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iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward" 1634

An anonymous reader writes "FSF's John Sullivan launches the Defective by Design campaign and petition to rain on Steve's parade, barely minutes out of the starting gate. 'This is a huge step backward in the history of computing,' said FSF's Holmes Wilson, 'If the first personal computers required permission from the manufacturer for each new program or new feature, the history of computing would be as dismally totalitarian as the milieu in Apple's famous Super Bowl ad.' The iPad has DRM writ large: you can only install what Apple says you may, and 'computing' goes consumer mainstream — no more twiddling, just sit back, spend your money, and watch the show — while we allow you to." What is clear is that the rise of the App Store removes control of the computer from the user. It makes me wonder what the next generation of OS X will look like.
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iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:22AM (#30933536)

    And I honestly don't mean this as a troll, but anyone who buys an Apple product *NOT* expecting it to be locked down tighter than Ann Coulter's vagina deserves to be disappointed. Buying an Apple and expecting freedom is like buying something from Sony and being shocked when it only supports some bullshit propriety storage or media format than only Sony makes. Apple is about doing what Steve tells you to do, or at least says is okay for you to do. If Apple could get away with locking down their Macbooks and other PC's so that you could only download their approved software, they probably would.

    Apple keeps it simple: Here's what this does. It's elegant and does what it does very well. We don't want you screwing that up by messing around with it without our approval. If you want open and free, go somewhere else and take your chances.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tobor the Eighth Man ( 13061 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:26AM (#30933606)

    Frankly, it doesn't matter if it happens to OS X. What matters is that it could become the standard going forward, and if we've learned anything from the iPhone and iPod it's that Apple has tremendous influence in driving the standards of consumer electronics. The reason for the app store has nothing to do with security and everything about Apple wringing every last penny out of developers by taking an arbitrary cut of their sales and providing only limited QC and indexing that could easily be provided by any other site or service. If people want a choice, they should GET a choice - use the app store, or don't. Instead, Apple's making the choice for you. And that's no choice at all.

  • by axl917 ( 1542205 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:26AM (#30933608)

    The Apple of today is more 1984-ish than Microsoft ever was at the time of the aforementioned Superbowl ad.

  • The Don't Buy It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:27AM (#30933614)
    iPod Touch.


    They're both spectacular devices. The iPad will work within a similar ecology and thus has a good chance of being a pretty sweet device (time will tell, of course).


    If you don't like it, don't buy it.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kieran ( 20691 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:29AM (#30933650)

    The FSF isn't saying the iPad should be banned, it's just raising awareness about the need for freedom in software.

    Frankly with the amount of bullshit publicity this (somewhat underwhelming) device has had so far, I'm happy for a worthwhile organisation like the FSF to hijack a little for it's cause.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:31AM (#30933674)

    If people want a choice, they should GET a choice - use the app store, or don't. Instead, Apple's making the choice for you.

    But that's exactly the choice any iPhone or iPod Touch user has right now! They both perform their primary functions perfectly well without the owner ever using the App Store.

    For that matter, owning either device is also a choice. Don't like the fact that you can only (officially) purchase and install apps that have been approved by Apple? Use a different phone/media player.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:31AM (#30933676)

    I think he's saying it's a step backwards because they are taking, what is essentially a tablet computer, and 100% locking it down to only do what Apple explicitly allows.

    This thing isn't a phone and it's not an mp3 player, it is a tablet computer that is directly trying to compete with netbooks and even laptops. But again, they are entirely locking down the platform and the software to such a degree that any freedom is entirely lost. You can fully understand a phone being locked down to phone applications delivered by the manufacturer and the same with mp3 players. The software is written for the device and that's all there really is to say about it.

    The iPad on the other hand, again, is a computer meant to be used like a laptop with its own internet connection. Locking it down so harshly is a step backwards in the usability of the device.

    That's my impression, anyways.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymusing ( 1450747 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:32AM (#30933688)

    Furthermore, none of this is required of any consumer. The government is not handing these out to schoolchildren. They don't come free in the mail. You won't be required to own one in order to buy groceries or flush the toilet. It's a fricking LUXURY ITEM, folks. You buy all its locked-in glory BY CHOICE.

    Also, as someone who owned a number of various personal computers in the 70s and 80s, I'd say there was tacit lock-in simply because of incompatibility between all the nascent hardware and OSes. But worse, some home computers (example []) actually had hardware that locked out unlicensed cartridges from running.

    If the sky is falling right now, then it has been raining sky for a long time. I mean, if you're going to complain about lock-in, how about the current state of American health insurance?

  • Yep yep. People (especially here) missing the point of Apple is pretty common. Skimmed the iPad article yesterday and had nothing but iPhone flashbacks.

    "It's derivative."

    "It's the same as (crappy, unpolished, user-hostile device that didn't sell) so no one is going to buy one."

    "The hardware has been out for (absurd number of years) so Apple has utterly stopped innovating and will be going out of business next year."

    "No one wants (feature that everyone wants)."

    "It doesn't have (feature that only ubergeeks care about) so no one is going to buy one."

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xZgf6xHx2uhoAj9D ( 1160707 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:33AM (#30933718)
    I can accept that many consumers don't care, or even like, being locked into the Apple store. I'm somewhat more sceptical that many consumers like that that "lock" is enforced by criminal law and that they'll be jailed if they ever try to leave the Apple store. I think John Sullivan brings up a valid concern. Also, you shouldn't conflate the issue with choice: the FSF and RMS, to my knowledge, have never advocated choice. Having the freedom to use your device the way you want is a separate concern from choosing which device to use.
  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:34AM (#30933752)
    It is the computer illiterates that get fucked by these thing not the informed. Apple doesn't come with a 'this is a trap' label on it. So many unsuspecting users buy an apple product and then shortly after start getting pulled into the costly trap. One apple product supports another sometimes they require another (not a real requirement but an enforcement), other times they outright install more apple products on their own. Eventually if you decide that you don't want everything you own to be apple products it becomes a COSTLY extraction process as you have to replace most of the electronics you own.

    BTW Jobs originally didn't want any apps for the iphone, the app store was a middle ground, allowing 3rd parties to have an effect on the product whilst retaining total control.
  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymusing ( 1450747 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:34AM (#30933758)

    If people want a choice, they should GET a choice - use the app store, or don't. Instead, Apple's making the choice for you.

    Are you serious? Is Steve Jobs now running the government??? You do not need to buy an Apple product. I hear Google has some stuff going on in this area....

  • Oh, come on. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:35AM (#30933780)

    The iPad is not a general-purpose computing device. It cannot be compared to, nor can it show the direction of, the market for general-purpose computers. This is like saying that the segway is a major step backward in international travel because it can't fly.

    If the next version of OSX were to have similar limitations, that would be worthy of this line of criticism. Of course, the criticism would then be unnecessary, as the Mac would drop out of the PC market promptly of its own accord.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:35AM (#30933784)

    That isn't an excuse for DRM on Windows. Why does Apple get a free pass?

  • by hamburgler007 ( 1420537 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:35AM (#30933786)
    I thought she was a dude.
  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TrippTDF ( 513419 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (dnalih)> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:35AM (#30933794)
    That's why I prefer Android's approach- they have an app store, anyone can get into it, OR, you can just install packages directly from websites... they give the choice of the nice, clean easy way, OR the DIY for those that want. The Android interface might not be quite as clean as the iPhone, but it gives a world more chioce.

    Not unlike Ubuntu- you have the option of the super clean Apps installer, but there's nothing stopping the power user from doing more.
  • Misses the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Philotomy ( 1635267 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:36AM (#30933800)
    I think the complaint misses the point of the device. It's not supposed to be a full-blown personal computer. It's supposed to be an iPod for documents (including web pages and especially books -- note that bookstore), doing for them what the iPod did for music: let me carry it around and interact with it in my easy chair or my bed or on a park bench.
  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zordak ( 123132 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:37AM (#30933824) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't even Ubuntu try to mimic this in some respects with its downloader?

    Do you honestly believe that having a repository where people can easily get most of the stuff they want is the same thing as having a single app store that is the only place your computer will let you get stuff from? I don't think anybody would be complaining if Apple had a nice, tidy app store, but still let people run arbitrary code on their stuff.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:39AM (#30933858) Homepage

    Frankly with the amount of bullshit publicity this (somewhat underwhelming) device has had so far, I'm happy for a worthwhile organisation like the FSF to hijack a little for it's cause.

    But this 'worthwhile organisation (sic)' comes across as a bunch of wingnuts. The principles behind the FSF are well and good, but no one (except perhaps RMS) would consider them applicable to every computing device under the sun. The iPad is a consumer device, designed around the needs and (lack of) abilities of the general public. It's really a toy. It is a reflection of what's loopy in this country that it received so much publicity, but what the hell. In a world of 'reality' shows, American Idol, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin and a host of other barometers of popular culture, it's just one more weird little thing.

    The iPad has little to do with the computing world at large, despite the hype and the rhetoric and not really a target for Free and Open Software. Yeah, the FSF saw some potential free publicity but I rather don't think anyone was listening.

  • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:39AM (#30933866) Homepage

    over their computers. Go ahead. Give it to them. Explain that they need to right-click on the icon and choose "Run as Administrator," or that they need to run spyware scans, or virus scans, or allow the machine to install updates, or use Browser X instead of Browser Y, or manage a filesystem in a clean and organized way. What do they say? Come on, we've all heard it.

    "Can't you fix it so that I don't have to worry about that?"
    "Why doesn't the computer just do that for me?"
    "Why do I have to do that? I never had to do that before."
    "Do I really have to worry about this stuff?"
    "Just make it work, I don't care how, and I don't want to know."
    "I'll just buy a new computer."

    They DO NOT WANT to perform maintenance, worry about security, track down tools, learn to use said tools, administer storage or filesystems, etc. Given the choice between technology that slides into malfunction when not administered properly (i.e. "it's broken" as far as they can tell) and no technology at all, most regular people will simply opt for "none," as in "I tried it for a while, but it was always broken or crashing or getting a virus, it sucked. I sold it and just went back to my old XYZ."

    Say what you will, but the masses are sheep and they're happy as sheep. You cannot teach them to think, vote, raise children, or use computers responsibly because they DO NOT WANT TO BE THE SHEPHERD, only the sheep. And there will always be a market to sell them sheep-friendly devices.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bakawolf ( 1362361 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:40AM (#30933880)

    I take it that you believe that the Ipad is just a large Ipod with additional functionality?

    It certainly seems to be.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilNTUser ( 573674 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:41AM (#30933900)

    The "just don't buy it retort" doesn't hold any water in my eyes. It's not even only misinformed consumers' benefit that's at stake. 10 years from now, do you want your Free OS being an island of its own that no one tries to be compatible with, because closed platforms represent 99% of the market?

    The other side has their advertising, and we have the FSF. Now all we need is proper awareness of real alternatives.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:42AM (#30933920)

    "[The iPad is] really a toy"

    A toy being hailed by the press as the future of computing. Sorry, dude, but the FSF hit the nail on the head here. If this toy is the future of computing, then computing is in for a bleak future.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blueZ3 ( 744446 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:43AM (#30933936) Homepage

    It partly depends on what the iPad is. I don't really think that it's a general purpose computer--though I understand why some people might think that. It's more of a Web/Entertainment appliance--like a Tivo with a browser. You don't expect to run arbitrary code on your DVR (or at least most people don't) and I don't think most people expect to do that with their phone (again, at least most people). As long as people are expecting to get an "appliance" rather than a PC, this could be successful.

  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:43AM (#30933946) Homepage Journal

    We organized actions and protests targeting iTunes music DRM outside Apple stores, and under the pressure Steve Jobs dropped DRM on music.

    Jobs was on record as opposing DRM on music long before the campaign started. It was the labels that had to be convinced to change, they were the ones responsible, not Apple. Taking credit for something you had no part in does nothing for your credibility and weakens your ability to work effectively in the future.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Betonschaar ( 178617 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:43AM (#30933948)

    Exactly. The fact that this tablet is intended to be used as an end-user consumer device that does not allow or require tinkering, or using it as if it were a PC, isn't necessarily a bad thin. Who cares if you're locked down to the apps in the app store, if the app store has exactly the apps you need, and if said apps are a whole lot better than some random you can download from the internet and install yourself.

    Two things I don't get about all the whining about the iPad (I understand much of the other whining but not these two things)

    1 - Why is it so hard to see that the iPad is NOT a computer in tablet format? Not everything with a CPU, RAM, some storage and a screen should have to be like a 'real' computer that uses a 'real' os that you can slap 'real' apps on, in fact, people don't even WANT a PC in tablet format, since it sucks using a PC in tablet format. There's a reason all the PC-like tablets failed: no-one wants to have one.
    2 - Why don't the FSF people go as crazy over mobile phones, satnavs, media players, e-readers, handheld consoles, or whatever computerized device that runs proprietary stuff to accomplish some task that people find a need for, as they go crazy over this iPad. How is a device like the iPad a 'step back in computing' if you view it as a device that allows all these specialized devices to be merged into 1? The thing is simply applying existing technology to create a kind of device that people may or may not find useful, and not the next step in the evolution of computing.

    The FSF need to have their heads checked if they really can't look beyond the fact that in theory you might be able to run all-free, all-open software on something like an iPad, and if they really believe the world would be better of if no-one would create devices like the iPad.

    In the end people will buy and use products they like, and this is what drives development of new products. People don't buy what the FSF decides to be good or bad for the development of computing.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:44AM (#30933960) Homepage

    Microsoft would KILL to do this. Honestly, they would literally go out and kill puppies, kittens and baby seals all day long if it would allow them to control everything you install.

    If apple get's away with it, you know they will follow in their footsteps.

  • by motorcyclemaintain ( 1674658 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:46AM (#30934006)
    "What is clear, is that the rise of the App Store revokes control of the computer from the user."

    Wrong. It may "revoke control" from the power user. But, the general public will view the iPad, like the iPod, as a simpler, more friendly way to get things done. It gives them control.

    The general public doesn't care about our App Store hang ups, or cries of "DRM". Previously, the general public has struggled to install and play movies / apps / music at all, now they can tap a finger and it's there. Did these users prefer the pre-App Store world, where you had to have specialist knowledge to access this media? I doubt it. They couldn't access that world at all.

    Here on Slashdot, we see the iPad bringing "DRM", and view it as a "huge step backwards". However, the general public sees the iPad as easy access to movies and apps, simple, straightforward accessible computing. The general public see it as a huge step forwards.

    Our loss of control, as geeks, is most people's gain. Don't you think that complex media should be accessible to the general public, quickly and easily? We cry DRM at Apple, but do we really mean that we just don't want the general public in our clubhouse? What's wrong with the iPad and the "consumer mainstream" derided in the story? Not everyone wants to pop the bonnet and fiddle with the engine. In fact, hardly anyone does.

    The story is seriously blinkered.
  • by pydev ( 1683904 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:49AM (#30934064)

    Buying an Apple and expecting freedom is like

    OS X is not locked down. This is something that started with the iPhone.

    If you want open and free, go somewhere else and take your chances.

    I will. iPad may not be useful in itself, and it is certainly not the first, but all of Apple's marketing dollars may finally get this market segment to take off.

  • by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:50AM (#30934098) Journal

    Bullshit. How many iPhone clones have hit the market in the last 2 years? The hardware is virtually identical.

    It's not about the hardware, it's about the software. And if you want the software, you've got to drink the Kool-aid, because as soon as you start screwing with the software, it just doesn't work as well.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AndrewNeo ( 979708 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:51AM (#30934124) Homepage

    I take it that you believe that the Ipad is just a large Ipod with additional functionality?

    It is. Same OS, same type of processor (ARM), same application development environment, same application set, same store restrictions. How is this not a bigger iPod Touch?

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:52AM (#30934132) Journal

    You would have far less problems with speeding if all cars just work and had a speed limiter installed that just worked.

    There would be less theft if every car was bio-keyed to the person and every person tracked...

    Do I need to go on?

    Why are the privacy nutcases always so ready to imagine the most terrible wrongs about potential abuse of power by the government, but think it is super okay to give all control to a corporation?

    Apple has severe intrest in controlling how people consume their media and their hardware is reflecting this, making it harder and harder to install alternative methods. You can of course believe they won't abuse this, you can but you would be a silly person.

    I really don't know if your kind can ever learn, there have been enough example shown that when companies get to comfortable with themselves, it is bad for their customers. Car companies that only produce the cars they want to make, not the ones they want, tell me, how is detroit doing? MS stopping development on IE because it had won, so why continue to invest? Apple buying up competing software and then stopping development.

    Google is doing it as well, support h264, so that no competing video service can be started easily since they can't afford the millions in licensing costs.

    It is all very subtle and long term, but you only got to be old enough to remember the old unixes to know how right the FSF is.

    And the fact that you claim Ubuntu does the same... sudo -i [your own password] is all you need to do to have total control. One command and you can change everything and access everything...

    If you want to see why the FSF is right, install IE6 as your main and only browser. If you last for less then a day, donate some money to the FSF.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnu p . net> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:52AM (#30934134) Homepage

    Here's a similar opinion from a source that's less Free Software oriented [].

    The danger is that we sleepwalk into a world where cabals of corporations control not only the mainstream devices and the software on them, but also the entire ecosystem of online services around them.

    Every time Apple decides to close something off - by insisting on approving apps, by not giving you a [general purpose] USB port, etc., and people go for it anyway, because it's slick and nice to use, we get used to a little bit less openness.

    People don't miss openness until it's too late. Then it's suddenly "What do you *mean* I can only use printers that are Apple certified?". "I've bought all these e-books, and now the only place I can read them is on Apple hardware?" etc.

    I know, I know: slippery slope fallacy. But it's a slope we *will* slide down, without a critical mass of openness-aware customers insisting on some openness in their tools.

  • by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:52AM (#30934148)

    This is exactly what I don't get.

    The iPod was a personal music and later a video and limited "game/app" device. The latter obviously more of a "can do" versus "is made for".

    The iPhone was primarily a phone with PDA functionality and an iPod built in. Feels like either an iPod with phone functionality or an iPhone with iPod functionality. Not sure which, but it was replacing something you already carried in your pocket. Ok, I get the need.

    The iPad.

    Ok, it can't make calls.
    It's an unportable iPod.
    It's an eReader with a bright ass screen that will strain your eyes.
    It can do limited word/spreadsheet processing.
    It surfs the internet the way Apple says you should (no flash, IE: no Hulu, etc).
    It plays limited games so it's not going to dominate the handheld market.
    It only plays video from the apple store but the iPod et al already do that albeit on smaller screens.

    I just don't get what niche this thing is supposed to fill. Is it a crippled laptop or a huge iPod?

    And starting at $500 for the version without 3G surfing capability, which arguably is it's strongest trait, I don't see the "Well, I already had one of these in my pocket (cell phone) and this one does it better plus it does tons more (iPhone), so I must get one." argument.

    It seems to be a solution to a problem, or a replacement for a product no one needed to invent.

  • Re:Oh, come on. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:53AM (#30934170)

    The iPad is not a general-purpose computing device.

    Only because its locked down. Remember that. Only because its locked down.

    It cannot be compared to, nor can it show the direction of, the market for general-purpose computers.

    Yes, because general-purpose computers aren't arbitrarily locked down.

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:54AM (#30934182)

    I dont think the problem is as simplistic as you make it out to be. I have an iphone and I grudgingly accept its limitations because its a portable device that needs to be rock-solid and not randomly drain the battery on me, or whatever issues Apple has with multitasking.

    Ive been thinking of buying a tablet for some time and have remained somewhat open-minded about this tablet, but you cant sell me the exact same iphone model with simply a larger device. You cant tell me I cant have flash for something that will primarily be a web tablet. You cant expect people to buy flash apps turned into iphone apps for every site. You cant say "Well, its really an iphone, but its not, so when you complain just remember its an iphone sans phone." Its supposed to be a tablet computer not a super ipod touch. Perhaps they should have marketed it as an ipod for your grandpa like those giant remote controls.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by neutralstone ( 121350 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:54AM (#30934202)

    It's not defective, RMS et al: it's a CHOICE. You purport to like choice, but no one believes you anymore. Many consumers don't care, and even LIKE, the idea of being locked in to the App Store, because it introduces a significant amount of safety.

    So, apparently you think the choice is between (1) being able to download software from Apple's app store and (2) having software distributed directly by 3rd parties to users (as with desktop PCs). Why not give each user the power to decide whether they will choose only (1) or only (2) or both (1) and (2)? Part of the FSF's point is that Apple has taken away some of the user's power of choice.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by at_slashdot ( 674436 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:55AM (#30934218)

    "Doesn't even Ubuntu try to mimic this in some respects with its downloader?"

    Don't even try to bring Ubuntu into discussion, there's a clear difference between making things easy to install and locking the OS, Ubuntu can run probably any piece of software that works in any other Linux distribution, even more, you can write your own software, compile it and run it, can you do that with iPad?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:58AM (#30934262)

    These artificial limitations that Apple puts in place are completely unnecessary, and unjustifiable.

    Maybe if I use a car analogy, you'd understand it better. These days, virtually every consumer-grade vehicle has a gas tank that can be filled at virtually any gas station. If you want to buy from one station instead of another, you're perfectly free to do so. After all, there's no justifiable reason to put any limitations in place. It's your car, you should be able to fill it up however and wherever you want.

    Now suppose Ford comes out with a new, trendy car that appeals to yuppies, hipsters and homosexuals. It comes in flamboyant colors, has no controls but a steering wheel and an accelerator, and costs a fuckload more money than any other comparable car on the market.

    Ford wants to exploit these fools even more. So they create their own line of gas stations, that sell the same fuel as everywhere else, but at five times the cost. Then they change the hole in the gas tank to a star shape, so that you can't fill the car up anywhere but at their gas stations.

    Ford doesn't have a legitimate reason to do that. It's outright exploitation, facilitated by artificially-introduced limitations.

    Now, some of the smarter fools realize that they can create an adapter that lets them fill their cars up at any normal station. This is a perfectly legitimate thing to do, given that the constraints they're facing are completely artificial. But thanks to lobbying certain politicians, some car manufacturers have gotten legislation passed to make the use of such adapters illegal!

    That is exactly what we see with Apple today. The limitations they put in place are artificial, and completely unnecessary.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:00PM (#30934288)

    The reason for the app store has nothing to do with security and everything about Apple wringing every last penny out of developers by taking an arbitrary cut of their sales

    I have been telling this to people for years. I usually get modded troll for it. Even the devs do not care. They are too busy being cool to notice.

    Want to know why MS dominates today? In the 90s MS gave the devs cheap tools that worked. Apple gave the devs crap tools that cost a fortune and only sorta worked after hours of tweaking. Apple now gives good cheap tools that work. But they are still the same old apple wanting a share of your pie.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kelbear ( 870538 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:01PM (#30934330)

    There's another way to look at it:

    If Apple gets away with it, what can their competitors offer to get you to buy their version instead of Apple's?

    Apple can offer a heavily DRMed and locked down experience because they serve it up with a reputation for a highly polished overall user experience right out of the box.

    Can the competitor provide higher quality? Maybe...but they still need to get the consumer to believe that. More innovation? We wouldn't be having this conversation about Apple if it was their competitor leading the way. Lower prices? Yes, definitely, Apple's products tend to be overpriced and are quickly undercut by the competition, but the competition's price cuts hacks directly at their profit margin.

    How about a more open experience? It's a cheap way to one-up Apple, and it saves money on the overhead of running everything through an approval process. Certainly less damage to their bottom-line than engaging in a price war.

    Obviously not all companies will see it the same way, but there is incentive for at least some of them to give it a shot. Particularly if all of them drive at the locked-down approach of Apple, then there will be an underserved niche market of geeks who want to install their own stuff on it. Then some company will try to sell to that market.

  • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:02PM (#30934332) Homepage Journal

    If the iPad fails, it will still drive the rest of the industry to up their game in the tablet space. The original iPhone wasn't all that great, but look at what we have now. You might still not like the iPhone, but would Android and WebOS be where they are now without it?

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:04PM (#30934382)
    This is why free markets are so great. While there's great debate whether the iPad is good or bad, the destiny of the iPad is solely in the consumer's hands. If they don't like it, they buy something else and the iPad dies. If they love it, the iPad thrives. Just wait a year, and we will see if Apple made a good decision. All this huff about the system being locked down is irrelevant.
  • Apple keeps it simple: Here's what this does. It's elegant and does what it does very well. We don't want you screwing that up by messing around with it without our approval. If you want open and free, go somewhere else and take your chances.

    Yep yep. I've hated on Apple from the beginning, because I'm a hacker (in the take-it-apart/tinker/design/build sense) from way back and I very very much like to control all of the assets in my world. And I too was offended at the iPhone's integrated battery.


    I bought an iPhone this year. This is one asset that is so important that I just want it to WORK. I don't want to worry about viruses, or ongoing maintenance. This is my ONLY TELEPHONE LINE, and so I finally do approve of somebody keeping it locked down and pristine.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lwsimon ( 724555 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:07PM (#30934426) Homepage Journal

    Exactly. Depending on perspective, the iPad is either a great internet appliance, or a piss-poor portable PC. Apple's challenge will be to control that perspective - seeing how good they've been at that in the past, I'm going to say this product will be a success.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pudge ( 3605 ) * Works for Slashdot <slashdot@pudg[ ]et ['e.n' in gap]> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:08PM (#30934452) Homepage Journal

    And there's no chance whatsoever that this will ever happen to Mac OS X, so don't lose sleep over it.



    I can totally see Apple releasing a new mac mini with this OS because *it just works*.

    Then it won't be branded as "Mac OS X," and surely won't become the primary OS sold by Apple.

    Then putting a premium on future machines with the OSX variant.

    Only if it wants to alienate almost all of its users and developers.

    It won't happen.

  • by happyfrogcow ( 708359 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:09PM (#30934476)

    So I have to buy the hardware, then I have to buy the right to use the hardware in a way that I want to? I call BS.

    So many people are playing the "FSF is Looney" card. I fully support them in this effort to raise awareness.

  • by mdmkolbe ( 944892 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:10PM (#30934496)

    So Apple ensures that no one can pirate my app by ensuring that no one can install my app? Brilliant!

  • by tholomyes ( 610627 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:10PM (#30934526) Homepage
    So, like electric vehicles and charging stations, then?
  • by TheGreek ( 2403 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:11PM (#30934536)

    Why are the privacy nutcases always so ready to imagine the most terrible wrongs about potential abuse of power by the government, but think it is super okay to give all control to a corporation?

    Because you still retain the option of not buying the corporation's product.

  • by _LORAX_ ( 4790 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:13PM (#30934576) Homepage

    All three of you presume she is human to begin with.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:18PM (#30934662)

    The reason for the app store has nothing to do with security and everything about Apple wringing every last penny out of developers by taking an arbitrary cut of their sales and providing only limited QC and indexing that could easily be provided by any other site or service.

    And the reason that it's working is because it's fucking easy. While you GNU, FSF, & Linux Luddites are arguing over the technicalities between GPL v2 and v3 and why BSD license sucks. Or KDE vs GNOME or how you can configure every damn single thing on either, Apple has released an OS that has 0 configuration, you literally get 0 options other than what page your apps appear on, and it has become more popular than both.

    "Year of the Linux Desktop" will happen when Grandma can get a computer that 'just works'. My grandmother figured out my aunts iPhone no problem. She did never figure out OS X or Linux or Windows. Hell I can't even stand the amount of configuration options in the X window managers. Do I want this font or this font, this size or that. O, I can drag the 'start' menu over here, or over there. I'll spend 5 days figuring it out and never be convinced that it's "right".

    Nothing prevented Linux developers from releasing a phone, other than internal bickering and unresolved issues (How's that openmoko coming?).

    As soon as you introduce choice, all hell breaks loose. So say I can add any repository for apps I want. When I get my mom the 22" iPad so she can just run programs and not have to deal with an "OS" how do I tell her which repository to use? Or maybe she should install the FSF one too, that way she can use GNU/FSF/HURD/Gnome on her new device.... at which point she tries it and it completely fucks up the install. Then what? I get called.

    Jailbreaking is easy enough for a 'technical' user. If I want the iPad and I want to install what ever I want, I'll just jail break it (6 months max) and do that. I don't even want the option available to my mom or 90% of users. Because then they'll find it and use it. Then we'll have Bonzai Buddy for the iPad because some friend sent them a great link to this great repository of smiley faces.

  • by roju ( 193642 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:20PM (#30934710)

    But they want that option to be there for their expert to fix it. Same thing with cars - I have no interest whatsoever in the internal state of my car, but I would be unhappy if I had to take it to the dealership instead of my personal mechanic to keep it running smoothly.

  • by joebok ( 457904 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:20PM (#30934716) Homepage Journal

    If the "artificial limitations" are "completely unnecessary, and unjustifiable", then consumers won't buy it. In your car analogy, people can still buy Chevys and Hondas.

    I happen to agree about completely unnecessary - I suspect that Apple has a justification (they think they'll make more money), but their choice of what to make doesn't control my choice of what to buy.

    I am very disappointed in what I've read about the iPad - but on the bright side, I'm going to save a lot of money!

  • by Bemopolis ( 698691 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:21PM (#30934744)
    Wait a second, wait a second, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

    Ann Coulter's a WOMAN?!?!?
  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theJML ( 911853 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:22PM (#30934766) Homepage

    Exactly. This IS an iPod Touch on growth hormones. That makes it also good for reading publications and maybe watching video easier or surfing the net easier. It's still basically the same.

    Personally I was REALLY hoping that it'd be more of a general use Tablet PC with OSX, some usb ports and the ability to do whatever. And maybe (hopefully) someone can hack linux onto the thing and make it that way, but the way it's intended it's NOT. If it was, Apple would charge more for it. It'd be closer to the price of a 13" MBP.

    In the mean time, the iPod Touch is only made for consuming DRM'd applications, news papers, magazines, videos, etc. Sure iWork is on there too, but that's basically to widen it's a appeal a little, no different from one of the old casio PDA's that let you type your essays on it along with being a calculator/calendar/messaging thing.

    I actually think the iPad is a decent leap forward in certian respects. It'll raise tablet awareness (maybe laptop manufacturers will catch on and release some not-expensive-as-hell tablets now) for one thing. It also is another way to move the music/movie/print media into the 21st century by going digital in a controlled environment. And most importantly, when you lock things down, you can actually perform QA on them and make things operate more smoothly. (Other than the Facebook app being slow as crap, I've NEVER had an issue with my iPhone where it locked up, blue screened, core dumped, etc. Things just seem to work on there, in most cases for more than I originally intended.) That is a HUGE help to getting Joe Sixpack and Jane Wineaux into computers.

    It also, for the most part, does everything that 90% of people getting netbooks now-a-days are doing. If this had OSX on it, it'd BE a much better netbook than anyone else has on the market at this time (esp if it had a bluetooth keyboard/mouse and a few USB ports)

    Am I going to get one? Probably never (unless someone hacks Linux on there, hint, hint...). Would I consider one for my wife who isn't a Linux Admin, perhaps.

  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:24PM (#30934782)
    "The Apple of today is more 1984-ish than Microsoft ever was at the time of the aforementioned Superbowl ad."

    Aside from the IBM/Microsoft thing which others have mentioned, has anyone else noticed the interesting correlation between the Superbowl ad and Apple's logos?

    In the 80's Apple was an upstart, fighting against the big "totalitarian establishment," and the commercial showed a dark and grey world before the brightly colored Apple person ran in and smashed it. It then ended with the bright, cheery rainbow apple logo.

    Then in the late 90s, Apple switched from the bright colorful logo to a series of monochrome logos [].

    Some other company (Google?) could remake the 1984 Superbowl ad with the current Apple logo plastered all over everything (trademark issues aside) and it would still be thematically appropriate color-wise. Obviously the FSF would argue that it would still be thematically appropriate in other senses as well.
  • by samalex ( 903718 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:24PM (#30934794)
    The iPad is as much of a computer as the AppleTV is... it's just an appliance that lets you get or view content through the small window controlled by Apple. I like it and would get one for a few tasks, but it wouldn't replace my laptop, cell phone, or anything else. It could replace a GPS with Google Maps and I like being able to play videos for the kiddos in the car. It may also be nice to have in the kitchen to look-up recipes or to view weather or our daily calendar. And I think it would make an awesome eBook reader, but that's it... I wouldn't use it to do my budget, or pay my bills, or do anything productive. And with no Flash support or Hulu or Netflix, it's very limiting. If this thing was a full blown computer with OSX or something that would allow installing other operating systems like Linux, that'd be different, but for now it's nothing more than a simple appliance for doing simple things... no more and no less.
  • by gyrogeerloose ( 849181 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:25PM (#30934800) Journal

    Personally, I don't see the benefit of such a device - - i must not be the target demographic.

    Bingo--very few of us here on Slashdot are the in the target demographic for this device. We all want something we can play with, hack, turn into a toaster or whatever we choose to do with it. The thing we tend to lose sight of is this: the vast majority of computer users out there don't give a fuck about that! They want something that they can pick up and use without worrying about the nuts and bolts behind it and that's what Apple offers. The iPad is no more a general purpose computer than an iPod is; in fact, like an iPod, it's an appliance for viewing various sorts of media in a easy-to-use way and that's all a lot of people want. In fact, if I hadn't already given my wife my old MacBook, it would be the perfect device for her since all she does with her laptop is surf the Web, send an occasional e-mail and view stuff on YouTube--all things the iPad will no doubt excel at doing.

    Apple isn't going to sell many iPads to people like us but I'll bet they'll sell a lot of them to people like my wife.

  • by dzfoo ( 772245 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:25PM (#30934812)

    >> Why are the privacy nutcases always so ready to imagine the most terrible wrongs about potential abuse of power by the government, but think it is super okay to give all control to a corporation?

    Because an abusive or tyrannical government will force you to abide by its rules; and often times will require you to take action against your will. On the other hand a corporation offering consumer electronic devices hardly has such power. They can merely control the devices you buy from them.

    Let's face it, owning an iPhone, iPod, or an iPad is a luxury, not a requirement; they are hardly items of first necessity. Have some perspective.

    If the goverment starts mandating everyone to purchase and use an iPad for normal civic activity, then the lock-in becomes a threat--but that wouldn't be because of Apple per se.


  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by delinear ( 991444 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:30PM (#30934906)
    So why have the restriction at all if all it adds is inconvenience to customers?
  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:30PM (#30934908)

    I don't think many of these people are buying the "car", but you see, the way consumer feedback works, is that when people have a specific reason for not buying a product that they otherwise might want, they're going to make it very clear to the manufacturer and others just WHY they're not buying it so that hopefully their complaints, along with the complaints of others, will lead to a change.

    This whole "just don't buy it" thing is getting ridiculous. What you're basically teaching the next generation to do is to accept whatever the corporate overlords give them, or go to a corner and shutup. Don't dare try to influence any of the actions of a corporation - you are a mere peon and should just accept that the only thing that is to flow from you is cash or nothing; not ideas, creativity, or ESPECIALLY complaints.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Remus Shepherd ( 32833 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:31PM (#30934930) Homepage

    The problem is when the consumer doesn't have full information.

    For instance, I bought an iPod touch primarily as a book reader (I wanted one that could also play music). I did a lot of research, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. To my surprise, one of the most important functions I wanted in a book reader was not there -- I could not import my own documents. So it's still useful, but it's not exactly what I want.

    That's the feature on the iPad I want to hear about, and nobody's talking about it. If it can't load and read my own documents, or docs I download from the web, then it's not useful to me. No 'official' advertising will answer that question yay or nay. I'm going to have to hope that some blogger answers it for me, or I'm going to have to get a chance to try the thing out for myself.

    Choice is great if the consumers are properly informed. Without an informed consumer, choice can be manipulated to the consumer's detriment.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnu p . net> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:34PM (#30935020) Homepage

    "Can't you fix it so that I don't have to worry about that?"

    "Sorry, I can't fix anything. It's locked down to just do what it does."

    "Why doesn't the computer just do that for me?"

    "It does what the manufacturer made it do, we can't do a damn thing about it"

    "Just make it work, I don't care how, and I don't want to know."

    "It's a closed system. It just does what it does"

    See how those answers could be different for a reasonably open system? (not necessarily Open Source -- even Windows and OSX are open enough to improve those answers).

  • by M. Baranczak ( 726671 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:34PM (#30935022)

    Who's saying you don't have a choice?

    By publicly complaining about this shit, the FSF is providing a valuable service. If no one complains, the companies will think that users are OK with it, and everyone will start doing it. Maybe they'll add even more restrictions.

  • Re:Amen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theTechnophile ( 824578 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:41PM (#30935170) Homepage Journal
    Are you joking? Who do you think wants to run Photoshop on a slow ARM processor with a low-res uncalibrated screen and no useful input devices? How are you going to do audio work on a device whose primary audio input is the iTunes Store? You're going to do video production on something that has no way of getting video into it? Don't even think about writing your own webpages on the onscreen keyboard. It's obvious that the iPad is meant for consumption because it has no input devices meant for creation.
  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:41PM (#30935174) Homepage
    Calling the iPad "the future of computing" is impressively hyperbolic. Even if NPR and Techcrunch think so. It is pitched an 'information consuming device' and there are many, many other functions in the general field of computing that are more important than splotting out HTML and javascript.

    Yes, locked down consumer level devices WILL be the future for mass market things like the iPhone and iPad. Mass market consumers haven't the time, energy, desire or wit to maintain an general purpose Internet connected device safely and securely (see Microsoft Windows). No, Steve isn't catering to you or me or anyone that wants a 'tablet computer' he is pitching this device to people that don't care that Apple is dropping the word computer from their moniker.

    There are lots of other companies out there that will try to sell you something similar but perhaps in a different package, a more open package, one that can be twiddled with endlessly. That's the future. One that is much more complicated than the magic pixie dust and unicorn rainbow world of Apple.
  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:45PM (#30935262) Homepage

    First off, it is based on iPhone OS 3.2. What the hell?!?!??! So you're telling me I'm going to spend at minimum $500 on a device that is just as locked down as an iPod Touch or iPhone? I'm going to have to hack the damn thing just so I can run an unapproved application? Great. Thanks for that, Apple.

    Secondly, it is completely devoid of external ports (except when using dongles hooked up to the 30-pin connector...huzzah for accessories :/), no flash support, no multitasking (oh great, so I can't have AIM and Safari open at the same time? Epic Fail.) just seems to be an extremely restricted device considering the $500 entry price.

    Third, what exactly are you getting for that price? Let's look at the fully loaded 64 gig/3G-enabled version. For roughly $800, you are buying a locked-down device with zero expansion options, zero USB ports or flash card readers, and no way to upgrade. For $800 you could put together a full-blown gaming computer or buy a REALLY nice laptop...hell, you could even buy a used tablet convertible and get the benefits of a tablet AND a laptop! But no, with Apple you get a locked down non-widescreen non-expandable device.

    Fourth (and this isn't that big of a deal, but it is still a missed opportunity) Apple should have included a stylus with the system. Think about the people that use Wacom tablets, like the Penny Arcade guys or countless other digital graphic artists/designers. If Apple had included a stylus and well-designed software, this thing could be used as a portable Wacom tablet. Digital artists would have MURDERED each other for a chance to buy this thing had they included a stylus. Nope, that's a whole 'nother market Apple shunned with this thing.

    Honestly, my biggest issue with it is the fact that it uses the iPhone operating system. By keeping it locked down like that, they have severely limited the appeal of this thing...they should have either ported over OSX (which would work GREAT on a tablet with minimal interface changes) or just built a new operating system from the ground up. But no, they decided to put on a velvet glove and slap the shit out of their customers...and they'll buy it! They are so focused on the fact that the hand has a velvet glove they are ignoring the fact that they are being slapped by it!

    Basically, this COULD have been an amazing device...but regardless of what they did right, Apple made some unbelievably stupid decisions that puts it firmly in the "what's the point" category for me.

    It is also worth mentioning that if this tablet had been announced with all the same features (both missing and included), but it had a Microsoft or Google logo instead of an Apple logo, people would be treating it like the plague. Fanboyism is a terrible disease.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:45PM (#30935270)

    I think thats the key here, the iPad is an appliance, not a personal computer. Its a "computer" for people that suck at computers, and a toy for people that don't.

    For the road warrior that has to lug some crappy old locked-down thinkpad around, i'm sure its a godsend; as well as for people like my mom that only really need a device that can do some light web browsing and check e-mail.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:46PM (#30935284)

    I'm pretty sure that not buying a product is a strong and clear signal to a corporation that their product sucks. If the corporation is smart, it will listen to the signal and try something else.

    Not buying the product means SOMETHING caused me to not lay down that money. It could have been priced too high. It might not have been fast enough. It might not have run Windows. It might not have had an integrated keyboard, webcam, or removable battery. The 3G connectivity might not have been compatible with my preferred carrier. It might have exercised too much control as to what software I can run.

    If the corporation is smart, they want some level of feedback from the people who didn't buy it so that they know just where the hell they went wrong. Otherwise the next generation could very well be "iPad - now with a floppy drive!!!!!" and they're still left scratching their heads as to why certain people aren't on board.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnu p . net> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:48PM (#30935350) Homepage

    The issue is that if a sufficient number of people do buy the "closed" cars, "open" cars become commercially unviable.

    I think this has actually happened to an extent. Cars come with sealed engines such that only authorised mechanics can work with them. That gives the car manufacturer an effective monopoly on parts and labour -- via franchises.

    Anticipated profits from this channel allow these manufacturers to push the retail price of the car down. Now a user-servicable car is more expensive than a non-user-servicable car. Fewer people buy the more expensive car. A positive feedback loop is established.

    Now the manufacturers are free to push up the cost of parts and of service franchises, which is bad for the consumer. Due to the closed nature of the cars, you can't get any old grease monkey to fix your car for cheap.

    We're not there yet for all components of a car, but I think it's getting pretty close for some core components.

    The analogy to computers is pretty easy to make.

  • Re:Amen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:49PM (#30935366)

    The hacker bent over his keyboard is a boon to society while the couch potato leaning waayy back is a drain.

    With no-one to consume the hacker's output, there is no reason for it to exist, and thus there is no boon.

    Never forget that supply and demand are linked; without one, the other is worthless.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:50PM (#30935394)

    This whole "just don't buy it" thing is getting ridiculous. What you're basically teaching the next generation to do is to accept whatever the corporate overlords give them, or go to a corner and shutup.

    I like how you gloss over that whole middle ground where, if you see a need for a device or other product that the market hasn't filled, you go into business and make a shitload of money filling that need.

    These are the dirty little secrets that none of the "open and free" advocates want to admit to:
    1) The "freedom" you're spouting off about is only valuable to a consumer if they have the technical expertise to take advantage of it. 90+% of people do not, and of the maybe 10% who do, a vanishingly small number of them actually care to spend their days hacking devices that already work.
    2) You're lazy. If there was truly a vast demand for a "free" version of this product, you'd go into business and make a mint for yourself producing it. But you know in your hearts that what you're demanding is for - at best - a small niche / hobbyist market, so you take the safe route and bitch about Apple instead.

  • by rliden ( 1473185 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:50PM (#30935406)

    I would think Amazon dropping DRM first and selling MP3s at a very competitive price had a lot more to do with dropping that than EFF and FSFs publicity campaigns. I don't mean to discredit their work against DRM and I'm sure it was an influence. I just credit Amazon and business competition a bit more. That perspective could be my bias though. My initial experience with iTuens was horrible. It wasn't until I tried Amazon's MP3 store that I started buying digital music again.

  • by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:54PM (#30935492) Homepage

    Attacking Apple's products is one thing. Why not create your own open source tablet to compete, and let the marketplace decide?

    Because that's not the purpose of the FSF. If the only way to warn the public about a Potential Harmful Thing is to create your own multinational corporation with the engineering power to create open competition, that's somewhat going to limit the informed debate...

    Watchdog organisation: "Look, this make of washing machine regularly blows up and kills anyone nearby"
    Company's apologist: "People are buying it, so obviously the market is deciding! Create your own non-explosive type and sell it"

    Sometimes people don't know all the consequences of the purchase they make, that's what the FSF are trying to do. Guess what, sometimes the market gets it wrong...

    Separately from the locked-down issue, do you *honestly* think that people are not going to be a bit surprised at some of the limitations of the device? No Flash therefore no Vimeo, Hulu and lots of websites will be hamstrung? It looks like a laptop without the physical keyboard, people are going to expect similar functionality.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnu p . net> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:54PM (#30935496) Homepage

    You wont to know why EVERY major business uses PCs?

    Because they went with the conventional choice decades ago, and now migrating would be a huge expense.

    Because whoever made the choice knows Windows and nothing else.

    (Note: This is not an argument for using Macs or iPads instead)

  • Re:Amen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:54PM (#30935502) Journal

    Consuming media is an important part of furthering ones own creative endeavors. Not to mention that there's nothing wrong with relaxing and watching movies from time to time even if I never have any intention of creating my own film.

    Nobody in their right mind is ever going to seriously hack code on a tablet. It's not the right tool for the job. Excuse me if I can't get upset at Apple for recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of a particular form factor and designing around them.

  • by quadelirus ( 694946 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:54PM (#30935514)
    The "just don't buy it" thing is precisely HOW you influence the actions of a corporation. If Apple can't sell these things because of the closed-ness, it will change overnight. If 90% of consumers don't care and buy it anyway, then the vocal 10% that do care will just be ignored. The "just don't buy it" thing is far from ridiculous. It is precisely how you vote in the corporate world--with your dollars. If you buy it, then you are endorsing the product and encouraging the company to keep doing what they are doing. My guess with this iPad, however, is that like the iPhone many people simply don't care about the open/closed debate and will buy it anyway. That or they are happy that unlike Android, there aren't known malicious apps being downloaded in the app store.

    And I'm not saying I like the closed system. I'm an app dev and I would much prefer to skip the annoying approval process, but the bottom line is that consumers don't care or they really wouldn't have bought it.
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:56PM (#30935554) Homepage

    The iPad is the future - computing as we know it is coming to an end. We, the geeks, the hackers, the programmers - are the minority.

    We all thought DRM was going to come-in through TPM modules in the BIOS. We thought AMD and Intel would begrudgingly add support under pressure of the RIAA. We thought Windows would add support and that Linux would be the last bastion of free computing left. But it isn't going to happen that way. It's coming from a totally different angle.

    What will happen is that various specialized devices, that are 100% DRM encumbered from the start, will slowly replace the PC until it becomes an expensive specialized device for programmers.

    First the iPhone comes out. Then the iPad. The all the iPhone and iPad clones - until these devices become ubiquitous. That covers internet, document editing, email, and limited gaming. That's maybe 50% of what the average Joe uses a computer for. Major gaming and social networking can be done on XBOX/Playstation/Wii - also 100% DRM devices. Then those devices will handle your movies, your TV watching, and your DVD/Blu-ray/DRM'd streaming video. Now we are at... 75%? Eventually, 90% of what computers do will be done more easily on some specialized DRM'd device. The idea of the infinitely configurable totally hackable PC will die away. Most consumers won't know the difference.

    So how do we break this? Maybe come-up with some super-cool thing you can do on a computer that nobody thought of yet... something that can't be done on these devices? Maybe Android is the answer? I dunno. But I see the tidal wave coming...

  • by MasterOfGoingFaster ( 922862 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:58PM (#30935584) Homepage

    The iPad is not a computer - it is an information appliance.

    Sure it has computer components, but it is not meant to be a general-purpose computer. It is a sealed-box with tightly controlled access to tools and data. It is aimed at the same crowd that buys a TV and pays for a cable connection. They can only choose what is being offered to them.

    This has been Job's dream since before the first Mac, when Jeff Raskin convinced him that computers were too hard for non-technical people to use. The smart thing about this design is (like a TV) it just works. Most people will accept the limitations, because too much freedom may not be a good thing. These are the same people who run as admin on a Windows PC, and click on any little thing that pops up. Their "freedom" turns their PC into brick in short order. So a limited device that just works is fine for them.

    I'll wait for the more open clones to appear and do what I want. Apple is rightly aimed at the crowd that is willing to cash for the comfort of not thinking. The thinkers/doers will wait for something more open. This is not a product meant for us.

  • Home use (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:00PM (#30935630)

    I'm a Microsoft Support person at work and Linux / open source guy in my spare at work.

    I had both Microsoft and Linux (type) device at home for years. I bought a Mac.. Now when I go home after work I have a life I use the mac to surf the web, reply to a few emails but that is it. This is all most home users need. It always works, it doesn't do much and it is kind of pricey.

    I'll be buying one of these to replace my mini-hp running linux that I use on the bus or from travel. Because it isn't for programming, writting essays.. it is for what 99% of people do.. surf the web, read some mail and look at the odd credit card required site.

  • by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:00PM (#30935648)

    If the "artificial limitations" are "completely unnecessary, and unjustifiable", then consumers won't buy it. In your car analogy, people can still buy Chevys and Hondas.

    The problem becomes when Chevrolet and Honda see that Ford is making more money in a month than they make in a year and decide the same business model is good for them, too.

    Next, they'll get even more lawmakers to agree with them that just because all the big car companies are doing the same thing and have a single industry lobbying organization, it's not collusion or price fixing. As a matter of fact, it'd be just like the music recording industry, and we all know they aren't doing anything to hurt consumers.

  • by bkr1_2k ( 237627 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:01PM (#30935664)

    Where are these sealed engines that only authorized mechanics can work with that you're talking about? I know dealers imply such bs when you buy, but there is no such warranty that can be voided that way legally. Effectively, there are many things that are more difficult to do at home, now, but they can still be done.

    Now, what you're real point is still makes good sense. If enough people buy "closed" options that it puts the "open" option in the dark then eventually there will be no "open" option because it simply won't give a good enough return on investment for the manufacturer.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lwsimon ( 724555 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:02PM (#30935680) Homepage Journal

    Beck has his moments of incredulity, but a good portion of what he has to say is just basic conservatism. Olberman, on the other hand, just seems to mock and take cheap shots at his opposition.

    You inability to see that they are both approximately the same distance from center tells me that you must lean quite far to the left yourself.

    As for Palin "taking the spotlight" from Obama --- well, that's because the spotlight was on Obama by default.

    I'm sure you surmise much from my sig, but the fact is, I have just about equal hate for both parties. Democrats have no right to tax me to pay for someone else's healthcare or to regulate my exhalations, and Republicans have no right to tax me to bail out banks, or to fund the development of other countries.

    Hell, the "religious right" is as foreign to me as it is to you, I assure you. I live in a "dry" county, where liquor sales are illegal. I fight with those nutjobs on a regular basis over the ideas of Liberty and individual rights.

  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:02PM (#30935682) Homepage Journal

    So basically, you're part of the problem. You've somehow swallowed the line that BlackBerry, Android and Symbian phones are a danger to the network because they can run software that hasn't been approved by a single vendor.

  • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:10PM (#30935852) Journal

    It fits a perfect spot for me. But I think my priorities are a little bit different than yours. The 3G is irrelevant to me, because I see this as something that I'd just use around the house, where I've got WiFi. I wouldn't be carrying this around with me everywhere like I do my iPhone. I hardly ever even take my laptop out of the house.

    I like to fart around on the internet while I sit on the couch in my living room and watch TV with my wife. I can currently do that on my 17" MacBook, which I love, but which often a pain in the ass to deal with while chilling on the couch. It's a little heavier than I like, every time I move or get up I need to carefully set it down, I generally need to find a big hardcover book or something to slip under it because the heat it produces is uncomfortable, and the battery has a couple years on it and can't make it through a full football game on a single charge (I'd rather not have to deal with moving the power cord).

    I can also sit on the couch and browse the web on my iphone, which mostly solves the above problems, but with the downside of a tiny screen that requires lots and lots of constant zooming in and out and panning around and that gets aggravating. The other primary home use of my iphone is us lying in bed and watching stupid youtube videos before we fall asleep. Oh, and also I use while I'm camping out on the toilet taking care of business.

    Anyways, my point is that I can come up with a bunch of things that I use my iphone for that I think the ipad could do better. And at least one use for my laptop that the ipad would do better. Now I'm not sure that it does those things so much better that it's worth $500, but if prices come down a little I could see it becoming more appealing to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:12PM (#30935890)

    Why would you rely on an extremely complex, non-replaceable-battery, history-of-spotty/unreliable-service gadget for your ONLY phone line. I assume you don't conduct a lot of important business by phone.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:12PM (#30935920)

    Sure, tell the manufacture.

    Slashdot is not the manufacture of the car or the iPad, so bitching here isn't doing anything other than trolling.

    My father used to sit on the couch and whine, bitch and moan about politicians, but never once did he leave the house to tell anyone outside of it how he felt.

    His bitching was useless and annoying to those around him, just like the posts to this effect here.

    With a slight difference, if no one buys a product, it won't stick around and other ideas will be needed to stay in business.

    Considering the way iPhone/iPod sales go ... I'd say that the complaints here are from such a tiny group that no one gives a flying fuck.

    The irony is that this isn't even new to the iPhone. It wasn't the first iPod with apps you know?

  • by __aaaaxm1522 ( 121860 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:14PM (#30935950)

    Ah, but:

    I'm the family mechanic. For some reason my family is full of lazy bastards who can't figure out how to pump gas into their car. It's a simple process, but they just can't be bothered to do it themselves. I've spent *years* trying to teach them, but they always have some excuse or another as to why they can't do it themselves.

    Now they discover that the Ford gas stations are all full-serve, while every other gas station has gone self-serve. I have two options:

    1. I tell my family members to buy the non-Ford cars. I give them instructions on how to pump gas. I write it on a little post-it note and stick it to their dashboard. But invariably, several times a week, they call me from the gas station and ask how to turn on the pump, or where the gas tank is, or something similar. And I know that I'll have to drive other there in my non-Ford vehicle and pump it for them.


    2. I tell my family members to pay a bit more money and get the Ford. Sure, they can only buy gas from Ford itself but they're OK with that. They like having it done for them because they just aren't into cars like I am. Sure, they like driving around and getting from A to B - but they *really don't care* how they got there, or if their Ford is missing some of the features of my non-Ford. They're just happy to get to their destination without breaking down.

    You know what else? If they go with option #2, then I get to enjoy my long non-Ford drives uninterrupted. I discover that they just don't call me for car advice as much. When they do call, it's because they actually want to talk to *me*, and not for support.

    After a few years of this, I really begin to appreciate Ford for that they offer, and for freeing up my time.

    Does that help you to understand it better?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:15PM (#30935978)

    This article, and several posts here, seem very over-dramatic.

    It's a $500 gadget. Most of us have electronics in this price range in several different rooms and in our offices.

    Apple created this product and it is what it is. Why is the author freaking out about it? You can still use a laptop, a Mac with OSX, Windows, Linux, etc. No one is shoving this new product down the author's throat.

    This is not a step backward on anything. WTF is he being so dramatic? Don't buy one and get on with your life. Apple has customers who are going to shit themselves and go buy one as soon as possible. That sounds like good business to me.

    Maybe the author should compare Apple stock to other companies during the recession. They are pretty good at selling shit. Apple customers are extremely loyal and many will love this new product for the exact reasons you hate it. For Apple and Apple customers this is a step forward.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frogzilla ( 1229188 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:15PM (#30935986)

    I think toy is probably better replaced with a word like appliance. There are many people who want to access content on the internet but struggle with general purpose computers. They want a TV. TVs have complex hardware inside them. They use complex communication protocols. All of this is hidden, as it should be for most people, from the users. In this sense the iPad is a toy with serious internals. I think it is likely to be successful and it probably is the future of computing. Eventually we will have single use devices like this scattered around our homes and workplaces. Each device limited in what it can do but with mutable, simple interfaces. There will always be a need for other types of computers but most people won't use them. Most people don't want them. I'm certainly not the first to believe this to be the case.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:29PM (#30936280)

    "By keeping it locked down like that, they have severely limited the appeal of this thing"

    to an insignificant number of customers.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:31PM (#30936296) Journal

    One of the things I love about Linux is a central repository for software, being able to find all software updates in one place, and having one simple way to install and remove apps.

    The App Store is great in this regard. The issue isn't that the App Store restricts the user, but rather the App Store restricts the developer.

    Actually, yes, it does restrict the user as well. While Linux distros have a "central repository", you're still free, as a user, to 1) use third-party repositories, and 2) install software without going through a repository. If at least one of those was supported by iPad (and iPhone, etc), it wouldn't have been an issue. Indeed, it's precisely what Android does - one "official" marketplace, but you can skip it altogether if you know how to get what you want otherwise.

  • by dogmatixpsych ( 786818 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:36PM (#30936378) Journal
    I unfortunately missed reading anything about what came out at CES due to my schedule at the time so I cannot really comment on the other tablets. I'm sure many of them are great and maybe even better than the iPad. The main bonus with the iPad is exactly what you noted - the app store.

    I know many do not like the 'locked-down' nature of the app store and the other limitations of the iPhone/iPad OS but the App store is established and very functional. There is a lot of junk on it but there are also many great and useful apps too (I'm just thinking about what I have on my iPod Touch). Many of the iPhone apps would be even more useful if the screen was larger, which it is on the iPad.

    The overall UI of the iPad is also likely more polished than anything that was announced at CES. I'm not saying the other tablets have bad UIs (although some probably do) or that the iPad's UI is perfect, but it will be polished and useful (because the iPhone OS already is).

    The integration with the App Store (and book store) is extremely important. That is how the iPod became dominant. Other players didn't have UIs that were quite as good (many were really good, they just weren't quite as good) as the iPod's but more importantly, they did not have the tight integration with a music store that had good prices. I know many people complained about the $.99 price for songs but the ease of use of the store was big and $.99 isn't very much money (until you buy lots of songs!).

    The other slates that were announced were probably really cool and useful. However, I already have some investment in Apple's App Store because I have an iPod Touch. I use iTunes for my music (although I usually purchase from Amazon's store) and have a MacBook. I admit, I am a fan of Apple's products (most of them anyway) but much of that is because I've used other computers and OSes and MP3 players but prefer Apple's. Much of that is due to OS X, actually. I spend a lot of time in the CLI and having a bash shell with the nice but powerful UI of OS X seals the deal. I've tried many flavors of Linux but in some ways they are too flexible for me. Many times they do not 'just work' either, while OS X for the most part does (I know the reasons for that but that's a different discussion).

    One last comment. We recently got some new iMacs in our neuroimaging lab. Some of the undergrads in the lab had never used a Mac before (at least not since elementary school). Just yesterday two of them sat down at the computers, used them for a minute or two and were completely sold on them. They enjoyed using the computers instead of just used them. That's what keeps me tied to things Apple - I enjoy using OS X and my iPod. I can't say the same thing for Windows (any of the releases) or even many distros of Linux (there are many things about Linux I enjoy but I never get the same sense of enjoyment as I receive from using OS X).

    Am I affected by Steve Jobs' halo? Of course I am. Am I biased towards Apple? Yes, but that bias comes from experience. I'll consider some of the other tablet devices but they would have to have some very compelling features for me to purchase one instead of an iPad.
  • by brianosaurus ( 48471 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:46PM (#30936588) Homepage

    It still works, just slower. There is always alternative product.

    I'm not quite ready to dump my iPhone over this, but I won't be buying an iPad. I can accept these limitations on my mobile phone, since I mostly just use the stock set of apps anyway. If these sorts of limits start showing up in MacOSX, then I'll "upgrade" my MacBook Pro (and my 3 other Macs) to linux instead of the next great feline. That's not a huge ding to Apple, but once I'm off their OS, I'll stop buying their hardware. I'll stop suggesting it to my family and friends.

  • by illumnatLA ( 820383 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:50PM (#30936662) Homepage
    Personally, I contend that it's wrong to look at the iPad as a computer. That's not the intention of the product. It is an appliance much as a washing machine, coffee maker, or toaster. It's designed to do some specific things and do it well just as the previously mentioned examples hopefully do their respective functions well.

    An appliance such as a coffee maker isn't designed to be hacked into. It's designed to be functional and simple for the average consumer to use. This is what the iPad is.

    OS X will continue for its market base, the user who needs the complexity of a full operating system and the iPad is perfect for your mom or grandmother to finally get on the internet, email, download books, etc. without needing a part-time geek to hand hold them through the process each time.

    (as an aside to that, my 90 year old grandmother bought a Kindle and really likes it, but needs help getting through the menu system anytime she wants to buy the next book.)

    Not everyone wants to fiddle with every little setting in an OS. I would say a majority just want to pick up the device and the device works. This is the primary reason the iPhone has done so well and is likely why the iPad will do really well.
  • The future is now (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nEoN nOoDlE ( 27594 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:56PM (#30936830) Homepage

    A couple of years ago everyone realized the computer was on it's way to becoming an appliance like your toaster or microwave, and were pretty optimistic about it. Well, the future is now... and people still complain about it. As others have stated, this isn't a general all-purpose computer, and it's not meant to be. Jobs was right when he said the netbook doesn't do anything better. It only does things smaller and, with every passing generation of the netbook, they're increasing the size of the device until it's indistinguishable from a laptop. The iPad is in practice what the original netbook was supposed to be - a device just for surfing the net, watching videos, reading books, playing games, and looking at photos. It's a useful appliance. All the Apple hate is pretty ridiculous, as with this they are progressing technology. Without the iPad, we'd see 10 more years of netbooks getting bigger, phones getting smaller, and Microsoft releasing Slate PCs as if they're new. If the iPad takes off, which it probably will, in 2 years time everybody will be scrambling to get a iPad like device out there, and enough of them will run existing OSes that you can install programs to and hack to your hearts content and you know what? They all won't compete with the iPad because people don't want freedom in computing... they want an appliance that they can rely on not to get viruses and have their kids come fix every 2 months.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:01PM (#30936908)

    Up until recently, we the 10% were the ONLY market for these devices.

    Which devices? The iPod that made Apple a household name? Mac workstations which are used widely by creatives? The iPhone which from day 1 was derided as too closed / not functional enough by the geek cognoscenti here at Slashdot?

    It was our buying that put Apple in the position that made it what it is.

    Scary thing is, I think you actually believe this. But you're wrong. Apple did not become a 50Bn company by catering to a couple thousand neckbeards in their parents' basements. You did not "put" Apple where it is, and they do not "owe" you anything. If you like their products, buy them. If you don't like their products, don't buy them. If you think they've overlooked a segment of the market and you have a killer idea, go into business and compete with them.

    Now they're taking "Our" devices and retargeting them at a new market, nine times our size, and ignoring everything we say.

    "our" devices? ignoring "everything we say"? If you don't like it, GO MAKE YOUR OWN. If there's as much demand as you seem to think, you should be wildly successful.

  • by Inda ( 580031 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:13PM (#30937178) Journal
    Firstly, I hate it and I hate everything it does and doesn't do. It is pointless.

    But it's not meant for you or I, nor anyone else who reads Slashdot.

    It's meant for my wife. My wife who runs Firefox, types "facebook" into Firefox's default Google homepage, clicks the first result and then spends the next three hours talking bollocks to her friends.

    If the iPad runs Facebook, it's a winning.
  • by ldrydenb ( 1316047 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:18PM (#30937326)

    "From what I can tell, the only thing you get with the iPad is the app-store."

    And perfect synchronisation with my iPhone and Mac: contacts, events, documents all available without having to rely on web-apps (e.g. Google Docs) when I'm in the middle of nowhere. Oh, and an interface that's been vetted by an obsessive perfectionist.

    An interface that doesn't get in the way of what I'm trying to do is a major selling point for me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:44PM (#30937996)

    "It just works"! Snrk.

  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:45PM (#30938038) Journal

    Only if our hypothetical charging station has lobbied to make it illegal to buy a gasoline-powered generator and use it to charge your vehicle.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:13PM (#30938748)

    Just keep in mind that with that model, there are a slew of different problems that come along with it. Namely, malicious code being entered into the App Market. About a month ago, there was a story where Google had to kick a bunch of stuff off the Market because they were basically phishing apps.

    I'm not gonna pretend to know which side of the spectrum is more correct, and it probably isn't the same for everybody. But basically, you have Apple on one end, vetting all of the App Store submissions, and being the ones to choose what to sell in their store. On the other end, you have Google, basically allowing anyone who wants to the ability to place something in the store, and not vetting beforehand. One gives you more choice as to what to put on the phone, while the other one gives you more security and peace of mind, while still giving you access to a very large catalog.

  • by cowscows ( 103644 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:13PM (#30938770) Journal

    Yeah exactly, there's a lot of evidence of this already happening. Why just the other day Google released their version of the iPhone and they've totally locked it down just like Apple...err...what's that? It's not locked down? You can install whatever you want on it? Oh...

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:14PM (#30938798)

    My, that's an awfully nice strawman you've constructed - too bad you had to go and kick it over like that.

    I never said that closed platforms were the only way to go, or that people shouldn't be able to use their tools in any way they see fit. I simply said that if one thinks someone who doesn't want to fuck around with maintenance, doesn't want to have to learn how to do anything with their computer other than use it, one is wrong to do so.

    So, it takes you 10-15 seconds to check for anti-virus at boot? Awesome! I'm assuming, since you didn't mention it, that your computer also must know what software to download and install in the first place, and how to set itself up to do the whole background automation process? It must have done that right out of the box - which is pretty cool, since I've never known Windows to do that! I guess it also only took you 10-15 seconds to learn enough about anti-virus software to know you need it and how to work with it on your system, how to disable it when you install some software, and so on?

    With installation, sometimes, yes, it can be as easy as that, but often times - I know this will shock you - people make craptacular installers that don't make it easy to install. "What do they mean 'custom' installation?" "Why is it telling me that folder doesn't exist?" "It wants to know if I want to install this toolbar thing, well duh of course I do because isn't that what I'm trying to do?" Don't make the mistake of thinking that because these things are obvious to you or many people who deal with tech regularly that they aren't still somewhat confusing to people who just want these things to work.

    With driver updates, yeah, that's *brilliant* - I'm sure the average person knows how to do that and isn't remotely confused by what a driver is, where to get it, or any of that. I, for one, was born with that knowledge in my racial memory. I'm being sarcastic, in case you couldn't tell. My point is even that having to do that kind of thing is often actually outside the scope of what people want to do with their computers. A well designed device would make it easy - "Hey, there's a bunch of new stuff that might make your computer work a little better and be a little more secure. It could mess it up, too, so you have a choice if you want to install it or not. And if you do install it, if you don't like the way it works you can go back to how it works now by clicking a button. Ok?"

    Bottom line is this:

    Most people would prefer it if the manufacturers of the stuff they use took care of all that maintenance shit for them. Especially if they're looking for a device that's billed as easy to use and just works. When it isn't easy to use (even if it is something as trivial as just knowing how to install or uninstall an application can be), or it doesn't "just work" people who wanted those things are bothered. But the fact that they want such a device - even one that is closed - does not make them sheep. It just makes them "people who don't care about a device being open or closed and just want to use it."

    Calling them sheep devalues their humanity. It's demented and disgusting.

  • by FrozenGeek ( 1219968 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:17PM (#30938864)
    Exactly. When I saw the announcement, my first thought was that it would be perfect for my mother. Easy to send and receive email, usable for a few simple games, and small enough to stuff in a desk drawer when not in use. It will start quickly. Exactly what my mother would want.

    Clearly I don't want to use if for a development platform, but that is not what it was designed for.
  • by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:17PM (#30938868) Journal

    Our loss of control, as geeks, is most people's gain. Don't you think that complex media should be accessible to the general public, quickly and easily?

    We cry foul because it’s not an either-or decision.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:38PM (#30939310)

    If only one company was allowed to ever own charging stations, yes.

  • by drx ( 123393 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:51PM (#30939598) Homepage

    Well, even coffee makers today have coffee pad systems. Instead of being able to use any coffee powder or roasted beans i like, i have to buy the correct format from the manufacturer. The whole world is becoming a fucking ink jet printer!!!!

  • by forsey ( 1136633 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @04:37PM (#30940512)

    People need to be both vocal AND not buy it. Otherwise they may think that the product failed because it didn't make your penis bigger.

    This is why saying "just don't buy it then" is a silly response to "product Y sucks because of issue X". One would think if they are bitching they probably aren't going to buy it, they just want to make sure people know why.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @05:03PM (#30941074)

    Sure, let me just buy a semiconductor manufacturer or two, fly to Asia to meet with my manufacturers, and get a team of a few hundred expert electric engineers working full time to do that.

    Or have you never heard the term "Barrier to entry"?

    Also, saying 90+% of people "do not have the technical expertise" to want to run ANYTHING apple doesn't allow in their store, or to want to move content that they own to another device free of arbitrary restrictions, well that is just plain wrong. Even if there is some truth to the fact that most people in the market aren't incredibly technically proficient, the best choice is to make the market available AND allow installation of unsigned apps. This allows people who become interested in exploring the technology they own to do so.

    Apple seems to be of the view that "So long as most people are not technologically proficient, we should keep them that way so we can rape their wallets."

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @05:17PM (#30941358)

    Pretending to be an idiot who doesn't "get it" is not really a counter-argument. Just sayin'.

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @05:33PM (#30941658)

    Absolutely not - I think there are plenty of devices that are not locked down that can be truly great devices. I use quite a few of them, in fact. I never said otherwise. My iPhone is jailbroken, my MacBook Pro runs OS X/Windows 7/Ubuntu (the latter 2 in virtualization, usually) as well as emulators for some older platforms. There is very unlikely a piece of software I want to use that I couldn't get running on my machine (other than stuff that would require beefier hardware than I have).

    That aside, if a user wants a specific kind of user experience, and they want to be absolutely sure that whatever they get for their device will meet minimum quality standards or usability guidelines at are set by a company they feel they can trust, and they want to have to learn the least amount about the workings of the device, then a closed platform is going to make that easier for them to do because they know that no matter what they download, it's pretty much guaranteed to work in a way they're familiar with. To a lot of people that's worth quite a bit. It's easier to design because there's basically only one way it'll need to work (one configuration of hardware/OS and they can make assumptions about how the thing will work for every user) etc. It obviously isn't impossible to make an open device that can offer the same things, but it isn't as easy to do, and most companies seem to think "reasonably good" is "good enough" so they don't try very hard.

    Look at Windows as an example - because Windows must accommodate pretty much any piece of hardware out there (which is a good thing, IMO), the overall user experience of Windows can suffer quite a bit because some manufacturers don't write good drivers. Some applications just completely blow up because they were poorly programmed and don't play well with others, or make assumptions about a "default" Windows configuration that might or might not be true. To someone who knows nothing about this stuff, all they see is "shit don't work" and it's a frustrating experience.

    Look at the OS X as a counter example - because it doesn't need to support every piece of hardware ever, drivers are mostly a non-issue. There can still be applications that don't play well with others, but generally the usability guidelines Apple sets out help reduce quite a bit of crazy shit like you see quite a bit with Windows apps and ALL THE TIME with stuff for Linux. Locking things down even further - going to an unjailbroken iPod Touch - you wind up with a situation where other than maybe having a shitty network connection sometimes, the user experience will be generally predictable and users will know that if they try to do something it will generally work the same way across apps, and work when they want it to.

    The iPad isn't for me - it doesn't have cameras/video/microphone (and it's closed, which isn't a deal-breaker at all, as the thing will be jailbroken almost instantly) - but I can see a lot of people who would want to have it and find it met (and exceeded their needs). These people aren't sheep, they're just people who have different needs than I do, and don't care if the device is open or closed, just that it works.

    The device doesn't even *have* to be closed to give them that primary provider - obviously - but calling human being sheep, devaluing their humanity because they don't really care about open vs. closed and just see a device that'll meet their needs is just twisted and serves absolutely no purpose.

  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @05:40PM (#30941756)
    I'm sorry, but you completely miss the point. Open source software isn't inherently good or bad, but the concept of openness isn't something that always best suits the needs of most consumers or something that will always serve them well. I think that the GP would have been better off saying computer skills more so than programming skills as there are a lot of computer users that might not know how to download and install programs. This probably isn't as prevalent in the younger generations, but I've worked with a lot of people who use computers and don't understand how to do this things.

    The examples you mention aren't in the same ballpark as computers. They're all appliances that the user doesn't attempt to install additional software on or modify in any way. They may all as well run by magic as far as the end user is concerned because for most users they'll never need to touch that part of the device. I don't care whether my TV uses open source firmware or not. I just care that it works. I'd prefer that I never have to worry about mucking around at that level even if I have the ability to see and modify the code the drives my TV.

    Free software doesn't guarantee that it's virus free. I recall a while back that someone had slipped some form of malware into the Vietnamese language pack for Firefox without anyone noticing. I'm also free to grab an open source program and add malware of my own and redistribute a malware-laden binary and fool users into downloading it. They lack the computing skills to know how to use MD5 or even the knowledge of what MD5 actually is. I also recall that at one point there was an exploit where arbitrary code buried within a particular image format would execute due to vulnerabilities in the software used to display it.

    I think that the GP's assertion that there would be less spamming is correct. If spammers cannot use compromised computers to send out spam, they would need to use their own machines which can easily be blacklisted. Masses of phishing emails couldn't be sent out without the email providers being easily able to shut it down. People will still be subject to phishing, but on a much smaller scale.

    A gated store doesn't necessarily mean that malware will never get through. It's entirely possible that someone could release an app that sends out spam in the background, but because Apple has a kill switch they can solve that problem even if their users are incapable of solving it themselves. Of course, having this power requires a great amount of responsibility on Apple's part. If they are abusive of it, the backlash will cost them customers and bring down government scrutiny upon them. Similarly, if Microsoft could kill all of the malware on Windows PCs don't you think they wouldn't want to do so? The amount of money it would save would be enormous.

    I tend to agree with the points you have brought up, but I feel you really didn't understand what the GP was attempting to say. There is a trade off between a walled garden and an open field. Most users don't care for the advantages that the open field gives them. To use a car metaphor, driving a manual transmission gives you greater control and efficiency, but most people prefer to drive an automatic as it is much easier for them to do so. Also, the constant ad hominem attacks in your post really make you look like a jerk. It completely detracts from the good points that you made and makes your post look like the rantings of an angry person more so than a structured logical argument.
  • by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @06:15PM (#30942382)

    5 minutes Googling will tell you exactly how to adjust the timing. It's not some dark industry secret. Just put your car into service mode and adjust the timing. The new 'default' will be accepted once you take it out of service mode. For instance, on a typical GM, it just requires shorting two pins in an easily accessible connector usually located in the arm rest. A plain old paperclip will work just fine.

    Claims that a 'regular' mechanic can't work on a car are about as valid as saying a PC hobbyist can't work on a Dell. The work is more complicated than the 'olden days', but any cheap auto manual can be picked up at any parts dealer and you have all you need to know for your basic shade tree mechanics.

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @07:39PM (#30943520) Journal

    But if it's just an appliance, you might as well get one of many cheaper cut down appliances.

    Your post is just speculations on what you think various devices are like, and based on some misinformation about how popular Apple actually are in the phone market. But since it's pro-Apple, that's an instant ticket to +5 "insightful".

    the iPad is perfect for your mom or grandmother to finally get on the internet, email, download books, etc. without needing a part-time geek to hand hold them through the process each time.

    Finally? Portable devices - including those that are "appliances" - have been around already, and cheaper too in most cases.

    Of course, I see you assert that the Kindle is awful based on a single data point, and then conclude without having seen an Ipad that it must be better, than all other appliances. Let's have evidence, not speculation.

    I would say a majority just want to pick up the device and the device works. This is the primary reason the iPhone has done so well and is likely why the iPad will do really well.

    The Iphone hasn't done "so well", it's done okay. The vast majority of phones, you can pick up, and the device works (why wouldn't it? Take it back to the store if it's so defective - is that the best you can say of Apple, that it works?), and that includes the 95+% of the phone market that isn't Apple.

    Why would a device that's less useful than an Iphone, bigger, and more expensive, do better?

  • by mdwh2 ( 535323 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @07:42PM (#30943546) Journal

    So the Ipad is less features for money money? Right.

    The iPad is a device which makes computing VERY simple

    How? Have you even used one?

    These answers aren't even consistent - the other guy alleges that the Ihype isn't a computer at all.

    Is it going to be a tinkering geeks favorite? No, of course not. Is it likely to be well received by it's intended audience (lay users), yes most likely.

    Then Apple have shot themselves in the foot. With the sole exception of the Ipod, it's only among geeks that Apple have popularity. The geeks delude themselves into thinking that Apple are the number one company (good god, what has this place become? I remember when people were concerned about Microsoft, and promoted open systems in opposition. Long have those days gone, here on Appledot). Yet the reality is that most people are buying phones from other companies.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Little_Professor ( 971208 ) <`littleprof' `at' `'> on Saturday January 30, 2010 @03:07AM (#30960080) Journal
    Wow! What a simple way to view a txt file! Apple - It Just Works (TM)

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe