Telegram’s Pavel Durov criticizes Apple for selling ‘overpriced, obsolete hardware’ from the ‘Middle Ages’

Apple and Telegram’s checkered history has seen the messaging app get booted off (and return) to the App Store. Telegram, like several other third parties, deems Apple’s policies and approach to be heavy-handed, which also resulted in an EU antitrust complaint last year. In his latest criticism, Telegram founder Pavel Durov stated on his public Telegram channel that Cupertino’s business model was based on selling overpriced, obsolete hardware, and that iPhone users were “digital slaves of Apple.” His strong-worded commentary comes in response to an NYT investigative report on Apple’s relationship with China.

A detailed report from The New York Times on Apple-China relations prompted a response from Telegram’s Pavel Durov, in which he criticized Apple and its iOS platform. On his public Telegram channel, the CEO noted that Apple was very efficient at pursuing its business model, which was based on selling “overpriced, obsolete hardware to customers locked in their ecosystem.”

Some Apple users might agree on the pricing part, but Cupertino’s custom silicon regularly makes waves in the industry, further complementing the user experience with under-the-hood optimizations, so they’re unlikely to agree with the obsolete part.

Pavel also took shots at iOS and the iPhone and said that testing his app on Apple’s platform felt like he’d been thrown back into the Middle Ages. While iOS is widely known to have better quality, more polished apps than Android, Pavel specifically called out 120Hz displays on modern Android phones (vs. 60Hz on the latest iPhones) that enable much smoother animations. Perhaps the upcoming iPhone 13 with its rumored 120Hz display would change his opinion.

What’s harder to change, however, is Cupertino’s strict stance and control over its App Store, which is also at center stage of the ongoing Epic vs. Apple antitrust trial. “Owning an iPhone makes you a digital slave of Apple,” says Pavel, noting that users have no other choice but to download apps from the App Store, with Apple’s iCloud being the only option for natively backing up data.

He also said that it was Apple’s “totalitarian” approach that the Chinese Communist Party appreciated, and which has now enabled the Chinese government to take complete control of apps and data of all its citizens using iPhones.