By Greg Mills
Since writing my somewhat blistering statement on Apple's iOS tracking issue on Monday, the tech press and general press have continued to pontificate wildly on the subject. Someone even claimed to have gotten an email from firstname.lastname@example.org denying Apple is tracking anyone, but that Android really does actually track people.
I take email@example.com rumors with the same skepticism as little green men landing in Washington DC. Perhaps the little green men could be persuaded to kidnap the US Congress should they land in DC.
In case there is some twisted dialect of the English language (no offense to Southerners with their distinctive speech impediments) where continuously electronically locating someone and creating a secret year long record of where they were, complete with down to the second dated time stamps isn't "tracking people." Let me be clear: What ever Apple calls it, no matter why Apple did it, no matter what Apple does with the location log information, no matter how often Apple accesses it, I don't like it and I won't tolerate it.
I have read nothing that relieves my concerns raised in Monday's Greg's Bite post. I want any and all logs regarding my "location services" securely deleted from my iPhone, iPad and Mac. I will not spend another dime on anything Apple sells until this outrage is ended. Anyone who wants Apple to keep logs on their movements is certainly entitled to let them do so. Those who feel as I do have the right to restrict such activity by Apple and opt out. Apple should respect its customers who turn off "location services," but apparently they still record your location even with GPS turned off. A boycott of everything Apple is in order.
Some supposed "experts" have maintained the iOS location logs are to assist the cellular networks in providing faster connections for iPhone and iPad. This is simply not true. Why keep a year-long record if that is the case? The hand-off done between cell towers works like a charm for consummately dumb phones that don't even have GPS or an extensive memory of location data. Apple needs to come clean on this and admit they want to use our location logs to sell us things and make money from iAd-vertisers.
Since my post, at least two additional lawsuits over Apple's iOS insecure logging of location data have been filed against Apple, and I will try to keep readers up on what happens. "Bloomberg" reports that a user in Florida and one in NewYork have filed suit over iOS insecurity and will seek class action so everyone effected can join. As of now, the only news out of Apple is a possible email from Steve Jobs that may or may not be authentic.
Apple needs to hear from its consumers loud and clear on this. Ironically, some countries in Europe may take Apple to task on this more sternly than the US government. International pressure as well as enterprise customers dropping iOS devices for secure company use may well get Apple to correct this situation quickly before they lose any significant market share. Boycott Apple products until they fix this outrage! Contact Apple and let them know you want your location information to remain private.
Personally, I am dusting off some "antique" cell phones I have in a dusty box in my storage. My iPhone account with AT&T is expiring soon and obsolete dumb phones are sounding smarter all the time.
RIM's PlayBook is so bad some of the cell networks may not even sell the darn thing. AT&T won't let the "bridge app" between BlackBerry and PlayBook run on their network. This is required to allow PlayBook any significant network function tethered with an AT&T BlackBerry.
The PlayBook release is turning out to be a disaster of similar magnitude to the Microsoft Kin debacle. The only good thing I have heard about PlayBook is that there may be a profit, if they can actually sell PlayBook in any numbers. The parts breakdown was estimated to be about US$205, compared to Apple iPads parts at about $250.
With volume discounts for assembly and amortizing the product R&D over millions of Apple product instead of thousands of RIM products sold, will still give Apple a higher profit margin per tablet than RIM will see. This is making a big assumption RIM can find someone to buy one. Apple could learn a thing or two about security from RIM, however.
Sony is throwing its hat into the ring with plans to launch two Android-based tablets late in the year. Perhaps HoneyComb will be refined by then. Motorola Xooms crash a lot due to the fact that the new Android HoneyComb system doesn't have all the bugs worked out yet. It has been suggested that Motorola has sold as few as 15,000 Xooms since launch, which is pathetic. Returns have been a serious problem due to HoneyComb crashes frustrating users. The magic of iPad is in the iOS. Perhaps the Apple location log scandal will throw a monkey wrench into the market share for Apple and allow the competition to have a chance to sell some tablet products.
(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF, iOS developer and web site designer. He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues. See Greg's art web site at http://www.gregmills.info He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org )