As former iPhone users know all too well, when you switch away from Apple, you can expect problems. One of the most common is the magical disappearing text message; texts from iPhones won’t go out as such, but will instead go to iMessage…which is a problem, since you don’t have iMessage. Apple has finally created a system that disables iMessage after years of complaints. But why did it take so long? And why was it this way in the first place?
A Begrudging Departure
The short answer is that mobile providers in general, and Apple in particular, want to punish you for daring to switch away from their brands. A common example of this is apps. If you switch operating systems, you’ll have to go back and download all your apps again, although developers can allow platform changes on an app-by-app basis. It’s a small modern annoyance, and in truth, the companies that own these OSes and stores like it that way. They make more money, and you have an economic reason not to run away.
With Apple, though, it’s gotten more toxic than that. Apple’s fundamental design principle is that of “closed architecture;” everything from the software to the hardware is made by Apple. This has some advantages for consumers, as it’s created Apple’s “it just works” reputation. But as iMessage shows, there’s a darker side.
The truth is that Apple could have fixed the iMessage glitch quickly and simply. In fact, they could have easily fixed it by putting iMessage on other platforms, but their company philosophy won’t allow it. And their attitude towards consumers who leave them means that, well, screw you, you don’t deserve text messages for leaving behind their phones. Something to consider, perhaps, if you were mulling going back.