Apple becomes more closed with each new device...

Apple becomes more closed with each new device...

Summary: Apple seems to be moving backwards to its proprietary roots with each new device it makes... Will it's fans approve?

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In the early days of the microcomputer industry, every company had its own proprietary hardware and software. When IBM introduced the PC, in its rush to market it adopted off-the-shelf components and an operating system un restricted to IBM and the PC industry was born - an open platform that became a huge platform for innvation. Apple stayed with its proprietary hardware and software. Over time, it eventually moved onto industry standard Intel chips, it adopted PC standards such as USB, and made its disk operating system files compatible with the PC world. With the arrival of the Internet, the browser on the Mac offered the same user interface as on the PC, and it became a common software platform. At that point, there wasn't too much difference between the Mac and PC worlds. And that's still true for Macs and PCs today -- In fact, you can (unofficially) port the Mac OS to a PC systems and it runs Mac apps. Since the introduction of the iPod, iPhone, and now the iPad, Apple is becoming less and less open, it using fewer standard components and chips, and far fewer Internet technologies common to Mac/PC desktop and laptop systems.

The iPhone and iPad, for example, doesn't support common Internet platforms such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight. That means you cannot watch streaming video from Hulu, or Netflix.

And while iPhone chips are available from other manufacturers, the iPad runs only on the A4 processor -- an Apple designed chip that no one else can buy.

Why is Apple becoming more proprietary and closed? A proprietary system means you can only get it from Apple. If you have great apps, content, and a great user interface (user experience) you can charge more money than if you produce a copycat system that is easily available from many manufacturers.

There's money in closed systems...

It's a lucrative formula and that's why with each new device, Apple is moving further back to its proprietary roots because that's where you can make a lot of money.

Thanks to iPod, iPhone sales, Apple is now a $50 billion a year revenue company. Since the iPod was introduced in October 2001, its share price has multiplied by more than 23 times from $8.78 to $207.88.

What's puzzling though, is that Apple has a very enthusiastic, early adopter customer base, which consists of people that are big supporters of open standards, and open platforms.

Yet these "Fanboys" haven't seemed to have lost their enthusiasm for Apple products despite the increasingly closed nature of Apple.

Maybe that will change with the iPad, which is a much more closed system than any of Apple products from the past ten years. Will the Fanboys rebel? Will it matter if they do? Probably not.

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Disclosure: I've owned Apple systems since the Mac 128K "Tombstone," I currently have a Powerbook, Macbook Air, and an iPhone. I've also owned PCs, Thinkpads for many years.

Topics: Apple, Tablets, Smartphones, Operating Systems, iPad, iPhone, IBM, Hardware, Apps, PCs

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17 comments
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  • I think you're forgetting the original Apple Computer

    the Mac is not the original Apple. Mac closed the doors and made it a royal pain to program for the environment. It is today as it has always been: the environment that has the apps people want will get the business, open or otherwise. Make it easy for the developer and you will get the apps.
    happyharry_z
    • RE: Apple becomes more closed with each new device...

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      yantangseo
  • the sheep will be herded

    by the new messiah: Steve Job$.
    Linux Geek
    • I see you broke your keyboard aggain...

      now it's your lower 's' that has a problem... it keep being printed on your screen as a $...

      I wonder... did you upgrade to kernel 2.6.99.34.55r yet? I hear it fixed the issue that some Shmitt/Stallman cultists have with typing certain letters...
      Ceridan
      • Get a clue!

        Shmitt? Stallman? Cultism? WTF are you talking about?

        Only 25% of the Kernel is being written by volunteers, the remaining 75% comes from paid developers.

        The corporate world is showing massive support for Linux.
        The Mentalist
    • And his Appleostle will shower him with gifts

      of frankincense and CA$H!!
      Ron Bergundy
      • Good thing you don't run a business

        it would be bankrupt.
        GoPower
  • Hence the failure to become mainstream in business.

    I see a few spoiled brat types useing iPhones for business, but I don't see any major corporations standardizing on it instead of a Blackberry.
    kd5auq
    • Android is being used by

      A few companies now.

      But Apple.. only Apple fan boys use it.
      Uralbas
  • proprietary

    "...common Internet platforms such as Adobe Flash or
    Microsoft Silverlight"

    that is a big joke, isn't it? common? you mean proprietary? i
    thought here on zdnet every blogger loves open source
    instead of company controlled?

    apple doesn't support proprietary technologies such as flash
    and silverlight. instead it is pushing for an open standard web
    made of h.264, html 5 and ajax. apple proprietary? where
    excactly?

    mr. forenski really is the biggest idi*t here on zdnet.
    bannedfromzdnetagain
  • Tom you are a sinner

    how can't you see that Steve Jobs is a genius and the
    iPad is magical and revolutionary? If that means going
    more closed and proprietary, then closed and proprietary
    is the new holy grail. Amen.

    You must be on MS payroll
    markbn
    • "Steve Jobs is a genius"

      "Steve Jobs is a genius". Sure he is a genius; the New York Times proudly trumpets him as such all the time. They also used to claim that Greenspan, their boy, was a genius in the 90's, and look at the mess the failed economist created when he fueled the housing bubble. What Mr Jobs is a shrew copy-cat enjoying unconditional msm endorsement. Of genius he has nothing.

      Tons of internet tablets already exist, and the shameless Mr Jobs still tries to accept the claims that the Asia manufactured iPad was his creation. Get your facts straight dumb fanboy.

      The Apple craze makes it amply clear that American people are getting dumber and dumber. To get an idea of how many internet tablets have already been unveiled go to the following link: http://is.gd/7d8xp

      Giving up freedom for a little make believe security is a bad idea! That is precisely what the Apple craze is about. The fact that morons are purchasing hardware worth a fraction of the cost they pay, just because it has a logo is a sure sign of declining technological intellect. And let me just add that I am no fan of Microsoft; that is why I run a free distribution of Linux in my pc.
      tetamont
      • I was being sarcastic

        Sheesh
        markbn
        • Sad thing is you are right

          I am sure only an idiot could take a company with a market cap of 2 to 3 billion
          to almost 250 billion in less than 10 years.
          Bruizer
  • RE: Apple becomes more closed with each new device...

    Mr Job$ probably thinks of himself as the iJesus, and he has got alot of dumbed-down fanboy disciples bending over.

    Although I hate the Apple craze, I will add that I think it has created a more competitive environment for companies like Microsoft and thus forced them into producing products that are often superior to Apple's, something that is quite simple as far as hardware goes. As an open source bug, I dont buy proprietary hardware, or software. So that is no benefit for geeks like me, but still many people are benefiting. I like Apple, but hate the Apple fanboy logo-ism, something that signals more and more a mass decline in the understanding of computer hardware, and the push for the open platform.
    tetamont
  • RE: Apple becomes more closed with each new device...

    thanks Tom for the article. It's pity that many users don't realize the value of standards.

    Another related article titled "Is Proprietary the New Standard in the Mobile Industry?" can be found on Vision Mobile:
    http://www.visionmobile.com/blog/2009/12/is-proprietary-the-new-standard-in-the-mobile-industry/
    elod_@...
  • RE: Apple becomes more closed with each new device...

    I will say one thing, I am glad that Flah an Silverlight does
    not run on these devices. The quicker there Proprietary,
    resource hogs are made to disappear from the internet the
    better. So in that respect I hope most devices start to not
    include these technologies as this will increase the speed at
    which HTML 5 technologies will be role out across the internet
    an firms will have to change as they loose potential
    customers.

    At least in this respect apple is doing the right thing,
    although for completely different reasons.
    Knowles2