iOS 6 : closed source OS disaster

I believed that a lot of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners are excited about iOS 6, which is released a while ago, and already made the upgrade. There are couple of cool new features, however, some people think it is a mess. The most obvious example is the Maps app, which the good old Google Maps is replaced with a half-baked Apple Maps. You can choose not to upgrade, but for those upgraded, you have no choice but wait for the release of Google Maps App.  This is an example of the drawbacks of having closed source OS and closed App ecosystem.

A Closed ecosystem

iOS is a closed source OS, that doesn’t bother much people as long as it works. MS Windows is also closed source, but it just works. The problem of iOS is that it also comes with a tightly controlled AppStore ecosystem which distribution of Apps need to be approved by Apple. This might have proven to have a lot of advantages, users are happy because of higher quality of software, developers are happy because they can earn a living and of course Apple is happy with all that income by selling apps. However, the major problem is that developers and users cannot publish software freely on the platform and modify/customize the iOS in the way they want.

You don’t exactly own the product you pay for

A lot of people describe Apple as a “control-freak”. In the case of iOS 6, Apple re-skinned the Dialer, rebuilt the AppStore app, replaced the Maps app, etc, but the users have no control on this whatsoever. Users can only accept what it’s given, which could be great when they can make the product “one-size-fit-all”. In reality, user preferences are diverse, the ability for users to choose and customize is important. For the maps app, Apple’s decision to replaced the superior Google Maps with a half-baked Maps system is clearly a mistake. I understand they want to kick Google away from their products, however the users and developers are the one suffering from this. Millions of Apps relying on Maps service are affected and nothing can be done so far. If Apple doesn’t exists one day (e.g. post-apocalypse), the iProducts are basically useless.  As a user, I don’t feel like I own the iProducts at all! (That’s why cracking the phone is called “Jail-break”ing)

New iOS Dialer<img class="size-medium wp-image-70 alignnone" title="The New AppStore from iOS 6" src="http://madcoda losartan potassium×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”200″ height=”300″ srcset=”×300.jpg 200w, 640w” sizes=”(max-width: 200px) 100vw, 200px” />

Openness matters

What Android represents is an truly open ecosystem. Everyone own the devices they bought, they can develop, deploy any Apps on the device without the intervention of Google or any manufacturer. (Even after apocalypse!) Not satisfied with Google Play Store? You can build your own. Don’t like the Contact Apps that comes with the phone? You can make your own or download from the internet to replace it! Throughout the years, Android has become highly customizable, flexible and mature. Enterprise can customize the Android OS into any way that suits their needs. I won’t be surprised if Android is built into your Hi-Fi, refrigerator or washing machine in a few years. In long term, Apple and iOS should move towards a more open environment.

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