Remember that groundbreaking Apple Super Bowl ad from 1984? The one where the woman throws a hammer at Big Brother, signifying a new era of freedom that would be ushered in with Macintosh? My, how times have changed. Here we are more than 25 years later and the despotic, all-knowing face up there on that giant screen now belongs to Steve Jobs—and Big Brother Steve is holding an iPad.
Six months ago, I warned of the dystopian future that could be kicked off by the then rumored Apple tablet, and now my biggest fears are being realized. Please don't underestimate the gravity of the situation. The unveiling of the Apple iPad could be the opening phase in a transition that could change the face of personal computing as we know it.
Now, before I go any further, let me say this: After my last post about the Apple tablet, I was accused of being a Windows sympathizer who'd never used a Mac. Some even suggested that I was on Microsoft's payroll. In reality, I'm a fairly die-hard Mac fan. In my opinion, no one makes a better computer or operating system. I love Macintosh—I just don't love Apple.
My problem with the iPad isn't the lack of a camera, OLED screen or Flash (although that kind of sucks). It isn't even the terrible name—hey, we eventually warmed up to "Wii," didn't we? No, it's the fact that Apple is using the iPad to push its locked-down, heavily restrictive iPhone OS. Ask yourself why the iPad isn't running OS X. Yes, performance is certainly a factor. After all, it's easier to say you're faster and better than a netbook when you only allow the user to perform one task at a time. But the real reason is that OS X is too open. You can download and install any program you want. You can watch TV shows and movies from a variety or sources. You can purchase and listen to music however you prefer. Heck, you can poke around a file system. But you can't do any of this on the iPhone OS, and thus the iPad.
You can do on the iPad only what Apple allows. And if you are allowed to do something, you have to go through iTunes or MobileMe to do it. Apple makes a nice chunk of change on everything you do, but more importantly it gets to play gatekeeper. In OS X, Apple can't block you from using apps it doesn't like or competes with. But it famously blocks you from doing so on the iPhone and now presumably on the iPad, which is connected to the same App Store. How long before it blocks movies, TV shows, songs, books and even web sites? Scoff now, but don't be so naïve as to believe that this isn't possible.
So, the iPhone OS has made the leap onto a device that is much more computer-like. You're no longer just using it to communicate or be entertained—you're now using it to write documents, prepare presentations and do other tasks traditionally performed on a computer. And this is where things get dangerous. The iPad is not a personal computer in the sense that we currently understand. Once we replace the personal computer with a closed-platform device such as the iPad, we replace freedom, choice and the free market with oppression, censorship and monopoly. Imagine what life would be like if your personal computer functioned like the iPhone. You'd have to buy all your programs through Apple, and if Apple didn't want you using something like, say, Google Voice, Abobe Flash or Microsoft Word, then you'd be out of luck. Oh, and multitasking would be a thing of the past. Sounds great, doesn't it?
I'm scared that Apple is grooming iPhone OS as the eventual successor to OS X, at least for the significant portion of Apple customers who use their machines for basic tasks like Web surfing, email and the like. I think it would make the swap today if it thought it could get away with it. Instead, though, Apple is cleverly getting us trained on its closed platform little by little. First on the phone, then on our personal media players and now on a tablet.
App Store proponents will proffer certain rebuttals, sure, and some of them are not without their merits--like the fact that software developers are more likely to be compensated for their work in the App Store than in the freeware-heavy OS X software market, or that a more casual computing device designed like the iPad is served just fine by the App Store's needs and would be overly complex running OS X. But it's hard to argue with the merits of an open system vs. one that's closed, especially when the Web is involved.
I like being right as much as the next guy, but I don't want to be right about this. Twenty years from now, I don't want to look back and say, "I told you so." I don't want to bore children with wild tales of the old days when we had things like file systems and we could run two programs at once. So let's be careful with the iPad. Don't trash your laptops for one just yet.
my solution: kill Steve Jobs, he's a jerk anyway
^Agreed^ Anything by apple sucks unless you are just getting it for something to use for a little bit, like my iPod touch. The OS is clean unlike windows but not nearly as open, and Windows isn't even very open. Then again I just don't like apple very much because everything is insanely overpriced.
There are a couple of interesting points you might not have thought of.
First, this was tried before. Windows Mobile phones were created eons ago, featured multitasking, and deliberately copied the Windows interface so it would be familiar to consumers.
If you had one, you would be perfectly free to install any application you wish.
Well, maybe not. I tried one of them, expecting to be at least somewhat interested. It was absolutely terrible; it was hard to even figure out how to make a phone call.
Clearly, then, Apple's idea that a phone deserved a different style operating system than a computer has been vindicated. It does. Apple deserves credit to have thought of this far more deeply than most companies, and coming up with something so brilliant it became the software gold standard in its category overnight.
Second, look at your PC and the software you use on it day to day. Odds are pretty good that most of it was created by the creator of the operating system you are using. For example, I own a beautiful new quad-core iMac. Right now, I am running Safari, Mail, Pages, Numbers, Terminal, FireFox, TextMate, Emacs, Photoshop and Final Cut Studio. Seven applications from Apple, four from third parties. I'm using Ruby and Ruby on Rails on the Terminal windows, and interestingly enough that is included in the OS by Apple, and most Rails developers turn out to be Apple fans. So even my open source software has an association with Apple. Curious! And I'm not even working on iPhone application development, as I usually am, which would skew the distribution even more towards Apple.
When I worked in a small corporation and had to use Windows, my Windows machine was running Internet Explorer, Outlook, Word and Excel! So much for rebellion against the Redmond juggernaut! (Of course my Linux box was running emacs and that was what I did all my writing on, but I digress. And you can think of emacs as software produced by the manufacturer of the OS, after all! Sorry, lame open source joke).
I'll bet that if you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, there is probably more software on it from small independent companies than there is on your computer. Photoshop on your computer, Brushes on your iPhone (and soon to be iPad). Clearly, despite all the gripes, the iPhone marketplace is thriving, and a very impressive place it is.
There are reasons, really good reasons, for the software walled garden on iPhone. I had a friend in the Philippines with a then state of the art Nokia 6600 phone. Pretty cool device, even if it had so many fiddly buttons I had a hard time remembering how to use it. It got a virus that started spitting out thousands of XXX-rated MMS messages to her friends. Fortunately, most of them didn't have her kind of phone and so were just baffled instead of infected! I was able to eradicate it for her but not before she incurred a $300 phone bill in a country where $100 a month is a living wage. And her phone company doesn't write off those bills like US phone companies generally do. She was stuck with the bill.
If you could imagine a program that called 900 numbers at random, which would be easy to write on any multi-tasking operating system that didn't have some form of prerelease code checking, you can understand why iPhone OS is designed as it is.
Apple has no problem with adding arbitrary videos to iTunes and having them sent over to your iPhone or iPad. Heck, Apple even approved the Kindle app for iPhone, and I'm sure there will be a very nice one coming up for iPad. Apple just wants to sell the device, and make sure it's safe from evil software that would run up your connectivity bills.
You can visit any web site you want on the iPhone and I see no way in the world Apple would ever change this, for iPad or anything else. If they did, I would be the first person to sound the alarm and quit using Apple products entirely. But they won't.
Finally, don't give up hope for multitasking. Despite the major changes in the iPad's operating system from iPhone's, it's considered version 3.2 as opposed to the previous version, 3.1. 4.0 is coming, and clearly signals some kind of radical change, or they would have called what they have now 4.0. I'm betting some kind of really smooth solution to the multi-tasking problem. So have a little patience and I'm sure you will be rewarded.
Of course Apple is not perfect. And it will be a cold day in the nether regions when Richard M Stallman ever uses an Apple product, even though his emacs is included deep in the bowls of every copy of MacOS X! But I think you are way overreacting to the actual way iPad is going to be used. So far iPhone has been an awful free environment for something that's so criticised as heavily censored. You really can't argue with 140,000 applications, many of them awful, many of them brilliant.
sums up what you're saying
I agree. If apple wants to put so many limits on a piece of technology that's suppose to be cutting edge then maybe they should go market their products someplace where this type of thing is widely accepted by the people, like in China. NO MORE LIMITS
I read what you wrote before, and I knew you would be right. The iPad is exactly what I pictured, only less. Everyting about it screams revenue stream.
Tablets have been around for so long, and everyone of them does more than this. Of course, the Macheads will respond by giant rationalizations, like the one posted above. Trying to convince themselves and each other of their superiority over the common man. I'm special, your not, because I own a Mac. That is why those duffus commercials were right on. They hit the sweet spot in the true Mac lover.
You're not better then me because you own a Mac. You're just a damn fool.
About the only thing that I see that's closed on the new iPad is the case. Who cares if Apple requires approval before your app is allowed into the app store. As a tech support person I spend a lot of time uninstalling poorly designed apps. Most of the users I support completely expect that anything they can install is problem free and safe to install. Most of them don't even make the distinction of open or closed.
So the best case scenario from a support perspective is that all users operate their computers within a closed or carefully managed environment.
I, on the other hand couldn't do the work I do without open systems. And to do that we fortunately have many choices, even some made by Apple. That won't change.
Read the book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair". Do we really need to understand the machines we use?
if i got one it would be my secondary com,,,, no free music or movies nothing,,,,sure you should pay for stuff butt i can't afford all i want , so that means only the rich get to buy music cds and dvds.. and the poor get screwed...yeh a cd is 11 bucks and a dvd is 30 bucks but i want more than i can afford .. come on if they sold cds and dvds for what they are worth you know a piece of plastic and a micro thin piece "o" aluminum we wood all buy yay greed !!!!!!!!!!!
The prophecy is being fulfilled! Steve jobs died and was replaced by a Chinese clone on a mission to conquer America and subject us to authoritarianism.
I wish it had handwriting ink recognition like the tablets.
No, but I read, "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance"
I hate the fact that they are forcing you to use it their way. If it was truly an immersing browsing experience we would be able to experience it all.
At least give me the option to install flash at my own disclaimer. Give me the ability to install ANY software I deem necessary I paid for it. I was going to buy this, but now I will wait to see if they will come to their senses.
Just another toy..........
I would have thought mac would have learned this lesson before. I mean didn't this idea almost kill there company before?
well either what learn here or their sells will drop again and another open system. if anythig open soruce ox's like lenix will be there to take its place.
i like it because the operating system is clean and the device is priced to sell at just above what the original iPhone sold for when it debuted. sometimes multitasking is not so good because it creates those annoying bottlenecks of data which actually increases the time it takes to do the simplest of things. so, i have no problem doing one thing at a time (fast & well), because it seems to be more efficient in the long run.
i also love the extremely open architecture of windows systems and i have my trusty net book on hand to do whatever i need to do online with g3 capability on wireless networks.
i really don't mind coughing up 600 bucks for the ipad and i love the name.
HP slate. that is all.
I think it's great, myself.
Now my next Mac laptop will be much less expensive.
It's gonna sink like a stone.
Plain and simple? Ignoring the hypno-hype?
Who needs an iPhone that weighs a couple of pounds?
Now that the Jesus Tablet has been crucified, we'll have to wait for it's resurection as iPad 2.0 Maybe that one will let us talk and surf like the AT&T commercials brag about.
Of course, you can now, you just need an iPhone and an iPad. Hey wait, isn't that what the commercial makes fun of?
If it had a webcam, they could have called it the iBall. And guess what everyone would have called its use for cybersex...
that's exactly what i was thinking, scew apple and it's overpriced oversized iphone. just get the slate
I've been thinking just this for a long time now.
Everyone on Marquette's campus has atleast one mac product. I even have an itouch and macbook pro.
I don't want them to take over like they are. I want other companies to be better to give mac competition so they will continue to give me great products that they will make me think i need.
But at the same time, mac does things right. PC, not so much. You can't blame people for switching over.
Don't worry, javor jav, out here in the real world, we all have PC's.
It sounds to me that everyone here doesn't realize that it is a free market and if you don't like the i tampon you just buy someone else's tablet.
It doesn't have to be this way, even with a phone OS. For example, Palm has only provided encouragement for people distributing patches and homebrew apps for WebOS phones. You can go through their app catalog but you don't have to. Oh, and multitasking is there. (Android is fairly open too, but there's a different hazard there, since it pushes you to make all your personal information available to Google for purposes of serving you personalized advertising.)
We'll probably have a wave of new tablet devices over the next year or two if you don't feel like getting locked into the iTunes system. I'm certainly going to wait.
I can't say that it is 100% true but where windows is the big PC giant that mac has always been there to fight, no one is fighting apple of it's monopoly over music and video...
This is based on hearsay of course. The person that told me this claimed that apple either owned or had large share in RIAA. Top that off most music rights are owned through some sort of licensing program that apple supposedly owns. All your music are belong to us is what the person was getting across.
If that is true why is anyone surprised that any business eventually does what makes them financially more capable.
OK so skip the hearsay sort of stuff. Think of the Iphone operating system as a video game console. Apple is following the same business model that game system makers have started. Make a system, make it affordable, then collect your losses on the sale price through the sales of software and updates. Why do you think games are 40-60$. Sony/XBOX, and Nintendo all reduced the units sale price and added some arbitrary recoup fee to all software sold. The only real difference is that I don't think Apple has actually made the product more affordable on the front and are collecting on the backside as well.
The only reason I think apple is doing this whole 'closed' system and iphone OS thing is because of their customer base. Their original customer base is simple non-tech savvy person who wants a simple music player/computer/phone with minimal knowledge to operate but maximum rewards. Their products are intended to be as user friendly and ergonomic(emotionally and physically) as possible.
That is what the iPad is, a simple addition to their simple customer base. It's more practical to watch movies on, surf the (non flash) web, and probably read ebooks even though it doesn't have e-ink.
Everyone that's upset at it is not the intended customer base, it's just the ppl that kind of got on the bandwagon and liked it. Those people see the real potential of their technology and don't see it realized. Frankly I think Apple is the successful ginny pigs of computer technology. They come out with something awesome but absurdly limited, and other companies jump on those opportunities(i.e. droid phones, hp slate, windows 7, etc).
Correct me if wrong.
The guru's and the savvy multi-taskers do not want the iPad. So don't buy it. Duh. And, If you desperately wanted the device to do more then it's supposed to, apple has always allowed us to hack their devices. Yes, allowed. Have you tried to copy Disney's "Up" lately?
The iPad is specifically for the average person that doesn't want to guess if they made the right decision on their new computer purchase. The iPad is for the user that won't understand how 10 applications are running but they can only see one of them. The iPad is brilliant and absolutely perfect in its intention to bring a simple and beautiful interface to people that don't know how or even want to learn a more complicated OS.
I believe most computer professionals take their abilities for granted. There is still a lot of ignorance and fear surrounding modern technology. The iPad clearly bridges a gap that need not exist.
My own mother still sees the internet as an intimidating concept that she shy's away from. I believe that is because up until now, computers have lacked the "out of the box" interface that she NEEDS. Sure, I could hold her hand, help her purchase, install a mom/kid friendly interface...But that is the entire point of the iPad. And let's not forget the ISP. She has no clue what a wifi router is, let alone how to pick out what speed she will need from the modem. She can do it all without me. The iPad will offer everything right out of the box. And I imagine when she turns the device on for the first time, it will greet her, and make her so happy to be viewing the content all of us take for granted. You cannot imagine the kind of self-esteem boost and confidence-giving experience this will be for her. Thank you apple.
As a teacher, I understand this device is perfect to help begin a learning experience for a person that would otherwise never pursue the benefits of modern technology.
They're free to market it, whether it fails or flies. If you don't like one, don't get one. If you fear M$ copying the closed system architecture, install Linux.
Used Tablet Notebook: 3-400$ (eBay)
The look on your mac loving friend's face when your open source tablet smokes the iPad in every performance test:
Some operating systems cost money, for everything else, there's Linux.
sean. they don't 'allow' their stuff to be hacked. Everything is hackable, and apple at first was a pain in the ass to hack.
The first kid that did it, received a job offer, 2? more iphones, and a 350Z (yes a car) from a 3rd party company.
Apple is in a really tough spot here folks. They could not come out with the Mac OS on the tablet, and make it great, and sell it for $400 bucks. Because if they did, everyone would stop buying their laptops and workstations. Really. A full Mac, with a docking station for chump change!! Who would buy another Mac?
The tablet segment could not stand a $1500 entry, so they were forced to dumb it down to protect their margins. They have to make you buy a tablet AND a Mac, or they go broke.
Do the math, it means that it can NEVER function as a Mac in any way, v2 or v3. It will never be great. It can't be.