Why heretics don’t use iPhones

I’m not religious, but if I was I would probably be a heretic. Heretics are always on the outside asking awkward questions. That’s why they get tend to get burned at the stake.

Heretics are sceptics. Not cynics, that’s something different and negative. Scepticism on the other hand is a noble virtue with a fine tradition. Sceptics are awkward because they want to understand the world and make it better. All good scientists, artists and creative people should be sceptics. Hell, everyone should be!

Now, what has this got to do with the iPhone? Well, the philosophy at Apple seems at first glance to be similar to the noble sceptical ideal. Apple folk want to reimagine the world and make it better. They strive to improve their designs. They agonise over every detail, even having teams of creative people responsible for the boxes used to package Apple products.

But here’s the problem. Apple doesn’t just want to make things better. It mistakenly imagines that it can make things perfect.

But perfection isn’t possible this side of infinity. There’s nothing in this world that can’t be made better. And that’s what sceptics and heretics are trying to do. But Apple won’t let them. That’s why it controls everything you can do with an Apple product. The user interface, the apps, the hardware, the accessories. It all has to be sanctioned and approved by the Apple thought police. Apple calls this its Walled Garden, which is a fanciful term for locking down every part of the hardware, software and operating system. It’s the direct opposite of Google’s open source policy, with hardware, software and the entire Android ecosystem up for grabs to anyone who wants to have a go.

That’s why I get nervous around Apple products, why other manufacturers are pulling ahead in the smartphone and tablet markets, and why I think the company needs to loosen up.

We need to allow continual failure and experiment, otherwise we’ll fail catastrophically, like with the Apple Maps fiasco or AntennaGate. Could Apple fail catastrophically again? Absolutely, and for the same reasons.


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