Apple, AT&T, shame on you

After Adam and Thom, I will be putting a break on my Apple purchases too. I have already promised days ago one more Apple iPhone review to a third party store, so when I am done with that too, it’s over for me as well.

Apple is quickly becoming the new Microsoft in the eyes of the people. The funny thing is though, that Apple was always like that, it’s just that people outside of the Bay Area didn’t know all of the juicy details most of us residents know. You see, Silicon Valley is a small place. You will be surprised how small it is. Word goes out easily. So while I might not have been blogging or reporting much about small tidbits that I happened to hear over the years (in order to protect my sources), the truth is, Apple never had a good name as a workplace/business in the area. Not before Steve Jobs came back as a CEO, and certainly not after.

But I guess, the cat is out of the bag now.

Between the crude iPhone application authorization process, the no-background processes allowed, to selling only locked phones (something that’s pretty illegal in other countries and I hope it would be here too), it makes me loathe what Apple is doing. They have created the best smartphone experience, they started the true smartphone revolution with the iPhone, but at the same time they try to limit progress in other areas.

It’s not a coincidence that the un-approved, and previously approved by Phil Schiller himself, iPhone apps were ALL Google Voice-related (I think there were 2-3 Voice-related apps un-approved, plus the Google Voice official app that was unauthorized from the get-go). The hard work and sweat of these developers, all went to waste. It’s more than obvious here that AT&T is behind this plot. You see, Apple has nothing to lose with Google Voice, if anything, Apple has everything to gain from it (it makes their phone more useful)! But AT&T is the one who has everything to lose. Google Voice allows for free US-bound calls and dirt cheap international calls (just $0.02 per minute for US to France/Greece), which of course, puts AT&T’s business at risk.

What Google is doing with Google Voice is nothing but progress. They have the bandwidth, so they go with it. AT&T on the other hand, is nothing but a new RIAA/MPAA, scared of the new realities that technology brings! They can’t, or they don’t want to, change their business and/or technologies, and so they fight against the new kids on the block, who use technology in a more flexible way.

Put that in addition to what AT&T did to my iPhone last month: they cut off my EDGE support. My iPhone is LOCKED to AT&T, and it is NOT jailbroken. It is as vanilla as it goes. The only difference here is that I didn’t buy the iPhone from AT&T at the time, as I only needed to use their PayAsYouGo plan (since I do not do more than 4-5 calls per month).

Think about it. AT&T blocks NO OTHER cellphone-maker for that plan! They single-out the non-AT&T-bought iPhones, like they are a plague, EVEN if they might be as vanilla as they get. THIS ALONE can be used for a class action lawsuit. I had no plans contacting EFF about it, but be sure I will do so now, after the latest Google Voice fiasco. There are too many things to hold a grudge now, I am afraid.

In the meantime, I have emailed Apple with feedback about their practices, and I suggest you do so too.

Update: Kroc wrote on Twitter that “I think you peeps should create a charter that defines “iPhone fixed” and publish it“.

Here’s my list, in this order, for Apple:
1. No more locked phones. Phones should also be able to be purchased at full price, with no ties to any carrier. Subsidized phones with a contract should also be unlocked.
2. Authorization denial of iPhone/iPod apps should be restricted to malware/spyware/buggy apps, and to illegal apps (e.g. a Nazi-related app). All other apps should be allowed to go through to the Apple Store. Sexual-related apps should be allowed, but with age verification or warning.
3. Allow background processes on the iPhone/iPod, as long as they are don’t seem to be compromising the system (e.g. battery life, system software, towers). The iPhone is not a real smartphone without background processes.

For AT&T (and ANY other carrier):
1. Stop dictating to manufacturers what software they can put in there and what they can’t. It’s not your job. It only becomes your job if your towers are compromised. Otherwise, SHUT IT.
2. No more locked phones. Period. You can still subsidize phones, but they have to be unlocked.
3. Allow EDGE/3G/GPRS for all phones. Artificially limiting the non-contract-bound Blackberries and iPhones, is unacceptable, even if I am willing to pay up your crazy prices ($10 per 1 MB of data transfered)!
4. Allow “PayAsYouGo” calls from Europe and other places within US (e.g. the Ukiah area in CA, USA). It’s *unacceptable* to not be able to use my phone when I am on vacations (I am blocked from calling out in these areas), even if I am willing to pay up your crazy ass prices!

Finally, if Apple can’t design protection to open the app CPU without compromising the radio CPU, they need better engineers. The notion that the towers aren’t designed to deal with faulty clients is just bullshit. Who would design a client-server system where the server trusts the client?


Fred wrote on July 29th, 2009 at 4:13 PM PST:

“illegal apps (e.g. a Nazi-related app).”

You might want to ask the ACLU, or any student of the U.S. Constitution, whether a Nazi-related app would be or could be illegal.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 29th, 2009 at 4:16 PM PST:

That was just an example. I don’t know the laws here to the letter, but I am sure that some racist stuff are disallowed from publication. In other countries, laws are more clear (e.g. in Germany).

mikesum32 wrote on July 29th, 2009 at 8:07 PM PST:

Nazi-related app would not be illegal here, in France, yes. We have the right to to promote racist ideas, and others have the choice to laugh, shake their head in disgust, protest, and vote with the wallet.

l3v1 wrote on July 30th, 2009 at 12:57 AM PST:

“Allow “PayAsYouGo” calls from Europe and other places within US”

I didn’t hear this up to now, this is crazy (I mean if they don’t allow that).

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 30th, 2009 at 1:03 AM PST:

Yup, they don’t allow me to call from Europe, or even from some specific places inside the US. With my Greek Vodafone pay-as-you-go SIM I can call and be called in the US — through AT&T no less — but I can’t do the same with AT&T’s SIM in Europe (and I did try from within 3 countries: France, Germany, Greece, from a spot that had visible towers available from all major carriers for each country).

It’s really a toy, not a real plan. In Europe pay-as-you-go is normal — most people don’t have contracts in Greece, for example. Here, carriers see it as a toy, as a lowly product. They take us for idiots or something.

Fuad wrote on July 30th, 2009 at 8:26 AM PST:

Riiiight. This from the woman who called her readership “freetards”. Shame you Eugenia! SHAME.

Fuad wrote on July 30th, 2009 at 8:38 AM PST:

And I no longer read osnews, nor will I until you quit, fired or apologize.

Philip Goh wrote on July 30th, 2009 at 9:02 AM PST:

Seriously Fuad, stop being a freetard. You’re giving the rest of us Linux/OSS users a bad name.

Eddyspeeder wrote on July 30th, 2009 at 2:49 PM PST:

Truth be said, the past three weeks have been particularly educative when it comes to “Apple’s real face”. It does not make me think any different about my MacBook, but it does kick me back into reality.

I’m just wondering – we know that Microsoft has done inexcusable things to kill off competitors, be it Netscape or Be, Inc. Has Apple also been guilty of such actions? I’m pretty curious about that.

(BTW, the question is not “Is Apple capable of doing such a thing”, because the answer to that, especially in the light of this blog, is a definite Obama-ish “yes they can!”.)

blover wrote on July 30th, 2009 at 11:15 PM PST:

without AT&T apple would be nowhere
A. Most people in the US don’t want to pay $500-$600 on a phone.
B. Most people in the US don’t live near an apple store, they live close to AT&T stores, where they can get the iphone discounted 50-75% off.
C. Blame ATT but not apple, duh, apple already allowed google maps, so you can’t say they can’t work as a team.

blover wrote on July 30th, 2009 at 11:24 PM PST:

I don’t see why you are complaining when even before the iphone came out my cellphone pill was only $20 cheaper… you could NOT get a contract in the US for under $40. Yes, you’re right that it’s cheaper to just pay $500-$600 for the naked iphone in the long run, but it’s not much more expensive than those POS nokia’s everyone used 4 years ago.

memson wrote on July 31st, 2009 at 4:58 PM PST:

GSM is the real issue. Apple made a phone that is compatible with the phone networks in most of the world, but in doing so restricted themselves in their home market. I doubt they’ll switch to CDMA as it would cost a lot and will be obsolete in a few years time.

memson wrote on July 31st, 2009 at 5:02 PM PST:

Subsidised unlocked phones will never happen. The carrier must protect their subsidy – they must make it impossibly hard to use another carrier’s network. However, the usual practice in Europe is to allow unlocking of the carrier barring at the end of the contract – this Apple and O2 are not doing in the UK – this I have an issue with.

Fred wrote on July 31st, 2009 at 7:25 PM PST:

“I am sure that some racist stuff are disallowed from publication.”

Grrr. Sorry to beat this dead horse, but as a proud American, I can’t help but respond to this belief (which you’re of course entitled to have in this country).

Being racist, expressing racism, hanging an “I hate [insert color] people” sign on your front lawn, and even writing an iPhone app that promotes racism — they’re all legal activities in the U.S. Obviously, “freedom of speech” means something only if you include the yucky stuff.

There are a few exceptions to free speech (shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater, libel, slander, trademark dilution, etc.), but the idea of making racism illegal really flies in the face of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

If you’re “sure that some racist stuff are disallowed from publication,” you’re not really grokking what the U.S. is all about.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on July 31st, 2009 at 9:07 PM PST:

And yet, Apple wouldn’t like to have such an app in its app store though.

Vast Majority wrote on August 1st, 2009 at 12:24 AM PST:

Apple is unamerican!

David Adams wrote on August 8th, 2009 at 7:23 AM PST:

Eugenia, you’re fired from OSNews. I just really want to get Fuad back as a reader. (And all the rest of the Freetards. I love those guys!) 🙂

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