This is my first blog. I never really caught on to the blogging wave when it first started, this is my attempt to remedy that — if I can 🙂 In my first attempt to join the zeitgeist, I will talk about smartphones, a topic I am passionate about.

Like my belated entry to the world of blogging, I am a relative new-comer to the world of smartphones. For years, I subscribed to this opinion 🙂 A couple of months ago, or thereabouts, I decided to see what all the hype was about and bought my first iPhone — I have never looked back.

The iPhone is amazing, I have always been a heavy Internet user, but getting the iPhone has probably pushed me into the realm of Internet addiction 🙂 It is just an amazing tool to own. In addition to being my cell phone, it also allows me to read books (I am an avid reader), listen to music, match movies, get cinema viewing tips, browse the net, check my email  — and so much more.

I have always been a fan of the Unix culture, and I was very happy to know that iOS is based on Apple’s variant of Unix. Although I really love my iPhone, I do have a couple of issues with the Apple ecosystem. I understand the need for a curated App store, but sometimes Apple’s censorship seems too excessive.

I am also baffled by the geographical restrictions placed on some products in the App store and on iTunes. I live in Egypt, and I feel a bit resentful that I am not allowed to buy music or books from iTunes. Recently, I discovered a new band through twitter and wanted to download their EP — no luck. iTunes will not allow me to buy this product from Egypt.

To be completely honest, this is not solely an iTunes issue — I cannot download the music from Amazon either. Its a bit frustrating and could drive some customers (for the record, not me:)) who want to buy these products legitimately into the arms of illegal P2P downloaders.

There are some restrictions that are purely Apple though. For example, the selective restrictions on adult material in the App store is very weird — as far as I recall, Swimsuit Illustrated and Playboy still have apps in the store while less graphic content has been allegedly removed. Apple should be a bit more consistent, either ban all such apps or leave them all in the store — my personal preference would be to remove all such content from the store (there are too many minors with access to iPhones). Alternatively, they could have a category with adult rated material (ala the MPAA rating system) and allow parental control on all devices that access the App store in order to restrict access to age inappropriate material.

Apple even, infamously, banned a Pulitzer prize-winning cartoonist before reconsidering its decision. Even this level of censorship did not prevent malicious apps from entering the store. It gives the impression that Apple does not respect its customers enough to allow them to make their own decisions about what they can or cannot do with their iPhones (and other Apple products that use the app store).

That being said, I still love my iPhone. I have looked into Blackberrys and Android phones, but I did not find one that fits my needs and tastes to the extent that the iPhone does. I just hope that the latest flap over the Blackberry does not put a damper on the smartphone market in the Middle East.

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