Rowan posted over here about how the iPhone will have an unremovable sim resulting in consumers being pretty much locked into Apple phone products. This and some of the other issues surrounding Apple’s latest product got me thinking.

I remember a time a decade or so ago when Apple was seen as the free and creative alternative to the MS total lock in model. The iMac was a change from boring grey boxes, the iPod unlocked the recording industry’s grasp on music (well thats a stretch but humour me here).

The iPhone however seems to have gone down the Microsoft path of “lock them into a system and they’ll have no choice but to return”.

In my analysis (and I steer clear of these discussions usually) it seems that the Open Source community has pretty much taken the alternative-cred that Apple once had. That’s all fine while Apple can churn out ground breaking products but I just wonder if Apple isn’t risking a backlash from the very consumers they are trying to attract.

There is a very fine line between being big enough to pull of innovative product development on a large scale, and being too big – at which time you’re seen to be an omnipotent and  aggresive  corporate. It’s a subtle shift in mindset and something that Apple needs to be very mindful of.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

2 Comments
  • Ben – the lockin that should be of more concern is AT &T. Lets just say their reputation for service and delivery isn’t what it should be and many people like the iphone but want to do something else with it.

    To that end:

    There is an interesting piece over at Alex Kings blog where he notes how he has managed to disconnect his Iphone from AT & T’s service and plans to run it completely

    “I canceled the AT&T service for my iPhone as planned and the iPhone seems to work just fine as a wifi-only device. Excellent!”
    http://alexking.org/blog/2007/07/02/iphone-without-service

    Now this wifi thing is of interest especially as the tomizome obviously has similar ideas and can’t possibly get AT & T down here in NZ.

  • Good point Jason – really I guess Apple wanted to recreate the lock in that iTunes created, without investing in telco infrastructure.

    AT&T is a sacrificial lamb – once the iPhone has had a few iterations and gained acceptance and usability Apple will go it alone methinks

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