In a perfect world, a company who decides to control which applications can be downloaded to its devices would have no problem doing so. We live however in a world which is far from perfect and Apple is having serious issues controlling what can be downloaded and what cannot.
Recently the Cupertino-based company decided that a program called Podcaster which allows multimedia files to be downloaded wirelessly should no longer be downloaded to iPhones because as the company says, the software duplicates the functionality of iTunes. It would seem to someone like me who is not allowed to “legally” download the software anymore that this ruling is to protect Apple from a software program which seems superior to iTunes.
After all, it makes little sense to have to plug a wireless device into a PC when you want to download music, podcasts and other files.
I have a theory that iTunes will soon go wireless as well and this move by Apple is a defensive play to ensure the market for wireless multimedia downloads is there when Apple is ready.
But that article will have to wait for another time. For now, Podcaster has turned to Cydia, the open-source iPhone application installer and will focus on installing on phones which have been jail-broken — referring to the concept of breaking the walled garden locks Apple has placed on its devices.
The question worth asking here is whether the negative PR buzz is worth it for Apple and should they open up? It seems there is a good deal of risk in driving consumers to jail-break their phones. Sure, the user interface is great and there is iTunes compatability — but in the end, if a strong competitor comes along what will happen to the iPhone? After all, no one likes to be locked in by their carrier or device manufacturer.