Apple Inc.

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Apple Inc. is a U.S. manufacturer of consumer electronics founded in 1976. It was innovative in the 1970s and early 1980s by stealing borrowing some of Xerox's unused ideas, largely irrelevant in the 1990s, and returned to relevancy in the early 2000s by the development of OS X and later the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Whether these devices are truly as "revolutionary" as Apple claims is contentious, and even Apple fans will say that much of the hype is due to Apple's mastery of the media.[1] They famously manage to keep customers loyal by holding their data hostage being the best. Never mind all the features on the Android and Windows. Their products famously have a distinctive aroma, somewhere between plastic and juniper, when first removed from the box[2], which some believe to be reminiscent of Bombay Sapphire.[citation NOT needed]

Apple was famously headed by Saint Jobs the smelly (but not during the 1990s, as the board of directors was fed up with his BS).

Censorship[edit]

The first Apple computer; a device you could use as you wanted.

Buying a $700 Apple device means subjecting yourself to the corporate Apple morality police™. It is worth pointing out that on the iPhone and iPad you can only install apps from the app store.[3] Apple has some stringent rules on what apps can and can't be in the app store. Examples of things that are not allowed:

  • Signing a Christian declaration ("offensive").[4]
  • Game where you grow and sell weed (no reason given).[5]
  • Nintendo (NES) emulator (no clear reason given, beyond "it's an emulator").[6]
  • The game Papers, Please (bit of pixellated nudity). Apple then changed their minds, allowing the uncensored original game on the ipad store. [7]
  • 1920's comic version of James Joyce's Ulysses (mild nudity).[8]
  • Kama Sutra (can you guess why by now?)[9]
  • Many apps were pulled for displaying the Confederate flag, regardless of context ("offensive").[10]
  • Satirical cartoons ("defamatory").[11]
  • South Park app ("potentially offensive")[12]
  • The Sun (for the famous "page 3 boobies").[13]
  • Satirical game which explores child labour and factory-worker suicides and other ethical aspects of smartphone production ("objectionable or crude content"; conflict of interest much?)[14]
  • Learning app which included some lessons on Android (fuck the competition)[15]
  • Talks from the Chaos Computer Club, for including some talks about Apple security problems (they're criticizing Apple, we can't have that).[16]
  • Asking for charitable donations are removed because Apple can't be arsed to spend 2 minutes vetting the charity.[17]
  • ...This list can go on for a lot longer...

Some of these apps were later approved anyway, usually following public outcry. If it takes public outcry to view an app depicting a boob or a satirical cartoon, you know something is wrong. It also makes you wonder how many apps were pulled without public outcry, and how much self-censorship is going on.

East Asian workforce[edit]

Apple uses Chinese and Taiwanese factories whose labor standards are significantly different than those in the West.[18][19][20] In fact, at one point, Taiwanese workers petitioned Jobs personally about this.[21]

Some 137 workers suffered adverse health effects following exposure to a chemical, known as n-hexane. They claim that the Taiwanese factory owner has not given them enough compensation. Apple did not offer comment on the letter. Five workers, including 27-year-old Jia Jingchuan, have signed a letter to chief executive officer Steve Jobs, asking Apple to offer more help over the incidents.

Some workers in these sweatshops not only held strikes, but threatened suicide if their reasonable demands were not met. Jobs and his successors' response was that starving them made them more efficient workers than in the US.[22] Being an insufferable asshole seems to be a job requirement for the Apple CEO. (And don't complain when your dormitories are found stuffed with the collected works of Karl Marx.)

Oh, and the iPhone has a profit margin of ... 69 percent[23], and the iPad Air has a profit margin of 45 to 61 percent.[24] And this figure doesn't even include the profits Apple makes from the app store, which are well over a billion USD[25] So it's not like they can't afford to improve working conditions a bit.

Jobs, being the insufferable asshole that he was, lectured Barack Obama, in person, about how labour standards and unions allegedly stifle economic growth and are the reason Apple outsources manufacturing to China.[26] He also explained, on the phone, that those jobs are never coming back.[27]

Litigation[edit]

We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it. We've decided to do something about it ... [We] think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.
—Steve Jobs, a man who made billions stealing the technology of others[28]

Apple is an avid litigator. It sues the ass of any company using "apple" in their name or a logo which resembles an apple[29][30] or even using a lower-case "i" in a product name.[31] This is rather ironic, as the name Apple itself is a trademark violation of Apple Corps, the Beatle-founded recording company. Apple initially settled in the 1970's by agreeing not to enter the music business. An agreement Apple broke without thinking twice by selling music with iTunes, leading to more work for lawyers and judges.

Apple's most infamous suits however, are over patents, mostly for stupid non-innovate patents.

In 2006 Apple sued Creative for having a menu structure roughly similar to the iPod, even though the Creative device was on the market a full year before the iPod was.[32]

In 2008 Apple sued HTC over a number of Android features, such as animations, minimizing windows, scrolling a page in a particular way, power-saving features (in a general non-specific way), turning the touchscreen off when holding the phone to your ear, and some more technical patents. Almost all of these patents cover techniques that existed well before the patent was filed, or are the sort of thing that any remotely competent developer will come up with on a daily basis while doing her job.[33] Apple later sued Motorola and Samsung over more or less the same patents.

Eventually, Samsung paid a whopping $US 1 billion to Apple over rounded corners (really) and an animation.[34] Apple is still seeking $US 2 billion more though, over ... slide-to-unlock, autocorrection, the ability to tap on a telephone number to ring that number, and having a search box. All features any idiot would come up with and are about as innovative as stacking rocks.[35]

Apple also doesn't shy away from some perjury to get their way. It was caught editing some images used as "evidence" that Samsung devices were exactly the same as Apple's on more than one occasion.[36][37]

References[edit]

  1. Seeing Through the Illusion: Understanding Apple’s Mastery of the Media [a w]
  2. What is that New-Mac smell? [a w]
  3. Technically, you could "jailbreak" the device and install apps from other sources, but this voids warranty, and has some unfortunate side-effects; it's not a viable solution for most consumers.
  4. Signers protest removal of Manhattan Declaration app from iTunes [a w]
  5. Apple Pulls No. 1 Game “Weed Firm” From The App Store - TechCrunch [a w]
  6. Apple approves, and then pulls, Nintendo emulator for iPhone - Macworld [a w]
  7. Apple reverses decision, allows unedited Papers, Please on iPad - Ars Technica [a w]
  8. Apple's Controlling Instincts Censor Ulysses All Over Again - Columbia Journalism Review [a w]
  9. More senseless iPhone app rejections tarnish the App Store - Macworld [a w]
  10. Tim Cook takes Apple down the dark road of censorship - CIO [a w]
  11. Apple Rejects Pulitzer Prize Winner's App - PCWorld [a w]
  12. Rejected! 10 iPhone Apps That Didn't Make Apple's App Store - PCWorld [a w]
  13. The Sun's 'obscene' Page 3 girls get iPhone newspaper app banned by Apple - Media - The Guardian [a w]
  14. Apple bans satirical iPhone game Phone Story from its App Store - Technology - The Guardian [a w]
  15. Treehouse Branches Out to the iPad with a New App [a w]
  16. Apple lässt App mit Hacker-Vorträgen nicht in den AppleTV AppStore - Peter Shaw's unthoughted blog [a w]
  17. Apple’s no-donation policy for apps is a cop-out - Ars Technica [a w]
  18. More workers poisoned by supplier for Apple, Nokia: Nokia responds. Apple doesn't
  19. Employee worked to death at Apple plant [a w]
  20. Apple faces its 'Nike moment' over working conditions in Chinese factories - Technology - The Guardian [a w]
  21. Chinese workers injured [a w]
  22. How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work [a w]
  23. Apple's iPhone 6 profit margin at least 69 per cent: report [a w]
  24. iPad Air profit margins reportedly range from 45 to 61 percent - Ars Technica [a w]
  25. App Store Now Makes Over $1 Billion In Profits Per Year [a w]
  26. Obama and (Steve) Jobs [a w]
  27. Obama sparred with Steve Jobs over outsourcing [a w]
  28. Apple vs HTC: proxy fight over Android could last years - Ars Technica [a w]
  29. Apple sues New York over logo - latimes [a w]
  30. Apple bites over Woolworths logo [a w]
  31. Apple's future won't be brought to you by the letter 'i' [a w]
  32. Creative Technology Takes on Apple - Businessweek [a w]
  33. Apple vs HTC: a patent breakdown [a w]
  34. Apple vs. Samsung Verdict Is In After Epic Patent Trial [a w]
  35. Apple sues Samsung for $2bn as tech rivals head back to court - Technology - The Guardian [a w]
  36. DailyTech - Report: Apple Caught Photoshopping Galaxy Tab 10.1 to Look Like iPad for Lawsuit [a w]
  37. Apple files inaccurate evidence in Dutch Samsung case - ITworld [a w]