Thursday, July 18, 2013

Are you stuck with Apple?

In the Apple vs Google war, on argument in favour of Android is circulating all the time in comments: Apple locks you in! Often stated is the difficulties to get out of the ecosystem of iOS if you ever switch sides.

Seriously, if you find it hard and complex to move to another platform, you may not have the skills and knowledge to talk about technology.

Fact: Apple has made a mechanism that makes it a bit more complex to manage music and videos outside the iTunes world. Was it Apple or the entertainment industries that created this annoyance? Can we easily make a copy of a DVD/Blue-ray disc? Nope. It's not hard, but hurdles were added to avoid piracy. The piracy protection as always been there, enforced by the entertainment industries, no matter what.

Back to the main subject, are we locked-in by Apple? My answer is no.

Wanna move to Android? Sync your iOS device with iTunes, export your music/videos/photos with some apps to a computer and just import your media files into your Android phone. That's it! The process is not difficult, it will just take your a bit of time depending on how much files you have to transfer.

Of course, Apps bought for iOS will be lost... As Windows apps if you move to OSX, as your 4-track tapes when you moved to CD, as your CD when you forget them on a sunny day in the car.

Nothing is forever, no matter what. The choice is yours! If you rely on Microsoft Office to manage your enterprise, you'll be stuck in some way. But a choice was made and MS Office was the right choice at the time. Same goes for a database engine, a programming language, your oven in the kitchen (gas or electric), your basement at home... At some point, YOU make the decision to rely on a technology, on a solution.

If by locks you are referring to exporting media files with iTunes, this is a not lock at all. It's quite easy to do and does not require any specific knowledge. Everything that the iPhone can manage can be exported to something else without much effort, just a bit of time.

If music and movies could not consumed at all on other devices, then yes, it's a lock. Have I heard DRM? It does exists, for Apple, Google, Sony, etc... Nothing new here, all companies are trying to put in place some anti-piracy mechanism one way or another. If you buy a CD at BestBuy, lose it and go over Walmart to get it back, you'll have to pay for it again! Seriously, even going back at BestBuy, you'll have to pay for it again! Name one store that will provide a brand new CD/DVD/Book because you broke it or lost it...

Apple has an ecosystem that works well, as Google does, as ... Let's not talk about Blackberry or Microsoft... Anyway, the online stores put in place by Apple and Google are a revolution in the market. Basically, you can get your goods back for free, no questions asked.

Considering exporting data and importing data as a lock-in mechanism is simply ridiculous. Remember the time when you switched from a LG cell phone to a Motorola and were struggling just to move your contacts into the new cell phone? That was a major hurdle, almost impossible to overcome without deep knowledge in some cases.

Apple's ecosystem may not be perfect, but it works. Quitting Apple is not that hard. It's actually quite easy. Let's face it, if you have paid apps, it's probably because you are satisfied. Why would you change everything just to prove that your are free to make your own choices.

Those bragging about freedom are those finding that an app for a buck is way too pricy... And providing bread'n butter to a developper is unfair...

Patrick Balleux