A competing OS or manufacturer of devices could also seek technical differentiation

A competing OS or manufacturer of devices could also seek technical differentiation. Today, innovation is not based on the hardware, but rather how it’s used in order to create differentiated software and services. It doesn’t really matter what a phone can accomplish, but how developers use these capabilities. This brings us back to the iOS-first developers problem. Apple’s dominance means that new technology (e.g. Apple’s dominance means that 5G and AR aren’t “things” until they come to Apple devices.

Apple’s control over developers can be seen in the fact that they continue to do so despite many complaints. Benedict Evans reaffirms his belief that Apple’s inconsistent App Store policies/approvals have “caused real damage to Apple’s brand amongst developer.” However, this hasn’t led to protests or boycotts; it’s unclear that they would work on any timeline major developer could sustain. This is in contrast to the Facebook example. Facebook’s history of changing API policies and monetization policies in late 2000s and early 2010s has left it without a development ecosystem.

The iOS ecosystem is becoming more competitively exclusive, stronger, and more tightly controlled. Although the Mac has been open-source platform for many years, it is now tightly controlled and standardized with iOS’s chipsets. Many technologists and analysts believe that the iPhones will become “edge servers” for local computation in the next decade. This would mean that more of the world will be powered and controlled by the iPhone. Our glasses, TVs, and bikes. This reduces the chance of iOS being replaced by a “new operating system” (as iOS has replaced Windows).

Apple also continues to release Apple-only software, services and apps (e.g. Family iCloud Sync for Mac, Apple Fitness, and iOS Apps For Mac are all Apple-only software and services that offer both family-based and service-level lock-in. The number of iPhone users who own an Apple device has increased from 1.45 to 1.55 over the past five years. Apple requires that every iOS app that uses cross platform accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter or Google, use Apple IDs. Although users don’t have to use their Apple IDs to access apps, many will. App makers like the New York Times must support Apple ID on all devices, endpoints, and platforms, including Android and the PC web. It’s also much more difficult to leave a hardware or services ecosystem if one of these services is (i.e. Identity is your passport to the internet.

C: The iPhone, Apple’s Phone

This is the first time that consumer rights and laws are being discussed, and the answers to these questions become more complex and dependent on the path taken.

The iPhone purchased is the personal and physical property of the buyer. This gives the buyer the right to use the product in any manner, shape or form that they choose (as long the laws are not broken). Technically, the same applies to the iPhone. The operating system that runs the iPhone is Apple’s, and it is required to operate the device. Although the laws are not clear at all, they are generally understood to favor Apple and its almost unlimited control. It’s useful to use analogy to consider what is socially acceptable, desirable, and tolerable.

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Ford Motor Company could dictate which tires are used on F150s. Ford Motor Company could take a cut of all F150 tires, set limits on the types of roads that F150s can drive and the speed at which they could go, and require all car-related purchases (e.g. Ford payment services are available for gas and drive-through coffee, as well as food. These limitations are unacceptable today, but they’re only now technologically feasible. It’s probable that Ford and other manufacturers would have attempted this model if it was available in the early 20th Century. This would have led to higher consumer prices even though the car was more efficient and users were less likely to be reckless.

While the technology to create such a bundle is well-established, there are a variety of laws that have been developed to limit these kinds of controls. The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (now in use in all 50 states) required that automotive manufacturers provide the same information to independent shops as to dealers. This was especially important because onboard computers began to record more complicated performance and diagnostic data. These acts prohibited automakers to invalidate car warranties if an independent dealer was used.

This is why it is important to ask the consumer what rights they should have and not which rights Apple may prefer or be owed under currentlaws.

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D: Apple can’t have a Monopoly on its Own Product

Apple’s strongest defense is the use of precedent. A long history of case law has shown that a product can’t be itself a market. There are decades of case law that suggests (1) a product cannot be a market (i.e., trucks are not Ford F150s); (2) a company can’t have a monopoly on its own product.

It doesn’t matter that Apple holds a 100% market share for iPhones. The iPhone is not a market, but a product within the mobile device category. Apple’s share in this market is still impressive at 66% in the US (and 25% globally). Apple rightly points out that there are many competing devices, some which are cheaper and/or offer superior specifications. Smartphones are usually replaced every 2 to 4 years. This means that Apple must win these customers consistently (unlike railroads, telephone poles or electric grids). It is difficult to prove that Apple forces iPhone customers to stay iPhone customers.

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This is where the analysis becomes tricky. The iPhone is not a product. The iPhone is a platform. It also includes hardware, an operating system + distribution and payment solutions + services.

The Phone, to use a simple analogy: it is neither a product (like a Ford F150) nor a market (like the truck market). The iPhone, or more accurately, iOS, operates more like the US Interstate Highway System. Although the IHS does not control a majority of highways (30%) or all roads (1.7%), it is the dominant road network and the backbone for commerce and trade in the United States. In this particular case, it would appear that the IHS had its own cars, on-platform credit cards program, license plate system, passport, and owned and rented all of the highway land to private businesses (which it occasionally decided to challenge). It also operated its own police. Because of its popularity and importance, the iOS Interstate’s technical decisions influenced the construction of all other highways and roads as well as all products, business models and architecture of all road-based companies (e.g. Gas stations, drive-throughs, etc. Although the analogy isn’t perfect it does sound more like a government than a market.

Apple is not the only company that values total control over the user experience. Disneyland fits the same description. Apple’s tight control at the end of every step is why Apple devices are so popular.

We (i.e. society) recognize the importance of understanding how economies operate, what they prioritize, and how they benefit consumers. We (i.e. society) are aware of the importance to examine how economies function, how they prioritize and how they can benefit consumers, maintain competition and drive innovation. The digital/virtual economic system is going to continue growing in importance. We must be aware of the potential consequences and work towards the goals we set. iOS is more important than Disneyland, and Apple wants it to be the platform of the digital economy.


E: Apple’s Policies are Designed To Protect Its Users

Apple claims its control over app distribution and policies, as well as payments, is required to protect user data and prevent viruses. It also maintains safety of children measures and services such screentime. This is true. Curation, store guidelines and installation controls help to limit malware, spyware and other shady practice. Less apps are downloaded, less permissions are granted, disclosures are increased and developers face huge downsides (i.e. If they try to trick Apple or its users, bans will be imposed. Apple also has the ability to control web browsers through its control over app distribution. While there may not be an open internet on the iPhone, Apple’s policies restrict malcontents.

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Because of the importance of our devices to our day-to-day lives and the data they store, security is crucial. However, Apple’s arguments are a lot exaggerated. Corporations can have their own app stores and approve all submissions and updates without Apple. This does not appear to harm the user experience, or put their privacy at risk. Moreover, corporate data should be much more valuable than Apple’s and therefore sought out. Apple allows developers to distribute beta versions via TestFlight rather than through the App Store. Although TestFlight is only available to a small percentage of iOS users (most of them are advanced users), there is no evidence of harm.

Apple also used security arguments to deny apps like Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass. This bundles over 100 Xbox games into one Netflix-like service. Apple claimed that bundles meant Apple couldn’t individually review each game and update to ensure it was of high quality and compliance with data protection laws. This argument is weak. For example, games that are bundled with Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation do not contain inappropriate content or secret data harvesting code. Apple could remove them if they did. Apple does not require perfect moderation. It only requires that you make strong efforts. Apple also granted policy exemptions for a variety of technology and major telecom companies.

This safety argument ignores the fact many App Store approved games, like Minecraft, contain inappropriate UGC content (e.g. Targeted harassment via audio chat is possible for phallus-shaped buildings that have fountains at the top and are subject to phallus-shaped structures. Apple doesn’t apply the “individual approval policy” to content bundles. Netflix, for instance, does not need to submit all its titles for approval. Neither does the Fox News App (or Roblox), which is effectively a bundle of games. Safari’s rejection of rich WebGL-based gaming is also not supported by security.

It is important to note that MacOS doesn’t have iOS’s restrictions regarding software/app installation, but it remains safe and secure. The kernel/OS-level holds the bulk of security. Malicious apps and updates have a long history of passing the App Store review. These bad apps are not likely to cause damage or take over private files, as is often the case for Windows malware. This is due to iOS’s API-level security system, which is stronger and more scalable and offers developers more options.

Source: https://www.matthewball.vc/all/applemetaverse

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