iPhone and gated communities

Recently some guy pocking around the innards of his new iPhone 3G found a little piece of code that seemed to do something like stop the phone from running whatever piece of software Apple didn’t want it to run. It was quickly named a “Kill Switch” although no one knew for sure what it would do.

Turns out that it actually is a Kill Switch. The bad news is that it’s not something useful, for example it won’t allow you to kill the people in front of you in a line, like that lady who is paying her weekly grocery shopping with pennies, but what it actually does is stop the iPhone from running whatever software Apple doesn’t want it to run. Steve Jobs says that it would be irresponsible not to have one, the reason why is easy to see, after all only those developers who have paid for the privilege to develop for the iPhone are able to upload their wares to the iTunes store, which is the only place from where you can get software for the iPhone, and it’s not like the Apple people spend weeks reviewing the submitted software before posting it on the site. Oh! wait, they actually spend weeks reviewing the submitted software.

Apparently this is not enough and Steve needs more control over your iPhone, making sure you are only running safe and preapproved software; after all, you were naïve enough to buy an iPhone, God only knows what dangerous crap you can be suckered into downloading by giving it a bit of a shine and putting a vowel in front of its name. It also gives Jobs the option to outsource the software review process to underpaid 10-year olds in Vietnam in the future and if one of those kids misses something crucial, maybe he didn’t have breakfast that day… or month, then it’s no problem because Apple can still deactivate it remotely after firing the kid.

You see, by getting an iPhone you have also become part of a very exclusive community, one that is kept isolated from the outside world, one in which not anyone can make changes or improvements without prior approval, where there are people making sure you stay within the predetermined limits for your protection, and where you can be reasonably sure that all the other neighbours will be of a similar stature and position in life. Of course, you have plenty of freedom, you can change the colour of the screen and have different ringtones, so your iPhone will be completely unique… but not too much, otherwise it’d be just weird.

Oh, did I mention that thanks to the GPS the iPhone now knows where you are?