12 April 2010

Why the iPad is Just No Damn Good

Apple has let us down.
Apple, the monolithic underdog of the computer world, has slammed the door on technological advancement with the release of the iPad.
Ok, that’s a bit melodramatic, but let’s face it – when a superpower like Apple creates a locked-down platform, controlling everything from who creates an app all the way to its distribution, pricing, and everything in between, they pretty much staunch the thriving open ecosystem that has led us to where we stand today, technology-wise.

The magic of open platforms allows developers to hack the software and create all kinds of ways to improve it. That’s the natural evolutionary process at work. When the original iPhone came out, it came with nada, zip, zilch – then it got hacked - thank the tech-gods - and SHAZAM, behold the App Store.

So, ok, they’ve kindly provided the dev kids with their SDK - BUT!, and this is a big but, if you want to make an iPad app, you have to go through Apple, play by their rules, and either get to hang with the cool kids, or get turned down and hang with the science club geeks.
And let me help you out here – considering all the criticism flying about Apple’s strict application (rejection) process and their banning third party applications which enable functionality they deem ‘unwanted’ on their sleek & sexy gadgets - the sci-club is where the hackers, the developers, the “Keep Moving Forward” guys would rather be.

When Apple did the same for the iPhone we accepted it because, let's face it, Apple invented the whole concept of applications for mobile phones. We just blindly accepted their rules.
But the iPad is not another run-of-mill cellphone. Oh no, no matter how you look at it, it's the next evolution of the personal computer that has become such a huge part of our lives.

Alright, let’s give credit where it’s due; there’s definitely something to be said for the Apple mystique - the bandwagon excitement of ‘if it’s being released by Apple it’s gonna be cool and I have to have it’. And no doubt the iPad is not only super sexy but also [another] great mechanism for delivering apps.

But is that where we’re heading?
A world where one company controls the content that the masses can consume?
Developers who must abide by the semi-random rules set by the guys at Cupertino, or their software will just disappear?
Kids that grow up being used to the fact that to replace a battery you need to leave it up to the pros... the damn thing doesn't even have screws you can tinker around with.
Do we want kids to just learn to accept the limitations that are imposed on them, without questioning?

Is that good?

Sure, for Apple’s bottom line.
But what about for those on the other side of the fence? What’s the message Apple is sending to the techie community? Not a loving one, that’s for sure.

I’m asking a lot of hypothetical questions, I’m aware. But I’m pissed off by the industry’s so-called good guys pulling a worldwide ‘Amazon Kindle’ move (times a million in size and relevance, but you get my meaning).

So yes, Apple, I’m officially disappointed, as are, judging by heated reactions all over the web, legions of ‘in the know’ people who see what you’re doing and are taking a stand against it by refusing to shell out $ for it.

I’m not gonna buy an iPad either.….I keep telling myself that, anyway.

At least it blends: :)


  1. Great post. Let's not forget that with iPhone OS 4.0 they have also changed the developer agreement. Developers will no longer be able to use third party software to developer their applications, like Adobes iPhone Compiler software.

    In short - they tell you it all has to be written in Objective C and compiled by their compiler, on a mac.

  2. Exactly! They are trying to lock down the entire ecosystem around their applications and control everything. And with the critical mass they are getting it will be very hard to stop.

    I'm totally fine with having them control the apps that appear in their app store, but forcing all application installations to solely go through the app store is very bad for the software industry.

  3. it does suck that you can't currently use flash with the ipad here in NZ.