Will the iPhone ever get sick?

On December 20, 2009

iPhonesMac enthusiasts usually hold the relatively virus-free environment on the Apple operating systems as proof of its superiority over Microsoft Windows.  While I agree with this, let’s give a little history lesson.

Microsoft won the war of the operating systems way back when in a very similar method to what Apple is now doing with the iPhone.  There are more apps available for the iPhone or iPod Touch than most other smartphones combined, and the same was true for Windows when it was on it’s way to becoming OS Champion of the World (in terms of number of users).

It boils down to philosophy.  Microsoft had an "open" environment in which anybody, with the right tools, could develop apps for their system.  Apple realized this and had a similar set-up for their iPhone.  The difference is that Microsoft neither charged a fee nor had an approval process for the distribution of applications.

By having their relatively "closed" system, it is far more difficult to develop a virus to infect it.  Plus, unlike a computer, a majority of people don’t keep their valuable data such as passwords and credit card numbers on their device … yet.

While there are those that complain about the unfair and seemingly arbitrary approval process for the App Store, it could simply be Apple doing their due diligence.  A virused iPhone would be bad for business.

(Yes, there have been viruses for iPhones, but those iPhones were jailbroken and Apple can’t be found liable.)

Eventually, someone may be able to sneak in a virus through an app, but the justice of Apple will then be swift and merciless and the reward may not be worth the risk.

What do you think?  Will someone eventually get a virus on a non-jailbroken iPhone?