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Shipley confronts Apple on "contain and engage"

Wil Shipley (he of Delicious Monster) has a big piece up about Apple, the iPhone, and the iPod that's making the rounds of online Mac onlookers. He calls out Apple (as they've been called out before) for leaving the iPhone a closed platform, and he answers a lot of questions that were asked by Erica's article the other day.

Shipley says that Jobs made a number of mistakes, the first of which was combining forces with other companies, including the record companies and AT&T. In the early days of all this, Jobs was seen as a hero, convincing the record companies to change their minds, and bringing AT&T into the realm of a really great phone. But, Shipley says, Apple plus another company doesn't equal Apple anymore. As much as Apple seemed to have brought record companies around to its point of view, it turns out that the record companies have brought Apple over to their side as well.

Case in point: ringtones, in which Apple is asking us to pay three times for the same song just so we can play it when people call us. And then combine that with Jobs' harsh requirements for locking down the Apple aesthetic, and suddenly, instead of finding ourselves locked inside a closed system we like (iPod + iTunes), we're trapped inside a closed system that charges us for no reason (iPhone + ringTones).

How to fix things? Shipley says an SDK for iPods and iPhones, which is a big duh. Apple should have done that long ago, and developers have been saying so ever since. They've trusted developers to make beautiful programs for the Mac, and they should trust them on the iPhone as well. And he says Apple needs to open up-- either let their music out, or let others' in. Clearly, people prefer having control over their content rather than, say, what NBC is planning, so if Apple makes a serious effort to free their content (music, movies, and ringtones alike), they won't need the companies-- they'll have all the audience.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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