Flood of new gadgets threatens iPhone, iPad

More than one Mac myth has gone by the wayside; credibility in IT might be the next.

As bugs and virii go, one that causes iPhone users to wake up late is pretty small potatoes.

Especially when the victims are Europeans and iPhone users (though I'm not one of those bigots who thinks iPhonies deserve punishment for preferring toylike design, a childproofed computing environment and core components that don't work even when used properly).

Malware aimed at Apple products punctures some of the self-righteousness of fanboys who slam Windows as buggy and insecure.

It also contradicts one of the most explicit and energetically pursued bits of corporate propaganda in the IT business (note that Apple claims "OS X doesn't get PC viruses," which is true only because Apple insists its machines are somehow now Personal Computers, despite fulfilling all the criteria in both use and design).

Silly Euro-viruses do serve as a reminder that Macs are not, in fact, immune to malware. Macs avoided most malware because they were irrelevant to baddies more interested in raw numbers of infectable PCs, not the questionably unique attributes of any individual brand.

I'm not defending Windows as a secure platform, by the way. There's plenty of evidence and opinion to contradict that as well.

I'm just saying Macs are vulnerable to both malware and cost-cutting in a market in which thin budgets force corporate IT to standardize to cut costs, especially support costs.

Until the iPhone relaunched Apple as a mainstream player in the PC market and the leader in smartphones, Apple marginalized the non-Mac computer business as "the other 95 percent" even when its market share dipped low enough to make it more like "the other 97 percent."

Now the hipsterish shoe is on the other foot; iPhone is the shiznet among smartphones, Apple dominates what there is of a tablet market, and is actually into double digits in market share in PCs as well.

But you may have heard, tablets are the coming thing. And there is the occasionalcompetitor for that market, though some seem unlikely and others are oddly multifarious.

Despite the competition, most predictors figure Apple will stay way out in front, at least in tablets, helped, no doubt, by the iPad's shiny new OS and, more importantly, inertia.

Eventually, given the added complexity of supporting one more OS and the volume of competition for both sizes of iThing, there's a very good chance Apple will find itself shut out of the enterprise, swamped by competition from, basically, every electronics manufacturer in the world, and sink back to the point that Mac users can rely on security through obscurity again.

Which will cut IT support costs, make standardization simpler, and maybe return Apple platforms to a state of obscure security and all those European iPhonies will be able to get to work on time.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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