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Robert Halfon MP: An everyday story of Apple Folk


Robert Halfon is MP for Harlow.

Although I prefer Blackberry, it is impossible not to recognise the genius of Apple. Nevertheless, one of my main objections has been the somewhat authoritarian nature of its products. Not only does it provide the infrastructure - fair enough - but it ties you to their ecosystem completely, without any alternative.

Imagine going to Tesco, for example, and, as well as the supermarket providing the infrastructure of the shopping experience, every food item you bought had to be Tesco-branded. So no Heinz Ketchup, only Tesco Ketchup.  Well, that is the problem with Apple IMania. Not only are you 'chained' into their ecosystem, but you are then subject to tough and arbitrary rules on apps, subscriptions, etc. Hence last week's courageous decision by the Financial Times to withdraw from having an iPhone/iPad app.

Of course, no one is forced to buy Apple Products, and the fact that so many do, and are happy to become willing subjects of the Apple ecosystem, is testament to how good Apple actually is. But that won't last forever - particular when fashions change and consumers move onto the next big thing. Remember when Microsoft was King?

I thought of Apple authoritarianism, after hearing of the iPhone 5 prototype that was left in a bar by a hapless employee. The iPhone 4 was also left in a bar (a different one), and subsequently sold to a techie website. At first I imagined that 'the left in the bar iPhone story' was too astounding to be a coincidence - that Apple was just 'leaking iPhone proto-types, in order to salivate future customers.

But then I came across this incredible story on a number of mobile technology websites, which is gradually spreading to the mainstream media.  

Apparently, using location systems embedded on the iPhone, Apple tracked its lost prototype, to a house in San Francisco. The house was then searched by Police. Except it wasn't. It was searched by Apple employees (direct or indirect), pretending to be cops.

The owner of the house let the 'Apple Police' in and allowed them to inspect his premises, thinking they were real police. No iPhone 5 was found. There are now conflicting stories as to whether or not the police were involved in any way.

Of course, it wouldn't be hard to make a film of such events, and it would be a mighty fascinating one. But am I wrong in thinking behind this story, lurks an Apple that has gone beyond its core role? Of course the company wanted to recover its loss product, and have every right to do so, but allegedly impersonating police officers, and behaving in such an authoritarian manner begs the question: has the Big Apple become Big Brother?

For more information, you can read here and here


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