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The Apple Two 643

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the ain't-that-the-truth dept.
theodp writes "Over at Slate, Tim Wu argues that the iPad is Steve Jobs' final victory over Steve Wozniak. Apple's origins were pure Woz, but the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad are the products of the company's other Steve. Jobs' ideas have always been in tension with Woz's brand of idealism and openness. Crazy as it seems, Apple Inc. — the creator of the personal computer — is leading the effort to exterminate it. And somewhere, deep inside, Woz must realize what the release of the iPad signifies: The company he once built now, officially, no longer exists."
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The Apple Two

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:01AM (#31761536)
    I'm pretty sure Woz came to terms with that realization decades ago. He hasn't had a say in any of Apple's higher level decisions since his plane crash in 1981, and he hasn't worked for them at all since 1987. He probably doesn't even think of it as "his" company anymore (if he ever really did). The guy has done a lot of cool stuff since then, and is probably way more interested in talking about his more recent engineering diversions (like his attempts [gizmodo.com] to get Toyota's attention about their accelerator problems) than discussing the philosophy of a company he left behind when The Bangles were still Walking Like an Egyptian.
  • by calibre-not-output (1736770) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:02AM (#31761546) Homepage
    Even the market? Wow. I never knew that.
  • Officially? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:03AM (#31761556)
    "The company he once built now, officially, no longer exists."

    Since we're talking about competing philosophies rather than the destruction of the entire company, and further given that there's been no press releases declaring the death of Woz's ideals, i'm not sure that word means what you think it means.
  • Re:Officially? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The End Of Days (1243248) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:05AM (#31761578)

    Aside from that, they still sell regular old personal computers. I guess that's a conveniently forgotten fact here?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:06AM (#31761598)

    As hard as it is to believe, Apple has actually managed to make Microsoft look like a more open company. You have more freedom, at a far lower price, when dealing with Microsoft than you do when dealing with Apple.

    Frankly, I never thought we'd see the day where just being able to run the applications you wanted to run was a "feature" of a given operating system and platform. But here we are, with Apple dictating exactly which applications are acceptable, and exactly which ones aren't, based on fuzzy and secretive criteria.

    I have to give a big "Fuck You" to anyone who supports Apple, or any company like Apple, but buying their products and encouraging their hideous business model. You people are the scum of the earth, and enemies of freedom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:12AM (#31761660)

    From reading the article, I only see that the company moved into a different direction to a closed platform away from the hacker ideals of Woz. Big deal. How is that a "victory"?

    Apple is a public company and they have to run it as a business to create a return to the stockholders. I don't know of any company that has been able to do that catering towards hackers.

    Jobs is taller than Woz. That "victory" has as much validity and meaning as the changing ideals.

  • by Thiez (1281866) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:13AM (#31761666)

    This ridiculous hype makes me want to throw up. Can we please introduce a rule where we can have only one article that mentions the iPad per day?

  • Re:Officially? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by v1 (525388) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:14AM (#31761682) Homepage Journal

    "The company he once built"

    Because the other steve just had nothing do to with it

    Last I checked, Jobs was the businessman and Woz was the tech. Without Jobs there never would have been an Apple Computer Inc. And Woz would still be in his garage tinkering. That's what each of them does. Jobs does business, Woz does tinkering. Both are necessary to start a computer company. But unfortunately, in the long run, only one of them is necessary to continue it. Woz was an incredible and probably an essential contribution to Apple in its early stages, but as a company grows, the value and results from powerful business leaders quickly overshadows the brilliant minds working within. The reason's pretty simple.... a sizable company can fairly easily replace good techs, but a good businessman is much riskier to replace. (as Apple found out a few years ago when it tried to replace Jobs)

    Right now Jobs has dozens of people at or near Woz's technical level working for him. Apple needs many techs at this stage. But they work best wit only one business leader providing direction. That kind of waters down the tech's importance, regardless of what level it's at.

  • Congrats... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:15AM (#31761692)

    Single dumbest post I have seen on slashdot in 10 years.

  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:16AM (#31761702)

    You couldn't possibly use the iPad as your only computer. Much like the iPhone, it requires a computer running iTunes for setup and syncing.

  • This just in! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:16AM (#31761710)

    A personal computer is a computer that _does what you want it to do._ For a shockingly large number of people, Apple's present product line does exactly that, which explains their present high popularity and booming market share, especially among consumer media devices.

    Back in Woz's day, it was important to have a BASIC interpreter on your personal computer, but not because it made the computer more "open" in some vague ideological terms. It was important because that was how a lot of useful computer software was transmitted. As a kid I remember typing in BASIC source listings from computer magazines for things like games and other cool stuff. Of course I also learned to write my own software, but nowadays there are about a million different ways of doing that. It sucks that Apple won't let you have a sandboxed Logo or Python interpreter on your iDevice, but it doesn't mean that the device is somehow not "personal."

    For better or for worse, the walled garden is the future of consumer electronics. It's good for security, good for the consumer, and not so good for tinkerers. But don't make the mistake of assuming that means the computer isn't "personal" anymore.

  • by psm321 (450181) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:16AM (#31761714) Journal

    So if you change your name, you're a completely new person?

  • Re:Officially? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EggyToast (858951) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:17AM (#31761718) Homepage
    And those personal computers run a modified version of Unix, which is significantly more open than the old Mac OS. Hmm...
  • Re:Officially? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:20AM (#31761762) Homepage

    > Aside from that, they still sell regular old personal computers. I guess that's a conveniently forgotten fact here?

    It's not forgotten any time an Apple fanboy tries to deny that one of those personal computers could suit someone equally well as a locked down appliance.

    This rush to denigrate the mac probably helped inspire the column.

    The current Apple herd is eagerly poised to follow Jobs off this particular cliff.

    With any luck, this "revolution" will be just like the last one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:21AM (#31761776)

    Your point about running the applications you want would be valid if Apple sold the iPad as a personal computer, which they don't (what the press say is irrelevant). The iPad isn't a PC and it's not sold as one - its an appliance, like your Xbox, and is similarly closed.

    Apple still sell plenty of 'personal computers', on which you can install whatever the fuck you want.

    But don't let that get in the way of your rant...

  • just plain BS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darkeye (199616) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:23AM (#31761808) Homepage

    this post is just plain BS - Apple didn't 'create' the PC - the PC was created by Alan Kay.

    Woz was pushed out by Jobs very early on, actually right after the Apple II. never since has he influenced Apple in any way.

    Apple has always been a walled garden, built on hype & ignorance.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:23AM (#31761814)

    You're not a developer if the only apps that your target platform supports are shitty games, meal tip calculators and todo lists.

    Just wait until you develop an app and it gets rejected, and then you can't distribute it publicly. That would never happen if you were using Linux. That'd basically never happen even if you were using Windows! The GP is right, you've sold your freedom. You're a shill.

  • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:23AM (#31761816)
    As they mention in TFA, even toasters and other appliances have screws on the back; you can take it apart and do what you want with it. If you want to see how all your appliances work, you can take them apart and put them back together. Replacing parts in your toaster might be beyond most people, but for those few who can do it, they are able to. Desktops, laptops, and most mobile internet devices have screws as well. I can replace the hard drive and upgrade RAM even in my little netbook. Apple's products are pretty much unique in being completely locked down.
  • Black & White (Score:4, Insightful)

    by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:25AM (#31761836)

    I love how "Apple's computer-accessory devices are fairly closed" is somehow the opposite of "Apple makes general purpose computers". As though it were impossible to make both a fully programmable, general-purpose, use-any-way-you-like piece of computer equipment and also make computer equipment that has a more limited function and is vendor-locked.

    Seriously, get a grip. Apple isn't even pretending that the iPad is a replacement for a general-purpose computer, and more than AT&T is pretending their smartphones are replacements for general-purpose computers. Until someone suggests that Apple will stop selling general-purpose computers it's INSANE to say that the iPad represents a fundamental change in the way anything works. (And we'll totally ignore the relatively small portion of the general-purpose computer market that Apple makes up).

    Heck, if you want to complain about vendor-locked, dumbed-down hardware you should take a look at the last 20 years of cell phones. Cellular providers have consistently killed features and interoperability on their handsets for decades and the show no signs of stopping anytime in the future. Compared to the rest of the mobile-data ecosystem the iPad is one of the most open platforms available.

  • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:25AM (#31761838) Homepage

    Being able to install the video player of my choice on a Mac is not "tinkering".

    This is the sort of nonsense BS mentality that the column was talking about. The Apple cult is in a rush to give up any sort of liberty for a little bit of shininess. It's not even any more shininess than they can get with any more open Apple product. They're just eager to buy into because it is the new and current thing. They're willing to throw out everything else in the process.

    So now we have an interesting new definition of "geek".

    Installing Plex or VLC doesn't make me any more of a "geek" than selecting the Facebook app in the app store.

  • Bored Now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrTripps (1306469) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:26AM (#31761850)
    The iPad is so last weekend. Can we find another story already?
  • by coolsnowmen (695297) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:27AM (#31761854)

    I get that, but once "setup", my iphone doesn't ever need to be connected to a computer.

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:28AM (#31761874)

    As far as I know, Apple dropped "trusted" computing [osxbook.com] support in 2006. They dropped DRM for iTunes [pcworld.com] in 2009. And of course MacOS X is based on FreeBSD and major portions of the OS are open source.

    So the fact that they make a few completely closed products doesn't fully characterize their entire culture of openness vs. closedness. The truth is more complicated. I am no Apple fanboi (I'm a Ubuntu fanboi) but I consider MacOS to be a lot more "open" than Windows, in some ways at least. For instance, MacOS ships with development tools.

  • by StCredZero (169093) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:30AM (#31761902)

    He likes the iPad

    Of course he likes the iPad. The iPad is actually a lot like the original Apple computers in terms of what it's trying to do. Steve Jobs is actually trying to push a whole new category. (Not wholly new, but one that's only been obscure so far.) He's pushed things so far, that there is no current killer app for this device. It's just like the advent of the original Apple, when everyone was saying that it was very cool, but what the heck is it good for? It wasn't until later that VisiCalc became the killer app.

    Steve Jobs and company have gone out so far on a limb, we don't quite know what to do with this thing. I've coined a new unit: the milliTaco. It's 1000th of the innovation required to make a game changer and confuse a Slashdot editor. With the iPod, it wasn't the features and stats, the killer was the legal music download ecosystem they created. With the iPad, it's the ability to interact with a networked computer in ways and situations that we haven't before, without looking like a total dork:

    http://amzn.com/B001G713NO [amzn.com]

    The killer apps are yet to come, for those of us who see the potential in this thing to implement.

    Though, I can't imagine using it as my only computer as a student, blech

    Well, duh! That's not what it's for!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:33AM (#31761944)

    Far from it. [wikipedia.org] (Perhaps also not the first, but definitely an early overachiever. :))

    Okay, if you count a computer that you could not buy as a personal computer, then how about the Zuse Z1, build between 1936 and '38 in Konrad Zuse's parents' living room?

  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:35AM (#31761974) Homepage

    They are for people with other things to do.

    The idea you need to be able to build or program a computer in order to use one is as dead as disco.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:36AM (#31761984)

    Steve Jobs was always obsessed with what Bill Gates had / was. Which is why Apple is what it is today. Closed and controlling.

    I like Apples products, I just hate the dictatorship them impose on them. That is all a product of Steve Jobs. Once he is gone, hopefully Apple will become more customer choice friendly.

    He'd have been a happier man if he had followed Gates' other traits: being a nice guy and giving tens of billions of dollars to charity.

  • by ShinmaWa (449201) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:36AM (#31761988)

    You people are the scum of the earth, and enemies of freedom.

    Oh the irony! So, let me get this straight: if we don't buy things the way _you_ want us to, _we_ are enemies of freedom?

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:41AM (#31762040) Homepage

    So, it's significant how? Oh, right, everyone in the media owns one, and just can't stop yammering about how totally awesome they are for, like, media stuff and junk.

    That's like Slashdotters declaring that this will be the year of Linux On The Netbook because we're all packing EEEs with Ubuntu remix. One swallow makes neither a summer nor a porn movie.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:42AM (#31762054)

    Okay. Give me a perl interpreter for iphone, please.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:44AM (#31762078)

    ...can we get some more histrionics?

    Apple Inc. -- the creator of the personal computer -- is leading the effort to exterminate it.

    WTF are you talking about? "Exterminate?" Apple is somehow preventing me from going to amazon and ordering the parts for a new gaming PC? Are they run by Daleks now? Or I could go to Xilinx and get a demo board with an FPGA containing PPC processors and Ethernet cores. Now *that's* hardcore, baby. ;-)

    This all makes me want to buy an iPad to help the product line have a long life because the reactions it is causing amongst the self appointed Guardians Of Us All are absolutely hilarious.

    While a computer you can modify might not sound so profound, Wozniak contemplated a nearly spiritual relationship between man and his machine.

    I owned an Apple II. It was neat. There was, however, nothing religious or spiritual about the experience. It played games and I did some word processing and my first programming. It was a device. Period. Anything else is self important wankery by people seeking to fill a void in their lives by walking some imaginary One True Path of computer knowledge. Computers are handy state machines, not a relationship.

    Seriously, the reactions of many guys like this is very religious. Oh no, our private club has been invaded by heretics and icky girls who break away from our precious canon and prayer books! Do they not tinker? Do they not want to spend their entire weekend setting jumpers and modifying power cables? What is this "life" of which they speak? Blasphemy!

    ... revolutionary... establishment... anti-establishment... counterculturals...

    And on and on and on. Get out your buzzword bingo cards, Cartman- long haired hippy edition!

    The company he once built now, officially, no longer exists.

    Oh noes! You mean things change and evolve? Damn! And here I was hoping my fancy new HDTV has tubes I could take down to the corner soda shoppe and run through the tester. 2^5 Skidoo!

  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:45AM (#31762094) Homepage

    The difference is that the Xbox was sold as an upgrade to pre-existing cartridge game systems. It didn't need to act like a PC. All it had to do was improve upon legacy video consoles, and play the occasional DVD. Notice how the Xbox was priced far below a PC because of the limited mission.

    If you view the iPad as a colossal ipod touch, the closed architecture is not so bad. After all, the world adopted the ipod while accepting its closed architecture. But if that's your point of view, then the "ceiling" for the ipad falls far short of what competitors will be doing with netbooks in the near future. Apple went out of their way to lock down the device.

    The iPad sells for less than a MacBook, but it needs to be A LOT less. Closed architecture brings negative value. I expect a hefty discount to accept these limitations. My suggestions: Add a camera, make it run OS X, and charge whatever the market will bear.

    Apple's darkest days were when they used closed architecture to ensure that Apple was the sole provider of peripherals and (to a lesser extent) software. You couldn't buy a freakin' mouse without going back to Apple. Today, Apple has superb technology that can beat Microsoft (and even Linux) on the desktop. If Apple becomes arrogant and complacent, MS will close the gap, just as they did with the original Macintosh.

  • by fermion (181285) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:51AM (#31762186) Homepage Journal
    I do not see the general personal computer as something that is sacrosanct. it is a solution to a problem. We might as well be crying that the car sells more than the carriage, or the laptop sells more than the desktop, or that the ice box has been replaced by the refrigerator. All of these went from simple open designs to more complex closed designs. We seemed to appreciate such a process because the products are cheaper and often more reliable.

    I recall when I went from a radio kit I built myself to a store bought fully assembled receiver. Or when I went from a printer interface box I hacked to make work with my computer, to a plug and play printer. While I am as capable of as much romanticizing of the past as anyone else, there is always a new product to build, so I do not have to whine about how the good old days are gone.

    In this case the GPC is evolving and there is no reason why it can't be replaced by something else. Many of us do not have stand alone Hi Fi stereos in our house, hand built of otherwise. Many of us do not have stand alone VCR or DVD players in our house. We might have one to rip DVDs, but generally the content is on a stream. The purpose of Apple was to replace old stuff with better new stuff, in the case at the time a terminal with a stand alone computer. Many people mistake this replacement for an open system with a closed system, and in part the power of Apple was that one had access to the CPU itself. But the real power of the Apple was that everyone could have a computer, even if they were not able to get a mainframe. The power of the Mac was that everyone could use a computer even if they did not know how to use a command line, though not everyone could afford it, but that is still the case. The Mac was 'closed', but that was not the point. If the iPad works, which I don't know if it will, the tablet idea has so far been a failure, it will be because hid even more complexity from the user, so that even more people can do what most people use a computer for, which is, of course, to look at p0rn, assuming the content is not in flash.

  • by XxtraLarGe (551297) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:52AM (#31762214) Journal
    I'm a gadget guy. I've owned a lot of them, from Palms to Gameboys to iPods. The iPad doesn't really appeal to me, but I'm sure it is great for some people. My wife, for instance. She likes to knit while sitting in her recliner with her Shih Tzu on her lap, with CNN/Fox News/MSNBC/Weather Channel/whatever on TV in the background. The iPad would be the ideal tool for her to look up patterns for knitting, or if she wanted to look something up they're talking about on the news.

    Now all this business about hacking/tinkering/etc. I used to own a Nintendo DS Lite, and I loved it. It was a great device. I thought it would be awesome if I could download apps over the internet. It had wi-fi, but no web browser, so that was a no-go. Even if it did have a browser (Opera doesn't count since it was impossible to find), it's not like there was a memory card on which I could save downloadable apps. What if I wanted to write apps for it? Nintendo charges an arm and a leg for a dev kit, plus you have to be an already established company. I know all of these solutions are available in the homebrew/gray market, but they're few and far between, and they aren't that accessible to the common schlub. Yet, there's no moral outrage from the /. community, even though there are MILLIONS of DS's out in the wild.

    Apple on the other hand allows you to register & download it's official development tools for free, gives hundreds of code examples, and provides a boatload of developer documentation. The only time you need to pay Apple is if you want to sell/share your software via iTunes, and that's a paltry $99, not the princely $10,000 sum Nintendo charges for a dev kit. If you want to load your apps that you wrote onto your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch without paying the money, then jailbreak it--it's easier than setting up your DS to use homebrew apps (not that I endorse doing it).

    My guess is that if Apple did release the iPad with multi-tasking, full-blown OS X, and addressed all the other complaints we here on /., sales for the iPad would be in the tank. This is primarily because OS X would be too cumbersome to use on the unit, and multi-tasking would be a battery killer, but also because even if Apple did fulfill most of /.'s wish list, they still wouldn't buy it because it's made by Apple.
  • by Entropius (188861) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:56AM (#31762268)

    The idea that you need to be able to program a computer to make use of the ability to program a computer is a fallacy.

    I don't need to know how to write a program to be able to make use of somebody else's program. The difference between iShit and a real computer is that on a real computer, I can put whatever I want on it, even if I didn't write it myself.

  • Re:Officially? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:02AM (#31762348)

    What the hell are you talking about?

    The iPad is not, will never, is not designed to, and is unlikely to replace the personal computer as we know it. It's designed to complement your personal computer.

    Your iPod didn't replace your music library in your home, did it? It just allowed you to go portable with it.

    The iPad extends your computer into places it otherwise wouldn't go easily - like onto the couch, or into bed, or in your arm as you use it like a shopping list in a store, or any other use where a laptop *could* go, but would be inconvenient.

    This is not replacing the computer, and it's disingenuous to suggest otherwise. Jobs may say it's a replacement for the Netbook, and it is in those situations where you wanted a second machine but didn't really need all the pieces (like a keyboard, CD drive etc), but it's more like an alternative tool rather than a straight replacement.

    I don't think anywhere in the design process was the iPad intended as your main computer.

  • Re:This just in! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:02AM (#31762354)

    It's piss poor for consumer rights. Just ask anyone that's been locked out of their music collection by the shutting down of the servers that managed their DRM.

    There is no "for better" in locking down. It's fine to DEFAULT to a locked down mode for those who don't wish to tinker, but actively fighting against tinkering never bodes well. Ever.

  • by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:03AM (#31762384)
    Apple fanbois must be out in force for things like this to get modded flamebait.
  • by bnenning (58349) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:05AM (#31762394)

    Apple is somehow preventing me from going to amazon and ordering the parts for a new gaming PC?

    No. They are however trying to sue Android out of existence, which would leave zero viable open platforms for mobile computing.

    I owned an Apple II. It was neat. There was, however, nothing religious or spiritual about the experience. It played games and I did some word processing and my first programming. It was a device. Period.

    Yes, and you didn't have to beg Apple for permission to do any of that. Whereas today if you jailbreak your iPad to install a Python interpreter, according to Apple you're a criminal.

  • " Closed architecture brings negative value."

    No it doesn't. IN fact, it adds value. The PC is a mess of Virus, mal-ware, crap that doesn't run right, consumers needing the guess if their PC can actually run something.

    Those disadvantages mostly go a way with a closed system.

    So both have their pro's and cons. For most consumers having an appliance(aka closed system) is better.

  • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster...man@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:11AM (#31762472)

    Why would I want a big, phoneless iPhone designed for people with hands the size of Peter Mayhew's, precisely?

    For the same reasons people want iPhones, and wish the screen were bigger when reading/watching for a long period of time, or wanted to watch something with a small group of people.

    Apple has had plenty of "oops that was a big old miss" products they tried to market as "revolutionary." I expect the iPad to go the way of the Macbook Air - everything it does, a touchscreen Netbook does better and for less cost.

    Not revolutionary, but not pointless either. I wouldn't say a touchscreen netbook does things 'better', though. While the Netbook wins on number of applications, versatility, and cost, it seems to lose on battery life, size/weight (due to the keyboard), and ease of use.

    So if you want a small touchscreen computer, go with the netbook. If you want easy access to a web browser, movies, and text from your couch or bed, go with an iPad. Only time will tell if there's a large enough desire in that market that the 'revolutionary' iPad won't go over like the 'revolutionary' netbook.

  • by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:16AM (#31762546)

    No I would just compile it and install it on my phone without jail breaking it.

  • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:18AM (#31762574)

    To be fair, that 9% has been one of the fastest growing parts of the computer industry over the last few years. And Apple has a 91% share of the $1000+ PC market. And a significant share of the laptop market (something like 18%, couldn't find the exact number offhand.

    And if you look at their profits as a percentage of the overall computer industry, you'd see that they almost certainly account for much more than 9%, since they have significantly higher margins than average in the industry.

    So yeah, in a time when margins have been falling, and prices have fallen over a cliff, the fact that Apple has managed to grow their revenues significantly, grow their market share significantly, and keep their unit prices high in the face of falling average prices in their industry says they are doing something right from a business perspective. That makes it significant in my book.

  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:21AM (#31762618)

    You aren't thinking in terms of absolute control of the experience, making as much money as possible from the consumer, and trying to indoctrinate users into the Apple lifestyle.

    What would Steve Jobs do, basically.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:36AM (#31762858)

    The killer apps are yet to come, for those of us who see the potential in this thing to implement.

    In other words, the very definition of VAPORWARE.

    So please explain to all of us dim witted idiots why this "killer app" is only possible on the iPad and not on any other tablet PC that has been made for the last 10 years?

  • by sbeckstead (555647) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:54AM (#31763200) Homepage Journal
    The TRS-80s post date the Apple I by a bit. The Altair took hours to assemble and cost a great deal more than most households could really afford and probably a personal computer but also not truly useful as such. The TRS-80s were also not per se personal computers they were marketed for small businesses. The Apple II really kicked off the personal computer craze followed closely by the Commodore 64 and the Atari 800. So the statement that Apple created the personal computer is more or less accurate.
  • by sbeckstead (555647) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:57AM (#31763246) Homepage Journal
    any other tablet PC made in the last ten years was NOT INVENTED BY APPLE. Repeat this mantra until you understand the nature of cool!
  • by c++0xFF (1758032) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:01PM (#31763308)

    Your comments sum up my feelings quite well.

    I don't think I could use an iPad. Maybe to check Wikipedia or watch Hulu instead of using my laptop, which clutters the room quite a bit. But that doesn't justify the cost at all.

    On the other hand, the imagination starts to run wild when I consider other people. You mentioned doctors, mechanics, and hair stylists.

    I'll add students (textbooks, email, notes, and calculator make for a killer combination), contractors (make quotes and drawings, look up specs, and plenty more), frequent travelers (great battery life, entertainment, internet), and plenty more.

    I see killer apps for lots of small niche markets, but nothing for myself yet. Maybe someone will come out with the app for me, but until then I'll let everybody else explore what the iPad can do for them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:06PM (#31763392)

    For the same reason that no one could come up with a really good interface until the iPhone.

    Everyone always says they don't need Apple to do it, but everyone seems to follow Apple.

  • by bledri (1283728) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:19PM (#31763604)
    This is life, not a freakin' soap opera. Woz owns iPhones, he owns an iPad, he has iPods and macbooks and probably at least one of everything Apple ever made. Oh yeah, and he has a bootload of Apple stock that keeps him rich as God. Obviously he's bitter and cries himself to sleep every night. If that's what losing an epic geek battle looks like, bring it on...
  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:22PM (#31763656)

    The Apple 2 wasn't an open source device. Yes, you could hack together peripherals and write stuff in basic.

    But other than that, there isn't some big philosophical shift in Apple's model in 1983 and today. In 2010 you need to use the app store to distribute stuff. In 1983 you have to buy dev tools and get retail shelf space. In 2010 you have DRM. In 1983 the computers weren't good enough to use DRM, so you had to use code wheels, lookup the word on page 161, line 6, word 12 in the manual and hard to photocopy code sheets. (Remember Sim City 1?)

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:26PM (#31763706)

    posting this again, since something went wrong the first time:

    this is a false dichotomy forged by suggesting that this Steve is good, ergo this steve is bad, then amplifying those traits by mapping them on to perceived standards of today.

    I built and sold homebrew computers in the era when the apple II hit the market. At the time we all laughed at the apple as a "toy" because it was so locked down and not built from components. Back then, sonny, you built a computer like an Imsai, altair, cromenco, by starting with a metal box, putting in a non-switiching power supply, choosing the largest capacitors you could fit in the box, then an s-100 (altair) buss. then you picked a cpu board from one manufacturer, some memory cards from another, a keyboard uart decoder from another, a keybaord from another, a video card, and a TV screen modded with an RF converter on channel 4.

    These apples were hideously locked down. Switching powersupplies with just wires coming out of a metal box, no way to ugrade the capacity and very little excess capacity. the keyboard was integrated into the case ! and wholly shit a mother board with soldered in chips, video, meomery, and CPU.

    Even the address space of the cards you plugged in was decoded on the motherboad not the cards (which allowed the cards to be smaller than the ones for the S-100 bus). THe cards even got regulated voltages not raw rectified AC.

    they sucked all the flexibility out of it.

    the software was essential to the operation of the hardware not separate from it: a lot of the video management was done in software. the timing one the disk drives they put out used soft sectors not hardware determined sectors (only one hole punched in the floppy instead of 20, one for each sector). Even the memory refresh was handeled on the video updates which in turn were backsided on last half of the 6502's instruction cycle (when it would not be fetching). It was one of the very first systems to successfully use dynamic memory. (Only a fool would not use static memory in an altair, since you had to do all the refresh handling on the memory card).

    You had to buy apple floppy disks, and apple plug-in cards for many things cause they were not standard cards or drives.

    And of course the apple II in hind sight was one of the most geniuous machines ever built. it's lock downs let hobbiest's soar in other directions. plug in cards were small and the pre-decoded addresses and regulated voltages let you put all your effort into what they did rather than barely getting them to work. the dynamic memory allowed cheaper larger address spaces and the standardization of the video (all apples had to have the same video card) meant all games written would work on all apples. the same was not true of the others' since every s-100 bus machine had some different video card standard.

    the use oif software decoding of keyboards and disks and so forth introiduced an era that eventually led to the apple desk top bus in the macintosh. What a brilliant simplication. Now we of course have USB instead of different ports for keyboards, parallel printers, scsi drives, tablets, mice.... But the only reasons we went down that track was Woz's apple paved the way. by making so much of the hardware immutable, the software could rely on standard configurations in every machine and thus software timing of other events became reliable for the very first time.

    so this is BS revisionism to say that Woz was all about openness and Jobs all about lock down.

    What it was both. lock downs of previously unlocked down things created growth to build on. you were not constantly re-inventing the wheel from scratch. In case you have not noticed it before the thing that makes apples great is they always are expensive: this is because they spec them out at high levels using fewer but a complete set of advanced components even on base models. This means software can always count on a feature being there and thus not shoot for the lowest common denominator. think back to pre-w

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:42PM (#31763908)

    They are for people with other things to do.

    The idea you need to be able to build or program a computer in order to use one is as dead as disco.

    logical fallacy: strawman

    No one said you needed these skills to use a computer. Given your statement is true, it does not follow that companies should prevent everyone from programming the computer hardware they purchased.

  • by KharmaWidow (1504025) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:05PM (#31764184)

    I've used Macs (and Apple II's) my whole life and I have always dealt with this nonsense from people. I upgraded and Apple IIci to a Mac that was more powerful than Apple's base Mac in 1997. Using 3rd party hardware. In may cases we have been able to swap out logic boards - its just cheaper to buy a new computer. In the late 90's you could swap out the CPU! Desktop Macs have always been upgradable and expandable. Different story for laptops, but you could always put in more RAM and a bigger harddrive. About the only thing a Mac user could do *with ease* is build a Mac from scratch. But the typical Mac user would want to do this anyway. The core of the Apple solution is off the shelf, plug it in, and it just works.

    I am on a 3 yr old MacBookPro right now that is just fine snf speedy. My iPhone is 2 yrs old. My media Mac Mini is 4 yrs old, my second media Mac mini is 5 yrs old. Even my iBook G3 that is dedicated to playing music in the living room is 7 years old. All of them run fine. And only the non-intel ones are not running the latest OS (but they run the latest iTunes, Quicktime, and other apps that matter). Cost per hour of use without upgrading is far superior than those other platforms.

    And best yet, on my Intel Macs I can run OS X, Windows, and Linux - all at the same time. FInd me a Linux user or Windows user who can do that. Off the shelf.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:29PM (#31764504) Homepage Journal

    And you can download stuff via WiFi or 3G

    "stuff"?

    Can I download songs from eMusic? Can I use bittorrent to download the free songs my favorite independent musicians post legally? Can I download apps from Sourceforge?

    So I can download "stuff" as long as it's "stuff" that comes via Apple.

    And from what I've been hearing about the quality of iPad's WiFi, I'll only be able to download even that stuff if I've got a wireless access point on top of my head.

    Wait until the iMacs start coming out with these app store lockdowns. Maybe then people will start to understand how much damage has been done to what Apple Computers once represented.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:43PM (#31764680)

    They are however trying to sue Android out of existence

    And Nokia sued Apple, and Nokia sued Samsung and someone else sued Nokia... it's a broken patent and legal system, not some nefarious plot.

    if you jailbreak your iPad to install a Python interpreter, according to Apple you're a criminal.

    I can't write Python on the iPad? IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!!!! Oh, woe! Oh, Discordia!

    (QD falls out of chair)

    So? Who cares? Ignore them. Game developers think I'm scum for reselling my games. Eff 'em.

    And, hey, I'm currently looking at SciPy as a replacement for Matlab. Can't use the iPad for that? Oh well. I only have about a dozen other computers at work and at home I could use.

    And, actually, XCode support Python, so you could write it directly.

  • by Richy_T (111409) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:52PM (#31764780) Homepage

    What people don't seem to realize is that a keyboard is a negligible cost, in almost every (expense, weight, space) way, addition to a portable computer in all but the most extreme cases. It also provides you with a somewhat handy screen protector. Make it so it folds out of the way as you have suggested and it's a no-brainer.

    Even many tiny, tiny smart phones attempt to have some kind of a real physical keyboard. It's just too useful. This is the ultimate problem that all tablets have faced and there's really nothing special about the iPad that puts it outside of this. Tablets are just sadly n a bad place on the venn diagram of the trade off between cost and functionality.

    I can almost see it as a media device. Almost. Does it have a built in stand? And no flash?

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @03:19PM (#31766356)

    No. They are however trying to sue Android out of existence,

    Citation please.

    if you jailbreak your iPad to install a Python interpreter, according to Apple you're a criminal.

    Citation please.

    Seriously, could you inject any more personal bias? While I haven't heard of an Apple lawsuit against Android, I don't doubt one exists. I do, however, doubt that Apple has any motivation of suing them until they no longer exist.

    Secondly, if you'd like to cite one single criminal case against anybody who has jailbroken their Apple product, I'm all ears. There's a difference between not providing support and pressing criminal charges against somebody.

  • Re:This just in! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KonoWatakushi (910213) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:11PM (#31767386)

    A personal computer is a computer that _does what you want it to do._ For a shockingly large number of people, Apple's present product line does exactly that,

    Agreed about your definition of a personal computer. However, just because there is a large intersection between what Apple makes and what people want, does not make it a personal computer!

    Make no mistake, it does what Apple wants, and when (not if) they so decide, it will cease to do those things. That is the nature of DRM, and it rears its ugly head often enough that you should know the difference by now. (Assuming that you a /. reader, and not just an Apple shill.)

    Back in Woz's day, it was important to have a BASIC interpreter on your personal computer, but not because it made the computer more "open" in some vague ideological terms. It was important because that was how a lot of useful computer software was transmitted.

    Even today, "a lot of useful computer software" is transmitted in much the same way, and you can run it on a personal computer. Unfortunately for Apple, it competes with their existing products, so they now exclude it. Even if you a paying App developer, you may receive the same treatment, as has happened time and again.

  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @04:58PM (#31768112) Homepage

    Whereas today if you jailbreak your iPad to install a Python interpreter, according to Apple you're a criminal.

    No, according to Congress and the Executive branch via the DMCA, you're a criminal. According to Apple, they just won't support you. And, if you try to sell stuff that might make others devices unsupportable, they may sue you - but that would be civil, not criminal.

  • by pauljlucas (529435) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @10:11PM (#31771224) Homepage Journal
    "Potential," by definition, is what something can become. If a good student has the potential to be a great scientist, he's not a scientist yet: it's a possible future. Once he becomes a great scientist, the potential transforms into reality and the potential no longer exists. Or in physics terms, a book sitting on a high shelf as potential energy. Once it's knocked off the shelf and falling, it's potential energy transforms into kinetic energy.

    Once VisiCalc arrived, it was reality and the potential disappeared. The Apple ][ no longer had potential to be a serious tool: it was a serious tool. Therefore, at this point, you could no longer see the potential since it no longer exists.

  • by cstarjewel (1733080) on Thursday April 08, 2010 @02:39PM (#31780872)
    I just want to point out that in the Apple ][+ the vast majority of the ICs were socketed, and a full set of schematics for the motherboard were included in the box. Lots of great, 3rd-party add-ons and enhancements kept it a viable computing platform for many years after its release, far out living its competitors, although the C-64 would rank second. I still miss my Videx Keyboard Enhancer with on-the-fly macro recording and playback *in the encoder hardware*; it was completely application and OS agnostic, which was important with all those copy-protected boot disks of the era.

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

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