance into the App Store, Apple received 30% of any revenue generated from these applications. To protect its investment in the App Store, to maintain control over third-party applications, and to foster good will among developers who posted programs on the App Store, Apple subsequently revamped and reinforced the built-in protections in its software, designed to prevent jailbreakers from hacking the system and giving users access to an alternate App Store, i.e., to non-approved applications for which Apple would receive zero remuneration, over which Apple had no control. The App Store was certainly not the only instance in which Apple appropriated ideas developed by the much-hated and much-feared jailbreakers. Since the iPhone’s inception, users wished for copy/paste functionality. In 2009, after that function had been available on jailbroken phones for nearly 2 years, Apple finally developed its own copy/paste function, and implemented it in version 3.0 of its software. It took apple another year to come out with its own multitasking function and implement it in iOS4. Copy/paste and multi-tasking functionality had grown significantly important to users such that more consumers were jailbreaking their phones, jailbreakers made these functions widely available in innovative ways.

Apple implemented these features largely to “convince” users that there was no longer a need to jailbreak their devices, thereby providing App Store developers with a continuing customer base, reinforcing Apple’s stranglehold on the market.

Really? I think they improved their products because they wanted to make better products. You haven't explained the reason that what you call "cut and paste" was hard in the first place, or why it would be easier to make in a jail-broken phone, so the reader doesn't have enough information to understand that the interpretation you're giving doesn't fit very well with the data. You don't point out that multitasking requires kernel modifications that are fundamental in the OS design, and that Symbian and Linux kernels were designed for it but iOS wasn't. So pressure from jail-breakers had nothing to do with the original architectural decision or the OS development roadmap, because multitasking is not a "feature" that could be implemented in userland by a jail-broken application program.

But jailbreaking had multi-tasking long before Apple allowed us to multi-task on iOS. So, assuming it does require “kernel modifications that are fundamental in the OS design” is not relevant. The point I was trying to make was that jailbreakers made it available first. If Apple could make it available, why hadn’t they? I was attempting to figure out a reason perhaps why they waited to make the product available. I wasn’t trying to say that copy and paste was hard in the first place or why it is easier on a jailbroken iPhone. All I was saying was that jailbreakers made it available first. If they can do it, Apple certainly could have done it. But they didn’t until after jailbreakers did it. People don’t need to jailbreak to get multitasking or copy paste once Apple enables multi-tasking natively in iOS. That was all I was trying to say.

Despite your entirely Kool-Aid-based view of Apple as a business, you're altogether unreasonably hard on their technology design. They weren't being pushed around by our Free World forces at all. They were developing their products and unrolling their strategy with complete mastery of the situation, paying—as they always tended to do when the Corpse was at the controls—very little attention to anything outside the paranoid field of the Corpse's Artistic Vision.

I think that's a fair statement. I made some over-sweeping generalizations and tried to fix them in subsequent drafts. I really appreciate your comments.

Subsequent to implementing these innovative features developed by jailbreakers, Apple consistently reinforces its protections in its coding to prevent the jailbreakers from hacking newer versions of the device software. Further, after Apple releases software updates, those new versions must individually be jailbroken. In order for a user who has a jailbroken phone to upgrade to Apple’s newest software, the users must “restore” their device, which involves erasing all data on the device (songs, contacts, etc.), installing the new software, and re-jailbreaking the phone with an updated jailbreak program designed specifically for the new software version – an annoying, cumbersome process that often dissuades jailbroken users from even upgrading to Apple’s newest software. Again, Apple recognizes the innovation and value that developers of free software could bring to iOS when it implements innovative features developed by jailbreakers into iOS, but Apple is consistently unwilling to relinquish control over the technology and seeks to further exclude these developers from the development process and dissuade users from jailbreaking their devices.

There is hope for jailbreakers. Despite the incredible lobbying power of Apple and AT&T, congress recently amended 17 U.S.C. Section 1201, adding exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act regarding circumvention of technological measures. See 17. U.S.C. 1201(f)(1)-(3) (1999). Recognizing that jailbreaking is fair use under the 1976 Copyright Act, the exemptions allow users to “jailbreak” their devices to use applications, even if Apple did not authorize those applications, and to enable “interoperability” between the third-party programs and the proprietary programs. See Id. While Apple can still try to block jailbreakers, it is not unlawful for individual users to hack their phones, and jailbreakers now have a legal mechanism standing behind them in their fight against Apple.

Jailbreaking is circumvention technology that enables fair uses of copyrighted material, to be precise. A more general exception from the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions to allow anyone to circumvent technical measures preventing them from running any software they want on any computing device they have purchased would be more in line with the position you seem to be taking here. Such a request will be filed by my organization, the Software Freedom Law Center, in the current statutory DMCA-exception proceeding at the Library of Congress.

MAJOR ISSUES: 1) I need to be clearer with my intent when I use certain words (or not use those words at all) 2) I need to be careful about over-generalizing with regards to what Apple allows and does not allow. 3) This version of my essay had not much of a point but seemed more informational. In subsequent drafts I changed it to be more persuasive rather than informational only.

--Main.AustinKlar - 05 Dec 2011

I guess I need to work in another overall point. That basically, Apple wastes time and money making "protections" in its code, to keep hackers out, but these hackers, within mere matter of days of a major release, are able to hack into the system. Jailbreakers are ready for iOS5 and it hasn't even been officially released yet. They are ready for the iPhone 4S and it hasn't been released yet. Within a week, if not sooner, it surely will be hacked

Apple should stop wasting its time and money excluding these hackers when Apple has greatly benefitted from the software innovations provided, at no cost to Apple, by these Jailbreakers. Everyone wants their phone to work the best it possibly can. The reason people are switching away from Apple to Jailbreakers is because Jailbreakers are providing services/functions/features that Apple doesnt. If Apple embraces those functions openly, and encourages development, Apple might not be concerned with losing a customer base

-- AustinKlar - 10 Oct 2011

A few thoughts here.

[1] What is your ultimate thesis/prescriptive with this piece? The first posting seems largely informative/descriptive, but then your follow up comment suggests that you are turning it into an opinion piece. Are you trying to say that Apple should stop persecuting jailbreakers? That Apple should be less controlling with the app store by (1) approving apps more freely and/or (2) taking a smaller cut of the revenues (note that Google also takes a 30% cut of all Android App store sales, though they claim that they are not making a profit by doing so)? That all apps should be free (because access to free proprietary apps is one huge reason why people jailbreak..)? Or that Apple should embrace the benefits of open source and switch to a fully iOS/app store (Given Apple's philosophy and business model of also profiting nicely from handsets I think this is a noble but losing argument...), but still allow app-developers to charge? Perhaps you could discuss Apple's fairly extensive history of using open source in OS X and Mac computers and support for different OSs on their computing hardware to propose a more hybrid-solution. I could be wrong, but I don't think there is the same level of backlash against OSX or mac laptops as being closed and patriarchal -- a lot of my hacker friends swear by their macbook pros and happy run ubuntu or other versions of linux on them.

[2] Some data on the number of jailbreakers, or % jail broken phones over total iPhones sold towards the beginning of the paper would help the reader understand the scope of the situation (perhaps you can find more updated statistics, I just did a quick data search). If only a small or stagnant % of people are still jailbreaking, would Apple be concerned enough to want to switch to a more open model? Have they pursued the issue since the statutory amendments, and if so via which avenues?

[3] I'm pretty sure that your example of the copy/paste app was also available in the legit app store (I think I had it!), so maybe you should talk about something they flat out don't allow, like tethering? Also, apple's integration of features previously available on jail broken apps does not necessarily indicate they "recognize the innovation and value that developers of free software" bring to the table, or that they have "greatly benefitted [sic]" from the jailbroken apps. Their product development cycle is long, and they are largely aware of which features are commonly requested or "the next step." It just takes them longer to integrate features into iOS because they are a large company with standards and a lot of inertia. Thus, I think that Apple's lag time in integrating these features speaks more to the speed of distribution, which as discussed in class is slower for closed systems. Ultimately, I think certain features are just better when they are fully built into the OS rather than existing as a separate app (I'm sure I wasn't the only one to ditch my copy/paste app as soon as Apple integrated it into the native OS). So could make an argument that if Apple fully opens iOS for development, people could integrate some of these improvements into the native OS more quickly.

[4] Alternatively, you could discuss the many wonderful open source initiatives (see cocoa controls, sparrow, and the libraries listed here for just a few examples) that have sprung up amongst iOS developer community as a way that iOS HAS benefited from open source, despite the general aversion to it coming from 1 Infinite Loop. Perhaps as part of a larger discussion of how a movement towards open source is really inevitable over time, and aligned with certain fundamental tendencies of human nature (is that getting needlessly abstract? haha). People don't like to reinvent the wheel. People like to collaborate. People like to be free to explore and understand the tools around them. Even Apple developers!

-- CrystalMao - 14 Oct 2011

1) You are right in your first point. When I originally re-read my paper, I realized it seemed like it was informative and I'd much rather have a point in my paper which is why I wrote what I did in the second post. So I will have an ultimate thesis, but haven't exactly figured out what its going to be.

You are right, there hasnt be as much backlash for having laptops closed and patriarchal. But I think that's because there is little post-sale money making potential compared to that of mobile devices that need data streams to function. So I think Apple hasn't had a need to be patriarchal as much with its laptops. AT&T, and Verizon aren't weighing in the situation when Apple sells a computer. It's just Apple and it makes most of its money off the sale of the device itself. But, when Apple is making 30% of every mobile phone service plan from AT&T (back when they had an exclusive agreement), there was a much bigger incentive for APple to close the system so that people couldn't use their phones on T-mobile or Verizon. So you're point about computers being not as patriarchal is well received but I think its less applicable to iOS and iDevices because of the post-sale potential to generate substantial revenue

2) I think I read that it was between 6-10% of people jailbreak their phones. But that also doesn't account for the number of users who don't even buy iphones in the first place because other phones are more "open" (at least that's what they say...it bugs the hell out of me when most of my friends say that who don't have iPhones because I ask them what it means and they can't tell me and even if they do know what it means they run nothing on their phone that can't be run on an iPhone...but anyways...back to the point)...So perhaps some overall statistic of not only people who jailbreak but also people who believe other systems are more "open" and for that reason choose against purchasing an iPhone.

3) Talking about tethering I think would be a great idea. They didn't allow it for the longest time and now they do allow but. The example of tethering is probably great to also show the interplay between mobile phone service providers and the handset providers themselves, and ultimately how much control the service providers have. Now, if you want tethering (legitimately from AT&T, for example), you have to pay for a tethering plan; which is absolutely stupid because you are already paying for a data plan so if you pay for tethering it is like paying for the same data twice. I think this example would be great to include because it shows how Apple and the service providers reacted to free tethering. Thank you for that example. I'll do some research on that. I'm not sure I agree 100% with your point about Apple taking a while to integrate things into their system because of a long product development cycle. And perhaps you can elaborate more on how the fact that they are a "large company with standards and a lot of inertia" matters and what that actually even means. Apple takes a long time to integrate these things into their phones because they ultimately want to give users enough reason to upgrade. Apple could release minor software updates to whatever current OS is operating and add a simple copy and paste function. I'm sure it took developers not long at all to develop their own copy/paste feature and the same is true for jailbreakers. Apple seems to hold off on keeping useful functions from their native OS until they can package them a year later all together into a new iOS, on a new phone. I'm not sure if they still are charging for software updates on iPod touches, but they used to charge money to upgrade your iPod touch software to the newest iteration.

I guess my overall point then is that while Apple tries to be (and I think really is) a company that does a lot of great innovation, it subordinates innovation to making money. Free software is about figuring out the best way to implement a task and send it out for whoever to use and to improve. Apple implements innovative programs in yearly cycles into its native iOS and not incrementally because it wants to give people reasons to switch over. It seems like a marketing technique. If Apple comes out with a new OS, and it has all these great new features, it is more dramatic and more persuasive to switch, than Apple incrementally updating software as their new ideas come to them. I shouldn't need to go to a third party for a simple copy and paste function, because you're right, it definitely is better when it runs natively...But, I also don't want to wait 1 year, 2 years, etc., until Apple releases an official native copy/paste function either. The open source movement would probably could have given me any function I have on iOS5 two years ago when iOS3 came out.

4) I have almost no knowledge about specific open source movements in general like the ones you have listed so I don't know if I would be able to talk intelligently about them and how Apple has benefitted from those specific ones. But I will look them up and see if I read anything that I can use.

-- AustinKlar - 15 Oct 2011

Is there anything unique about Apple when it incorporates the features modders add to its system? Didn't twitter wipe out a bunch of the innovation on its platform by just internalizing it. I mean, especially in a case like copy/paste, why shouldn't they. I don't think that adding features is a symptom of any stranglehold or evil intent. Sometimes they buy the startups with the ideas, sometimes they just build the features themselves (whatever's cheaper).

Also -- you want to push out a product ASAP and don't want to get stuck building a bunch of features that are non-core. That's why you release early with the minimum feature set, not some marketing gimmick.

-- AlexeySokolin - 17 Oct 2011

Apple and mobile service providers subordinate the desire to provide truly efficient and innovative products to the desire to make money, when those desires don't need to be mutually exclusive.

Some ideas I will incorporate into my previous draft

1) Apple/Service providers restricting tethering and then opening the possibility of tethering only if you pay for the tethering plan offered by the service providers

2) Using 3G for video calling

3)) Flash on the iPhone. Flash allows website creators to embed games and applications in the website itself. "Flash has evolved from being a mere animation player into a multimedia platform capable of running applications of its own. That means Flash would open a new door for application developers to get their software onto the iPhone: Just code them in Flash and put them on a web page. In so doing, Flash would divert business from the App Store, as well as enable publishers to distribute music, videos and movies that could compete with the iTunes Store."

Thoughts? The thesis needs work...its just a general idea

-- AustinKlar - 19 Oct 2011

I think your latest ideas are plausible, but I guess be careful that they can be generalized to something beyond an analysis of Apple (use Apple as the example, not the focus?). Apple claims that maintaining central control over their platform allows them to deliver a more polished and cohesive user experience (which, arguably it has), but they also abuse this power to pander to telecoms. Restricting tethering / use of 3G video calling on iOS are surely things that ATT/Verizon asked them to do, and being able to offer that gives them a competitive advantage when negotiating vis-a-vis open platforms like Android -- at the expense of their users / user experience. But how would opening up these things benefit Apple, when they need to keep telecoms happy? Android has obviously been hugely successful, but it is not Google's bread and butter -- they make little (if any) money off the project, but it makes sense for them because it serves as a funnel for their advertising business. Apple's bread and butter IS to sell iPhones at a profit, which they are currently able to do despite these restrictions. What is their profit incentive to change. I would avoid talking about Flash, because I think it is quickly becoming irrelevant in the post-HTML5 world.

-- CrystalMao - 20 Oct 2011

I think if APple opened up these possibilities for users, yea, it would make the telecoms unhappy....but to so what. In 2011 alone, Apple's market share for phones grew 115% according to a news report issued by market research firm IDC. According to the Nielson Company in March 2011 Apple had 25% of the smartphone market. With Apple selling LITERALLY over 1,000 iPhone 4s a minute (having sold over 4 million in a week), that share is ONLY going to grow.

Think about how much money these telecom companies make off charging 60-110 a month for iphone plans. Are you suggesting that if APple allowed these features, carriers would drop Apple products? I think that this is especially less likely a possibility given that now Sprint is in the iPhone game. The release of the 4s was Sprints BEST sales day EVER and the company has bet $20 billion on the iphone. I don't think Sprint would let this go to waste simply because APple opened up those features.

There will always be a carrier to provide the phone. I switched to ATT because they had the iphone first. Id switch to Sprint for the iPhone if they were the only one left, and i think many would (but also many wouldnt). The point is, Verizon and ATT make so much money off the iPhone that they wouldnt drop Apple altogether and they are restricted from raising prices because Sprint is there to combat them if they need to be combatted. There is more competition now than in previous years amongst carriers regarding the iPhone.

Many people don't buy iPhones because they are "closed" and prefer android for that purpose. theoretically, if Apple opened up those features, more people would buy their phones, or less people might jailbreak which means these phone companies could also benefit. Apple makes most of its money a ton of money off of the handset itself. More people buying the handset means more money for Apple. Since the carriers won't go anywhere, no users are harmed. The carriers wont like increase prices because there is more competition

-- AustinKlar - 20 Oct 2011

Apple surely makes a lot of money off of the 30% they charge developers for App store cuts. But, jailbreakers don't pay ANY money so Apple could potentially gain from those people who are persuaded to no longer jailbreak for these specific features like tethering and 3G video. Further, selling more phones to people who formerly refused to buy iPhones because they are too "closed" or "proprietary" would help also offset losses Apple takes from becoming completely open sourced. Developers are still free to charge for Apps and will be able to draw in a market for those paid Apps so long as those Apps funciton better than their counterparts. It will be a constant battle between developers of Apps and jailbreakers to make better Apps. That benefits the user and makes them more willing to be a part of that system and this leads to more money for apple because the users need apple handsets to do these functions. They need the phones

-- AustinKlar - 20 Oct 2011

UPDATED DRAFT:

Don't put multiple drafts in sequence, for Heaven's sake. Incorporate your revisions directly on the page. Prior versions will still be accessible as History. Refactor this essay to take account of the conversation, including my comments to the draft above, and I'll read again.

Apple built itself as a proprietary, rather than “open”, company, and actively seeks to quell efforts by third parties to promote innovative but “unauthorized” software on iOS devices. From the moment Apple released its handheld devices users were imprisoned. Apple restricted the devices such that any new software would come from, or with the approval of, Apple and Apple alone. Not only were users unable to install third-party software, but also they were prohibited from using their devices on “unauthorized” networks, and performing certain functions or tasks. To free users from this industry-created jail, an underground community of software developers, “jailbreakers,” began investigating ways to access the system disk on Apple devices and open it. These jailbreakers sought to enable third-party developers to create programs and functions, make them available for installation by the average user, without Apple’s approval, and allow users to operate their phones on a carrier of their choosing.

Apple makes blatantly false statements about how jailbreaking will impact a user’s “experience” with the device. Natalie Harrison, an Apple spokeswoman, stated, “Apple’s goal has always been to ensure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience.” See http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/26/technology/iphone_jailbreaking/index.htm. This statement is unfounded. The jailbreak community, like Apple, has it in its best interest to insure reliability; people won’t jailbreak if it is going to crash their device, just like users won’t buy apps from the App Store if those apps will crash the device. In waging war against jailbreakers, Apple subordinates its stated goal of offering truly innovative and efficient products to the goal of profit maximization, often to appease the major telecom companies. If Apple embraced the jailbreak community by removing the arbitrary restrictions it places at the behest of telecom companies, Apple would still profit substantially and maximize innovation and efficiency, likely without severe backlash from the telecom companies.

With the iPhone 4, Apple introduced FaceTime? , a feature allowing users to video chat with other iPhone users. To this day, Apple restricts the great potential of FaceTime? , permitting its use only over Wi-Fi connections, likely at the request of the major telecom companies. Kim Streich, a third party programmer, quickly developed Unrestricted, an application enabling FaceTime? over 3G connections, allowing users to video chat on the go instead of only in stationary locations, such as home or school. This feature is clearly useful and would greatly enhance the user experience, but Apple swiftly rejected Unrestricted from the App Store. Unrestricted quickly found its way into Cydia, an unauthorized app store, in the form of a paid app. Streich stated, “people are so annoyed by Apple and their shit, and if you give them the opportunity to go around it, then they’ll even pay for it.” See http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/08/cydia-app-store/. Within just two weeks of its introduction into Cydia, the app garnered $19,000 in sales. This demonstrates that if Apple embraced the jailbreak community, thereby permitting apps like Unrestricted to be sold in the official App Store, Apple could profit. Creators are not deterred from using the App Store in favor of Cydia because of Apple’s fees. Cydia creator Jay Freeman, like Apple, charges 30% per app sale. See http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/08/cydia-app-store/. Creators are deterred simply because the App Store, as it currently operates, implements arbitrary restrictions which hinder achievement of optimal functionality. Without arbitrary restrictions on functionality, there would be no reason for unofficial app stores.

Most users do not jailbreak their phones, so what incentive does Apple have to stir the pot with telecom companies in favor of jailbreakers? Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, reported that as of October 2011, China is Apple’s second largest market, accounting for roughly 16% of sales. See http://news.businessweek.com/article.asp?documentKey=1376-LTAG816TTDSA01-2F6G3VDNPFKF5PM4STRMK5TJMK. Further, roughly 35% of iOS devices in China are jailbroken. See http://3g.unlockediphone.info/2011/05/09/jailbreak-statistics-in-china/. If Apple removed arbitrary restrictions on functionality, these applications would be available on the official App Store, for 100% of all iOS users to purchase, and these 35% of Chinese users would convert to the official App Store for purchasing their applications. Further, many people purchase non-iOS devices specifically because Apple is a closed system with arbitrary restrictions. Removing the restrictions will induce more people to convert to Apple and iOS. Thus, Apple stands to profit substantially from embracing the jailbreak community. Not only will Apple profit, but also the user experience will be greatly enhanced, thus achieving Apple’s stated goal; new, innovative features such as free tethering, Adobe Flash, and text messaging enhancements will be offered, through the user-trusted App Store, to all.

Some argue that removing restrictions which were implemented at the request of the major telecom companies could actually hinder Apple’s profit potential and could have an adverse affect on user’s in that telecom companies could simply charge more for mobile service. Given the current structure of the mobile device industry, however, this is an unlikely result. A year ago, if Apple were to remove the restrictions implemented by AT&T and Verizon, surely data charges would increase. However, given that Sprint has pledged $20 billion to Apple for the iPhones, AT&T and Verizon are now facing potential competition; Sprint will do whatever it can to realize its investment in the iPhone. Given that it subsidizes the cost of the devices, Sprint intends to make the most off of service charges. See http://mashable.com/2011/10/03/sprint-20-billion-iphone/. Thus, Sprint will do whatever it can to convert customers away from AT&T and Verizon. The release of the iPhone 4S was Sprints best sales day ever and it appears that Sprint could potentially make a comeback and pose a substantial threat to AT&T and Verizon. This would reduce the risk of AT&T and Verizon increasing services rates. Further, given that iOS commands a substantial market share, telecom companies likely want Apple to remain in business and will not act in ways that negatively impact Apple’s users.

Thus, by removing arbitrary restrictions on functionality, and thereby obfuscating the need for an unauthorized app store, Apple stands to achieve its stated goal of improving the user experience, while substantially profiting, without severe backlash from the major telecom companies.

-- AustinKlar - 21 Oct 2011

You say that Apple stands to gain from removing restrictions b/c a more open product would render the iPhone and iOS more attractive to consumers (this would be esp. important in China, for example). You also note that some argue such openness could hurt Apple's bottom-line or, at least, damage its relationships with the telecom companies that carry the iPhone--indeed, this may be more true now that Sprint has entered the market b/c whereas AT&T and Verizon used to be able to recoup any losses by raising data charges, Sprint now acts as a check on their ability to financially insulate themselves from changes in Apple's policies. Presumably, Apple's rejection of openness is a product of its own cost/benefit analysis--while it may stand to profit more from an open product, it's simply not worth it for other reasons. If Apple values its relationships with the telecom companies more than the prospect of increased sales flowing from fewer restrictions on its product, should Apple reduce its restrictions on functionality? What if, by removing these restrictions, Apple incurred costs--such as reduced cooperation from telecom companies hurt by Apple's openness--that killed or delayed the production of other products that users stand to greatly enjoy and/or benefit from? Why isn't it right to defer to Apple's decision to do X versus Y when that decision is ultimately a business call between two different sets of costs and benefits for the company, its shareholders and users?

-- MatthewLadner - 25 Oct 2011

I guess my point is that Apple shouldn't value its relationship with telecom companies more. In an ideal world (which we obviously don't operate in), the user is most important; his needs, and his goals, should be what drives the product. Afterall, that's what free software is all about (free in this case meaning open, not free as in $0). What products would be killed or delayed? The whole point is that with Sprint, Apple has a third company out there willing to check ATT and Verizon, thereby insuring Verizon and ATT remain viable options on the market for end users. Verizon and ATT stand to make a TON of money if they allow Apple to continue to operate making handsets for use on their networks. I see zero reason why the telecom companies would risk billions of dollars in revenue just becuase Apple thumbed their noses at them by opening up 3G connections for facetime use....If Sprint, as we both think, can serve as a check, not much backlash will actually be incurred on Apple. So, I'm confused as to what decisions on products Apple has to make to delay or kill?

-- AustinKlar - 25 Oct 2011

Didn't realize you can't add links in Microsoft Word and have them port over when we paste into the Twiki so I will add the links when I put my next updated draft into the Twiki

-- AustinKlar - 26 Oct 2011

 

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