3Apple Versus The Poor Bastard Who May or May Not Have Leaked an iPhone
Apple is famous across the world for having some fairly strict policies on information security. On the transparency spectrum, Apple's corporate policy makes the CIA look like one of those sliding glass doors toddlers always run into on YouTube. Beyond the usual security doors and guards, according to the New York Times, "Some Apple workers in the most critical product-testing rooms must cover up devices with black cloaks when they are working on them, and turn on a red warning light when devices are unmasked so that everyone knows to be extra-careful, [former employee] said." The article didn't outright say that Steve Jobs has been implanting his employees with psycho-receptive "pain chips" designed to inflict unbearable agony upon the disloyal, but it was pretty heavily implied.
So what's wrong with the secrecy? Absolutely nothing. Except when it indirectly leads to torture and suicide. Then it's probably time for management to throttle things back just a smidge. It was reported earlier this year, that Apple reached that point over a possible leak of an iPhone prototype.
Sun Danyong was a young engineer who worked at the Shenzhen factory of Chinese electronics manufacturer, Foxconn. His job had something to do with handling new iPhone prototypes, one of which was lost or stolen while in his care. Apple has a zero tolerance policy for corporate leaks from the companies it works with, so Foxconn knew Danyong's slip-up could potentially cost them tens of millions of dollars in future business once Apple dropped the hammer.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Foxconn did the only thing a self-respecting sociopathic megacorporation could: torture the crap out of their employee. Facing another session over the missing iPhone prototype, Danyong leapt to his death from a 12th floor apartment building.
Apple didn't torture Danyong themselves, but their maddeningly intense security policies set the mood. Prototypes and specs of other company's next generation devices leak out all the time, and no one gets hauled into interrogation chambers by corporate police over it.
Employees being forced to work weekends and holidays without being allowed to tell their families; spy cameras inside of offices; engineers being forced to work under sheets... isn't this going a bit too far for consumer electronics? We expect this kind of security around, say, secret government bases and hidden volcano lairs, not from the makers of the Pippin.
2Apple Versus App Developers
To date, over three billion apps have been downloaded from the iPhone App Store. Of course, Calendars and RSS Readers and flashlights and other "useful" apps only account for part of the over 150,000 the store offers. With hundreds of apps being submitted every week, you'd think Apple would have its hands full rejecting all of the useless ones built to simulate farting, drinking beer, brandishing a light-saber, shaking a baby and everything in between.
Bringing the old world charm and elegance of a tape deck to numb-nuts hipsters too young to have ever used one.
Well, no. All that stuff gets through. Apple's main concern in policing the App Store seems to be stomping down on competition. Applications that duplicate Apple or AT&T apps (and do a better job of it) are likely to see the banhammer's vengeance visited upon them. MailWrangler, PodCaster and, most famously, Google Voice have all been banned for "duplicating functionality."
Take for instance, Apple's rejecting the Eucalyptus app for obscenity.
Ooooh! Eucalyptus. That's got to be slang for something kinky as all hell! Was this a social networking app for a very special subset of furries? A hook-up site for swinging Botanists? No, actually it was an Ebook app for public domain works. Since it provided access to a Victorian-era translation of the Kama Sutra, the app was deemed inappropriate. We asked Apple if they saw any irony in the fact that the iPhone's web browser provided access to a billion websites far filthier than an ancient translation of a religious text. Sadly, Apple's board of directors was too busy banning dancing in small Midwest towns to be reached.
Jilted developers and Google aren't the only people pissed off at Apple's App Store policies. The boys at the FCC are investigating the App Store for anti-competitive practices. Apple responded to the accusation, which kicked off yet another gigantic legal clusterfuck the results of which have yet to be decided, but are likely to be retarded.