Occupy Apple – OSX and iOS developers should go on strike

Hire the wrong sys admin?
Photo by Chris Devers

Attention passengers, boarding will begin momentarily for the maiden voyage of Apple flight 101. You may notice that no pilot has entered the aircraft. We’re pleased to inform you that for safety reasons, no human will be allowed to enter the cockpit. Rest assured, however, as our experienced pilots will be flying the aircraft via Apple Remote Desktop right from their comfortable lounge seats here at Cupertino Int’l airport. 

Now boarding zone 1.

Slashdot reports that Apple will be requiring Mac App Store submissions to work within the sandbox.

To calm my fear that Apple would lock down OSX, shortly after the iPad was released I remember stating to friends “if Apple believed that locking down the iOS was so good they’d also do it with OSX”. 

I really hate the taste of crow. 

Before I move any further, in the interest of providing two sides to what I consider a one-sided story, here is an article from CNET where Topher Kessler puts a happy face to this move.

In June 2010 I had a brief conversation with Jason Calacanis (TWIST host during a meetup.com special) when he asked me if I thought that Apple would start to make headway in the corporate arena. 

Jason: “In the enterprise are people moving away from Windows, are Apple and Macs starting to get some foothold or is that something that MacHeads like to think?”

Shawn: “Not in the Enterprise… In some of the niche markets like art studios you’ll see a lot of Macs. I use a Mac for personal use but I make money on Windows [because] that’s just what companies are using.

Jason: “So what do you think in the next five, ten years, do you think you’ll see Apple starting to take market share in the enterprise?”

Shawn: “[yes, but only] if you can integrate them with Windows a little better…” 

My reference to “integrate them” was a direct shot to the iPad. It’s almost impossible to manage that device at the enterprise level. That’s because vendors like my company, Admin Arsenal, are severely limited in our ability to provide the same level of management for the iPad that we provide for our Windows customers. The move to make OSX more like iOS means that we likely will not be developing our technology to manage something that Apple is determined will not be managed by 3rd parties.

Sorry folks. Just like we would be hesitant to fly in a plane with no pilot in the cockpit, so too  are we hesitant to develop applications for a platform that we can’t actually access. 

The folks at Redmond have probably ordered the caterers and bartenders for the upcoming party. They still own the business market and will continue to do so until an enterprise management solution for Macs and iPads is available.

Businesses track computer assets differently than do households. Because IT is such a large expense category in the professional world, it only makes sense that assets be managed. By managed I mean…well… managed. You can’t get an accurate hardware inventory without talking to (go figure) the hardware. To manage a system you must be able to both install and uninstall applications without actually touching the device or otherwise disturbing the user.  (I could go on and on, but you get the point).

Here is my prediction. If Apple wants the business market, they can only get it by providing systems management solutions for their platforms. If they prevent the solutions from being developed by 3rd parties, then from Apple itself will develop them. True they have Apple Remote Desktop, but any solution will need to integrate well with Active Directory environments (sorry, but that’s just reality).

To that end, I predict that Apple will release their own enterprise management suite (iManage, anyone?) that will allow you to use their software to manage enterprise installations of Mac OSX and iOS devices. Since they don’t have to eat the same dog food as their developers they will have access to private API’s and have the ability (short-term and long-term) to leave the sandbox and talk directly to OSX and iOS hardware, processes, and other applications. 

This future systems management applicaton will be functional, beautiful, and very expensive.

True, recent history has taught us that if a hi-jacker gets into a cockpit bad things happen. But the solution is to lock the cockpit door, not weld it shut. 

Just ask the 100,000+ iOS and OSX pilot… I mean developers.