Shipley Challenges Apple’s “Contain and Engage” Strategy

Wil Shipley, the creative mind behind Delicious Monster, recently published an insightful article discussing Apple’s strategy with the iPhone and iPod. This commentary has sparked interest among Mac enthusiasts online. Shipley critiques Apple for its decision to keep the iPhone a closed system, echoing sentiments previously expressed in a recent article by Erica.

According to Shipley, one of Steve Jobs’ initial missteps was his alliances with major corporations such as the record labels and AT&T.

Initially perceived as a visionary for persuading record labels to adapt and for integrating AT&T into an improved telecommunications framework, Jobs’ collaborative efforts may have inadvertently compromised Apple’s core values. Shipley argues that these partnerships have led Apple to adopt positions that align more closely with its partners’ interests rather than its own.

A prime example provided by Shipley involves the controversial pricing of ringtones, where consumers are expected to pay multiple times for a single song, just to use it as a ringtone. This, coupled with Jobs’ stringent control over Apple’s design and functionality, has resulted in a restrictive ecosystem that not only limits user freedom but also imposes unnecessary costs (iPhone + ringTones).

Shipley suggests a straightforward solution: the introduction of a Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone and iPod.

This move, which should have been implemented earlier according to Shipley, would empower developers to create innovative applications, much like they have for the Mac. He emphasizes that Apple should either liberalize its approach to content management by allowing greater interoperability or completely open up its platforms. This change would likely be welcomed by users who prefer control over their digital content, as opposed to restrictive measures like those planned by NBC.


Christopher is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest updates and insights on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail, Christopher covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest macOS updates. His articles are a go-to source for Apple enthusiasts looking to stay informed about their favorite products, including the iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBook. Christopher’s commitment to delivering accurate and engaging content makes him a valued member of the TUAW team.