Winston Lawrence

Project Manager & Occasional developer

Apple, Big Brother? No, Apple, Big Nanny

Apple Big Nanny is watching you.Perhaps it is the curse of being Number One - a future sociologist may already be penning a thesis on the phenomenon where companies become Number One and start to operate completely out-of-character. The companies seem to turn against the very principles  that put them into first place and even more strangely start to take on an adversarial relationship with their own customers (Dell, Microsoft, Sony, HP and that's just recently in the tech industry) .

Apple is now the Number One PC company and within weeks of that piece of news we get the iPhone 4 fiasco and a cover-up from a company that a few years ago would never have released buggy hardware - it would never have passed old Apple's quality control and useability standards.  Remember,  Apple is the company that made Frog design a household world (for a while anyway) - why Steve Jobs didn't use them for the iPhone OS 4 work is something that he should regret.  Compounding the problem with a cover-up and then blaming its own customers for not holding the phone properly? Steve call in the Frogs -  you blew it.

The other piece of the platform that has gotten Apple to where it is today is the App store. Have you tried to buy an App lately? Apple seems to be going out of its way to satisfy the lawyers and marketing folks and just paying lip service to design and useability - arguably the concepts that have finally gotten them to number one and increased their customer base. Some Apple critics have been comparing Apple to Big Brother (a riff on Apple's famous 1984 Big Brother commercial) but Apple seems more and more like Big Nanny as it tries to protect its turf? its users? its investors?  from  the rest of the world. So, let's go buy an iPhone App.

Apple App Store - Verification, Agreement and PurchaseI wanted to try a Safari alternative on my first generation iPod touch (the point here is that no matter what the app store thinks, I have been a long-time customer).  In the App store I find Fast Web which looks like just the ticket. So I click on (1) "Free" then I click on (2) Install (which might have been inferred from my clicking on 'Free' - after all why else would I have clicked on 'Free'. ?  Next, this new (3) Verify Payment screen shows up.

Okay I sign in (4) and then enter my password (5) and watch the "Loading screen" (6) for a while.

I guess my ID and password aren't proof enough for my  first-generation iPod Touch which has only been registered with Apple and on the App store  for about three years now.  I am highlighting (8) the incomplete form because the first time I submitted this it rejected the form - I couldn't figure out why until I realized that it was insisting that I not leave 'select a salutation' as an option and I had to enter 'Mr.'. Really Apple? You can save my credit card number, my name,  my address and phone number but you can't keep track of whether I am a Mr. or a Mrs? and that this is much too important a piece of information to let me submit the verification form without it?  Who's your Nanny?

I get to watch the loading screen (10) again for a bit and then another pop-up telling me that the terms and conditions have changed (as if I didn't notice that things were different in the last half a dozen screens). But what the heck I click OK (11) I noticed and watch another loading screen.

Saying that I noticed wasn't enough - Apple is going to show it to me anyway (13). Just for entertainment I scroll waay down to find an AGREE button (good thing I didn't DISAGREE now because I have no choice) and Apple are you kidding me? It's a 45 PAGE agreement (14)? and I click AGREE again (and no I didn't read your stupid 45 page agreement so there). Who's your Nanny?

I guess Apple doesn't believe me but it thanks me anyway (16) and I have to click 'DONE' to escape from the Thank You screen. Which then puts me - get ready for it - back where I started from (17). I'm thinking by this time that Apple should hold its next lawyer boot camp at Guantanamo Bay. Deep Breath I click FREE and INSTALL (1 and 2) again and I'm ready for FAST WEB goodness.

Final Image in the App Store purchase post

But NO - Apple has one last parting shot to protect me from the evil internet it tells me that this browser contains age restricted content and I must verify that I'm old enough to surf safely. It's a BROWSER Apple same as your Safari browser - it has no content. I would think that  99.9% of the folks that own an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad know what a browser is - so what is your problem?

Please Apple, go back to being Number Two (or Three) - Number One doesn't seem to fit you - give it back to Microsoft or maybe Dell. Otherwise  you can use my new slogan as your own, for free:

Who's your Nanny?

Winston Lawrence

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