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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 @11:01AM (#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 AvitarX (172628) <me@@@brandywinehundred...org> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:05AM (#31761582) Journal

      He likes the iPad
      http://www.pcworld.com/article/193329/apples_woz_ipad_great_for_students_grandparents.html [pcworld.com]

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by coolsnowmen (695297)

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

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:16AM (#31761712)

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

        What about a T-shirt with "I wanted a Dynabook and all I got was this lousy toy"?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Yeah, that's the thing I like about sweeping generalities. They are always right on the money.
      • by StCredZero (169093) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:30AM (#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!

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          honestly I only see the iPad as a coffee table device, something you place that's less cumbersome and cheaper than a laptop that you can use to browse the web, view video clips, or play simple game with the TV on or while otherwise sitting on the couch bored.

          I don't know if it has an IR port but if so it would make a particularly attractive universal remote as well, particularly as an alternative to something like a harmony.

          honestly though, the current price is a bit steep to use it for those tasks.
          • by c++0xFF (1758032) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:01PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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 Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:55PM (#31763216)

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

          Since you see the potential of this thing, what will the "killer app" be? If you can't answer that question, you don't "see the potential", you merely think the thing is really neat and hope someone else will see the potential and come up with the killer app that will make it a useful device.

    • by EvilBudMan (588716) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:22AM (#31761804) Journal

      Yeah, Wozniak wanted things open. The "other Steve" wants to benefit off of BSD but then close up stuff tighter than Microsoft does now. I knew they were somewhat like this all of the time especially when they sued Microsoft for their look and feel issues over Windows. Why can't all graphical user interfaces have a trashcan instead of a recycle bin? There is a lot of this in the industry that just makes it tough on the user when switching programs and I guess that's what most Electronic/Software/Media companies want.

      As anyone who has ever watched Max Headroom in the 80's knows these things need to be kept separate by separate companies. When you control it all the quality suffers. Apple used to be a hardware company and Microsoft was a software company and all was well. Now they are both into everything. I wonder how long it will take Apple to crack into gaming and really hit the big time? Sony is an absolute power in electronics/media/. They farm out their gaming development. The new PS3 looks like the best toy I have ever seen. Apple tries to be a toy maker, but their toys ain't no fun any more.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by wed128 (722152)

        I wonder how long it will take Apple to crack into gaming and really hit the big time?

        Two words: Apple Pippin.

      • by Graff (532189) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:52AM (#31762208)

        As anyone who has ever watched Max Headroom in the 80's knows these things need to be kept separate by separate companies.

        Yes, 80's TV shows taught me everything I need to know. The A-Team taught me that people don't die even if you shoot guns at them and blow things up. The Dukes of Hazard showed me that you can jump a nearly 2 ton car at ridiculous speeds numerous times and still have it drivable when it lands. MacGyver proved that you could solve any problem with a rubber band, a pen, and a paperclip.

  • by calibre-not-output (1736770) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:02AM (#31761546) Homepage
    Even the market? Wow. I never knew that.
  • Officially? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:03AM (#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 @11:05AM (#31761578)

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

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

        by EggyToast (858951) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:17AM (#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 @11:20AM (#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.

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

          by bnenning (58349) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:56AM (#31762280)

          Yes, it really is amazing how the party line turned on a dime from "Macs are easy to use" to "Macs, like all non-touchscreen computers, are utterly unusable for anyone who isn't a loser geek". Also, while Microsoft was correctly slammed by the courts for making it slightly more inconvenient to run competing browsers, there's no problem at all with Apple banning any apps that might possibly interfere with their business models.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Also, while Microsoft was correctly slammed by the courts for making it slightly more inconvenient to run competing browsers, there's no problem at all with Apple banning any apps that might possibly interfere with their business models.

            Conveniently forgetting that the issue with Microsoft was leveraging a monopoly in order to do so? What monopoly does Apple have on smart phones?

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

          by jo_ham (604554) <joham999&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:02PM (#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:Officially? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by v1 (525388) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:14AM (#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.

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

        by jmichaelg (148257) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:09PM (#31762450) Journal

        There are way too many MBAs out there who think suits trump techs. It's not true. A great company needs both great leaders and great workers.

        Jack Welch at GE figured out that the way to ensure he had great people working for him was to reward the top tier workers to keep them and fire the bottom tier on an annual basis. The tiers weren't static - a person who was getting feedback that they were near the firing tier could start working harder or start looking for another job if they weren't motivated. A person who was near the top tier and wanted the top tier perks could bust their ass and displace someone in the top tier. People in the middle tier were sure their jobs were secure as long as they stayed productive.

        It was harsh but the result was that while Welch led GE, the company did very, very well. Welch defined the fitness function and let evolution build GE for him. It was hard for a manager who had a good staff to have to fire his least productive workers on a regular basis but since everyone knew that was how the company was run, the people who didn't like it moved on.

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

          by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:30PM (#31762736) Homepage

          It was harsh but the result was that while Welch led GE, the company did very, very well. Welch defined the fitness function and let evolution build GE for him. It was hard for a manager who had a good staff to have to fire his least productive workers on a regular basis but since everyone knew that was how the company was run, the people who didn't like it moved on.

          And that works great so long as the bell curve for employee quality is nice and evenly distributed around "average" in every group. But like you say, the minute you have a group of people who are all above average or exceptional, blindly sticking to a system like that simply ensures that you cut loose great employees while actively eliminating experience from the group. Wow, what a brilliant system!

    • I guess it is no longer Apple Computers, but is just Apple Inc now.
  • Sure, it's official (Score:5, Informative)

    by Itninja (937614) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:05AM (#31761584) Homepage
    I mean, it's really official. As in the company Woz built was called 'Apple Computer, Inc.' and in 2007 the company by that name officially ceased to exist and became 'Apple, Inc.'. Woz had nothing to do with any company called 'Apple, Inc.'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:06AM (#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 ShinmaWa (449201) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:36AM (#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?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by WiseWeasel (92224)

      That may have been true before MS announced Windows Phone 7 Series, complete with locked down app distribution limited to what MS approves, no multitasking, no filesystem access, etc. It looks like MS is vigorously following Apple down this path of artificially restricted devices. Apple and MS both look like petty control freaks with totalitarian aspirations.

  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:06AM (#31761600)

    If that was the case, would Wozniak's wife still work for Apple's sales department?
    I think Woz is smart enough to understand that times are still changing, and those that want more open devices can simply go out and purchase an HP slate with its USB port, and all sorts of do-das. Those who don't want to mess with configurations, settings and .plist files can simply purchase and use an iPad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:08AM (#31761620)

    Woz actually DESIGNED all of those products, and IIRC he did actually work on the mac as well while Jobs couldn't design his way out of a wet paper bag.

    That's not to say that Jobs isn't an EXCELLENT CEO though. Probably one of two or three that are actually worth their compensation and relevant to their companies.

  • The end of homebrew (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:08AM (#31761626) Homepage
    One of the things that impressed me about early computer companies as chronicled in 's Fire in the Valley [amazon.com] is how DIY they were. Early computers were kits: you were supposed to assemble them yourself, and the seller had no problem with people figuring out how it all worked. If a part broke, you could replace it yourself with a soldering iron. Of course, by the time that the Apple II and Macintosh came along, consumers were essentially getting a magical box that worked if you just plugged it in, and Apple didn't think it desirable that people be tinkering with it.

    Consider this development along with yesterday's story on amateur radio, where so much is going on now in software, with people using mainly expensive radios with everything on inscrutable ICs, and fewer and fewer hams are building their own equipment. Radio Shack no longer offers the range of retail components that they did just a decade ago. As time goes by, there's less and less electronics in our daily lives which we have any chance of understanding ourselves. Technology companies have become a priesthood.

    • by grapeape (137008)

      I remember those days...I had a Sinclair my father and I put together. I was the only person I knew with a computer, friends were impressed but though of it more as a toy than a tool. Sure gear today is less hands on, but its also more accessible to the masses and much more powerful and complex. Cars were once simple enough that just about anyone could tinker with them as well...but the performance, horsepower and luxuries we take for granted today were not available. Thats just the cost of progress. W

    • by crath (80215) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:52AM (#31762202) Homepage

      The iPad isn't just the end of homebrew; it's the first step into the true commoditization of the PC. Until the PC is a true appliance, it won't truly be usable by everyone in society.

      I do tech support for my aging father and his PC. What he needs is a PC appliance: a device that just works. PCs based on Windows and MacOS need constant care and feeding. He needs a PC that works like a TV: plug it in, turn it on, and use it. Sure, it needs to know some basic information about who's using it (email address, etc.), but beyond that it should just work.

      Steve Jobs has introduced something very close to this in the iPad. The only barrier at the moment is that the iPad is intended to be a secondary computing device tethered to your primary device. But, it will only take a few tweaks of the software and hardware to turn it into a low-end priamry computing device --- something that is suitable for 80% of users.

      Propellor heads like myself will never be satisfied with such a device; but, I (and the rest of the /. fanboys) don't represent the majority of users.

      The iPad is a vision of the future.

  • by Thiez (1281866) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:13AM (#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?

  • I disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wandazulu (265281) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:14AM (#31761684)

    Jobs wants to make appliances. Woz wants to make computers. I think there's a real difference here; I enjoy tinkering with a lot of devices, but I'm not about to start taking apart my toaster or TV. That's what the iPad and iPhone are to me, appliances that are meant to be as reliable as possible as my toaster, and this is where Jobs' mantra of "It just works" is so key; you don't want your toaster to have problems, and more importantly, you don't want to need to get into the guts of a toaster just to make toast.

    On the other hand, I love working on computers, both software and hardware. I've fried two Arduinos teaching myself how to make neat projects involving stepper motors, LEDs, etc. I accept that I may break this equipment, as I accept that I may lock my computer up because I'm overtaxing it. I accept this and try to not fry or crash the next time. A learning experience to be sure, and one that I enjoy having.

    One aspect that always seems to be overlooked in all this discussion about "the future of Apple" is that Apple still makes a lot of other hardware and software; you still need to have a Mac with the developer tools installed to write anything for the iPhone/iPad. Apple gives away a lot of software for content creation as well as software creation.I don't see how they can let their other software and hardware fade away...they need people to create the apps and the content that is so readily consumed by the iPhone and iPad.

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

      by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:23AM (#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.
      • Re:I disagree (Score:4, Interesting)

        by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @03:59PM (#31765932)

        Apple's products are pretty much unique in being completely locked down.

        ...except for the part where you can actually add RAM, hard drives, batteries, etc. to Apple computers yourself. That is a far cry from being "completely locked down", since it isn't true.

        For the life of me, I can't understand your logic. Are you honestly posturing that Apple devices are shipped in hermetically sealed cases that nobody can get into, or are you just trying to (wrongfully) paint Apple products as being not-upgradable?

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

      by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:25AM (#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.

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

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:16AM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KonoWatakushi (910213)

      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

  • by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:17AM (#31761722)

    Really? The first PC was the Altair 8800 (shipped in 1975 and ran Microsoft Software no less), the first fully assembled PC you could buy ready to run was the Commodore PET in 1977 (shipped in January - Apple ]['s shipped the same year in June).

    But neither were made by a couple of hip guys from silicon valley named Steve - so it doesn't count right?

  • Goals change, life goes on. Apple has been on this path since the original Macintosh. This is nothing new. I don't think an oversized iPhone warrants all the melodrama it's been getting.
  • just plain BS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by darkeye (199616)

    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.

  • Black & White (Score:4, Insightful)

    by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:25AM (#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.

  • Bored Now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrTripps (1306469) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:26AM (#31761850)
    The iPad is so last weekend. Can we find another story already?
  • by godrik (1287354) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:28AM (#31761866)

    but if I meet you, I'll offer you a beer.

    Seriously, we have about 3 news on the iPad a day. Am I posting about the new pad my gf is using ?

    (follows numerous post on the non existence of a slashdoter's gf)

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:28AM (#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.

  • Annual Report 2009 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inKubus (199753) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:30AM (#31761890) Homepage Journal

    Apple's 2009 Annual Report [corporate-ir.net] shows that it sold $13B in Macs, $8B in iPods, $~7B in software, music and accessories, and $13B in iPhones and related services. I think they get a nice commission from AT&T for the 2 year contract. So, yes, they do indeed sell more peripherals and phones and "other stuff" than they do "computers". Not surprising since the iPhone is significantly lower priced than a Macbook, and the iPod as well. Both have mass market appeal. But computers are their core business--this is a nice bump but if you average it over many years you'll see that the computers are what's kept the company alive. They have $6B in annual expense around their retail stores. I think they need to be real careful about those because that could eat up their $33B in cash pretty quickly in the event of a downturn. "Looking" better than ever and that's why I'm short on Apple. Their share price is based on continued growth like they have had, possibly on a global basis, and I just don't see that's possible with what products they have. It's a classic bubble, get off the titanic, it won't get over $275...

  • by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:35AM (#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 Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:41AM (#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 Fnkmaster (89084) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:18PM (#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 Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:44AM (#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 bnenning (58349) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @12:05PM (#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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stewbacca (1033764)

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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 fermion (181285) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @11:51AM (#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 @11:52AM (#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 ClosedSource (238333) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:02PM (#31763314)

    The Apple II actually worked.

  • by bledri (1283728) on Wednesday April 07, 2010 @01:19PM (#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 @01:22PM (#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?)

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