Ask any developer making applications for iOS and they’ll probably tell you that Apple’s restrictions limit what their apps can do. Ask any developer who’s making apps for Android and they’ll probably tell you they’re not making much money doing it, but it’s better than dealing with the restrictions laid down by Steve Jobs. Ask any user about the iOS platform and I bet an overwhelming majority will tell you they just don’t care.
For years, computers have been far more capable than most people can take advantage of. They can tinker with hardware, write and install their own software and modify just about any setting to their heart’s content. The ability to do this is fantastic…for about 1% of computer users out there. This is called Freedom 0.
For the other 99% of us, computers are tools used to do something else. I write and edit videos with mine, my dad follows up and tracks sales leads with his, my mom researches career opportunities with hers and my sister listens to music. I’m the only one who installs programs with any regularity, mostly because I’m curious as to how new stuff works. For the rest of my family, they just want their computers to work as advertised, without the need for virus checkers, malware scans or serious thought about installing something they downloaded. We don’t care about Freedom 0.
Now that iOS has become wildly popular and smartphones along with it, normal people expect even more simplicity. Phones shouldn’t shut down because of software conflicts, viruses shouldn’t be possible and poorly-designed apps shouldn’t in any way be allowed in any place normal people can get to them.
Normal people, meaning non-developer, non-hacker users, will gladly relinquish Freedom 0 for a safe computing experience. This is, in absolutely no way, a bad thing. Hardware and software aren’t tools for discovery for everyone. Computer users, just like most car owners, don’t give a rat’s ass about how anything works under the hood, they just want to be able to customize their experience and have everything work.
I can’t wait for the Mac App Store for this very reason. No fretting from my family about the safety of installing a new app, less chance of beta software being used for mission-critical tasks and great freedom for us to use technology to work FOR us, not for us to work for it.