Safari obliterates plethora of cute little ‘walled garden’ theories

TiVo Premiere - Free Shipping“Apple’s commercial success is based on a core philosophical function: to create order and control out of a disorganised, largely uncontrollable world. In the iPhone — and in its whiz-bang new sibling, the iPad — we see the latest manifestation of that ambition,” Gordon Farrer reports for The Age.

“Apple’s approach to computing since it entered the PC market in the late 1970s has been an attempt to wrangle processes, activities and behaviours that were becoming increasingly unruly,” Farrer reports. “The company’s co-founder and creative driving force, Steve Jobs, has been on a mission to streamline channels of information, to make navigating technology simpler, then to bring it all together in fashionable devices.”

Farrer reports, “Virginia Heffernan, a writer with The New York Times, has a theory about the role of apps in Apple’s order-and-control process… Heffernan sees a parallel between what happened last century to the great American metropolises of Chicago, Detroit and New York and what is happening to the internet now. Closed communities, pay-walls, subscription-only programs and other invitation-only groups have popped up to nullify the danger, control the environment and make the place feel safer.”

“Much of this, says Heffernan, has been driven by the invention of apps, those mini programs invented for the iPhone that allow you to do everything from balance your budget to communicate with friends, access newspapers and bank accounts, and check everything from the weather to stocks to email,” Farrer reports. “By operating within the borders of the Apps Store, the tightly regulated online shop through which apps are sold, users of iPhones and iPads are able to avoid the web’s more distasteful and chaotic features. Think of it as living in a gated online community — an eWorld for the 21st century.”

Farrer reports, “This Apps Store community is a sanitised place — beautiful, sleek, lovely to behold, wonderful to be part of — but many feel it lacks the energy, raw unpredictability and exciting sense of anything-can-happen that gives the real world its soul. The millions of people who live there, says Heffernan, consign themselves to an increasingly limited relationship with the web.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Blah, blah blah. Until Apple stops shipping Safari on iPhone OS devices this meme is nothing more than hackneyed drivel.


  1. Its like saying that if you buy a 4×4 you are cutting yourself off from the mainstream of those that experience the roads somewhat differently. And like that analogy those who wish too can perfectly well access that other experience should they choose to do so. As MDN says unless safari is removed that choice is always there.

  2. Yes, “anything can happen”, right. I rather live in a control environment when it comes to my data than in a “anything can happen” environment.

  3. Regardless of MDN’s take on the article, it is thought provoking, as is the original article in the NY Times that this article cites.

    In a sense the internet does resemble an unruly big city with crime (viruses, malware, etc.) rampant on the streets. I grew up in the inner city of a large city years ago, so I can understand the similarities.

    Apple’s world is like the leafy suburbs. A place of peace, quiet, and beauty where people can live their lives without constantly looking over their shoulder wondering if they are going to get mugged.

    Maybe, just maybe, a place exists for both environments. For those who want excitement, let them have the cities and Windows and the open internet to play in and sometimes get bruised. For others, the suburbs (Appleland) lets us enjoy life as we go about doing our everyday tasks.

    Cities and suburbs need each other, just like it would seem the wild west of the internet needs a wall-garden like Apple to provide sanctuary to those of us who are tired of constantly looking over our shoulder for danger.

  4. It sucks that this sort of “philosophy” has some clunkers, such as their decision to cut matte screens from the iMac. Sometimes, the person sitting in his Apple campus office pats himself on the back that he is bringing order to the world of computer — but you only have to read the reasons 1,000+ people give at to see that people with great theories – Marx, Stalin, Mao – don’t always get it right. Jobs thinks he’s making it easier for us to buy computers because we now have the choice of one iMac screen – glossy. But he’s never sat by a sunlit window and worked all day on the computer with the sun streaming in behind him. And remember, some lower level office workers don’t get to choose the location and orientation of their desk, unlike CEO’s!!!!

  5. 84 Mac Guy: one man’s inner city view ain’t necessarily another’s, inner cities are always alive and not all dwellers worry or look over their shoulders…

  6. Except that there are several times the variety in Apple’s “limited” App Store, compared to all the other mobile phone platforms combined. It’s a very large “walled garden” indeed. This “theory” is bogus, even without considering the freedom that Safari provides.

    Apps help sell more hardware for Apple. Apps are giving Apple the same advantage that computer programs gave Windows in the 1990’s. Since there were many times more programs for Windows versus Mac OS, that was a key reason for customers to choose a Windows PC over a Mac. And once users had a significant investment in programs, that became an obstacle for making the switch to Mac.

    Over time, the Internet nullified that advantage, because people were doing more and more in a generic web browser instead of specific programs. But now, Apple is making the availability and variety of “apps” very meaningful again on the mobile platform. It is a key reason for choosing iPhone. And once they have an investment in apps for iPhone OS, they do not want to lose it by going to another platform.

    Attracting more and more developers to create more and more apps is way to sell more hardware by increasing the app advantage. Apple does this by keeping control of the platform to make developing for iPhone less burdensome (more efficient) for developers. Apple extends the iPhone OS platform to iPod touch and iPad to make the potential customer base for developers even larger. And with iAd, Apple is making the development of free apps financially rewarding for developers without adding complexity on their end to implement it. Since the majority of apps are free, I expect to see brand new explosion of apps on the iPhone OS side.

    That is why Apple’s App Store is a big deal for Apple, and why it will continue to be one of Apple’s key advantages that the competition cannot match any time soon.

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