technology

There must be something in the water. Has the Joker escaped from Arkham?

Two of the last places I look for rationalism and accuracy in the Mac tech community have succumbed to what I can only interpret as some form of viral Britneyism, conveyed in the form of creeping self-entitlement, and expressed as godawful, presumptuous whining. Someone has tainted the water supply. Activate the Bat-signal!

Both Leo Laporte and the editors of Macworld/Playlist magazines, individuals I’d normally rely upon for sober and factual discourse, have recently posted podcasts full of anger and churlish pouting over the results of Apple’s recent software update to the iPhone.

All of these gentlemen, individuals I’ve normally associated with factual analysis of—and dispassionate objectivity to—Apple products, seem to have suddenly turned into representatives of the whiner population. You know those folks… the ones who sue a fast-food restaurant chain after spilling coffee on themselves. The people who paid full retail for a new consumer electronics gizmo, and then bleated like sheared sheep when its price dropped, even though they’d very likely already gotten their early-adopter bragging time.

Now some of these odd ducks are squealing because, after having tinkered with this device, they’ve found it no longer works properly, because one in a series of promised software updates has disabled it.

Whether it turns out that Apple could have been less aggressive with their update’s “reset,” I have a few questions for the most vocal of these people… specifically Rob Griffiths and Leo Laporte… because I’m baffled by their anger over this issue.

Where in the feature list or tech specs for the iPhone did it ever say you were at liberty to modify the functionality of the device to add unsanctioned applications?

Did your overview of the consumer technology space somehow empower you to presume that anything with a chip in it is infinitely subject to hobbyist tinkering, without consequence?

Did you find it impossible to wait until Apple had acquired more than a few months’ experience in a new consumer category, maintaining their side of iPhone functionality, before taking matters into your own hands?

Is the practice of conflating separate issues (lack of “third-party” apps, limitations on ringtone licensing, single-provider availability, read-only Notes, etc.) too tempting to overlook as you echo-chamber the “Apple is the new MS” slogan?

Does calling the iPhone a “platform” make it one, despite the fact that it’s not yet available to you as such?

It’s alarming to narrow my sources of sane information on this topic down to John Welch, John Gruber, and the Macalope. Late-adopters like me need more primary sources than that.

Disclosure: I’m an Apple shareholder.

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