Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
5/4/2010
01:21 PM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Web 2.0: Apple's Fetish For Silence

At the Web 2.0 Expo, Apple is everywhere without actually being present. Last month, Web 2.0 co-founders John Battelle and Tim O'Reilly published an open letter to Apple asking the company to participate in the conference. To no one's surprise, Apple did not respond.

At the Web 2.0 Expo, Apple is everywhere without actually being present. Last month, Web 2.0 co-founders John Battelle and Tim O'Reilly published an open letter to Apple asking the company to participate in the conference. To no one's surprise, Apple did not respond.Yet Apple dominates the show. The tech industry is all about mobile nowadays and there's no way to talk about mobile without talking about Apple.

The conference sessions on Tuesday include: HTML5 vs. Flash: Webpocalypse Now?, A Beautful Mind: Anatomy and Architecture of the iPhone App, Crucial Mobile Analytics for Marketers, The Developer's Highway to Making Money Out of Application Stores, Give Me a Mobile Strategy or You're Fired!, iPad: Mobile Computing Redefined, Best Practices in SmartPhone Business Apps, and The Mobile Stack's Cloud Layer.

And that's just through the mid-afternoon.

Among the keynote speakers, Kevin Lynch, CTO of Adobe will take the stage on Wednesday under the thunderclouds of Apple's war against Flash and reports of a possible antitrust inquiry against Apple. Even IBM is putting forth a speaking who will address the mobile market: Jeff Pierce, IBM's manager of mobile computing research.

Apple doesn't stoop mingling with the masses. That might ruin its carefully cultivated mystique. But as Battelle observed in a comment on his post, while Apple has long based its communication strategy around secrecy, "what's changed is how deep and ubiquitous it is now, and how removed the company has become from the public square compared to its past (when it was always removed, but not so deeply)."

Apple refuses to acknowledge that the norm is now greater openness with the public. The social and mobile trends in computing, and the diminished privacy that these trends entail, necessitate a greater degree of engagement.

The irony is obvious: Apple, a leader in communication technology, is loath to communicate.

Now Apple is entitled to conduct itself as it sees fit, within reason. But CEO Steve Jobs has been complaining that third-party development tools -- like but not necessarily limited to Flash - limit the ability of developers to take advantage of new technology as Apple upgrades its SDKs, APIs and operating systems.

Jobs has a point in blaming Adobe for its failure to promptly take advantage of Mac OS and iPhone OS innovations. Adobe's business practices and choices led it to where it is today.

But Apple's secrecy is partially responsible too. If Apple wants companies to implement its innovations in a timely manner, it needs to share them in advance, before they're released to the public.

Apple needs to communicate more effectively, with developers at least, if not the general public.

Our editors take Apple's new platform through its paces, in the office and on the road. Here are their (differing) assessments of what works well and what doesn't. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A UBM Tech Radio episode on the changing economics of Flash storage used in data tiering -- sponsored by Dell.
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.