Hello, and welcome to our Apple Breakfast column, where we provide a condensed version of all the Apple-related news from the previous week. Although we recommend reading Apple Breakfast in the morning with your coffee or tea, it’s cool if you want to read it for any meal of the day.
You are what you committed to destroying.
You have to give credit to anybody who can compel Apple to do something it doesn’t want to do. The EU bureaucrats are quickly establishing a reputation as a gang of merciless corporate enforcers. After receiving the political version of a cease-and-desist letter this summer, Cupertino is reportedly mass-manufacturing USB-C EarPods in preparation for introducing the iPhone 15 this autumn. Lightning as a charging standard is being phased out as companies comply with new rules.
Although we should have seen this coming, Apple’s capitulation is still shocking. Many of us anticipated the famously obstinate business would discover a loophole or campaign for a repeal, despite the restrictions’ seeming strength and the apparent strength of the political consensus. We’re just not accustomed to being on the losing end of business.
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But maybe that’s beginning to change since USB-C is only the latest in a series of changes Cupertino has made in reaction to criticism of its practices. After forcing users to take their broken equipment to approved repair shops, it reluctantly introduced a Self Service Repair program. The App Store’s costs were reduced, and new payment methods were made available to app creators. Most significantly, with iOS 17, the corporation seems ready to let third-party app shops on the iPhone (maybe just in Europe).
The most remarkable aspect of these compromises is how they force Apple down a single path leading to Android, the polar opposite of everything the iPhone represents. To oversimplify a little, Android is about letting users do what they want regardless of the repercussions. In contrast, iOS is all about carefully designing the ideal experience and politely asking the user to get out of the way. Both views have merits and shortcomings, and I like that consumers are given a choice.
Once regulators get a whiff of what Cupertino is cooking, however, the two platforms will likely converge. Need an Android cable for your device? Apple agrees, gritting its teeth. Do you want to download programs from unknown sources? Just do it. Do you want to refrain from using any of Apple’s payment options? I won’t stop you from making Craig Federighi weep, however.
For Apple to succeed, it must learn from Android’s successes while preserving what makes the iPhone unique. Apple should not succumb to the temptation of just demonizing sideloading (easier said than done). Instead, find a means to make it as safe as possible, given that customer choice may be powerful and unsettling. While Apple has been making more and more room for user-designed interfaces (such as widgets, the customizable lock screen, and the anticipated custom App Library folders this year), likely, these won’t be as effective as those designed by a UX professional. However, the UX designer may make clear rules and appealing, straightforward components. That is to say, there is freedom of choice, but with certain subtle constraints.
Most importantly, I wish Apple would stop seeing its software development partners and customers as adversaries. Apple’s success stems from one fundamental idea: Intent on creating high-quality items; it has seen tremendous success. That’s why we’re here, not to fight to the death over who gets to keep what amount of passive income. Instead of trying to scare iPhone customers away from using the official App Store by warning them about viruses in other shops, Apple should focus on making the official App Store a fantastic place to shop for apps. (A decent first step would be to do away with search adverts.) Instead of slowing down non-MFi charging cords, official ones should be higher quality. In other words, we would appreciate it if you would utilize the carrot rather than the stick.