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Centrelink “customers” love Apple?

By Chris Mordd Richards 26 August 2012 33

Apparently there is a huge demand among Centrelink benefit recipients for access to Centrelink from their Apple iPod Touch of iPad, since I got this in my email this morning:

You asked, we listened, the Express Plus iPhone app is now also available on your iPod touch (4th generation) or iPad for you to do your Centrelink business. It’s a simple, fast, mobile way to report your earnings, apply for advance payments and receive reminder messages. The Express Plus app is also currently in development for a range of other platforms to be ready later in the year. To find out more about Express Plus visit the human services website and select students.

Now personally I am on Austudy, and making do with a 6yr old Dell laptop running XP and a Nokia of almost the same age for my music/calendar/etc…. From what I have seen on campus at CIT Reid at least this seems pretty common for most students, certainly don’t seem to remember many toting around iPod Touch or iPads (apart from a couple of the teachers anyway).

Last I checked this isn’t exactly the most common accessory among the unemployed either, I am curious, where is the “huge demand” for access to centrelink services come from that enabling it on the most expensive Tablet / Music Player devices on the market is a priority – wouldn’t enabling in on Android to start with probably be a better time investment considering the average cost of an Android device (cheapest crappiest tablet starting from around $100) vs an Apple iPad (starting price around $500).

What do you think readers? Centrelink catching up with the 21st Century or a complete waste of time and money as usual? Personally I’m of the latter opinion, what a joke – make welfare access available through the most expensive devices on the market, way to go Centrelink!

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33 Responses to
Centrelink “customers” love Apple?
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Grail 3:45 pm 27 Aug 12

Mordd said :

Also developing on Android is in a lot cases simpler than iOS, not harder, despite the lies spread by people like Grail there is not a fragmentation issue and making it compatible with Andriod 2.x and 3.x and 4.x is quite simple for NEW apps and there are automated tools to assist in making this easy.

Which apps did you write on iOS and Android?

Marco Arment wrote Instapaper. He is not porting to Android due to fragmentation. Rovio made Angry Birds, and their take was that fragmentation was a significant problem. Ars Technical has articles about fragmentation and strategies Google is using to fight it. And then there’s this take: http://mobilephonedevelopment.com/porting-ios-to-android — hardware variety (many handsets will be running 1.x until they are destroyed) and Java performance are real issues.

Or check the second graphic on this page: http://mashable.com/2012/05/16/android-fragmentation-graphic.

Which one is easier to develop for? Probably the one you spend most time writing working apps on.

mossrocket 2:49 pm 27 Aug 12

c_c said :

This is a ridiculous post.

The app replicates some of the functions already available through the Centrelink online services website, available on any mobile device and on the hundreds of computers with high speed internet, provided free to you at the tax payer’s expense on campus and in public libraries.

You’re not being deprived of anything, so stop whinging.

The reason most app developers release for iOS first is because it’s the best platform to test a new app on. Less fragmentation, a more assured user experience. There’s also security issues, where Apple does have a stronger lead, hence many banking apps also came out first on iOS.

As for your 6yr old laptop, maybe you should do what Paul Keating suggested and get a job. Earn some cash and buy a new device, like the rest of us do. The folks I know with iPads and smart phones on campus all work, so they can afford those nice things, in addition to paying rent and so on.

Actually, C_C, or should I say Troll_troll, the best thing would be to make websites work on any device, instead of biased to one delivery channel or platform. Everyone is deprived of something because of these sort of wastes of Departmental funding – it’s the old adage of “If we don’t spend all this money before the end of the financial year we don’t get it next year” every department is guilty of it, and none stop and think that it’s tax payers money that could be wasted on far more deserving projects…

mossrocket 2:44 pm 27 Aug 12

I was once working at Centrelink and had the ‘girls in comms’ ask me to design an iphone/ipad app so that people in the NT who had their benefits held by the government and accessed via cards in designated shops would be able to check their balances…

I asked the pretty young things if they’d like me to include a function that showed how much of the users benefits were paying for their iphone/ipad plan, and if they were aware of the remote internet access program that was being rolled out by the Dept. in the NT, as most of the communities using these welfare cards had no internet connections…

p1 12:13 pm 27 Aug 12

The first iPhone came out January 2007. That is five and a half years ago. Such a phone might have been acquired for free from some apple fanboi who has upgraded four times since then.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 12:11 pm 27 Aug 12

Ugh typical. So many uninformed comments.

Listen, people may think apple peeps are bad, yet in the tech world there is literally nothing worse than a fandroid. Like someone else saids, it’s probably out of bitterness they keep getting a bad os. Even windows phone is better.
Android marketplace is a pig to design for and is understandable its going to take longer to be released. Why not release the apple one first so at least some can use it?

Chucklez_Norris 12:01 pm 27 Aug 12

cmdwedge said :

I receive the CCR and Family Tax Benefit, both of which come through Centrelink. And I own an iPhone and iPad, because my wife and I work and can afford them.

They are actually FAO Payments. Not Centrelink.

If anybody actually had a look at the Human services site this App has been made for students. Not job seekers, FTB recipients, the disabled or the elderly.

schmeah 11:36 am 27 Aug 12

threepaws said :

An ignorant and ridiculous post. I am a Centrelink customer because I receive the Child Care Rebate. To be crystal clear – I have a job, and I pay someone to look after my child. The Child Care Rebate is available to anyone who has a child in care because they are working, studying or training.

On behalf of hundreds of thousands of Centrelink customers, kindly mind your own business about what gadgets we own or how we choose to access our services.

Lissy said :

Hate to break it to you, but students are not the only people who access Centrelink. There are many families accessing child care benefits, family tax benefits etc. Centrelink are simply giving options to their clients, nothing wrong with that. Go back to your study.

How could we forget about the families who can earn the new working-class amounts while also accessing tax benefits A or B, baby bonuses, mat/pat leave and every other fiscal incentive to keep pumping out progeny.
Family tax policy in this country is a stinking turd.

c_c 11:18 am 27 Aug 12

Henry82 said :

c_c said :

It’s a free app, there is no licence fee paid to Apple.

The company still has to pay a fee to apple every year to put an app in the itunes store, whether or not the app is free.

c_c said :

Apple has no control over the app..

Yes they do, they can block any app for any reason they like.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_Store_%28iOS%29#App_approval_process

Apple also has the ability to remotely remove apps from peoples phones (they have done it in the past)

They can block (not control) malicious apps.
The annual SDK fee of $99 is about half what the Department would spend in less than a week to keep just one of the SES fleet vehicles on the road, and it benefit lot of people.

cmdwedge 11:14 am 27 Aug 12

threepaws said :

An ignorant and ridiculous post. I am a Centrelink customer because I receive the Child Care Rebate. To be crystal clear – I have a job, and I pay someone to look after my child. The Child Care Rebate is available to anyone who has a child in care because they are working, studying or training.

On behalf of hundreds of thousands of Centrelink customers, kindly mind your own business about what gadgets we own or how we choose to access our services.

Exactly what I was here to post. I receive the CCR and Family Tax Benefit, both of which come through Centrelink. And I own an iPhone and iPad, because my wife and I work and can afford them.

Myles Peterson 11:11 am 27 Aug 12

The joke is that people are spending their Centrelink money of overpriced electrical devices.

Is a bit of a worry. Maybe most are jailbroken.

Be a community service to run programs teaching the under-privileged how to access everything cheap/free with low budget hardware.

Don’t mind if those with money to burn pay the Apple tax, but pains me to think of anyone giving up essentials so they can be looted by a foreign company that doesn’t actually offer anything superior, or needs cash.

blueterrestra 10:29 am 27 Aug 12

gooterz said :

Any other platform you wouldnt have a licence fee for the software going to apple.

Someone is well informed. Apple takes a 30% cut of sales. The app is free. 30% of $0 is what Apple is getting. You do the math. The only fee they’re paying is a yearly subscription to the developer program, totalling ~ $100. It’s not the worst $100 a government has ever spent.

Henry82 said :

c_c said :

Apple has no control over the app..

Yes they do, they can block any app for any reason they like.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/App_Store_%28iOS%29#App_approval_process

Apple also has the ability to remotely remove apps from peoples phones (they have done it in the past)

Google also has this capability, and they too have used it.

http://www.securityweek.com/google-responds-remote-kill-remove-recent-swarm-malicious-android-apps

What’s your point?

watto23 9:15 am 27 Aug 12

c_c said :

gooterz said :

Any other platform you wouldnt have a licence fee for the software going to apple.
Apple is in complete control of the app.

It’s a free app, there is no licence fee paid to Apple.

Apple has no control over the app.

Google Play store and also the Microsoft store, also take cuts from apps sold. They all seem to charge $99 for a developer to access the store as well.

More similarities between the three than differences IMO.

Disclaimer: I’ve owned 2 android phones, an iPod and an iPad. I use both happily. I also want to point out I’m looking for a laptop right now and the only laptop with a screen resolution i need is a macbook pro. Not sure I’ll buy it based on the cost, but its the only option if i decide to value scrteen resolution over cost.

watto23 9:11 am 27 Aug 12

Deref said :

There is absolutely no excuse for these instrumentalities to be supporting any specific brand of IT or operating system. Another appalling example is the e-tax system. These applications can and should be developed to to be platform-agnostic. No excuses.

While you are right, its inherently easier to write and test apps for iOS than it is for android. Testing for android apps is horrendous. In theory the solution would be a mobile enabled website, but they can’t do everything an app does.

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