This is not a good thing. If an Apple tablet is ever actually released, we should all be very concerned for the future of what most of us take for granted today: our digital freedom.
The Apple tablet will likely sit somewhere in between the iPhone and a Mac laptop. But it won't just blur the line between them—-it will attempt to erase it. This should scare you because it will be the biggest leap yet towards the notion of a completely closed "desktop" operating system.
Much of the iPhone's success is due to the fact that it's the first smartphone in history that feels like using a real computer. But, think for a minute how different it still is from a desktop or notebook. On a Mac computer, you've got a filesystem you can access and monkey around with. You can download any program you wish (from wherever you wish) and install it. You can open up the box and customize the hardware. You can run Windows or Linux on it if you were so inclined. The iPhone, on the other hand, is by design like living under Dad's roof--convenient, but restrictive. Without some serious rule breaking, you're only allowed to do the things Dad says are OK to do. Want to download a cool program? Ask Dad. Want access to the files in that 32GB of storage? Sorry, but Dad says no. Want to do the whole 'Manually Managed Music' thing on more than one computer (like every iPod ever made)? Dad took away that privilege, and as he is wont to do, he won't tell you why: "They are different devices that behave differently," is Apple's response. Thanks.
Now, imagine what life would be like if your laptop or desktop was subject to the same draconian rule. If Apple decided it didn't want you using Flash anymore, it would take it away and there'd be no way short of potentially breaking the law for you to ever get it back. If you wanted to download a useful new program (Google Voice, perhaps?) you'd have no choice but to go through the App Store to get it, hoping with fingers crossed that Apple had allowed it to exist—though, experience would tell you otherwise. If you wanted to move files from your computer to another device or just to another folder, you'd need a paid MobileMe account. And, any freedoms you do have today could just as easily be gone with tomorrow's software update.
Like with most of the iPhone's failings, we can probably thank AT&T for its Orwellian lockdown. So far we've been somewhat forgiving of the restrictions put on the iPhone because, well, that's how cell phones and cell phone providers have always done it. AT&T spends millions maintaining its 3G data network, and to protect it, any devices that access it have to play by AT&T's rules.
There's a very strong indication that the Apple tablet will be sold with a mobile data connection at a subsidized cost, like many netbooks are today. This is where rumors of the device get especially worrisome. Hobbling a phone is one thing, but imagine our closed PC scenario now with AT&T (or Verizon, as many of the rumors indicate) telling you what you can and cannot do with it—-like an overbearing Mom to Apple's despotic Dad. The thought alone makes me shudder.
As oppressive as Apple has been thus far with the iPhone, its crimes pale in comparison to what AT&T has disallowed. Yes, tethering and MMS are the obvious ones that come to mind, but AT&T has also blocked things like 3G video streaming via the Sling Media app and 3G voice calls via the Skype app. What would AT&T square up in its crosshairs if it held sway over your desktop experience? Video chat? Hulu? Fonts it doesn't particularly care for? Yikes.
Apple defends the iPhone's many restrictions by calling the platform a "walled garden." It keeps the OS on lockdown to protect and make things easier for us. It's one of Apple's core design philosophies--simplicity equals usability. And yet, out of the other side of its mouth, it expounds the virus- and problem-repellent virtues of the far-less-restrictive desktop flavor of OS X.
And let's not forget--keeping the iPhone closed and under control protects two of Apple's major money-makers--the iTunes Music and App stores--in a warm blanket of exclusivity. It takes a generous cut for itself while simultaneously locking out any hint of competition.
Will the FCC investigation into Apple's denial of the Google Voice app change any of this? You'd better hope so. Because if Apple had its way, it could gleefully exercise the same level of control over OS X as it wields over the iPhone. The company has already moved the iPhone's frustratingly non-swappable battery up to the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines, so why not its crippled OS as well? The tablet is the missing link. Get people comfortable with using the iPhone OS on something that more resembles a netbook than a cell phone, and it'll be an easy sell to convince them that it's just as well-suited for full-fledged notebooks, too, and eventually even desktops if they still exist by then. We happily accept our iPhones, Xbox 360s, PS3s and Wiis as closed platforms, so is this really that far-fetched to imagine? And once Apple beats us into submission, you can bet Microsoft would follow suit.
But who knows, maybe Apple will surprise everyone and release an Apple Tablet with a fully open OS X variant. At this point, it's all just speculation, so despite evidence of the contrary, it's still a possibility. We'll just have to wait and see.
But regardless, do yourself a favor and take a spin through your OS today. Open your file browser, copy a document and throw something else in the trash. Download a random program off of the Internet and install it. Because, friends, the days of such freedom within an operating system may be numbered (Linux notwithstanding). It could all be coming to a flaming end, and a Mac tablet would be just the beginning.
damn you apple. damn you.
Jailbreak it. Of course then you'll be supporting terrorism.
The solution is simple, don't be a tool, don't buy Apple. If nobody buys it, you have nothing to worry about.
people are going to buy apple because it looks nice, but man am I going to hate it if the computer industry goes down like this.
That would supremely suck. But let's hope the FCC or whatever arm of the government that is supposed to protect consumer rights will force Apple to change it's ways lest multi-million dollar fines and possible anti-trust charges or something. ??
With 65,000 - 75,000 Apps currently available in the AppStore and growing by leaps and bounds, Apple is hardly restricting access to Apps. We just hear about the few that are rejected. There has to be a reason for rejection. If the reason is bad the .gov will whallop the guilty parties and it will eventually be remedied.
Also, competition is good. Folks will vote with their dollars. Apple will not stifle too much because it makes ppl upset. Remember when the iPhone first came out, there was no AppStore or much welcoming of 3rd party applications, and it was much more closed.
Apple does indeed learn from its mistakes and prevailing attitudes so I expect the App acceptance / rejection process will be clarified and redefined and better organized in short order.
It seems what is behind a lot of this is AT&T's trying to ensure they can squeeze every last cent out of their contracts. Time will tell ...
Windows and Apple users fear the Apple tablet if there will be one, for no reason at all, the facts will be known when we see them. Magazine writers blog writers are constantly try to be prophets and foretell the future. Stupid waste of time and a crime against their employers. Writers should do their job they get paid for and report what was, what is, only the facts. End of story. Dreams and future predictions are in literature, called sci-fi, speculators should go and write the crazy predictions in paperback sci-fi books and get paid there. News is what is based on events or articles supported by evidence, available to everyone. Anything else is just worthless opinion and speculation.
P.S. Open systems are junk, that is why Windows became crap. Too many fingers in the not so sweet pie.
If Apple makes the tablet just as restrictive as the iphone, it wouldn't be all bad, if a teenager can hack the iphone then they could also hack the tablet and maybe even make a linux OS for the tablet, problem solved and no more of Apple's version of "big brother is always watching" keeping you from downloading software.
hi Nice info i woould also like to share this with you guys
Such a shame that so many are afraid of the products that apple makes. Though their hardware quality has gone down some due to manufacturing them in China, their software remains superior for the average user, and who is more likely to buy the apple Tablet. Having used both Windows and Mac OS in my business, more and more of my employees choose apple products the more they are exposed to them. Closed or not, apple has always been more generous with software additions than Microsoft. Sorry, but the future looks bright with more Mac users.
I have been in engineering and IT management for 30 years, and I can tell you one hard fast rule that most IT professionals live by: “Have nothing whatsoever to do with Apple Computer”. Don’t install them. Don’t support them. Don’t recommend them. If a user wants one, ignore the request and refuse to support it.
Any user in a professional environment that requests an Apple is a poser. They do not know how to do whatever job they have. If they get an Apple, they will not be able to work with the 1000 other users that have PC’s. And the ‘Cooler Than Thou’ attitude would be funny if they weren’t so emphatically superior and completely wrong.
Nothing I have done on a computer in the last 10 years is even possible on a Mac. Yet they go on and on about how easy it is to upload pictures to their phone. I’d like to see them build a data warehouse with 50 million records. Or do some computational fluid dynamics. Then I might have some respect.
Conlon: You are a fear monger spreading nothing more than FUDD.
Just by yourself a dell and cry yourself to sleep.
Seriously, no one knows except for a handful of people at Apple what the iTablet will run. It might just run Mac OS X making it no different than a MacBook which has not ended the world (sparked innovation perhaps, but no pending doom is evident). You might might be more wise to see what it actually does before screaming "end of the world!".
PhilInYork: I am sorry sir but clearly you are misinformed. The large majority of the highest level professional artists in fields such as video editing, desktop publishing, music production, etc. have historically used Macs. You can easily run a database with 50 million records (just install MySQL or Postres), and yes it can run fluid dynamic software too (just do a search at Sourceforge).
In fact, since Mac OS X is based on UNIX, you will find much more scientific software available for it than Windows any day. And because of its UNIX it is about a million times more stable and less susceptible to malware, viruses and crashes from the registry going haywire.
I could go on and on and on, but clearly you are hopeless. I suspect you guard your ignorance with raised knives and I suspect you actually believe your own drivel. Windows is a joke and so are you.
Yes, we don't like private golf clubs that treats us all like poor people. We don't like about interests groups that we have an interest in but they show on interest on us.
Yes, Apple wants to protect their little turf. But so did Microsoft and soon Google will do that too. Would you open your house door to all of us? Some of us might be your friends. Some might just break your family portrait.
If you don't like Apple, don't even bother read this. Don't buy one. Yes. Apple is not good for database and other industry use. If you are willing to develop it on Apple, I am sure it will be as good as or as bad as other software on Windows.
Apple crashes as well as Windows. Someone knows how to fix Apple. Some others knows how to do it on Windows. So what.
But you have to admit that Apple's design is first class unless you have no interest in design and fashion. That's fine too.
I have used computers since DOS days on AT and Mac Plus. I use both till today. All I can say is for most of consumer who are not an IT person. Apple is the best choice. If you are a professional and needs access to certain software running only on one or the other, then you don't have a choice.
olibeaver: actually you do have a choice - because you can run Windows on a Mac either by booting into it (with Boot camp) or running it in a virtual machine (with Parallels or OpenOSX WinTel). The argument that Macs can't run the software just does not hold true anymore. Macs can run all of the same software, and all of the Mac OS X software.
And what makes you think Macs are not good for databases? MySQL runs native on it and is an enterprise class database.
Software might crash on a Mac (because of poorly written software) but I can run my Macs months at a time without rebooting - I have never seen a PC do that running Windows.
Screw apple & Screw AT&T! If they lock things down there will always be a group of people who will break through whatever restrictions are put on the operating system like a bull through a plate glass window. What Apple and AT&T want are irrelevant, people have bought the device, and as possesion is 9/10 of the law, they will do what they want with it. And if people don't like the restrictions on the product, they won't buy it. Even the mighty Steve Jobs is capable of over reaching...Look at what happened to the Lisa and the Apple Newton....good products that had all the success of a lead ballon. You are forgetting the #1 rule of the marketplace, if it sucks, people won't buy it. If people want to be idiots and pay an apple tax, for a product that has all the gifts of a lobotomized mental patient then more power to them. As for me, I'll go elsewhere...so apple won't ruin computing because they're not the only game in town. Next time try writing a commentary with some relevance.
Why can't you write an article this size about some of your other news items? Is fact finding getting hard enough that the only time I see a decent sized article is when the writer has an opinion to voice? It is possible, mind you, that I am part of the minority of this site that would like to see more in depth updates on robots, AI, military advancements, new transportation concepts, and medical breakthroughs.
Most of your tech articles struggle to get a brief 10 sentences, but when you have a story on big name players in the world of computers, there seems to be an over abundance of information.
I realize that it can be tough to discern the tone of the person when reading a post in a setting like this. I am a calm person and not emotionally upset, so please read it with a laid back frame of mind.
People (including the author of this article) are quick to forget that the iPhone actually SPURRED competition, despite its' closed environment - Google released Andriod to power competing Smartphones and Palm has the Pre. To think that Apple's netbook will remain as the only model is narrow-minded.
Google (or another) will see the success of the Apple device and model and someone will create an open-source version. Perhaps it falls out like the smartphone market with Apple getting the glory and positioned in the top slot, but others will be in the hunt as well and THEIR models will be far more open.
The dark-spot really is the Telco's as they have a long and dirty record of locking phone features and GUI's to suit their own agendas.
3DTOPO: This is why we all hate Mac users, you always resort to insulting us for liking PCs. I hope you choke on your own arrogance, prick.
MySQL?!?! Are you JOKING! You guys have never even SEEN an iSeries, have you?
After owning an iMac for a couple of years and an iPod Touch, and using iTunes, I have decided that Apple products are generally too restrictive, and I will buy no more of them for exactly that reason.
Of course the jury is still out on what the tablet will look like and do (if there really is one), but based on Apple's track record, it would probably be designed to fit into their "ecosystem" in a nice tight inflexible way.
I'm also on the fence on what OS will run on my next computer. I'm leaning more and more toward Linux. My last computer uses it, and it has been a big pain to work with, but it is so much more efficient than running Windows.
The truth is, I don't like any of the operating systems. I don't even like computers. They have turned me into an old grouch.
I wouldn't want to run anything other than OS X on a tablet made by Apple. I think they do a great job at inviting 3rd parties in, just look at the success of their app store. If Apple is to release a tablet, I will be the first to buy it and if people really wnat to run another OS on it, believe me they will figure out a way to do so.
I don't buy ipods anymore (after buying 5) because of the restrictive nature of its operating system. I listen to music on my pocket pc phone. I just copy my mp3 files on to my pocket pc (or my other pcs or my car or where-ever) and just listen to them. No need to sync up to a particular computer or some other ridiculous restrictions.
But I bought them even after I learned about and hated the restrictions because of their superior design. I'll probably do the same with this when it comes out.
Ipods will die out when other manufacturers create mp3 players that are just as well designed because they will be less restrictive. The same will probably happen with this unit eventually.
Apple has become a design company that makes trendy gadgets. They're very good at it, but I don't see their products becoming the standards.
What is all this anti/pro-mac, or anti/pro-windows?
I have a Sony DVD, it sucks, why can I not load VNC on it?
Why can't we not run programs on the Amazon Kindle?
How about loading the Ferrari engine management software into a Ford system (I am sure they all only use a limited number of embedded silicon).
The iphone is a device and is available to do what it does. They are up-front about what can/can't be done. Likewise the apple tablet will/may be. Likewise, if you wish to jail-break the iphone (or any other device) - you own it so go ahead, just don't expect the manufacturer to support you when it goes wrong.
Like all 'devices', if you like it and it does what you need/want it to do, then buy/use it. If not, then buy something else. This anti-"walled-garden" is a bit like buy a Ferrari and then castigating Ferrari because you can't use it as a pick-up.
As for the FCC, I wish they would investigate the carrier/hand-set relationship - anyone seen what can be done in France? It should all be like that!!!
"Ipods will die out when other manufacturers create mp3 players that are just as well designed because they will be less restrictive."
You can use ipods with mp3 - I do and also use my Creative Zen. As for the design, why is it taking the other manufacturers so long to come up with something "as well designed"? How long is it going to take?
As for the restrictions, remember Microsoft's play-for-sure restrictive DRM, much worse than what apple came with. BUT in Apple, Microsoft, Creative (and others') defence, the restrictions are there because the Record Industry demanded it.
Finally, the Record Industry has seen the light and moving towards and more enlightened (and less-restrictive) approach.
For those that don't know, in France it is illegal for there to be exclusive agreements between carriers and handset manufacturers. Therefore the iphone is available to be used on all networks.
If all carriers have to conform to FCC regs, and likewise all handsets have to conform to FCC regs, why do the carriers get to decide which handset you can use on their network and also what features you can use?
It's a bit like buying a car and then only being able to use one brand of gas. Cars work with all brands of gas, all TVs work with all transmissions, all electrical devices work in all sockets in the country. Why? Because of Federal standards both sides have to confirm to.
Why is it different for carriers? Why not like France?
What happened to competition in the 'land of the free'?
People people... Apple is not an evil company. However...what they are doing, is supporting a system of monopoly, which in my view, also links to another mono prefixed word. Monarchy. This is bad, a universal device, is bad. Why? Because a universal device knows you are using it as a universal device, and can make any demand it sees fit. As explained in the article, on the iProducts, you want an app, you run it through the "man"
DAMN IT APPLE, LET US KEEP OUR LIVES AS SEPERATE AND DEMOCRATIC AS WE CAN.
(because we all know, how a one man show has failed in history repeatedly).
Alll that is left to say is.....everyone cares too much about something that will only complicate things further. Meaning, if Apple truly has world conquest in mind they won't be able to do so. All the other co's won't be toped by them. Lest they go out of business. Calm down. Take a breath and think logically. Also if this is the end of "freedom" then I hope that the people of the US at least, don't buy the freedom killer. Though I feel that it is all hype and speculation. Then again squeezing all one can get out of the everyday consumer is the way modern business is done. Create a need then sell that need to the weak minded individual's of the world. Really you do not need this. Save your money and buy land that is still the way to go. And yes...I am aware of my spelling. Please forgive me, Grammer Police.
3DTOPO: I do agree with you. I was trying to be nice to the people on the other side. I am an Apple fan for twenty years. I just want to admit that Apple crashes too. Also I would bash products that I don't have expertise with. But it seems that there are people here running Windows perfectly and believing Microsoft opens everything to their developers. Of course I don't believe that.
Let's get it straight.
Apple crashes, but less than Windows.
Apple's hardware has the best industrial design.
Windows, Google protects their product no less than Apple.
Yes, Apple can run Windows too. Why do you think Netscape died? Why more people develop for Apple than for Google?
For most of developers, you will make more money from selling iPhone Apps than trying to sell shareware on line by yourself.
Also, Apple's notebook can be turned on from sleep within three seconds and start to work. On my Sony, it takes 30 seconds to see the screen and another 30 seconds to start working or telling me it crashed while it was in sleep.
Bottom line, if you can't tell the difference between an Amarni suit and a suit from Man's Warehouse, it is not Amarni's fault. If you can't tell the difference between a Ferrari and Chevy, it is not Ferrari's fault. Don't complain there are less Ferrari parts, less Ferrari stores, and you can't fix it yourself.
Guys, please don't bitch if you don't know how to appreciate an Apple.
o1Buddha1o: the reason why you "hate" all Mac users is because secretly deep within you desire more than anything a Mac. Since you "hate" people (that you don't even know) I would strongly suggest therapy - and lots of it. Maybe the best therapy would be to give in to your desires, come out of your closet and buy a Mac. And not all Windows hate Mac users, so I think the "we" is unqualified, perhaps you have multiple personalities too. For the record - I was only pointing out facts (which are well established) - I guess the truth must really hurt your repressed and tormented soul.
Macs have lots of innovations that set it aside from a PC, but for me nothing says freedom more than open source. Take android for example, I have never actually used it, but it is the kind of concept that encourages innovation from everyone, not just a group of hotshots sitting at a conference table.