Many, many years ago I decided I would no longer support or use Apple products, however ‘convenient’ and cool they were. Most iPhones and Macs before that were overpriced; we as a family decided against them. (My first PC was an Mac. Today I could by three fast PCs for the price of that Mac I owned up to 1996.)
So now, as Apple products come under withering scrutiny, such as the ‘speed throttling’ or battery issue, I wonder why people still put up with a terribly unethical company. There have been plenty of scandals that signaled to customers something was awry – from the iPad Chinese scandal, to the more recent one that smells of ‘Planned Obsolescence’ (an old marketing ruse).
Transparency is not its strong suit – secrecy is is built into its DNA after all. Including workplace secrecy. But Apple seems to understand human psychology, and knows that a shiny new object is enough to deflect bad business practice. If you read the company’s disingenuous apology, it sounds like it was hammered out by a group of ghost-writers in a tavern filled with corporate lawyers. So while there will be lawsuits and pressure from governments, it could ride this out.
So my question is, if you’re an Apple user do you ‘like‘ the company, and distrust the brand? Or is it the other way around?
How much lighter could phones get?
If you thought the ‘brick phone’ was a quaint monstrosity, consider what a 130-pound phone must have been. And this is what it looked like.
Not exactly for the pocket, eh?
Yes the early global phone, around 1991, comprised a few suitcases for a satellite dish, a transmitter and the handset. Great read by journalist Walter Barranger, of the New York Times who used one of these.
In the same vein, anyone remember using a video recorder that comprised a heavy box in a case with a strap? This was connected by a cord to the actual camera that weighed about 20 pounds.
Or a ‘portable’ computer that was about the size of a small microwave? This was the Apple Color Classic. I feel silly recalling how I lugged this through several airports.
So, did Tim Cook win? Or did law enforcement fight a fake battle over a back-door to an iPhone? A few weeks ago I wondered why they even bothered asking Apple.
Given that there are dozens of websites that provide back-door services, and there being ‘ethical hackers’ who could unlock phones, I’m surprised no one has offered to do it for Apple, thereby freeing them of the PR nightmare.
A lawyer for the ACLU seems to think the battle is far from over. As a friend mentioned in response to this post, this legal tussle could have been a set-up, just to cover the fact that the surveillance program can snoop into phones – locked or otherwise.
But no worries, 60 governments already do it, as reported in Wired magazine two years ago.
Which side are you on regarding the FBI’s request that Apple unlock the phone of a killer?
I lean on the side of the agency because I would want those who protect us to have every possible lock-picking device to thwart criminal behavior. But I can see Apple’s point of not wanting to give up liberty for security, as it could tip the balance when citizens (and businesses run by citizens, never mind if they are global corporations) hand over their freedoms to the state.
Incidentally, that Ben Franklin quote, which must be resounding in your ears about how Those who would give up Liberty for safety deserve neither, is one of the best mis-quoted statements by old Ben. He actually said that “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” (Note the qualifiers – ‘essential’ and ‘temporary.’)
What if Apple gives up a little temporary liberty, and stop making a huge thing of this Apparently Apple has unlocked some 70 phones before, but had done it without the media baring down on it. Given that there are dozens of websites that provide back-door services, and there being ‘ethical hackers’ who could unlock phones, I’m surprised no one has offered to do it for Apple, thereby freeing them of the PR nightmare.
Perhaps the government ought to hold a hackathon and see what surfaces. After all, DARPA holds cyber-security hackathons, don’t they?
Steve Jobs wouldn’t have been the serial entrepreneur we knew him to be, if not for his partner in crime, Steve Wozniac.
I make this point to my students, when teaching them the power of collaboration, something lost in our education system that, until now favored the individual over the group; the bubble test over the team project. Common Core standards, adopted by my school (Arizona is one of some 45 states adopting them) urge us to break out of that mindset, and get kids to discuss more, debate, confront, and work as a hive mind.
So I use this example of Woz, where he describes how he stumbled over a piece of fiction about the ‘Blue Box’, and showed it to Jobs. They wondered if this device were possible, but didn’t stop at that. They snuck into a library one Sunday, and looked it up in a stack of journals.
In other words, Steve and Steve were doing their ‘research.’ Something that sounds anathema to today’s kids who like to imagine search = research. That supporting ideas will always be within a few keystrokes or clicks.
I particularly like how the Apple co-founders got started not in a garage, but a library.
Hard to forget, the first PC I ever owned was the Apple Color Classic*.
But apart from giving many of us in advertising and marketing a simple (as in non-geeky) on-ramp to computing, we remember him for his vision, and his humanity.
I found this statement from him, made in 2005.
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share…
…Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent.”
*I have not used a Mac for the past 15 years.
I had a great conversation with Brown Russell, former Chairman of Gum Tech (GUMM:NASDAQ), last evening on our radio show.
Brown was behind (and by this I mean he led) the launch of Zicam –the cold remedy, medicine. I didn’t know this but Zicam was one of the fastest growing new cold treatments in recent history.
The reason I thought he would be a great guest was because of a book I noticed on his desk one day. It was one of those thick books on communication that communicators who have just graduated may have not even heard about: The Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers, first published in 1962. (By the way Rogers published 30 books in 15 languages.)
To put this in perspective this was before the Internet was ‘discovered.’ And some of the concepts Rogers analyzed presaged viral marketing by what, 40 years, maybe?
How do ideas spread and products take off, I asked? Is the diffusion of innovations across networks (the unwired kind) dependent on a marketing and PR push? Derrick brought us a good point –that demand, could possibly be influenced by planned scarcity (as in Apple’s play); by game mechanics (as in earning rewards), and filling the need that nobody has quite recognized (as in Facebook).
Here’s the podcast, if you’re interested. http://bit.ly/your3bl11
By the way, if you occasionally use terms such as ‘early adopters,’ ‘late majority’ or ‘laggards’ you’ve been borrowing from Roger’s theory!