iPhone Web Capabilities Built on 'Open Standards,' Apple Says

Lora Bentley

The UK's advertising authority yanked an iPhone TV ad from the air for misleading consumers, Guardian Unlimited reported Wednesday. The ad "overhyped" the phone's Web browsing capabilities. The Advertising Standards Authority pulled the ad after it received complaints from consumers that the iPhone does not support Flash or Java, but the ad indicates that "all the parts of the Internet are on the iPhone."


In its defense, Apple explained that the ad referred to Web site access, or availability, not to "every aspect of functionality," and pointed out that none of the sites used in the ad featured Flash or Java technology. But that wasn't enough for the authority, which determined the ad should not be broadcast again -- or at least not in its present form. (I presume including video of the ad in the Guardian article is fine because the article explains the iPhone's limitations, which the ad itself does not do.)


ZDNet UK blogger David Meyer says the authority's decision (to which he links) is "interesting reading," but he takes issue with Apple for using open source/open standards as a defense. He quotes the decision this way:

Apple said... proprietary languages or technologies, such as Flash or Java, were not open source and required a plug-in or individual download in order for content to appear within the specific browser, regardless of whether the access to a site was made from an iPhone or home computer. They said they could not ensure compatibility with every third party technology in the marketplace and, in order to create the best customer experience, had created their platform on open standards.

So basically, Meyer says, Apple won't work with technology in the iPhone that it can't control. So what if the user doesn't get the level of access promised. It's for his or her "own good." Needless to say, Meyer is perplexed. So am I.

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