One Thing Apple Could Learn From Amazon’s Kindle Fire

By , Sep 28, 2011

The entire web was set ‘on fire’ this morning by Amazon’s tablet announcement (no pun intended). After months and months of rumors, the online retailer finally unveiled its Android slate: the Kindle Fire.

Sure, the tablet may be one of the best Android-based offerings we’ve ever seen, but it’s still no iPad. However, there is one thing that I believe the Cupertino company could learn from Amazon and its new device…

Freedom of choice. PC Magazine’s Sascha Segan had an interesting conversation with Jon Jenkins, the director of Amazon’s Silk browser project. The developer explained Amazon’s stance on users rooting (aka jailbreaking) its new tablet:

“Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet has a great user interface, but many of our readers already want to get rid of it. That’s OK. Amazon isn’t doing anything special to prevent techies from “rooting” and rewriting the software on its powerful yet inexpensive new tablet. “It’s going to get rooted, and what you do after you root it is up to you,” Jenkins said.”

The programmer went on to say he doesn’t know if the tablet’s bootloader is locked or not, so that could be an obstacle for Android hackers. “The company won’t help hackers root the tablet, it just isn’t actively trying to stop them,” said Jenkins.

Imagine if Apple had this type of attitude. We’d all still be using comex’s JailbreakMe tool to unlock our devices’ potential with a single tap of the display. What has Apple gained by disabling these exploits? Less jailbreakers? I don’t think so.

While I don’t see Apple taking this stance anytime soon,  it’ll be interesting to see this approach does for Amazon’s tablet. The Kindle Fire has a dual-core processor, a sharp IPS display, and it starts at $199. Users can buy it and then tweak the OS to their liking. Interesting.

Would it hurt or help Apple to have this kind of attitude?

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  • cgraham

    I don’t think “no pun intended” is supposed to be used when you clearly went out of your way to make a pun.

    Also, do you really not think that Apple disabling jailbreak exploits reduces the number of people that jailbreak? Because that’s sort of the whole point.

    • Gabriel

      To all the sheep and robots with chips of free Market inthe empty skull that feel sorry for cracking an app and cannot stop feeling guilty only the final consumer is important because we put the money for a transnational like apple we feed the best is not you you hippies geeks tycoon wannabes. Go and cry somewhere else for your cracked app

      • ReanimationXP

        Are you high? What in the shit are you talking about? Whatever you’ve got I want some.

  • QuarterSwede

    The reason they close holes that jailbreakers find isn’t to stop jailbreaking, it’s to close a known security hole.

    • https://twitter.com/x_rus_x Vitaliy

      Okay, if it is web based jailbreak, I will agree with you, because malicious hackers can implement it so that they can steal your data, just by visiting a webpage, and unknowingly installing some trojan.

      However, when it comes to jailbreaks that require A LOT of user interaction, like using redsn0w, having to go through the painful process of getting to DFU mode, I disagree with you.

      • Captain Obvious

        Very Well Put….

    • hxclos

      Don’t forget Comex gave us a patch before Apple

  • Scaredy Shroom

    Isn’t it obvious? Apple wants to stop piracy.

    A large reason why Android has far less apps is because they are pirated so much, and with “rooting” being so freely allowed, it’s ridicuiously easy to pirate and steal apps. This hurts the developers.

    I for one am strongly against piracy, when you grow up and have a job, you know what it’s like to earn your wage. How would you like it if people just stole your hard work and there was no justice?

    I think apple is doing the right thing by stopping jailbreaking and helping developers bring us better apps

    • goofygreek

      I think that apple should allow a little for freedom to developers, that way they can implement their own types of security to try and stop pirates. Just like developers for windows desktop os apps. hackers have to go throw an arm and leg just to crack a app, and then it just gets patched right away, and it gets patched by the developer, not Microsoft. So this is what should be done for ios apps. Apple keeps trying to patch jailbreaking, but guess what, its obviously not working. If i were a developer, i would try and do as much as i could to stop people from downloading my app for free. Of course, i dont know much about how apps are written for ios, so i could just be completely off with my whole speech there.

      • goofygreek

        should say “a little MORE freedom” in the first line.

    • rick maahea

      you’re one of those huh? ones who don’t listen to reason…huh? yeah, if you had ever actually owned an iPhone, or iPod Touch, or iPad, and jailbroken you would know that pirating is the last thing MOST jailbreakers do. we just want freedom with out products, if I want to paint my car, I paint my car. If I want to tailor my shirt I taylor my shirt. If I want to create a unique theme for my iPhone, I do so. If the original seller of any of these products said I wasnt allowed to do so cough*SONY* cough. well, I wont buy their product, and anyone who does for the most part is either uneducated, or ignorant (not stupid, or dumb). but you don’t care, you’re going to argue with me anyway.

      • francomur99

        I’m with you rick maahea, I’m so happy to have a jailbreak iphone 4, unfortunately there is lot ignorance around , but the mentality is changing….I like to customize my phone and do simple things that with a normal iPhone wouldn’t be possible…The iPhone 4 is doing so well thanks to the jailbreak and the jailbreak community…and slowly people is getting the fact.

    • francomur99

      Please S.F.UP and leave jailbreak alone. Jailbreak is the best thing an iPhone customer can have. I know where are you coming from? Why Apple is doing the right thing by stopping jailbreaking? Jesus some people is mad!! Jailbreak is not piracy !!!!

  • Bill

    Apple fights jailbreaking because it opens the door to pirating (and in the iOS jailbreak world, there is a LOT of pirating — heck there is an underground app store dedicated to pirated apps). Having a secure OS is a prerequisite for attracting developers, striking content agreements with media, etc.

    If it was just about customizing your phone, I doubt Apple would care.

    • francomur99

      Jailbreaking is most of customizing your iPhone….I don’t care about get apps via piracy…what about little bit of common sense. I’m one of the 12% iphone’s customers that decided never to buy an iPhone without the possibility to do the jailbreak ! ..and this is statisticly proved…. and the this 12 % jailbreak community is getting bigger and bigger, stonger and stronger, because you can do with your phone what ever you like! It is your phone after all…..like when you buy a car…then if you want go 150 miles/hour into the city or use the car for a robbery you will get the the consequences.

  • SteveBallsucker

    one reason why I Jailbroke my iPad was to get free games..im not ashamed to admit it, that is one of the main reasons people “technically savvy” do it. Same with android, those that buy it are technically savvy and want it cause they can tweak it and do many “illegal” things that other companies like apple do not allow, that’s why android has security issues, even those that did not root their devices. Sure many will play the “I want choice card” or “i want to chance my theme” sure you do….and also add some apps without paying and all the good stuff..People just need to get the balls and admit it. Most of the android users i know at work, have so many games and apps that they didn’t even pay for.

    • omgoozles

      I would agree to a certain extent. I also pirate some apps, but I almost always BUY the game/app at a later date if I enjoy it and whatnot. I use it almost like a unlimited trial period. I’ll play with the app/game until I’ve decided if it’s worth my money. I only end up buying about 15% of what I download through Installous. The rest just gets deleted or never used again. So in my particular case, the whole piracy thing helps developers that make a great product and hurts developers making a lousy one!

      • SteveBallsucker

        I do almost the same, wish apple could do a refund within 24hrs like they do in taiwan.som apps specially new ones pay sites like this for good reviews, they also pay reviewers in the app store and friends and family add good reviews, is kind of easy getting 5 starts if you know or pay around 50 people. I know a few developers that do this as a way to increase their sales, event though their app is crap.

    • http://www.idownloadblog.com Jeff

      I know quite a few people that jailbreak and don’t pirate. You can’t group everyone in like that. Plenty of people do it for legitimate and honest reasons.

      • goofygreek

        Well you have to take the good and the bad together. it only takes one person to ruin it for the rest.. And in this case, its gonna be more than one person that pirates. Even i pirate some apps, but the really really good ones that have a lot of time spent to make them, i buy them. Thats why i bought a $10 app for editing websites on my ipad. Textastic. If it wasnt for installous, i would have never bought that app. Apple really needs to implement a return policy on the app store, that way i wouldnt have to worry about wasting $0.99 on a app. By now, i would have wasted a couple of hundred dollars with all the crap i have downloaded.

      • francomur99

        You’re right Jeff ….you’re right

  • http://www.immercify.wordpress.com Joey

    Not everyone wants to do that but you are right in saying that a lot of people do! Especially teens such as myself who don’t think they can get caught by doing such things. I don’t believe every one does but I have but I choose to stop as soon as I realized how much work Developers do when they create an app. Especially those who aren’t with a large company.

  • http://www.idownloadblog.com Cody

    I’m genuinely surprised that so many iDB readers have responded in favor of Apple’s anti-jailbreaking stance. That’s not a bad thing by any means, just different than what I expected.

    Lol, actually the pun wasn’t intended, hence the reason for the disclaimer. I actually went more out of my way to say “no pun intended” than anything else.

    And no, I don’t think that the fact that Apple patches exploits stops many people from jailbreaking — at least not compared to the amount of people that do it. There’s over 10 million jailbroken devices in the wild, and I don’t think that the iOS 4.3.4 and 4.3.5 updates stopped hundreds of thousands, or even thousands of people from hacking. If anything, it just postpones it.

    The security thing I can understand, in fact I almost made note of it in the article. If Apple just let vulnerabilities go, eventually they would fall into the wrong hands and there’d be consequences.

    The piracy theory is a toss up, because there are several ways to install cracked apps on your iDevice without jailbreaking. Google it. But I do admit that installing jailbreak apps like Installous make the process 100 times easier.

    Apple’s obviously doing something right, as the Android platform is much more vulnerable to malicious attacks and software than iOS — by a long shot. But I still think there could be a happy medium somewhere between Apple’s locked down approach and Android’s wide open platform.

    Interesting comments though! And thanks for reading!

    • SteveBallsucker

      one thing apples does and does well is make sure their developers get paid for their work, closing the jailbreaks is a way for apple to say to developers that they got them and want to ensure their apps are properly paid. Android on the other hand has a different approach that will leave many developers angry and helpless.

    • francomur99

      I disagree with Apple anti-Jailbreak philosophy….in 2012 there will be 15/ 20 % of iphone with jailbreak ….these people just want freedom.

  • http://www.smartreaderkidskk.com Jerry Chow

    I totally agree with Omgoozle, cause I did the same. There plenty of Apps in AppStore that are not worth USD$0.99. So, why not have unlimited time trial. If you like it, then buy it. My favorite Apps in AppStore is Plants vs Zombie both on iPhone and iPad version. One of many Apps that I took the trouble to pay.

  • http://www.tomfooleriestattoo.com krakit

    It’s all~~~ nothing but a chanllenge…

  • MALdito

    I disagree with Apple’s anti-jail breaking stance. If its my “(insert i-device name)”, then I should be able to modify it any way I’d like. Essentially, all I want to do is personalize it and to improve it to my liking.

    • XepptizZ

      From what i understand from todays ip’s and hardware is that nothing is owned anymore. We are basicly simply licensing everything. We are not allowed to modify any of the consoles like xbox, ps without consquence. Altering or duplicating software is illegal. We never own anything anymore, everything owned will eventually equate to losing money, mostly through taxes.

      • goofygreek

        Thats why ill be damned if i buy a car that i cant modify without the car company going, “Oh, you changed your light bulb your self, well im sorry but you voided your warranty.” Thats why i like VW/Audi. Their warranty specifically says that what ever part you modify, is the part that will not be covered by warranty. So if i add a cold air intake to my car, then the mass air flow sensor is no longer covered under warranty. Thats fine by me. I modified it, i take responsibility. Apple should just not care if people jailbreak, they jailbreak, they void warranty. But should only void warranty on the software, not hardware. Ofcourse this will never happen.

    • http://Windowssucks.com ElJobso

      Pirate apps you mean…grow a pair and admit it…

    • MALdito

      Its true, nothing we have is ‘actually’ ours anymore. But if I buy something from Apple, who the hell are they to tell me I cant customize it. I understand if people were taking the iOS, remodeling it and reselling it as their own but thats not the case here. People are just making something they like into something they can love through improvement. Apple stances is borderline ridiculous at times. Like back when they iPhone 4 came out, rather than admit that the antenna wasn’t (and still isn’t) working right, they told people: “Your holding it wrong”. WTF! Seriously?! If you buy an article of clothing and wear it in a different way then it was intended, then thats your preference of style, so can Levi’s come after you and tell you: “Your not wearing it right”? Come on! (Or in similar cases like the VW/Audi comment below) In life you need to recognize when to hold and when to fold but alot of plp would rather not waste their time and effort so they just give in. In the end, if I bought it then its mine, & whats mine is mine as a whole, peroid.

  • tomb198269

    Great post!

  • Kendall

    I disagree that Apple does anything different than Amazon in terns of stopping jailbreaking. Apple will and should try to close down things like web security holes, and some local ones too – but they do not go out of the way to break tethered jailbreaking.

    The proof that in fact Apple secretly supports jailbreaking is in the hiring of the guy who worked on a Jailbreak notification system to handle the official notification system Apple is using in iOS5. I have thought all along that Apple thinks of the Jailbreak community as a kind of secret lab, percolating interesting ideas and extensions for the platform – when then Apple will sometimes borrow or use to define new API’s.

    It’s great that now it looks like we have two interesting platforms to compete…

    • francomur99

      I agree with you Kendall I knew that Apple secretely is supporting Jailbreaking….Cydia does not exist but to Apple’s spin doctors under the table still a secret weapon.

  • EchoFox

    It would be fantastic if Apple’s attitude towards Jailbreaking was as relaxed as Amazon’s.

    Personally, I can _not_ use an iDevice that isn’t jailbroken as I rely heavily on “Lockdown Pro” to protect my personal data (Contacts, Phone, SMS, Social Apps, Cydia, emails, photos, even the Settings icon is password protected). I would also hate to use the iDevice without FolderEnhancer (all my icons are organized on 2 pages)

    I will definitely be pre-ordering the iPhone5, however, if i find that Apple has become even more aggressive in their fight against Jailbreaking, i will drop the whole iOS platform and switch to Android when Samsung’s S III is rolled out, and hope that a real alternative to the iPad is made available by the time the S III is released.

  • Polemicist

    Damn I thought that was the new iPhone… Damn. Apple better sue them as well…. :P

  • http://alilars.com Ali Lars

    Apple should fight cracking apps instead of fighting the jailbreak. Apple isn’t really focusing on providing more security for the apps.

  • Tonka

    Let’s see how long Amazon will let this ride before they start seeing their sales plummet. As many comments have stated already, it’s all about pirating! Those who say Jailbreaking doesn’t lead to pirating are in denial. Rooting and JB are both bad for business but good for consumers…why? Free stuff. That’s exactly why apple patches exploits, it hits the Apple and their developers in the wallet.

  • Sam

    iDevices are the best, because Jailbreaking is making them is the best!!!!

  • Sam

    I agree. Apple should fight with privacy or cracked apps.
    by the way, Apple likes to steal ideas from jailbreak hackers :)

  • Rick maahea

    To those who say Apple doesn’t fight jailbreaking- you will be shocked to know Apple has put in to do its very best to change the dcma law permitting jailbreaking. They do fight it. So yeah. Do some research before opening your cake eater. (sorry I am very ill and in a foul mood)

  • http://idownloadblog.com/ The iOS guy

    I hope apple gets this attitude