Between Vision Pro and the Walled Garden, Is Apple Too Greedy?

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The upcoming release of Apple's new Vision Pro augmented reality headset sparked a lively debate on a recent episode of the podcast This Week in Tech. Host Leo Laporte and guests Cory Doctorow, Alex Lindsey, and Iain Thomson covered numerous topics but kept circling back to Apple's walled garden approach versus open platforms.

The Vision Pro - Revolutionary or Underwhelming?

Speculative reactions to the Vision Pro headset were mixed. Laporte called it "Tim Cook's folly," while Lindsay said it's too early to judge what will essentially be a 20-year project. All agreed the $3,500 price tag is steep. Early reviews suggest that the weight may be an issue for comfort. When it comes to apps, some major developers like Netflix and YouTube are sitting this launch out.

The App Store Controversy

The conversation shifted to ongoing frustrations around Apple's tight control of the App Store. Doctorow argued Apple's 30% commission and restrictive policies are unfair to developers. Lindsay countered that the App Store provides users security, simplicity, and quality control.

Doctorow wants regulators to mandate more interoperability and competition. He believes users should have more choice to use third-party app stores or sideload apps. Thomson came down on Cory's side, calling the app store model monopolistic behavior that needs more regulation. Lindsay thinks most consumers prioritize convenience and don't care as much about alternate sources.

Open vs. Closed - Who Decides?

While the guests disagreed on approaches, all shared concerns about any single company having too much power over platforms and ecosystems. Doctorow argued that healthy competition and the ability to take your business elsewhere keep tech firms in check. Lindsay pointed out Apple has little incentive to change since most users accept the walled garden. Laporte pointed out Apple's ecosystem is closed on iOS but open on macOS, showing both models can work.

In the end, Laporte concluded thoughtfully that there are valid views on both sides of this complex issue. He knows that the discussion will undoubtedly expand on MacBreak Weekly, TWiT’s Apple-centric podcast. This topic continues to highlight how there are often good-faith arguments on both sides of big tech policy debates. 

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