Telegram, the popular instant messaging app for smartphones, could very well now get into a war of words with Apple. Founder and CEO of Telegram, Pavel Durov has had some strong words for Apple and the iOS platform for the iPhone, in his latest post on his official Telegram channel. He says that iOS feels like it is from the ‘middle ages’ and that owning an iPhone makes the user a ‘digital slave of Apple’. These strong words come as a New York Times report suggests that Apple will now store the data of its users in China on servers placed within China, and these will be servers run by a Chinese state-owned firm. Durov minces no words when he says “big tech companies often choose profits over freedoms”.
“It is sad, but not surprising: big tech companies often choose profits over freedoms,” writes Durov, before adding, “It’s no wonder that Apple’s totalitarian approach is so appreciated by the Communist Party of China, which – thanks to Apple – now has complete control over the apps and data of all its citizens who rely on iPhones.” He believes that Apple has a very efficient business model “which is based on selling overpriced, obsolete hardware to customers locked in their ecosystem”. It is not though how any privacy and user data measures link with the pricing of devices or the larger business model of a company to attract customers. Durov’s criticisms go on to say that he feels iOS is from the middle ages and that the iPhone’s 60Hz display cannot compete with the 120Hz displays that a lot of Android phones now have. Mind you, comparisons purely based on the spec sheet aren’t often able to give the complete picture.
Durov also says that Apple’s devices are clunky and have outdated hardware. That being said, the A14 Bionic chip in the Apple iPhone 12 line-up is by far and away the most powerful smartphone chip in the world, significantly faster than anything Qualcomm had to offer in their Snapdragon chip line, for Android phones. Durov also criticizes how Apple only lets users install apps from the App Store and that iPhone backups can only be done on the iCloud storage platform. It is important to note that Durov’s fairly long post was trying to highlight a NYT report which indicates that Apple is preparing to store the personal data of its Chinese customers on computer servers run by a state-owned Chinese firm. The report claims that Chinese state employees will manage these computers and servers and will have access to security keys to unlock user information, if they need to. Apple has refuted these claims.
Apple has responded with a statement that says it follows the laws in China and did everything needed to keep its users’ data safe. “In China, the law stipulates that iCloud data belonging to its nationals must remain in the country. We comply with the law, but we make no compromises on user security. We retain control of the encryption keys for our users’ data, and every new data center we build affords us the opportunity to use Apple’s most cutting-edge hardware and security technologies to protect those keys.” Says Apple in an official statement, reported by NYT. The statement also says, “In addition, we handle law enforcement requests in China through the appropriate legal process, just like we do everywhere else, and we regularly and transparently report the instances when we are compelled to provide user information. Apple makes it clear that it believes many assertions in this report are based on incomplete, outdated and inaccurate information.