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!
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