Has Apple put mobile innovation back at least 10 years?

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Apple Inc.Ewan MacLeod knows his stuff. He is one of the most authoritative commentators in the mobile space.

In a recent article, he paints clearly how the tightly controlled model of iOS is hindering innovation in the mobile app development space. Like me, he does not deny the beautiful work that Apple has done, yet he is able to point out serious issues at the same time.

A quote from him:

Let’s be clear: Apple’s done a brilliant job. This is undeniable. My issue is that much of the planet’s mobile mindshare is wedded to the single-app ecosystem.

There’s *so much* you can do with your iPhone. My frustration is that you have to do it sequentially. You can’t touch anything or change anything about the device experience. This ensures a familiar user experience for everyone. It also means nothing changes unless Apple says so.

He presents clear examples of how the alternate model as seen on Symbian/Belle/Android/BlackBerry OSes make for better innovation.

I also find it interesting that he is able to sift between the wheat and the chaff with regards the strengths and weaknesses of different mobile platforms. For example, he states:

Even today the messaging capabilities of a BlackBerry (SMS, email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, GoogleTalk and of course BBM) are second to none. If you haven’t seen a proper BlackBerry running messaging in anger, I strongly, strongly recommend you experience it — even the cheapest £100 Curve 8520 will do. When I’m having a busy day with a LOT going on, the BlackBerry’s messaging services make my iPhone feel last century.

That is so on point.

Be sure to read Ewan’s article, Has Apple Put Back Mobile Innovation By At Least 10 Years?, and return here to discuss if you please.

  1. It’s the reason why ive always hated the iphone. Yes, in terms of ui, superb,yes, they changed the way touchscreen worked with things like flick scrolling pinch zooming and all the nice transitions and animations, but bbeyond that, the ipone is just a more sophisticated mp4 player. A mere entertainment device When others were moving forward and racking up features the iphone was still battling with mltitasking. Simple file transfer via BT, it doesnt have. Video calling via 3G. (not skype or facetime) it doesn’t have. File manager? nada.. WTH

  2. If more people were Techies, Apple would be bankrupt.

    Fortunately for them, the average smartphone user carries it about just for ‘swagger’..

    Busy keeping up with the Jones’and the latest fashion accessory and status symbol…the iPhone / iPad..

  3. ”Simple file transfer via BT, it doesnt have. Video calling via 3G. (not skype or facetime) it doesn’t have. File manager? nada.. WTH”

    Tobi, You should know that two out of these three things’re deliberately left out, its not for some lack of technology or something. Apple does their own thing, they hardly copy features from other platforms and it has worked for them so far.

    So whats Facetime/Skype? Video chatting?

    I read the article, and i don’t know his gripe, really. What point is he trying to make? Because of iOS’ limitations in its OS, does that mean other platforms’ app development will be equally limited? I beg to differ. The iDevices don’t have taskmanagers, file managers, true multitasking, third party Keyboards etc. Android, BB OS and Symbian platforms support these. Because Apple decides to limit the workings of their iPlatform, it doesn’t mean developers will restrict themselves to those limitations when creating software for Android and co. Apple’s iOS may just be in the forefront of the smartphone world, they don’t define it, and i don’t believe the set the pace for how to develop apps.

    …and has that guy ever heard of jailbreaking?

  4. Eye.bee.kay

    If more people were Techies, Apple would be bankrupt.

    Nah, if more people were techies more iPhones would be jailbroken…

  5. @saddige

    facetime uses your data connection.It’s just like skype. It’s only iphone to iphone I’m talking about 3G video calling that has been around since like 2005.They’re 2 diff things

    What point is he trying to make? Because of iOS’ limitations in its OS, does that mean other platforms’ app development will be equally limited?

    Yes, this is because of the disproportional support that idevices get from developers. When an app is written it is first made for the iphone before android and others. I’m sure you know this. This means that the developer writes the app to suit the iphone. Bearing in mind all its limitations, the developer is not free to explore more possibilities and do more with his app. He can only play within the boundary set by apple. This limited app becomes the standard and then is later ported to android and other OSes. Only very few (if any) may start writinng the app again from scratch

    It’s unfortunate that the limited iphone apps are used as yardstick. But hopefully the day will come when developers will pay attention to the more open OSes.

    You shouldn’t have to jailbreak, lose your warranty, put your phone at risk etc. to get such basic functions. Symbian didn’t need any rooting/jailbreaking to do all these things. That’s why even though i’ve stopped using it, symbian is still the OS of choice for me

  6. I see your point on that, but i still have my reservations on that…

    Actually to get the full experience from any of these OSes one needs to jailbreak/root/hack their smartphones. I’m sure you’ve had some experiences with ‘certificate expired’ or ‘invalid certificate’ issues when installing apps on your Symbian phone. Hacking it gets rid of that problem. If we can remove the limitations placed on these devices by their manufacturers, many people won’t have cause to complain about low app standards and UX restrictions. Yeah i know it voids warranty but, is it really worth restricting your phone because of some off chance that it may be damaged somehow?

  7. Fact.

    Apple has moved the Smartphone Industry forward and backward.

    As much as I love the iPhone, its so annoying that it cant do what a Nokia 5230 can do.

  8. Apple has created this standard and has been paying off over the years. If the app developers know that they get restricted while developing for IOS, why continue creating apps for the platform first? They can focus and create for other OSs that allow those basic functions. But I guess they too enjoy the return on investment for apps on iOS. Developers make more money creating apps for apple devices.
    I wouldn’t agree completely with the topic, however, apple’s restrictions may begin to give way in the coming years.

  9. i guess in restricting, it doesnt mean that if they want those tech, they can have them, but they want to show their unique-ness in innovations. Their customers r not too worried abt it, but for me Nokia belle fan, i cant do without those techs especially multitasking, thats the sweetest.

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