“Walled Gardens” is not a term all that many people will understand first up – My mother would probably hate the idea – None of her gardens have walls.
In this context however, I am talking about those little safe-havens online where everything “just works” and is in one place for us to play with what we like, or more likely than not pay for what we like.
Going into detail with Apple’s offering, you can see that it is all based around iTunes, which is the central component (or at least was until iCloud started growing). iTunes is that terrible piece of software that runs perfectly on your MacBook but will crash every few months on your Windows PC and delete your whole library, and it’s what iPhones, iPads and iPods all use to sync to a hardware device.
The store within iTunes, which is also available on all of these devices is sold as the best way you get all your entertainment easily to all your devices, allowing you to save credit card info so you can make purchases directly from your bank account, something that has been extended on with the introduction of Apple Pay. This more recently being paired with Apples Cloud storage solution – iCloud – has made it one of the leading walled gardens, with millions of people essentially stuck in this little Garden of Eden.
These Walled Garden’s however have their downsides, both for producers and consumers. Being such an influential platform means that many App Developers, Television Creators and Movie Makers need to be on these platforms to survive. This however does not work out for everyone, with some App Creators having to shut down because of things as ridiculous as the 30% profit split that Apple requires of all App’s in its store – Basing your business inside another business can have its downsides.
For the consumer, it’s always good to beware. We provide these companies, and as was highlighted by the iCloud Celebrity Nude Photo leak, our information is always in danger of being hacked and accessed. This is a concern that we often throw by the wayside, “It’ll be fine, why would they want my info anyway?”. The information these companies have, even if we don’t see it, can be vital in the use of marketing and selling us products, but could also be used to track us down, among other more sinister possibilities.
Overall, the message we should all be taking from this is to be careful what we share in this so-called safehavens.