back to article iPhone upgrades - a one-way control-freak street

For over 30 years, your personal computer has been, well, your personal computer. You could install whatever software you liked - provided it was compatible. After installing an app or an operating system, if you then decided you preferred the previous version, you were free to uninstall the new and revert to the old. But …

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Alert

It's your phone...

... but the software on it is only licensed, not sold, so you're restricted by the software license. At lease, that's how I understand it all to work.

iPhone backups only work with the OS version they were created with, plus newer versions can restore from them. They don't contain the apps, just the data. It's possible to pull the data out from a backup and restore it into an older version of the OS if you're jailbroken and bored, but typically it's more effort than it's worth just to get your high score in a game. For real apps they typically sync with a desktop or cloud so your data is easy to get at.

The article implies that only going upwards in terms of versions is a bad thing. I disagree... better that they spend their resource fixing the bug quickly rather than having everyone "dipping their toes in" and the potential of failed reverts. Upgrades typically change data formats (for internal data) so a revert would have to roll that back. You might have upgraded an app that only supports the new OS, etc.

If it were easy everyone would be doing it.

Lets turn to a Microsoft OS software upgrade. You upgrade your version of Windows from Vista to Windows 7 in-place. Is there a way to back out? A simple way?

Same for OSX. If I'm on Leopard and in-place upgrade to Snow Leopard, can I roll back easily?

i.e. upgrades typically are difficult to revert from.

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Thumb Up

Possible solution to the App Rollback

I haven't tested this, but I have installed applications in this way before without downloading them from the App Store

The applications are located in the following directory "%iTunes Media Folder Location%\iTunes\Mobile Applications" and are stored in ipa format.

Before you process an upgrade make a copy of the ipa file in your mobile applications folder. Once upgraded if you wanted to downgrade again you should delete the app from your device and Mobile Applivcations folder and then copy the old version in to iTunes and it will add it back to the mobile applications folder.

I have found that applications deleted from the iPhone as opposed from being deleted from iTunes sometimes stop being synced so you would need to go in to the sync properties for your device and select that the application is sync's again, this should upload the old version of the application.

I have tested this with the Sky News application which just happened to want an update today and it worked fine. Hopefully I have described the process correctly.

I also think that this could be applied to the firmware downgrade process. In order to restore your device itunes keeps a copy of the firmware in the following location (running windows 7);

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates

I have a feeling that you may be able to replace this file with an older version of the firmware to roll back to a previous release by using the iTunes restore process. Not tested, just a theory.

Hopoe this makes sense. It definitely works for the apps :)

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Stop

Yes but no

It's your iPhone, but it's their software. If you choose to upgrade your iPhone or its apps (and you do always have a choice), they aren't morally or legally obligated to then help you re-use the older, almost certainly buggier software that they're trying to phase out.

In this case it's a particularly awkward example as 3.1 included some beneficial changes that required a new version of Itunes to work (mainly the new application synching). So no, backups from 3.1 aren't likely to play nicely with Itunes 8, but that's just the downside to progress. Progress is good, right?

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Black Helicopters

Whose phone is it?

Actually, if you bought the iPhone on contract from O2, it's probably O2's phone. Throw that into the mix...

More seriously, I can see the attraction from Apple's perspective of ensuring everyone has the same version of software. Lots of people running around with different versions is a support nightmare -- that's one of the reasons why your work laptop probably has a standard build.

Having said that, it's vitally important that the testing and QA process for new releases is solid. While it's nice to have everyone on the same version, it's not nice to have everyone's device functioning incorrectly because everyone's on the same version of rubbish. This is the bit I don't think Apple have quite right yet.

Reverting to a previous version of an app should only be required if there really is a new bug in the new version. Do we know if Apple have a process for hoiking the new build out of the app store and 'updating' everyone to the previous version? Since the previous version already has the Apple seal of approval, it should be a matter of moments to revert. That way you can retain the primary objective of ensuring a single version of the app, /and/ ensure that no-one has a buggy version. Maybe you could ask your tame spokesdroid that question.

Black helicopter icon, as El Reg seems to think there's an Apple conspiracy against them.

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Nope....

It aint o2's. When you bought the phone, you bought the hardware with an agreement to pay for airtime. You own the hardware and are obliged to pay for airtime for a minimum period.

Strange how nobody seems to understand that.

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Thumb Up

Seems reasonable to me.

Apple's success is based on its ability to make computer products that are usable by the clueless or those who simply do not want to use a product without spending the time trying to figure out how it works (those who can work a microwave but cannot program a VCR). The vast majority of people who buy an iPhone will want Apple to look after it for them, they don't want flexibility because flexibility requires thought. Most people have enough hassle trying to keep their home PC working, the last thing they want is the same hassle from a telephone.

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Jobs Horns

AnPhone or iDroid?

I was just this morning grapling with the tricky question of whether to move into iPhone or Android territory for my first purchase of a smartphone. My current contract is about to expire and I'm looking forward to making the leap to the next generation however which way to jump has been a difficult decision.

I love my iMac at home and really enjoy the way "things just work" compared to my experiences of trying to get Ubuntu installed on a second partition on my hard drive. But Apple's draconian and autocratic attitude really offends me and I'm now proud to say that I'm looking forward to a shiny new Andoid OS when I make the jump.

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Unhappy

However...

...no-one FORCES you to upgrade, not even Apple. Really, the time to whinge about this stuff is long past, the DMCA is law, we no longer control our own computers - governments view the content of personal computers as the answer to their long held question "how can we know exactly what people are thinking and control it?"

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Jobs Horns

Downgrading?

There's an app fo-

No wait. There isn't.

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Silver badge

The new IBM?

Ahh, the 80's! When a single computing giant held sway over the corporate world. Basically you signed on the line (and if you didn't, a senior account manager would "have a word" with your boss) and then did what you were "recommended to" by your new lords and masters. You paid the rental on the hardware and software, you bought the service plan and upgrades like you were told. You asked nicely if a certain piece of software could, please, be run on THEIR hardware and reflected on how lucky you were.

If there was one experience that led to the open software movement, it was the arrogant and controlling diktats of the big players and their closed protocols, restrictive licensing and secret APIs. The problem that Apple are giving the world now, is that we've forgotten about all these bad experiences. Probably because the generation of shiney, fresh-faced appliance buyers have never known the evils of proprietary systems and restrictive license agreements.

I'd say Apple still had a way to go, so far as screwing over they their customers goes. While there's no doubt they'll make a stack more cash with this attitude, in maybe 10 more years they'll have so embittered their fan base that no-one will buy. However, by them there'll be a new generation of shiney, fresh-faced newbies waiting to wave their cash at the next big thing.

Plus ca change.

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Boffin

GPL3 would make it your phone

Eventually, if enough developers use GPL3 to the point that Apple and others can't afford to maintain their own GPL2 or non copyleft software forks for ever, Apple will have to supply you with the keys to what you imagined was your own little virtual kingdom, because you paid for it and the device that hosts it is physically in your possession. On something that can still be rendered useless by its remote controllers because it is locked into a single network (e.g. as with the XBox gamers) that doesn't help you very much, but OFCOM and other communications regulators are quite interested in opening up competition at the network level.

Chances are the parts of it that control radio frequency use and interference will be kept in a separate and closed module, so phone hackers can't break the communications used by emergency services etc.

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

"break the communications used by emergency services etc."

what are you one about ? You can but a GSM scanner already, or even program your own from scratch. But the police etc. have their own network *anyway*...

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Stop

OBEY

OBEY OBEY OBEY

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Go

One Way???

If you buy it, you but into it. Simple ... don't complain.

If you don't like the rules, simple ... don't buy it or buy into it.

If you are ignorant of the rules, simple ... you're ignorant.

It's your money and you control it; nobody else, simple ... be prudent.

Of course, Applfan's parents will likely do anything to quiet the incessant crying so there you have it.

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Jobs Halo

iPhone residuals are pretty good

the hardware is pretty robust and if you're bored or pissed off, you can sell it and buy an Android piece, no?

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Big Brother

I too am a control freak

I like to know what my system is doing and exercise control over it. I Iike to run ps, iptables, netstat, cron and other system tools occasionally. I want to be able to open and close ports at will, block ip addresses and have full control over what code is running. I want a folder or virtual drive I can encrypt using my own chosen encryption, that I count mount dismount at will. I want to run my choice of browser and be able to dynamically control web scripts, ads and cookies. I want to revert any settings, remove any installs and backup/restore at will. I want control over updates.

I guess I don't want an Apple then.

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FAIL

Cobblers

Why dont geeks get it? Most people dont care about rolling back firmware, they dont want to get involved in the details of how things work, they just want to turn it on and do stuff.

This is what Apple give people and surprise surprise, why they have done so well. No one makes you use an iPhone, get a Win Mo or Android device, then you can fiddle to your hearts content.

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FAIL

The problem is when it goes wrong

So your average Joe doesn't want to deal with downgrades or anything like that. But when an upgrade (like 3.1) goes horribly wrong, they generally want it fixed straight away. Many non-geeks dig out their nearest geek friend to sort it out. On Windows that may involve using a restore point, etc. On the iPhone you have no option to help them.

On the other hand, this isn't really dissimilar to any other phone device. Most phones don't even provide firmware or OS updates to you (unless you fight with the provider to prove you have a bug that needs an upgrade to resolve). So Apple have it half right (although I'm choking on my own vomit saying this), but should really think about how to resolve things when they go wrong.

At the moment Apple generally rely on the rabid support of the fanbois when things go wrong, eventually this lie won't wash. In the same way that New Labour relied on incredible spin when things went wrong, but eventually the wheels came off that truck. At some point Apple will genuinely have to start thinking about their users. But whilst their users are such evangelical supporters of the products Apple can treat them like shit without an issue.

I'm sure if Steve Jobs did a huge turd and named it an iJobie, he could sell it, and the fanbois would claim it didn't stink.

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JCL
Thumb Down

eh?

Nothing to do with "geeks" thanks. Now, a good friend of mine, a ski instructor and iphone owning non-geek and spent 6 hours (on and off) on the phone to the service provider after an upgrade stopped the thing from working (though it did show the lovely apple logo).After I got the the thing working again (and restored the address book, though that looked dicey at one point) the phone could no longer access emails. Apparently a "known fault" with the service provider with no indication of when it'll be fixed.

You don't need to be a geek to see the sense in being able to roll back updates, but you do need to be objective, which I'm sorry to say doesn't seem to be your way.

As my friend said, I only bought this &^%$&^%$ phone because it is supposed to just work.

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Go

I'm about as far as you can get from an Apple fan.

But I side with them on this one.

The iPhone is so tied up in everything being online, it's main puropse is to drive the user on-line so that they can spend money. That's the product and that's the model that you buy into when you get one. The Phone part is almost secondary.

They can only ensure integrity of the product by enforcing software updates on the user base.

Don't like it? Then don't get one...

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FAIL

Exactly why I won't buy..

....despite pressure from the Mrs to get her one - she likes shiny useless gadgets.

Apple's attitude (and similarly other smartphone suppliers) is pants. You don't own and iPhone....more like they grant you a licence to use one. OTOH, if you buy one you have little reason to moan on here as most people are savvy enough to know the score with Apple and how the shower of s***s work.

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Troll

What a nice chap you seem to be.

Do you vet everything your wife buys? What a lucky lady...

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Pint

shock horror

I can't believe that people are surprised by this.

The iphone is a tightly controlled closed platform - did anyone expect otherwise from Apple? The iphone is designed as a consumer product, not a gadget for geeks. As such, you have to put up with their dictatorial rules.

If you want a gadget you can muck around with, look for something based on an open(ish) platform, i.e. android.

Beer because it's Friday and I need one

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FAIL

@ross12 Shock Horror

"If you want a gadget you can muck around with, look for something based on an open(ish) platform, i.e. android."

Android *SOURCE* is open. The platform is not. Bad example.

Oddly WinMo is easier to Fiddle with (and you can get source, but it's not open).

There were about 1/2 dozen "openish" phone platforms based on Linux. Android has killed of most of them. Maemo is open. (Linux based). So oddly is Symbian as Source and a Platform.

Don't confuse Source that has been Chucked onto the Interwebs with an Open Platform. Android and ChromeOS are intended to be as locked and tightly controlled as iPhone.

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Silver badge
Stop

Simple!

The only obvious reason I can come up with, if Apple control the entire stack, then users, average users, can only do as much Apple allows, which cuts down the support calls to really serious ones. Less calls, less support staff needed, less cost.

I don't give a monkey's I still have my knackered, rather camp, pink LG phone that my Missus gave me after she decided to chase the Jobs dream!

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Gold badge

Sony PSP

Can't do it on that either!

Why? simply because people who downgrade their PSP firmware are doing it largely to use exploits in the software used to run pirate software (or homebrew).

On the iPhone people would want to downgrade to unlock the phone and run unofficial software or pirate software.

A few might be unhappy with a new release, but much of these problems are often due to restoring backups.

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Jobs Horns

Good point from Gile Jones there.

However usually if Sony releases a buggy update, it is generally fixed within a week; however it was a long time before Apple released a patch for the iPhone "coma mode" update.

Another point to make is the ridiculous AppStore approval process. This has been said before but I'll repeat it now. Inconsistent and Slow.

Do the right thing Apple... Open it up.

- - Happy Jailbroken User :)

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Go

Oh my God!

Apple has fast turned from "A God", to an "Oh my God!"

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Happy

Doesn't worry me.

Can I be the first one to say...

"Get a Nokia"?

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Grenade

Why bother?

I don't understand why people like Apple and their methods...

Why not just buy a Nokia? They have a product which works without needing updates all the time, they actually have alot more experience than Apple when it comes to mobile phones and dare I they seem to be less controlling :)

But then I don't like the idea of a mobile phone anyway (I don't want to be contactable and if I need to phone someone I will use my friends if it's an emergency).

Mike

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Troll

It has occurred to me...

There are a small(minded) vociferous few that don't like Apple or it's products. Thats ok. Trouble is they seem to think that their opinion is correct, often ignoring facts. Usual suspects reciting the same old rhetorical shite day after day. Worst still, they seem to think that their opinions somehow matter! Brilliant! Truth is, they've never used the device/software concerned. They may have messed about with it in shop once or twice, and in their tiny little minds they are now experts. It's getting old guys. Why so much attention on a company that, user base-wise, are relatively insignificant? iPhone only accounts for 16% of the global *smartphone* market, less in the global mobile phone market. Macs, depending on which source you believe, account for between 5% and 10% of the global computer market, which as a lot of detractors like to point out is small to say the least. They continually score highly in customer satisfaction surveys, yet you lot guffaw, exclaiming those that buy into Apple products are stupid and don't often know what they are talking about! Are you all THAT insecure?! You are all like the kids that think they are really cool at a party. They sit in the corner mocking everyone, thinking that they are better than everyone else, whilst in the real world they are missing out on the fun and just look stupid sat in the corner. At the end of the day, THEY ARE JUST FUCKING TOOLS. Computers do a job. Apples solution does it one way. Don't like it? There are other options, just don't bellyache about it constantly. One of the contributing factors to this rhetoric is the perception of "smug Apple fanbois". Take a look in the mirror chaps. At the end of the day, no-one cares what you think...

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Silver badge

Hype

iPhone and Android are both way too overhyped.

At the end of the day the screens are too small for useful work or browsing.

Plenty of Smartphones (running Linux, Symbian and WinMo ) before Android let you do SMS. MMS, upload snap shots, video chat, Phone calls and MP3 playing.

Once the novelty wears off most important features are Phoning, SMS and MP3 player. The novelty of no buttons wears off for a lot of people too.

If the iPhone was branded and marketed by Foxconn what would the sales be?

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Jobs Halo

Speak for yourself

"At the end of the day the screens are too small for useful work or browsing."

For you maybe. For me, the screen is fine for reading the BBC site, writing short emails, watching TV and movies ...

Once the novelty wears off, I need a device that entertains me for the hour and a half I spend on public transport every day. The iPhone is smaller than a book and is a phone on top of being my media player, twitter device and news reader.

And no, no-one forces upgrades upon people, but like any computer OS, downgrades are not supposed to be easy. Try reverting a security patch on Linux, Windows or Mac OS X.

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Thumb Up

Security, anyone?

Here's a possible (but made up) scenario:

iPhone 3.1 fixes a major security issue in the iPhone OS - so Apple "recommends" you upgrade and you do.

But you realise your phone isn't quite as fast as it was before so you roll back to 3.0.

Then your phone gets hijacked using said security flaw that 3.1 fixes - who do you blame? Apple. Not yourself for using an old version of the software.

I'm with Apple on this one - I'm a developer (MS .NET in fact) and I would NEVER recommend people run an old version of ANY software, let alone the most important bit of software on any computing device - the OS.

@adnim - you can do all that on a Mac (well, maybe not the "my chosen encryption" part - Apple has it's own mechanism called FireVault.) However, it is Unix at heart after all.

The only annoying thing is there's a really decent installer for new apps, but no uninstaller - to remove an application you have to do a search to get rid of all traces - annoying, yes. But at least you CAN. On Windows you can search for days deleting random files and still not remove all traces of an application, but you might possibly screw up your system.

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Black Helicopters

What about Windows?

Actually just thought of a comparison - can you downgrade Windows to the previous release?

E.g. Windows 7 to Vista? It's impossible unless a) you used an upgrade CD* or b) you wipe your entire machine.

Or even uninstall a service pack? *

* Both these methods are either difficult to do, take up lots of disk space to allow you to roll-back, or aren't guaranteed to leave both your PC and your applications in a usable state.

Black helicopter - because I agree with the previous comment of El Reg's conspiracy theories.

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FAIL

What about Windows indeed, Pandy.

No, you cannot roll back the OS, but you CAN remove and reinstall any version of any software package you own at any time. You can also install any software you wish to that you obtained from your own chosen source on a Windows PC without some self important gnome saying yes or no, you can or cannot install that.

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Bronze badge

Some of you missed the point .....

....... so will put it easy speak (especially for Prag Fest)

You have iPhone

Updated application on iPhone borks iPhone

Angry iPhone user wants to get rid and go back to old version while new one is fixed

They cant ...... so they carry a brick around until developer gets his bug fixed app through the approval process ...... which takes weeks because even tho all he did to fix the bug is change a '/' to a '\' the approval process will start from scratch.

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Enough already !

These stories are starting to get on my tits. We KNOW by know that Apple is very fascist about their customer service.

We equally know that man has sold his sol to the devil for a bunch of shiny beads they think will impress their neighbours for as long as we've walkt on our hind legs.

Apple knows this and exploits the weakness. And gets rich by doing so.

Als this is known and well document, even, to some extent, by the iPeople that buy their stuff.

So ignore them. And please, at least, don't give them aal this free publicity.

Thanks,

Peter R.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Thumb Up

It's easy to revert to an old App

It's easy to revert to a previous version of an App (assuming you backed it up before updating). I did the very same thing just yesterday with a botched update to "RedLaser".

1) Backup the .ipa file for the App from the iTunes "Mobile Applications" folder on your HDD

2) Update the App to the latest version in iTunes, and install to the iPhone/iPod touch

3) If you don't like it, delete it from the phone, quit iTunes and then restore the old .ipa into the "Mobile Applications" folder.

4) Open iTunes and re-sync the old app to the device.

It's always, it's a good idea to maintain backups of your Apps anyway, so reverting to an older one shouldn't be a problem.

On the Mac, when you update an App through iTunes it helpfully puts the old version in the Trash from where you can retrieve it if you do forget to back it up before updating.

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Jobs Halo

Agreed

Exactly what I was going to say. If you've backed up the app before updating (or just grabbed it out of the trash after updating) it's very easy to roll back to an older version of an app. This is exactly the same as if you've updated an application on Windows or OSX, if you haven't kept the original installer for the older version, you can't go back. Backup is the key.

As for not being able to roll back to a previous OS version, I know it's annoying when you get problems, but as far as I know just about every phone I've updated has not allowed me to revert.

I had a Samsung WinMo phone (which I actually won on El Reg!) and that allowed me to update from WinMo 5 to 6. It specifically told me there was no way of reverting. I've also updated several old Sony Ericsson phones via the USB cable and they never gave the option to downgrade either. Sounds very similar to the iPhone to me!

I think people forget that the iPhone is a consumer device, not an open computing platform. Back in the day when mobile phones were just phones and one of the best phones on the market was the Sony Ericsson K750i, no one complained that they didn't have complete control over the inner workings of their phone. Phones were locked down tighter then than the iPhone is today.

The problem is that phones are now basically mini computers and people believe that just because it's technically possible to do something, that gives them the God given right to do it. Phones are still just consumer devices designed to perform certain tasks and nothing more. Just because they now have more features than they used to (and the hardware could technically do even more) doesn't mean that Apple or any phone manufacturer has to allow you to do anything you wish to do with the device.

I have an iPhone purely because when I purchased it there was nothing to touch it on the market for email, calendar and web. I know other phones could do these things, but they were slow and clunky compared to the elegant way the iPhone handled it. Recently I played with a friend's Android phone and have to say I liked that too, so when upgrade time comes I may well switch platforms. So for me my phone is a 'tool' and when I purchased it no other 'tool' on the market performed the features that I needed (maybe not that you need) as well as the iPhone did.

Come on people, it's only a phone! If it does what you need it to do, great. If not, move along and buy something else.

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Flame

Apologist Alert

"The problem is that phones are now basically mini computers and people believe that just because it's technically possible to do something, that gives them the God given right to do it."

It's the customer's property. If the customer screws up the software doing something the manufacturer doesn't support, the manufacturer can always refuse to honour the warranty on the software, but it's certainly not the manufacturer's right to dictate what people can do with the goods they have paid for.

"Phones are still just consumer devices designed to perform certain tasks and nothing more. Just because they now have more features than they used to (and the hardware could technically do even more) doesn't mean that Apple or any phone manufacturer has to allow you to do anything you wish to do with the device."

This is like something an IBM mainframe salesman would say, but in those bygone days, you were really renting the capabilities of that gear filling up the "computer room", and maybe not all of the capabilities, either. When you say that it's a question of the vendor "allowing" the buyer to do things, you've already advocated that everyone give up a bunch of actual statutory rights that they happen to have.

Worshipping at the corporate altar may be attractive to Apple fans, but they can keep their sordid habits (such as advocating the abolition of fundamental consumer rights) to themselves.

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Stop

@Nigel Wright

why wouldent you get the missus a iphone... the way i see it if she wants one she can have one, so long as mortgage/council tax/electric/gas bills are all paid...

and on top of that, the way apple do things, its less time i will be spending fixing things or getting stuff to work... time i can spend getting my pc to work as it should....

btw, i am not a apple fanbwoi... i proberbly will never personaly own a apple product, but for my less than tech savy missus, apple is perfect...

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Stop

Fair point, but...

@ Eradicate all BB entrants

...this then causes potential issues with new apps running on old versions of firmware they haven't been tested against. Think it through son.

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Paris Hilton

lucky if it works 100% anyway

My 4 month old 3GS was broken, no vibrate, poor and intermittent signal/data, ok so lets go to the o2 shop, sorry sir will have to give it to us to send away, well bugger that I need my phone.

Go to the apple shop, only 5 hours before closing ,sorry sir will have to make an appointment with an iphone "genius", and we have no more appointments today. Lost my rag at this point and point out I've travelled a long way to be here and my policy about expensive toys is not to go away until it's fixed, finally got a standby appointment, well only a two hour wait for a 5 minute diagnosis, yes the vibrate i broken, got new phone.

So the software level is moot if the dam thing is broken anyway.

So Apple is lovely as long as nothing goes wrong.

Paris she only has the one, Apple is a bunch of.

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WTF?

Hows this news?

This has been the case as long as I've been using apple computers - at least since system 8...

Yup its rubbish as far as I'm concerned but hardly a new and subversive approach to updates - 99% of users don't care (I'm not surprised no one has mentioned that this has been Apple's approach since the 90's) the other 1% just work round it.

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Badgers

Why all the discussion?

You paid for it. It's your phone. It's not up to Apple to tell you what to do with it. Simple.

And people prefer dealing with these freaks to dealing with Microshaft?

Then again, why should I care? I don't deal with either.

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wsm

Whatever works

iPhones can and frequently are rolled back, for any number of reasons, including the desire for applications that just don't work after a firmware update. But the most recent firmware meltdown caused many to investigate a rollback solution.

One of our executives had his iPhone become unusable after the 3.1 update. After some searching, we found the previous firmware version and applied it according to some blog instructions.

The constant reboots and shutdowns were gone. He was happy with the performance until the later 3.1.2 update was released and we installed that version. The only problem was that his texting ability had disappeared and had to be reset with the carrier.

No problems since then, but he is much less confident of Apple. He has vowed not to update until a month after any future releases and a review of the possible problems.

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Anonymous Coward

<rant>

>After all, it's my iPhone, isn't it? Or is it?

Indeed ... what does "own" mean ? I'd say total control. Hence, it seems we don't really own these things but are rather on some sort of a lease. While it is theoretically possible for an owner of a device such as an iPhone to replace the entire software stack with something else, this is - of course - manifestly impractical. Hence, effectively, it is lease instead of ownership. I suppose the key legal instrument here to make it so (once again) is an EULA. Which is why I'd say we'd need specific legislation limiting what can be put in them (assuming that such "contracts" are worth anything in the first place ...)

>Don't like it? Then don't get one...

This, I believe, contains the implicit assumption that I could a get similar product without the aspects I don't like due to competition on the marketplace. I can't. Wouldn't be so bad if it was just about smartphones, but it happens to be the case that our entire economy is supposedly based on competition on the marketplace, and, then this western society of ours pretty much revolves around the economy (these days).

> ... Android ...

In a (more) ideal world one could freely mix and match hardware and software from multiple vendors. Let's hope Android is indeed a step in this direction. Then again I'm not holding my breath as this involves another mega-corporation with its own agenda (whatever exactly that might be, I wonder ?).

>"Get a Nokia"?

If you need a smartphone, please don't - for your own good.

I'd say I know a fair bit about this as a former SW developer intimately involved with this particular brand. Nokia certainly has more than enough money and smart people to produce the finest smartphones, but for some reason they consistently fail to do so. The problem, of course, is with the software. With that, my personal experience would suggest this to be ultimately a management problem. It is rather sad, actually. I'm glad not be part of that scene, though, not any more, not ever again :-)

</rant>

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Apple deserves the critisism

...but an iron grip on others' apps is central to their business. Naturally they want to control the entire ecosystem, but the process has only made apple ugly.

In the other corner microsoft is doing the same thing with the windows kernel in a brilliant maneuver designed to stamp open source code out of windows.

Both these companies may claim they're providing a benefit to users, but then they cannot explain why they don't even offer the user a choice to install what they want on their own machines. I hope both these companies are sued for anti-consumer practices.

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