Apple Beset by Criticism From Leading Mac Bloggers

When lodestar users like Harry McCracken, Dave Winer, and even John Gruber are gunning for you online, you know your mobile platform has a real problem on its hands.

Thus, is Apple reaping what it has sowed with its increasingly pathological obsession with control.

These aren't just some PC World geeks with permanent chips on their shoulders putting the most negative possible spin on Apple. These are Apple-friendly guys (well, let's just call Winer Apple-compatible), and they are extremely influential writers in the world where Apple's customers swim. They can't and won't be ignored. This chain reaction is well past critical mass, and the smart money is on Apple to respond formally in the very near future — maybe even this week.

But make no mistake, here: all these bloggers have been asleep at the switch, and are only waking up now to what rgbFILTER and I have been talking about for weeks.

The first unmistakeable warning sign was Apple's breezy willingness to extend their technological control into the silencing of artistic expression — this was the clear evidence that they do not feel any responsibility to carry the principles of democracy forward into their spanking new media space, and that there is really no limit to the control they are willing to exert upon their users.

Don't believe it? You will. Because with the recent news that they are now banning software that competes with them from the App Store, Apple has finally made the mistake that will spark that collective 'duh' moment among those who didn't see the problem with electronics mavens claiming this kind of control, before.

Let's all hope that Apple takes the biggest possible bath over this, and that other companies who are by no means innocent in this regard (I'm looking at those who forged the shackles worn by console artists), will sit up and take note that their days of controlling user culture are numbered.

[Published originally at The Laroquod Experiment.]

Jobs and Woz, in Manga, for Kids!

By way of, my attention has been drawn to an '80s manga by Mitsuru Sugaya about the birth of Apple. Not speaking Japanese, I managed to get some gist of the artist's commentary (though not the comic dialogue itself) from the Babelfish version. I particularly enjoyed their rendition of Mitsuru's descriptions of one of Woz's teen pranks. (See if you can guess what it does...)

Concerning interest and [itazura] to electronics construction of this, the experience of the writer is projected. However the writer made, it was something where the primary coil and the secondary coil the hand it does to wind the electric shock surprise box, with the nail of the iron as a core, with intermittence of the buzzer false interchange makes and transforms. When the box of the chocolate is pulled out, [butsu] and sound doing, [biritsu] it is to have the [itazura] toy which becomes numb, but that handmade it is something which is done.
The artist also has this to (sort of) say about what he was trying to accomplish, which I loosely and probably inaccurately perceive as meaning that he wanted to make kids feel what it was like in the early heyday of Silicon Valley in their guts:
Concerning venture business you had known, but as for viewing the word, venture capital and the venture capitalist to, this time was unprecedented. This article becoming opportunity, interest grows even in the mechanism and economy of stocks, that eventually, means to be connected to drawing business information cartoon. When also you go out to Silicon Valley in 1983, wants to try feeling the atmosphere of actual place of such a venture business with the body.
I can't tell if he succeeded, but it was awfully fun to check out. If anyone comes across a translation of the comic itself, post it here!

[Published originally at The Laroquod Experiment.]

Apple vs. Art, part 2: Apple vs. Fart

I have to say, when I wrote my first post on Apple's attempts to soup-nazi new media spaces, I had no idea a sequel would be so soon in the offing. In this week's episode, we have an actual App Store rejection letter from Apple, which is so galling in its casual application of censorship to a harmless fart joke app, that even in the unlikely event that it would be a good idea to let any one posse of techno-dudes carry the keys to the new media kingdom, it's as clear as day the people at Apple are not those dudes.

The rejection letter was emailed to MacRumors by the developer, who also posted a full demo of the app to YouTube. The text of the letter follows:

Hello Developer,

We've reviewed your application Pull My Finger. We have determined that this application is of limited utility to the broad iPhone and iPod touch user community, and will not be published to the App Store.

It may be very appropriate to share with friends and family, and we recommend you review the Ad Hoc method on the Distribution tab of the iPhone Developer Portal for details on distributing this application among a small group of people of your choosing.


Victor Wang
Worldwide Developer Relations
Apple, Inc.
So, in other words, Apple controls the entire software market for this new medium (every effort having been taken to lock things down otherwise), which it will now fill capriciously according to its taste! And if you don't like it, you are free to use a method they have provided you to share your app with a 'small group of people of your choosing'? Why small? Isn't that a lot like saying you are free to sing in the shower — but they own everywhere else? Imagine if Apple had invented the microphone...

Essentially, Apple is trying to appoint itself the cultural gatekeepers as well as the technicians of a new public square, blocking you from it without their prior approval — a responsibility, by the way, that they appear to approach about as democratically as picking a T-shirt.

I defy anyone in the 'iPhone and iPod touch user community' to watch this video, and not want to install this thing and run it, at least once...

[Published originally at The Laroquod Experiment.]