They just keep coming, one negative headline after another after another. At least that's how it must feel today over at Apple. In the last 24 hours or so, there have been at least four separate events that have put the company in a negative light. The widespread problems with both iPhone 3G and MobileMe cast a dark shadow over the company in recent weeks. But today, it's more than a dark shadow - it's been more like one of those dark rain clouds that hovers over one area and just pelts it with a heavy downpour.
Here's what's happening:
- Reports have surfaced that the iPhone 3G - as if it didn't have enough negative publicity already - has a huge security flaw that puts all the private information in it at-risk. (Techmeme). Apparently, it only takes a couple of simple taps on the iPhone to unlock the device and provide access to everything on it - contacts, messages and even the Web browser. Gizmodo provides a step-by-step on how to exploit the flaw but also provides instructions on how to temporarily close the hole by disabling a popular feature. Apple says a firmware update is coming. But when?
- The advertising watchdog in the U.K. - The Advertising Standards Authority- has banned an iPhone commercial that it believes is misleading. (Techmeme) A voiceover on the commercial says: "You never know which part of the internet you'll need ... which is why all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone." Apparently, the iPhone does not support Flash or Java, technologies that are key to many Web pages. Therefore, all parts of the Internet are not on the iPhone. Splitting hairs? Maybe. But the ASA has said the commercial may not be broadcast again in its current form. (Well, unless you watch it on the Internet.)
- Angry kids who love violent comic books are not happy with Apple's decision to ban the strip Murderdome from the App store. (Techmeme) Apparently, there's a term in the software developers kit that prohibits content deemed offensive by "Apple's reasonable judgement" and this falls into it. Some critics question how a drawing - not something physically real - is offensive but other forms of content that Apple sells - violent movies and music with explicit lyrics - is not. In a blog entry, publisher Infurious Comics made an interesting proposal to Apple: "we would love to work with Apple to ensure a content rating system can be put in place to allow material that is no more offensive than many of the R rated films available to download on iTunes." It sounds like a good idea, one that should seriously be considered. Last thing anyone needs is some sort of censorship lawsuit surfacing. And speaking of lawsuits...
- The debate over the countersuit against Apple, filed yesterday by Mac clone maker Psystar, rages on today. Should the licensing agreement for OS X be invalidated so that third-party PC manufacturers can install the Mac OS X operating system and resell Mac clones at a lower price? Or is Psystar, as Apple has alleged, breaching the licensing agreement and infringing on copyrights and trademarks by installing OS X on non-Apple machines?
It's a good thing Apple is slated to make a big announcement on Sept. 9 - an unconfirmed rumor floating around the blogosphere. (Techmeme) The company apparently will be announcing a refreshed line of iPod, updates to iTunes and lower prices on some products. That's sure to generate some glowing headlines among the regular glowing-review-writing journalists and bloggers. The only thing that could make things even better is if a strong, healthy-looking Steve Jobs takes the stage to announce the news.