apples to oranges

Some angry woman is trying to sue Apple over the iPhone’s recent price drop. This is insane, of course. Here’s how retail works: Apple sets the price for the iPhone, and anyone who wants one has to pay that price to get one. We don’t live in a barter economy (at least officially). Disgruntled iPhone customers should content themselves with their rebates, as Apple didn’t have to give them one in the first place. It’s not like Apple’s hand was forced on that one. There may have been grumbling, but how many angry customers were seriously thinking of returning their iPhones? Also, one million dollars in damages? Who is this woman kidding?

Last night I had a lengthy post here that tried to reconcile Apple’s stance on music DRM with its actions regarding the underground modification movement surrounding the iPhone. Unsurprisingly, John Gruber says it a lot better than I can, at least in regards to Apple’s position on iPhone modification.

It may seem like Apple is contradicting itself when it says that music should be DRM-free but goes out of its way to prevent unauthorized uses of the iPhone. On the surface the parallels are pretty clear, but there’s an important difference between an iPhone and a song. The iPhone exists because Apple promised AT&T at&t that it would be the iPhone’s sole cellular carrier, where by “promised,” I mean “legally guaranteed.” Apple was obligated to close the hole that made SIM unlocking possible, which unfortunately is the same hole used by the unauthorized software developers.

Apple has good intentions, but it’s still just a company, and companies need to honor their contracts, ugly as the results might sometimes be. Remember, Steve Jobs can write all he wants about how music should be open for everyone, but that doesn’t mean he secretly supports the Hymn Project. The contract is the contract, and the warranty is the warranty, and these things keep at&t, Apple, and you in a legally defined relationship that makes commerce possible.

If you don’t like it, go ahead and sue. The rest of the world will just wait until Apple releases a real iPhone SDK.


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