Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why the App store is the scariest idea in ...

If you don't know the "App Store" is Apples bid for world dominance. In theory it will be just like the iPhone App store and you will get (have) to buy all your Mac software through Apple.
Monopolies and restraint of trade aside it's the "just like the iPhone app store" part that is just horrible. If it wasn't for the fact that I got one very cheap and it integrates so well with the Mac OS the iPhone App store is what would keep me from owning an iPhone.

Recent case in point. Someone hacked my Apple ID (what you use to shop through the Apple store). It's one of the least secure ID's around in part because they make you use your email address as your ID so your password is the only line of defense. Why? Well I'm sure it was so it would be simpler and "user friendly", well it is... to would be thief's. Anyway they caught it sort of. They disabled the Apple ID, but not really. They disabled buying or downloading anything to my iPhone the ID was still in full force. As far as I can tell the bad guy (who if it isn't a dead drop I have all the particulars on) could order a Mac or other things he just couldn't download stuff to my iPhone. Since I have that phone it would have been a bit pointless of him to want to. My safety net is that I never have a credit card attached that anyone could buy anything with anyway. But you have to have a card connected!

I don't download a lot of random apps so this is probably not what happened to me. But there have apparently been a bunch of Trojan horse apps on the iPhone App store that do little but mine your info including Apple ID. That wouldn't be shocking except that Apple make developers jump through hoops and makes every app go through Apples approval process. So while Apple is very scrupulous about making sure there are no apps that do things like search for WiFi sites (so you don't have to use up your data), they apparently don't have as big a problem with apps that steal your personal info.

Now I have gone in and changed everything in my account so it should be safe now and I can log in and do whatever but I still can't update any of the apps on the iPhone!

So I'm sending a big WTF to Apple. If I can buy a Mac then I should be able to update apps on the iPhone. But according to an email response from Apple, from some guy in India I think, it could take days to re-enable my Apple ID. But actually the ID is fine it's just the phone...

Back to my point. I don't know about you but having all the software on my computer held hostage while some big corporation meanders its way it's procedures is enough to make me want to kill something. I've had this discussion with various developers because Apple is luring them on in because of the cost savings of not having to have your own store. They are going to go that way even though it means a lot of bad things for the end user. Apple does not allow demos, so you have to buy a pig in a poke. That is OK on the iPhone where $1 will get you an app that you may hate and toss (after it mines your info...). But can you imagine buying a serious app for $$$ and finding out it doesn't work on your system. Also no refunds, returns. Also you don't have a backup. You can back up your drive but a restore requires Apple to reauthorize all the software. Better not be away from the internet or have your ID disabled...
And there are also a bunch of other restrictions that have lead to many of the App store versions not having features that the non App store version has. This will disappear as the only version becomes the App store version.

In theory the plus for users is ease of use and the protection that Apple has checked the software out and it's "safe". Now that #2 is gone is it really that hard to install software? It used to be but now, on a Mac?? Many "installs" amount to dragging the app to your app folder. If you cant do that maybe you need to put the mouse down and step away from the keyboard.

Oh, I'm in Detroit. This blog is about Detroit, sort of. Well I spent way too long on something that should have been a phone call (no people you can talk to can tell you anything but send an email to xxx). and it pisses me off so there you go.

I have some updates coming that are more on topic. In the meantime if you have an Apple ID you might want to pop on it and make sure it hasn't been hacked. There are somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand reported cases (depends who's talking) and there are probably double that number that like me didn't/don't know it.

1 comment:

  1. This finally got resolved. Then Apple reset everything and I had to redo it all again. But eventually it did work out. It only took a week. No wonder Apples terms of use doesn't allow Apple products to be used in any critical environments. I'm not joking, it is a violation of the EULA to use an Apple product in any situation where failure could result in harm or injury. So no medical devices, no military. You can't use a Mac to fly the space shuttle, etc. Since it took them a week to reactivate an account after it was fixed. And in fact they only deactivated what was essentially a nuisance area, the hacker could not download apps to my phone (which I never lost possession of) but he could order a new Mac and have it shipped to Arizona!) makes it even less comforting.