One of the common criticisms of Apple is that their processes and control regarding the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad products is that they create a “walled garden”.
I disagree with the “walled garden” criticism when we consider unfettered net access is available from the phone – you can’t get much more open than that, even if there are limitations on what you can install on the actual device. So maybe there’s a few walls, but there’s a hell of a lot huge expansive windows. So we’re talking a view like this:
(Image from www.tripadvisor.com.)
On the other hand, those who criticise Apple for building a walled garden would seem to prefer this sort of view:
Ironically enough the “walled garden” metaphor is superbly appropriate in this case, because what we’re not hearing when people start blathering on about “walled garden” is the alternative provided by say, the Android platform. A lack of controls – and pride in the platform – results in chaos: unfriendly ecosystems with ugly and confronting surrounds that a lot of people struggle with. And by a “lot of people”, I mean the average consumers. Consumers don’t go out and say “give me the most chaotic thing you can find” or “give me something really ugly that happens to be 10% better” – they want something that they can take personal pleasure in.
So, for those of you who criticise the walled garden, I invite you to consider the alternative you want to throw everyone into. There’s a place of course for both, but you need to acknowledge that a lot of consumers don’t want unlimited freedom at the expense of aesthetics and safety. Sure, some techos in particular rave about Android, but they’re happy to go through this shit-fight in order to upgrade their phones – assuming their handset provider or carrier will even let them. Personally, I want to plug it in, click OK and come back 10 minutes later to exactly the same phone I walked away from, only updated.
These days my attitude is that for a consumer device or computer, I want things to work – I don’t want to have to make them work. That’s not a cop-out, that’s a legitimate decision about what I consider to be productive activity. Similarly, I’ll settle for the “walled garden” with a large expansive window (i.e., the unfettered internet) in return for a system that works, is aesthetically pleasing, and doesn’t shit on me every time I turn around.