Apple deems U2 ‘the sweetest thing’ and a reflection on operating systems

Apple deems U2 ‘the sweetest thing’ and a reflection on operating systems

This week the Internet kind of exploded –again-, with social media commentary expressing a range of emotions in response to Apple ‘gifting’ every iTunes user (aka millions of people) a copy of Irish rock band U2’s latest album ‘Songs of Innocence’.

On a scale of “Yay, free music!” to “How do I delete this virus called U2 off my device?”, how did you react to the news?

My brother went something along the lines of “What the frak?! They got me too! Damn you, U2!”

Just when he thought he’d escaped the wrath of the almighty iCloud, Apple was there to remind him that he had a choice when he was buying a new phone, and he will damn-well use it and he will damn-well like it!

Which brings forth this week’s topic of the operating systems Android and Apple’s iOS and what they really mean for users and mobile net.

An exemplary text on the topic is Eric Raymond’s book The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Published in 1999, Raymond described a closed operating system like iOS as being like a cathedral; stable, hierarchical and only made public at the end of the building process. On the contrary, an open operating system like Android is like the open architecture of a bazaar; an open marketplace with users creating, contributing and taking simultaneously as they wish.


These open and closed operating systems such as iOS and Android have become a hot topic of discussion particularly in recent years as mobile net is ever-expanding and rising, becoming more important as newer devices are being created each year. As these devices are an extension of what we see on our computer screens (Mitew, 2014), they become a mini computer. The issue then is, depending on which operating system you choose; this mini-computer device like your mobile phone or tablet is accessible in different ways.

Apple’s closed, exclusive system, iOS, doesn’t allow external codes, programs or applications outside of Apple or Apple’s approval to enter, enabling complete control of the systems and Apple devices (Worstall, 2012). This explains the forceful gifting of U2’s album to your iCloud account. The pros being security and simplicity throughout all your devices, and cons are the limitations and restricted usage of devices and a less personal experience.

Android, on the other hand, as an open operating system, is trying to say the mobile web should be open and provide the same experience to users regardless of the device (Holland, 2014). Andy Rubin, creator of Android, described his OS as having “the spirit of Linux and the reach of Windows… It would be a global, open operating system for the wireless future” (Roth, 2008).

Still not sure what’s right for you? For further information on iOS and Android features, see the links below.


Roth, D. (2008) ‘Google’s Open Source Android OS Will Free the Wireless Web’. Wired

Raymond, E. (2001) The Cathedral and the Bazaar [pp.1-31]

Worstall, T. (2012) ‘The Problem with Apple’s Closed Apps Universe’. Forbes


7 thoughts on “Apple deems U2 ‘the sweetest thing’ and a reflection on operating systems

  1. I just keep coming back to your blog Amy. It’s like a packet of salt and vinegar chips. So good….

    The opening anecdote about your brother for me is what blogging is about, being able to tell a story, link it to an interesting and relevant topic, and add some “flavour” to it at the end. Your blogs are great for this and not a chore to read.

    The example of the “forceful gift” of U2’s album for iPhone users is a relevant and perfect example of the topic this week. Well picked up on. The links you have provided are a great resource to bookmark, for those of us (like me really) who are not hugely tech-savvy and mobile software-literate. Your blog is written well for academic purpose, and the general audience too.

    If you want to take a look at mobile net use further, here is a link to an interesting read on how we are accessing the net from our phones more than PCs….

    Thanks for a good read!

  2. This is a top post – your writing style is very natural and makes for a pleasure to read! You consider both the Apple and Android options equally, which in turn lets readers make a fair judgement between the two systems. What I could suggest is, for those disgruntled people who have received the U2 ‘gift’ album, provide them with a source that will help to remove the album off their iPhone. I found this link which would be of assistance for those needing a step by step to do so –

  3. What makes your writing so great is that you are able to relate such a relevant story, like the U2 album, to this weeks topic. Not many people think about doing this, but it makes for a more enjoyable read overall, especially from someone who is so fascinated by music. Although I was definitely one of the people who could not wait to get rid of the album.
    A great, fair, summary of each two operating systems. It would also have been interesting to know which system you prefer, and why. I always find an opinion at the end of a blog is a nice way to wrap it up, and make it stand out. Great work Amy!

  4. A good summary of the key points in relation to IOS vs. Android. I found the structure of your post easy to follow. Due to this, I was able to concentrate on your content. I liked the addition of extra readings, via the links.
    Personally, I like the open source ideology. I like the idea of a big pot where ideas are mixed together. What emerges from this is often exciting and revolutionary. An example of this is the Open Hand Project (

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