OS 3.0 – A Glimpse Through Apple’s Recent History (or why we should not have to pay for iPhone updates)

news-os30-03Just hours ago, iPhone OS 3.0 was unleashed onto the App Store with prices starting at USD 9.99$. Packed with many great ‘new’ features, the software is bound to stay a top download until current Touch and iPhone users have finished the update cycle or upgraded to newer hardware. Spotlight, cut/copy/paste, landscape editing, bluetooth, MMS, voice memo, iTunes account managing/redeeming, etc. – all are great reasons to update to a new point release, however, Apple have only really taken the blinders from the platform rather than added anything to our beloved devices.

Bring Your Own Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor
The update is wonderful. The overall handling is ‘snappier’, more elegant and feature-complete. But Apple should have included these features from the start. In fact, they could have been released as a 2.2.2, or better yet, 1.3.5 update.

Take the first release of OSX, 10.0, which lacked vital features and was plagued with instabilities. Subsequently, 10.1 was released to Apple customers as a free upgrade. iPhone OS 1 allowed the barest minimum of features in both the iPhone and the iPod touch. If the first iPhone OS could be likened to Mac OSX, it would be similar to Apple granting access to the hard disk, monitor, keyboard and internet, but not to USB, optical drives or any software other than the OS and (at the time), Internet Explorer. Had Apple done that with computers, they would be out of business.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the market for these portable devices which are for all intents and purposes, mobile OSX computers. Early adopters did complain about lack of features, but not to the extent they should have. 2 years later, OS 3.0 is released with the barrage of ‘upgrades’ that should have been included from the beginning. Rather, Apple decided to force a toe-hold into the growing market of handheld computing and smart phones. In it, they thrust the iPod touch and iPhone, both of which were revolutionary devices. Both, however, suffered from an infantile and hamstrung OS. Apple were successful. Unfortunately, they are leaving the bulk and cost of their unfinished software on the shoulders of their users rather than hefting the responsibility themselves.

OS 10.0’s troubled release was a long time ago and Apple have fought back from the brink of destruction. Now content in a new Apple-ecosystem, have forgotten a company who had to fight for its customers – an Apple that gave away a free update to a buggy and feature-starved OS. That said, like a sheep, I laid aside 10$ because I desperately need a few of OS 3.0’s features. And, unlike the Mac which is free to run a multitude of OS’s, Apple lay claim of the iPod and iPhone with determined obstinacy. Apple’s latest move, along with its prior greedy OS 2.0 and 1.4 updates, is selfish and ultimately, typical of the new Apple which, drunk on its own success, can demand money for what amounts to the removal of a software blindfold. Apple’s move is enough to convince me that projects such as Linux on iPhone, the Jailbreaking scene and the EFF’s efforts in the digital world need to succeed.

For more on the Jailbreak scene and the efforts of the EFF, check below:
ultrasn0w – Issue-Prone Software – iPod Touch redsn0w – iPhone Software Possibilities heat up! – The Apple iPwn! – Cydia Store now Open!– EFF and Apple: Jailbreaking is Illegal? – Jailbreaked iPhone Users Beware! – iPod Touch 2G Jailbreak Looming? – Want to Speed Up your Jailbroken iPhone? — Laptops on the GoGo – A Look at PDA Net

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