'Thank God' for Apple's beautiful crystal prisons

Apple iOS open source

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ruffled some feathers last week when it published a report calling for Apple to adopt a more open model with its mobile and desktop platforms. Apple is hurting users by making use of a closed model with iOS and OS X, which the EFF likened to “beautiful crystal prisons,” and also by imposing unnecessary limitations on its devices because the open source community is not being utilized. While a number of people agree with the EFF, highlighting the fact that Android’s open source model is part of the reason for its wide adoption among tech savvy consumers, many insist that Apple’s closed model is not just a benefit but one of the most important features of its mobile and desktop devices.

Eric Testorff, a Technology Coordinator in Crossville, Tennessee, recently spoke with BGR about his experience with Android and iOS in an education environment. Tasked with deploying and managing the devices and systems used by Cumberland County schools, Testorff has a great deal of experience with Windows PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

“Thank God Apple is the way it is, especially with so many schools purchasing iPads,” Testorff told BGR. “It is good that it is so difficult for kids to download and install bad Apps. Not every school knows how to police that. At least Apple does some of the policing for us. With Androids, it’s like the Wild West.”

While education is one example of an industry where there are clear benefits to a closed system, the added security of Apple’s App Store model is appealing to the enterprise market as well.

“When we decided to dump BlackBerry last year, we ran trials with the iPhone and with Android phones,” an IT manager at a large privately held company told BGR during an interview. The executive agreed to speak with us on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on behalf of his company.

“During the first week of trials alone, I had one guy crash his Samsung from installing a bunch of poorly made software,” he continued. “Then someone else rooted his phone and all of his stock apps stopped transmitting data. This was just the trial; imagine what would happen if we deployed these phones to more than 200 employees across the company.”

“We ended up going with the iPhone,” the executive concluded.

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