This is the kind of corporate activity that tends to annoys me. Comes the news that Apple has applied for a patent for a system that will strip you of your rights. Despite previous regulatory rulings that we do in fact have the right to treat the handsets we purchase, as if they really were ours, Apple sees things differently. In Apple’s eyes we aren’t actually the owners of those handsets we pay so much for. Instead we’re just “borrowing” them and when we decide we don’t like AT&T’s network or when we decide we really want to run applications on our handsets that Apple doesn’t want us running, Apple will just brick our phones for us.
This is the kind of corporate arrogance that simply can’t go unanswered. It’s the kind of corporate arrogance that would light off a media feeding frenzy were it Microsoft doing this on a similar phone that made up such a large portion of the market. Yet barely anything is being said about this, and certainly not amongst the Apple faithful who care vastly more about looking cool than about maintaining their rights. I’m not an Apple faithful and this doesn’t immediately affect me as I don’t own an IPhone (I do own an IPod). But the principle of the matter is what matters to me and there is always the slippery slope to consider. What would stop Apple from using the same technology and applying it to the IPod? Apple doesn’t like us using those applications we use to sync our music with other devices do they? That’s one of the reasons I haven’t updated the firmware on my IPod since I bought it. I’m still running version 1.5 on it. And even if Apple didn’t eventually apply this technology to any of their other products, where could they go from there? They’ll set a precedent and if allowed to go forward could build on it in the future to encroach even more on our rights.
It’s outrageous that a company – especially one as large as Apple and supposedly in tune with their customers to so directly challenge their customers rights. No one is disputing that Apple is under no obligation to make a users efforts to jailbreak their handset any easier. But being under no obligation is a far cry from actively stopping someone by the exercise of their rights under the law. If someone wants to jailbreak their handset, that is their business. The consequences are also theirs, and up until this point, meant the voiding of their warranty. However, unless Apple is stopped, going forward it’ll also mean having your handset wiped and made virtually unusable.