back to article iPhone: The OS with big aspirations

Apple is advertising for an Engineering Manager to take the iPhone OS onto new platforms and new hardware, extending the OS, and the Cupertino control that goes with it. With the iPad not yet out of the door, Apple is already looking at ways to extend the iPhone platform onto other hardware, as the advertisement spotted by …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blah Blah

    As if Apple computers dont have viruses, trojans et al!

    You are a fanboi !

    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: Blah Blah

      I urge you to find an example of one that is loose in the wild.

      You can't even download an application and run it without being warned that it's a potential security risk... even then you get warned if it tries to write over any system files (or even in certain system folders) and you need to enter your admin details.

      This is of course very unlike certain systems I could name which will happily overwrite their own files without warning.

    2. Jeremy Chappell

      iPhone not Mac OS X

      The iPhone OS doesn't. You can't infect (an unjailbroken) iPhone with effective malware (even if you can get it by the gatekeepers at the AppStore). Simply put any application quits when the "home" button is pushed, it gets a chance to save it's state and then that's it (it's more accurate to say the app is "killed", it doesn't get a choice) so it can't do anything "bad" unless it's running.

      The Mac has a more traditional *nix security model.

  2. GregC
    Thumb Down

    Speak for yourself...

    "Of course, those of us on the outside will sit feeling superior, 'cos we can run any application we like on our virus-ridden, Trojan-infected, malware-stuffed, _Windows based_ desktop computers."

    Fixed that for you. Those of us on Linux are just fine, thanks :)

  3. dave 81

    Jailbroken and rickrolled.

    No lessons to learn from that?

  4. JayB

    Way to shill for Apple

    "Of course, those of us on the outside will sit feeling superior, 'cos we can run any application we like on our virus-ridden, Trojan-infected, malware-stuffed, desktop computers"

    Wow, biggest "Shilling for Apple" since "Stephen Fry and the iPad".

    Look, not everyone wants to hand full on control of the family jewels to Apple. Just look at the level of puritanical dictatorship being demonstrated by the Jobsian State at the mo'.

    We don't all love Apple, we're not all New Media Luvvies, and we're not all running "virus-ridden, Trojan-infected, malware-stuffed" systems. Deal with it, move on and next time, try for a little objectivity.

    1. Anonymous Coward



      Sense of humour obviously removed (possibly as a result of being infected by the Winblows Trojan)

    2. Andrew Newstead

      All a matter of interpertation

      I thought he was being tounge in cheek (read sarcy).

      I don't understand why people get so het-up over this "App Store" issue really. It's just the same as any of the game machine manufacturers on the market, they all control their platforms in a similar (if not the same) way. And besides, this Apple control will only last until the EU decides that Apple is onto too much of a good thing and starts throwing it's weight around - something like it did over Microsoft and multimedia players and IE and so on.

      For the record my phone is a Nokia.

    3. jonathan keith


      Not just an adjective describing a ferrous element.

      1. garetht t


        My grandad used to stick ferrous down his trousers..

    4. Jeremy Chappell

      Missing the point...

      The point that's being made is that the iPhone OS does mean that malware cannot work on the platform, the downside is this control limits what users can do with the platform.

      What's interesting is Microsoft's new "Windows Phone 7 Series" has a similar security model to the iPhone/iPad. But I think maybe the implications of your phone getting infected are worse than your computer. Perhaps the tradeoff is better on a phone? Clearly Microsoft are persuaded, but I don't see this meaning the end to freedom on the desktop (well not yet anyway).

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    virus-ridden, Trojan-infected, malware-stuffed...

    No comment. See Icon.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sign me up.

    I think that's a great idea. A computer I spend zero time pissing about with, that will do web browsing, mail and some light work plus the odd game would be a big step up. It'd replace the old laptop I use for the same purpose that I still have to piss around with to keep updated.

    Lock in? Who cares for a device like that, so long as it does the basic stuff? I'll still have a 'proper' machine for everything else, where the pissing about time is a bit more justified.

    1. Jeremy Chappell

      Isn't this the iPad?

      Didn't you just describe the iPad? Actually I totally agree, I'd not want it on every system I use, but for something I use for web/mail/productivity it's perfect. I've not really gotten into gaming on the iPhone OS (I have an iPod Touch that was a gift) but with the bigger screen on the iPad it might be good.

    2. Captain Save-a-ho

      Also, supposed to describe Macs in general

      Isn't this the same fanboi drivel we've all had to hear since 1984? It's a computer that just works. I don't have to worry about crashing and stuff.

      It's all bollocks, every last bit of it. Do Mac users forget the days of extensions cocking up your Powerbook? Take off the rose-colored glasses for a sec and realize that plenty of non-Mac, non-Linux users NEVER have a problem with Windows crashing, or getting viruses. I'll tempt the Internet gods by stating I've been clean since the Chernobyl virus in 1999. It's possible and should be likely, if people weren't such sheep for using IE. Using Firefox, Opera, or Safari eliminates most of those threats anyway.

  7. Justin Pasher

    A hard sell

    Considering that Apple would never want to lose money on the hardware end of a system, it sound like a pretty hard sell to me.

    "You get the same hardware as a Mac Mini for $50 less ... and a lot less functionality"

    But then again, fanbois will be fanbois...

    1. Mark 65


      The Apple TV and Mac Mini would have to drop in price due to this crippling. One of the reasons I've never gotten an Apple TV is that it just doesn't seem capable enough for the money - I'm thinking it should be able to be a PVR with an Elgato USB stick inserted, otherwise something like the WD HDTV jobby is a better value for money prospect.

  8. benito darder oliver

    It's the end of the Mercedes comparison...

    Now we will be able to compare Windows vs Apple as an electric guitar vs "Guitar Hero"; the first one let's you play whatever you want whenever you want but of course you have to keep it tuned and sometimes it's possible that a string breaks; and.. well... every body knows "Guitar Hero".

    1. JeffShortland


      You're right there.. because anyone can pick up a guitar and have it work great for them, where as guitar hero, you need real talet to...

      wait, rewind, flip that.

      I hope you're not setting Wonderwall or Smoke on the water as the scope of effective guitar use..

  9. Jim Coleman
    Thumb Up

    Funnily enough...

    I've never had a virus, trojan or whatever on any of my Windows PCs, and I doubt I'm the only one.

    1. Jeremy Chappell
      Thumb Down

      You're sure, right?

      How do you know? The best viruses are invisible (if you don't know they are there, you won't remove them). Virus-free PCs are a lot rarer than you'd think, where do you think all the spam comes from? Unless the virus writer is "doing it wrong" you might never know.

      1. peter 5 Silver badge

        @You're sure right?

        Here, let me fix your comment:

        "But how do you know your [Mac/iPhone is virus free]? The best viruses are invisible (if you don't know they are there, you won't remove them). Virus-free [Mac/iPhones] are a lot rarer than you'd think, where do you think all the spam comes from? Unless the virus writer is "doing it wrong" you might never know."


        @see Boot on other foot.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Don't need no Palladium..

    As many others have noted, not all platforms are so vulnerable to trojans, virii, malware etc. Feel free to try and find an example of a self replicating virus that runs on *nix platforms..

    If Microsoft *really* wanted to get rid of virii and not, say, obtain complete control over what you have on your PC they would not have pushed for Palladium but instead re-redesigned Windows to be based on *nix..

    1. The Original Steve

      You forgot something...

      "As many others have noted, not all platforms are so vulnerable to trojans, virii, malware etc"

      Indeed. However you are also sacrificing usability for security. It's a 3 way trade off, security, usability and flexibilty.

      Mac: V. User friendly, reasonable security but below par flexibility

      Linux: Poor usability, Excellent security and the best flexibility

      Windows: Average on all 3

      Guess which one most people pick...?

      Is there a particular feature the latest release of Windows should include from a security standpoint? I'd love to hear it.

      Firewall, PatchGuard, UAC, ALSR, DEP, IE Protected Mode, Automatic updates etc...

      What more do you want? The answer is for every OS to be shipped with a bearded geek who lives in a basement smelling of piss to lock down root with a complex password, setup the system give the user a "user" account and periodically come back to install stuff they need without giving them the password.

      Yes - my point is that you are once again a bullshit spouting fanboi. FOSS has a fuck load of holes. Check out Firefox's history after v3, a recent shitload of suprisingly well reported Linux holes, OOo still flaky as hell etc.

      Think more of popularity and the user base than the technology fuckknuckle. A Vista or Win7 box, default config without a user is pretty hard to root as well as your fugly "X Server" running on your command line platform...

      It's people like you that tell users to stay on XP as it's easy to use rather than getting people to UNDERSTAND that no platform is secure and it's how you look after it. Once they get that - which I think most people would agree is the key to internet hygeine and security - then for most people without a uber-geek by their sides would look at a Mac or Windows as their first choices.

      "Spouting Linux is the best" and moving users over without getting them to understand how to use the tool in front of them is marginally improving security whilst dumbing down users ability to look after their system even more.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    ipad are for

    ... incontinent grannies.

  12. Bilgepipe
    Gates Horns


    What's the obsession with this "control" that Apple is supposed to be beating it's customers over the head with? Look at Jb's comment above - "hand full on control of the family jewels to Apple" /WTF/ are you talking about? Have a word with yourself, ffs. My iPod does everything I need it to, control or no control, I don't see what the fuss is about. Where are the paranoid articles about console makers "controlling" what their customers are allowed to do on their own devices?

    The Anti-Apple-tards need to find a new subject to harp on about, the current one is sounding tired.

    1. Atli
      Thumb Down

      Re: Obsession

      It's not the control, as such, that I object to. It is how they are using it. Have you seen how the stuff they have been doing lately? What sort of rules they have imposed on the App store?


      Apple is imposing their own - seemingly unstable - morality on everybody, banning random things that make no sense. Removing previously approved Apps from their store with no warning. Developers have spent enormous amounts of effort building apps, according to the rules as they are/were, only to have their work rendered useless because Apple's review staff has a mood-swing and decides to move the morality line.

      For example, why such strict bans on sexual content? Who exactly is it hurting so much that it justifies being outlawed? - If I want to watch sexual content on my iPhone/iPod/iWhatever, what business is it of theirs? Or anybodies, for that matter. (If it offends you DON'T WATCH IT! Leave the rest of us be.)

      They've got this irrational rule tightened so much you can't so much as sell Apps relating to a large number or perfectly innocent (by any standard) sports. Any sport that involves the participant wearing anything more revealing than a space-suit is now to "sexual" to be sold.

      Anyways, my point is; The point is not that Apple is controlling the Apps (everybody does that. Even the Firefox addons are controlled up to a point). It's *how* they are being controlled.

  13. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    Um, no

    I've got a Mac, but don't want an iPhone or AppleTV just because it's controlled by the mothership in Cupertino.

    I did consider buying them and jailbreaking them but then I realised the time and effort isn't worthwhile.

    1. Alex-TheManfromUncle


      30 seconds too long?

      Your loss :-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    iPhone OS?

    Wouldn't that be OS X?

    1. Jeremy Chappell


      Apple did at one time call the iPhone OS a "version of OS X", but they've stopped doing that (for quite a while). The iPhone OS has a very different security model to Mac OS X, so while they are similar their policies make them very different.

  15. Seanmon
    Thumb Down

    Two things.

    1) As already mentioned on the Apple-pr0n thread - no thanks to vendor lock in and controlled distribution channels and now even application censorship. Watch iPhony sales drop as android gets traction.

    2) The reason any jobsian products are considered virus free is that, until recently, they were such a tiny, tiny minority it simply wasn't worth it for the bad guys. This is now changing. I hope at least some people in Cupertino have stopped drawing pretty cases for long enough to think about this.

    If an iPose virus does happen, at present it's likely to be a doozy.

    1. Jeremy Chappell

      The mythic iPhone virus

      It is impossible for an iPhone to be infected with a virus in the classic sense of the word. The user can intentionally infect the OS, but the phone does give clear warnings that such actions are risky and might damage the phone. Other than that there aren't the attack vectors - the iPhone is a VERY closed system (this is the biggest reason there is no Flash support).

      It is clear looking at the iPhone OS that the "people in Cupertino" have been thinking about security long before they created the "pretty case".

      Now Microsoft too are using an "iPhone-like" security model with "Windows Phone 7 Series" and Android looks very out of step. The Android OS is the least shackled of the three, but is far more open to malware. I think the biggest worry must be the plugins in the browser (Flash) as the Dalvik system seems well thought out.

      Of course, someone else here might be able to explain if the Flash plugin for Android is really a problem, or indeed give more information about the Dalvik VM. - Anyone?

  16. petur
    Thumb Down

    iPhone OS? Sounds like a 2-man job

    Given the capability of this so called 'OS', I guess they needed a 3rd developer.... The platform is so inferior and flawed, revealing a high number of developers behind it would look really bad on those devs...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Are we ready?

    In the future I don't see why not, but I'm not quite sure we're there yet.

    Most things can already be done on the internet without needing the software on your own computer, and with cloud storage you don't need to keep data or burn DVDs. You just log on and it is there no matter where you are or what you use. Therefore why would you need anything more than a dumb terminal with no write access and only a bit of caching?

    Of course that dream isn't quite a reality because you can't get internet access everywhere, always and at a price you don't even notice. And therefore you still need a little of your own storage requirements for everyday use. Sure there are still software and games which you may need to install, but in the future will you need to? I think this would be a good step in the right direction. I just don't know if the infastructure or programmers are ready for it yet. However sometime in the near future they will be.

    What was it apple are creating that billion doller data centre for?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    @Speak for yourself

    "Those of us on Windows and aren't complete internet noobs are just fine, thanks :)"

    Fixed that for you GregC ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Internet noobs

      Er, if you're not an "internet noob" [sic] then what the hell are you doing on Windows?!

      1. sandman

        Mere child

        Perhaps because Linux didn't really exist when we first went on the net?

  19. Steve McPolin

    Control Freakery

    I can't run what I like on the computers fridge, furnace, guitar amp, printer,ipod [3rdgen] or engine control system. Other than the guitar amp, I don't really want to. My iPhone can run a whole bunch of apps I can grab for it. Would I like to write my own; yes, and one day when I have time to tinker, I'll sign up for the developer program so I can. No big deal.

    Its not like Apple is making you buy their kit; just a lot of whinging over nothing.

  20. John Navas

    Pretty silly

    "Of course, those of us on the outside will sit feeling superior, 'cos we can run any application we like on our virus-ridden, Trojan-infected, malware-stuffed, desktop computers."

    I assume that's intended as a joke or troll, but it's pretty lame even for El Reg -- there are lots of us running special applications we need on clean desktop (and notebook) computers.

    Of course if you don't know how to do that, If all you need is standard stuff, then there's nothing wrong with a computer like a microwave oven, with buttons for popcorn (email), beverages (surfing), Apples, etc.

    What's really funny is the naive notion that Apple (or Linux) is somehow immune to infection.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    It's not the control...

    ... It's the lack of multitasking that is the real killer. lits forgivable (just) on a phone, annoying on the iPad but a complete killer on anything bigger. Until Apple accept they were wrong and include decent multitasking in iPhone OS it will never be a relacement for a desktop OS

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's not meant to be!

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Jailbreak, or wait for OS 4.0

      There, that should work for you :-)

  22. Richard Vivash
    Thumb Up

    Horses for courses…

    I actually think it's a good idea.

    Not that I'd ever buy an iPad or a laptop loaded with the iPhone OS, but the more I see my parents struggle to accomplish the most basic tasks with their new Windows 7 laptop, the more I think something like this would be ideal for them. They had only just got used to XP (after 6 years!) so Windows 7 is a big ask for them.

    Their computer is always fully patched and running a fully up to date virus scanner, but every time I visit them I have to clean some form of malware from the machine. And it's not that they do anything more than surf the net and use email (and solitaire of course). It's just that if they have friends with a virus, they are simply not tech-savy enough to spot an email with a virus attached if it's from someone they know. And, to be honest, why should they need to know how to do that? The virus checker deals with that… right? Well… we all know that's not always true.

    Something that would let them surf, email, look at pictures and play a few card games, that is secure and not overly complicated would be a godsend not only to them, but also to me and my brother, who have to explain how to use Windows/clean malware on a weekly basis.

    I don't get this whole 'Apple Control blah blah' thing. It's a consumer device, not a desktop computer. I don't hear these people complain about the PS3 or XBOX not being open to any software they want to run. Sony, like Apple also make Laptops, so they do make computers and MS make an OS just like Apple does too (well, not exactly the same ;) ). So why so many complaints when Apple makes a consumer device that has a restricted feature set? Sony, Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, Nintendo etc. all make devices that could do more than the manufacturer 'allows' you to do. It's a consumer device, not a desktop/laptop computer. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

  23. Jay Jaffa
    Big Brother

    The browser is the application ...

    Let's not forget that controlling the installed applications is hardly an issue as most current and future useful apps are in the cloud - available via the browser.

    All of that fluff you can get in the appstore is probably available via the browser and, if not, HTML5 will undoubted provide an engine for it going forward.

    When was the last time I actually bought an app for my Windows laptop ?

    I haven't. I've download OpenOffice, Avast, Chrome and a few other tools and that's about it. Aside from initially being plagued by Norton and some other shite that PC World pre-load on my desktop I simply don't think about buying apps for Windows. Even though I'm a developer and know my way around most flavours of *nix & windows I can honestly say I''ve not been sure for a long time that my security on this Windows laptop hasn't been compromised by a rootkit or other- and I've grown to accept that fact. How fucked is that ...

  24. Dana W

    If they do.

    I love my Macbook Pro, and as for iPhone lock in? I don't care. It s a PHONE. I don't need it to run emulators on my phone, my Macbook Pro does that. My phone runs movies, does IRC, streams radio, balances my checkbook, has a GPS (3GS) "Even makes Calls". It does what I need a PHONE to do, and more. I can live if my iPhone does not let me run Nintendo Emulators, and three browsers.

    But my actual COMPUTER is another story. If this kind of crap creeps into the baseline Macbooks , Pros and Minis, then I'm back to Linux like a shot. i have the kind of reliability and control in Snow Leopard that Windows Seven people only dream about, but if they want to turn my computer into an app store gateway I'm gone. Relief is an Ubuntu disk away. "And my next machine will not bear luminous fruit. I'm too old to be in love with any one OS, but even the Apple lifers I know won't sit still for it, I've been asking them.

    The iPad and the iPhone OS are the answer for the relatives we all have who will open every attachment and link no matter how many times you tell them not to. Its time for a good web device for people who should not own an computer. But the iPad critics forget: the audience exists, but we are not the audience.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE:Control Freakery

    "I can't run what I like on the computers fridge, furnace, guitar amp, printer,ipod [3rdgen] or engine control system"

    But you can play any CD you like in your car CD player. I would argue computers are more like music players, and that software is the music.

    I would like to see Microsoft respond with a Windows 8 application store. This would be a place where approved, malware-free software could be purchased, and companies like Adobe and Firefox could link to the store rather than have their own installers (and updaters). There would be no rules, except the obvious, no software that replicates itself and causes damage to the user's PC, or key logs, scams users etc. Flash and Java would be allowed :)

    Yes it's a bit like repository the system Linux has had for the past 10 years, only with a credit card field :) Maybe they will, maybe they won't. Maybe we'll all be using web based software by that time anyway.

    1. Volker Hett

      Actualy, no!

      I have a couple CDs I can't play on my cars CD Player because it's not a pure music CD player but a data CD player which can't play certain copy protected CDs. I rippted the CDs to my iPod with iTunes and have that in the car :)

  26. JeffShortland

    Par for the course, just a lot more bitching..

    I don't really see why this has been such a big issue.. its ONE phone, ONE tablet, ONE OS... that's it..

    it's not like there are not hundreds, albeit thousands of alternatives (in some cases) for you to chose from. You don't have to buy the phone, or the pad, if the software doesn't suit your fancy.

    But, I don't get pissed that my PS3 wont play Wii Games, or that my Xbox360 play my PC installer disks.. I don't yell at people when a PAL disk doesn't play in my NSTC dvd player.. or when I can't put veg oil in my car to make it run.

    I'm pretty sure the same goes for most of you too, so why all the belly-aching?

    if you like the handset, buy it. If you don't like the apps, jail break. If you don't like the app store, don't use it. before a few years ago, nobody would have really cared if I told them that they couldn't install whatever facebook client on their Moto Razr or Sony flip phone of the day.

    After all, It's just a phone.

  27. Volker Hett
    Paris Hilton

    Apple is in the USA after all.

    The country where a girl in a bikini on a computer screen can be sexual harassment and when somebody loses his job over this, he might well find a court to grant him damages for his lost career because it is certainly the manufacturer who is at fault and not the user.

    For us in the old world this is not easy to understand, but think about the engravings on US cars mirrors.

    Paris, because nobody understand US morals better.

  28. Confuciousmobil

    Do the majority of people care?

    Not sure why people get so worked up about this.

    There are plenty of alternatives for those that want them - including Jailbreaking. Sometimes I wish Apple would spend more time stooping pirating and less time trying to stop Jailbreaking, but we can't have everything.

    Most people that own an iPhone don't care that it is a closed system, those that do either JB or buy something else.

    I own mainly Windows computers and used to own Windows phones - but I love my iPhone.

    You might prefer other devices / OSes but that's your choice. Lot's of people just want something that 'just works' and really couldn't care less if it's locked down or not.

    If we all thought the same it would be a sad world indeed.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    I do love a good flame war

    It never ceases to amaze me how het up people get about their favourite OS with just the slightest of provocations. What a bunch of kids!

    And just for the record, I use:

    Servers: Linux, Solaris, AIX, occassionally Windows Server

    Desktop: Windows (never had a virus and I use IE and Outlook all the time)

    Phone: HTC WinMo and Blackberry

    Occassionally I have cause to use a Mac. As far as I can tell, OSX is Linux with some of the end-user control taken away and just enough architecture changed to make it somewhat frustrating to a regular Linux admin, isn't it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OS X != Linux

      It's a FreeBSD/NetBSD/Nextstep derivative with a Mach kernel.

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge


      "As far as I can tell, OSX is Linux with some of the end-user control taken away and just enough architecture changed to make it somewhat frustrating to a regular Linux admin, isn't it?"

      That's only partly true. OSX is actually a variant of FreeBSD, and our previous Unix admin at work (who actually considered Linux a good attempt at Unix, but a bit of a toy) told me it is a brilliant copy of Unix, with a much better UI.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    RegisterFail: "Paramedics and Firefighters aren't exactly highly skilled jobs."

    You must be thinking of an Ambulance Technician because, in the UK at least, a Paramedic is actually a reasonably skilled job. You must have at least a degree in Paramedic Science or Paramedic Practice and they've changed the rules so that it is no longer possible to work your way up through the service. You have to study full time for a number of years. You may not class a BSc Honours degree as particularly skilled, but I think it's fair to say that anyone who can complete it can't really be described as 'stupid'.

    Remember that a Paramedic can inject you with potentially lethal drugs, something that the average Nurse or Ambulance Technician can't do. They often make these decisions in very stressful, fast paced environments (i.e. RTAs on motorways). I want the guy doing that to be highly trained and highly skilled!

    I think you're clouding the issue with talk of 419ers and free porn, that wasn't mentioned. The fact is that you or I may well spot a dubious looking email, but if a 65 year old woman* receives an email from someone SHE KNOWS that simply reads "Is this you in these pics?" and a link, she may well click it. We might spot that it's likely the person who sent it has malware of some sort, but she will think it's a genuine email from a friend. It doesn't make them stupid, it simply means that each time they learn how to avoid the latest malware, the virus writers create new 'social engineering' ways of fooling them.

    *I only say woman as my mother has done exactly this!

  31. Giles Jones Gold badge


    There's plenty of games on the iPhone now. So why not make a games section for the Apple TV, bring out a USB controller (wireless hopefully).

    It would be a damn sight more useful then.

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