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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 Azureflare ( 645778 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:27AM (#30933618)
    First, the FSF needs to convince us average users need to have control. Why should average users have control over their computer? Isn't this what got us the virus nightmare in Windows?

    Doesn't migrating to the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch model mean that social engineering has much less of an impact to the security of a system? I would think this would be a good thing.

    I don't think Mac OS X will ever go away from giving you the control it does (and it is quite nice), but Mac OS X is not appropriate on a device like the iPad.

    In fact, I would compare the iPad to the upcoming yet-to-be-made Chromium netbook. The vision Google laid out for their device is pretty much exactly the same as Apple's vision of the iPad. Except that Apple is actually _less_ connected in to your device than Google would be.

    Sure, this is bad for the FSF, but what alternative vision of computing do they offer?

    Attacking Apple's products is one thing. Why not create your own open source tablet to compete, and let the marketplace decide?
  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shoemilk ( 1008173 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:29AM (#30933652) Journal

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

    Really? I can totally see Apple releasing a new mac mini with this OS because *it just works*. Then putting a premium on future machines with the OSX variant. I think the saddest part is that for a large portion of the population, that's probably best. Would we have such large bot nets if every Joe could only get their stuff from one place? Doesn't even Ubuntu try to mimic this in some respects with its downloader?

  • A Huge Step Sideways (Score:3, Interesting)

    by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:31AM (#30933670)

    The iPad is a huge step sideways, it's neither good nor bad. Unfortunately it tries to fill a position already inhabited by existing devices (some of which are Apple products).

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:31AM (#30933672) Journal
    I'm not sure how Apple's DRMs are more of a choice than any DRMs are.
    If users like the idea of being locked into the store, fine. RMS, the EFF, Slashdot, "whine" by showing people the bars they are getting into. I must say that I never heard Apple bragging that they locked in users or that it was hard to get the kind of apps you like for their devices. For that I thank those "whiners".
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:32AM (#30933694) Homepage Journal

    Its small enough to sprout legs of its own and too big too be convenient to carry about, well it would fit in some purses. I certainly cannot pop it out over the dinner table while out and not feel obtrusive, even at the local coffee shop it would be to overt. I guess that is where it will excel, people who want to be seen with one.

      Throw in that it cannot multitask and its just a large Touch. Now if the screen were larger, one the order of 12 inches, I would be all over it. It would be large enough to display more than one item and let me interact with it. Even it were it states it runs whatever is in the foreground only.

    I need the capabilities of a PC as well as the audio/visual abilities this device offers. The iPhone is nice because its sized right. It cannot do what my laptop can and as such is sized appropriately. It does not do enough to justify its size. Throw in the what the article is about, its so damn locked down in content and capability it isn't so much a step backward as a step nowhere

  • by osoroco ( 626676 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:35AM (#30933792)

    yeah, I agree, I won't buy it because I don't like it.
    In fact, I publicly announce here and now, that I WILL NOT buy anything that I DON'T LIKE.
    Thanks Jeff, you've opened my eyes!

    All sarcasm aside, pretty much everyone was expecting something to compete with the kindle -and- netbook/tablet pc's, ie. running a full OS X, not a supersized iphone, hence the disappointment on the iPad

  • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .werdnaredne.> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:38AM (#30933838) Homepage 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. Not anyone can simply get an app in the store. You have to pass Apple's magic gates.

    Apple would never let any old app in the store, nor would they allow users to simply add other "repositories" to the App Store, because it would breed piracy. But the basic concept of the App Store is still solid.

  • by LaminatorX ( 410794 ) <sabotage.praecantator@com> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:40AM (#30933886) Homepage

    I was disappointed to see the iPad following the App Store model rather than full-on Mac OS X. On my MacBook Pro, or my wife's iMac, I feel like I get the best of both worlds: a nice consistant "just-works" gui with all the power/control I might need just a terminal window away.

    FSF is very much on target with the locked-down AppStore model being the biggest threat to user freedom that we've ever seen, bigger than software patents. It's "Tivo-ization" writ large.

  • Re:Misses the point (Score:4, Interesting)

    by u38cg ( 607297 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:41AM (#30933908) Homepage
    What I don't get about this is why you can't do any of these things with a laptop and why it's better to carry around a device with an unprotected screen instead. I just cannot imagine using one of these tablets and I can't imagine it having the mass market appeal that makes, say, the iPod or the iPhone the success that they are.
  • Amen (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mewsenews ( 251487 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:46AM (#30933992) Homepage

    "We think basically you watch television to turn your brain off, and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on." - Steve Jobs, Interview in Macworld magazine, February 2004

    Steve used to preach that you could tell simply by looking at someones posture whether they were consuming or creating. The hacker bent over his keyboard is a boon to society while the couch potato leaning waayy back is a drain.

    Meanwhile, he introduces the iPad while leaning back in an easy chair and telling us how easy it is to buy and consume web pages, music, movies, books from the iTunes store. And it's all DRM infested, right down to the software you may or may not be allowed to run on it.

    Consume, consume, consume.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SolitaryMan ( 538416 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:47AM (#30934016) Homepage Journal

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

    Just as the "we can pull your app whenever we wont for no reason" in the App Store TOS was there just to be there and never meant to be used by white and cuddly Apple, right?

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blueZ3 ( 744446 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:48AM (#30934038) Homepage

    if freedom can only be preserved by removing choice

    George Orwell just called and he wants NewSpeak back. Did you honestly think about that as you were typing it?

    This is why I just can't take free software advocates seriously. Yes I use (and support) some free software, but apparently RMS and the FSF have bought into the whole "we had to destroy the village to save it" mentality.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:49AM (#30934076) Journal
    It is exactly the same thing as it happened in PC. Apple makes an innovative product and makes it an expensive niche product. In 1980s, Microsoft brought a copycat product, it controlled the software, and let the hardware manufacturers duke it out for shrinking profit margins. In 2010s, Google will being Android, the MS-DOS of ultra portables, it controls the OS, the hardware manufacturers will duke it out again for ever shrinking profit margins. Once an installed base is large enough, Google brings out its own applications, and supplants all other competing apps, and it will consolidate its grip like Microsoft did back then.

    Microsoft wanted money for its products. Google just wants to know a lot about you. Most people don't care about privacy. So Google is shaping up to be Microsoft+{Nielsen+Gallup}+{Madison Avenue} all rolled into one.

  • by dogmatixpsych ( 786818 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @11:53AM (#30934162) Journal
    I don't see what the iPad has to do with OS X. The iPhone OS is built for a completely different purpose than OS X is. iPads are meant to do a relatively few things (read books, consume media, browse web, play games, etc.) very well and intuitively. OS X does a lot of things very well and is incredibly powerful. In our neuroimaging lab we used to run Linux as our main processing OS (we still use it a lot) but we are transitioning over to OS X because we can do everything we need to do that Linux can do plus much more.

    As someone in academia, the iPad would be perfect for much of what I do. I can take notes on it (including notes when I do therapy or psychological assessments), check my email, write papers and reports, read articles and books, listen to music, run all sorts of other apps (including terminal ones with ssh support), transfer and display brain images, and more. With the right adapter I could use the iPad to run Keynote presentations from.

    I do some of these things on my iPod Touch - I use it all the time for my work - but the screen size limits some of what I can do. Could a netbook meet my needs? To some degree but the tablet form factor of the iPad is key for me. I could purchase a different tablet computer but again, their form factors are larger than the iPad. Plus, they usually cost more.

    Besides, the iPad is competing with the Kindle to some degree and a Kindle with a 9.7" screen is only $10 cheaper than the iPad. I know the smaller Kindle is slightly more than 1/2 the price of the iPad but it does far less than 1/2 of what the iPad does (but the Kindle is very good at what it is designed to do, so I hear).

    I'll probably purchase an iPad - maybe not this 1st rev. but possibly when it is updated in a year or two. I think Apple is going to sell a lot of them.
  • by profplump ( 309017 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:00PM (#30934294)

    I can certainly understand and support the idea that users should be allowed to do whatever they want with their general purpose computer. But it's absurd to suggest that Apple has to make that machine. At best the argument is "they shouldn't do this because it's a slippery slope", but even that seems a bit of a stretch given the current state of the market.

    Now if you wanted to make this argument in a market where locked-down was the only option -- like cell phones or DVD players -- I might have more sympathy. But this particular instance just makes the whole movement look whiny.

    Your microwave oven doesn't allow any third-party software to be run, has no data interface ports, and in general is quite difficult to modify even though it's controlled by generic, programmable digital electronics. But that's exactly how most people want it. There are certainly some users who would like to be able to reprogram their microwave, but the vast majority of users prefer the completely locked-down version they currently have.

    Why should computers be any different? Yes, it is physically capable of running other programs. And I count myself among those who would actually run other programs on such a device, if given the opportunity. But we aren't (or at least shouldn't be) in the market for an iPad, or any similarly-restricted device. Just as the electronics market supports the sale of both general-purpose magnetrons on purpose-built microwave oven the computer market can support both general-purpose and purpose-built workstations.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tyrione ( 134248 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:01PM (#30934310) Homepage

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

    I'd rather say that Apple is "mimicking" what Linux distributions have been doing for a decade.

    However, Apple doesn't have to restrict the ability to install software from other sources; that is a typical Apple-restriction.

    Wrong. The dpkg/apt-get comparison or Redhat's package manager are not like Apple's. Apple's package manager comes from NeXTStep, which PREDATES them both.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:4, Interesting)

    by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:01PM (#30934320)

    if we've learned anything from the iPhone and iPod it's that Apple has tremendous influence in driving the standards of consumer electronics

    have they driven standards? they produce a bunch of proprietary devices that lock you into using another one of apple's proprietary devices whenever they can. itunes is a completely closed ecosystem. the app store is locked down. their media devices don't use open formats.


    what did i miss?

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:09PM (#30934468)

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

    I hope it does happen, but that it's a choice. I got to thinking yesterday, and a 22" version of the iPad would be perfect for my mother. I don't want to deal with her accidentally screwing things up. I don't want to deal with a 'file system' with 'folders'. Put it in a dock and forget it. She can even take it to the couch to watch movies. Some thing even simpler than 'Simple Finder'.

    With the AppStore I don't have to worry about a package breaking, having to uninstall. All I do is say "OK mom, there's this great program. Just do this." She can't for the life of her figure out how to do anything on my laptop (She freaked out and set it down when she hit Expose) but her sister's iPhone had 0 learning curve.

    I really don't see how this is any different than AtEase [] from back in the Macintosh OS 7 days. I had my entire family on that. My brother and sister eventually got full Finder access, but my parents stayed on AtEase.

    While she does know how to use a mouse, I remember that was the most difficult concept for my grandma to grasp. She just wanted to touch the screen. She just wanted to point at what she was going to use... sound familiar?

    Yes a 'touch interface' is much slower than us that can use a mouse and may get tiring after a long time, but for some it may be a ton easier. Want to go to the next photo? Just 'grab' the current one and move it over.

    I use OS X because of the built in bash shell and all the other *nix toys. AND because I don't want to fight my system. But there is huge dichotomy in OS X users. The technical users that want the technical, but don't want to fight their computer and non-technical users who wants something that just works. The iPad panders to the lowest of the low non-technical users and I really hope I can get the OS on a 22" iMac some day.

    If it wasn't for OS X, I wouldn't have a SheevaPlug running Sid or a ZFS FreeBSD server. That little black window opened my entire world to command line stuff. First a 'mv' or a 'cp'. Then I was sshing into my desktop from other places. Before you know it I'm doing a cross-compiled kernel for an ARM on an AMD64 and trying to figure out why uBoot refuses to read my SD card. (Damn latest version of uBoot not being able to boot off of SD cards.)

    I'd say a good 50% of what I do on my computer is in This includes all my photo processing (ImageMagick, ExifTool), movie watching (mplayer -ontop -fs), mp3s (mplayer), screen, etc. All because Apple packaged it up with a nice bow and made it accessible. And this was back in a time when I couldn't make it through the Linux installer without something breaking and me having a broken computer and going back to Windows.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by srmalloy ( 263556 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:09PM (#30934486) Homepage

    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.

    Don't forget that Apple is also locking down the carrier by introducing a SIM card with a new form factor -- GSM SIM cards are 15x25mm, but the SIM inside the iPad is 12x15mm -- which means that you can't just download a software hack and jailbreak your iPad to use another carrier; because the GSMA isn't pushing conversion to the new form-factor, you're hardware-locked into getting service from AT&T. "Here's this wonderful tool; you can use any application you want from the ones we've approved for you to use, and you can get your 3G service from any one of the single provider who offers SIM cards small enough to fit in its socket. But we're not trying to control how you use your iPad... honest."

  • by CrazyBusError ( 530694 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:14PM (#30934578) Homepage
    I know, it was an easy shot, but there's an important difference.

    The lockdown here is on *two* devices. You want a laptop or desktop you can do whatever you want with? There's the macbook, imac and mac pro for that. Want an expandable handheld appliance with a limited (albeit ever-expanding) functionality that'll have no hidden surprises? There's your iPad and iPhone.

    You may as well criticise arcade machine makers for vetting all the roms you can put in their hardware. Or any of the console makers for vetting what's available for theirs. Or that kindle can't do anything but display books. Experience has shown them all, time and time again that as soon as you open up a platform to anyone and everyone, quality and reliability take a hit, not to mention susceptibility to attack. It's a specific product for a specific market and like the iPhone, will be hated by geeks everywhere, but loved by everyone else who want something that just works. Apple will likely do little to stop people jailbreaking these things, they'll just make it difficult enough that only determined people do it.
  • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:24PM (#30934784)

    Now wait a minute. Before all the FOSS types get into a slathering fury (oops, too late), consider:
    - The SDK is free. Free! Download it and start developing apps already.
    - Distribution is free. Free! There's nothing stopping you from signing up and giving away your self-righteous apps for no cost; include the source code or a link thereto if you like. And if you do want to make a buck (er, $0.99) off each copy of your app, that costs you a measly $99/year (surely your app is good enough to get a hundred people to buy it, right?).
    - The much-defamed App Store censors mostly just take a cursory glance at each submission to make sure the app is well-behaved (not malicious or destructively stupid) and socially acceptable to all audiences (how much FOSS pr*n are you planning to develop, eh?). Is it really too much to ask that someone double-check your work for brokenness before spreading it to the unwashed masses? Have you _seen_ what got thru that process unabated?

    OK, so it isn't totally completely unquestionably end-to-end FOSS. I'll understand if RMS doesn't approve, but that's his shtick, not ours.
    - App Store is the only distribution process. Well, except that you could publish your source code and let anyone with the SDK compile & run it sans censors.
    - DRM everywhere. Well, not really - seems you can put whatever content you want on it via iTunes (music is not DRMed anymore, remember? and I shouldn't have to say anything about videos, right?) and the SDK. I expect the iBook stuff will prove the same: minimal-if-any DRM, easily circumvented.

    And what does the RMS-approved FOSS get you?
    - Android is showing diminishing quality of apps with increasing conflict. Windows has been there forever.
    - "Oh, you just need to ..." isn't preferable to "it just works" for most users, including most of us geeks who don't want to have to screw around with your app which wasn't even given a cursory independent stamp of "not blatantly broken".

    You want choice, you have choice: get a Droid. A lot of us appreciate a little formalized cooperation, at trivial cost, to ensure stupid code doesn't run rampant.

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:26PM (#30934826)

    Oh, for the love of christ, get over yourself. People are sheep because they don't want to spend time and energy maintaining their gadgets, they just want to use them?

    YOU are the sheep because you think that defective gadgets - ones where you need to spend time and energy on maintenance that a PROPERLY designed gadget wouldn't require - somehow makes you a better person. Rather than holding the people who design and sell those faulty gadgets responsible for releasing a shitty product, you instead seem to think it is a *virtue* that you're willing to put up with a crappy device that requires you to spend tons of time on tasks unrelated to what you want to do just so you can use their devices. You actually think it's a *good* thing that you have to do this!

    Talk about being a brainwashed sheep!

    I want tools that DO WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO with a minimal amount of hassle and that don't require me to spend tons of time making sure they're in good shape before I use them. When I want to use a web enabled device, I want to just surf the goddamn web. I don't want to spend 30 minutes checking for the latest viruses and exploits, scanning my system, and dealing with all that bullshit - I just want to surf the web and do whatever it is I'm going to do there. When I want to install an application on my computer I don't want to have to dick around with making sure permissions are right or that all dependencies are met or any of that - I just want to click as few buttons as possible and then use the application.

    Please, though, feel free to continue to imagine that you're somehow better than everyone else because your time is worth so little to you that you're more than happy to spend your time making up for the failures of the people who provide you with gadgets and software to do their jobs better. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be getting actual work done or having fun with our gadgets. If not wasting my time doing bunches of routine maintenance tasks with my electronics makes me a sheep, then baa baa baa, guilty as charged.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:30PM (#30934922)

    It's an appliance, not a computer. Nobody complains about not being able to install applications on their coffeepot, television, or microwave oven... If you want a computer, you need to buy a computer instead of an appliance (gadget, whatever).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:31PM (#30934936)

    Things work, a single vendor to complain to if something goes wrong.
    Frustrated people go to Apple and don't mind paying more money in doing so. People choose to have less choice for reliability.
    Most people realize that Apple has fewer native software applications (choices) than other computer OS's.
    People want products to work and not have to learn about the command line to install something, tweak something - period. Most people don't (or won't) make time to learn the command line.

    There will always be other organizations that will find profitability in creating/developing solutions that Apple doesn't.

  • Its not a computer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:44PM (#30935252)

    Stop thinking of it as a computer and just as another piece of consumer electronics and you'll be much happier.

    The iPad is something which does a limited set of things very well.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:46PM (#30935296)

    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.

    I'll run with your car analogy.

    On one hand, you could justify Apple as making a car that your mom can drive. All the futzy-bits are taken away. Put gas in it. Go for scheduled maintenance. Make sure your oil is changed. It just works without needing to know the details. A PC would be more like the old muscle cars grease monkeys would constantly be tinkering with, adjusting the points and timing and always under the hood with a wrench and pliers. Anything that takes away control from a grease monkey would be hateful to them. All the black box stuff on cars today, grease monkeys hate that. But it makes grandma's life easier.

    The market would be fine if there was room for tweaking cars and no-tweak cars. Unfortunately the trend is to run with more computers, more specialized tools, and more barriers to entry. An independent mechanic has to spend $20k on diagnostic tools. There's no reason why a common laptop shouldn't be able to plug into the car via USB to read the codes but they charge big bucks because they can. It keeps the little guys out of the business. And there's all manner of specialized tools required to work on the cars rather than designing to do the most work with the least number of tools possible.

    I applaud moves that simplify things for one segment of consumers while leaving options open for others. What I don't like is when a move signifies an industry trend that will eventually remove options.

  • by MartinSchou ( 1360093 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @12:48PM (#30935356)

    I'm more interested in what you believe that you can do with the iPad, that you cannot do with any of the slates that were brought out at CES? From what I can tell, the only thing you get with the iPad is the app-store.

  • Re:The Don't Buy It (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:04PM (#30935734)

    The problem is as simplistic as whisper_jeff makes it out to be. Your problem (and I don't mean to be offensive) is that you compromised on your principles. You "grudgingly accept it's limitations". The key word there is *accept*. You bought the iPhone knowing what it was and was not capable of. So obviously you like its featureset more than you dislike its limitations.

    As for the iPad not being a computer - it has a CPU. It has memory / storage. It has an input / output system. How is that NOT a tablet computer? Oh, you mean it doesn't run OS X? To date, every single tablet computer that runs a desktop OS variant has failed in the marketplace. Kudos for Apple for not going down the exact same path that Microsoft, GRiD and a host of other tablet software/hardware manufacturers have gone down.

  • Re:Misses the point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:05PM (#30935752)

    It's an eReader with a bright ass screen that will strain your eyes.

    You do realize they have brightness controls ... right? You can turn the backlight off if you'd like, though you'd have to be in some pretty bright outdoor light to read it afterwords.

    Interestingly enough, the iPod touch and iphone are capable of auto adjusting to ambient light although it doesn't work that great by my standards.

    It surfs the internet the way Apple says you should (no flash, IE: no Hulu, etc).

    Okay, no flash would bother some people, personally this really is a feature to me, but to each his own. As for hulu, it works fine for me without installing flash on my Mac, far better than in a browser actually, though its still a flash app under the hood I'm sure, it certainly chews through the CPU like flash.

    Its an iPod touch with a bigger/higher resolution screen. Some people will like that, I've often wanted that, but I wouldn't buy one. Other people will like it more, some like you and I will have little to no use for it.

    Its a solution to a problem you don't have, but that doesn't mean it can't solve someone elses.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:19PM (#30936048)

    what did i miss?


    itunes is a completely closed ecosystem

    Funny, I've been using this nifty API to interact with iTunes for a few years now. We have different definitions of closed

    their media devices don't use open formats.

    Really? MP3 and H264 aren't open standards? You and I have different definitions of open. I don't have any music and only one video that are in the original apple formats, I've converted them all to more standard formats to use on other devices as well, they still work just fine in iTunes and on my iPhone and iPod.


    Not invented by apple, not licensed by apple, superior to USB in almost every way, available on all sorts of different devices, is an open standard anyone can implement, just requires licensing. Again you and I have different definitions of open. I'm okay with paying a little extra to get something better, you can stick with shitty and free, my time is worth money and waiting on slow ass USB transfers is not my cup of tea.

    The only thing I'll even partially agree with is that the AppStore is not wide open.

  • Re:Dear FSF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by __aaaaxm1522 ( 121860 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:19PM (#30936062)

    Yes, you can load your own documents on the iPad. Unlike an iPod / iPhone, the iPad has a "shared folder" that is accessible to all applications, and that you can load your own files into via USB:

    (near the bottom)

    "I have begun to look over what's new in iPhone OS 3.2 SDK. It offers some positive signs. In particular, applications will be able to "share" documents they create using a new file-sharing support feature. All documents to be shared are placed in a Shared Directory, which will mount on the desktop when the device is connected to a computer. This works independently of iTunes syncing."

    I have an iPhone dev account and have confirmed this in the SDK myself. So yes, you can load your own documents onto it.

  • by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:23PM (#30936132) Homepage Journal
    On the other hand the iPad is exactly what I wanted. I can already buy a full Mac OS tablet and I don't want it. I want a bigger better iTouch and that is exactly what they are offering. The idea of a windowing desktop and the associated hassles is idiotic and a relic of the past. Us geeks can have a full system when we need it but the vast majority of people don't need or want that. Secure, easy to use, just works is what most people need and want.
  • Future of OS X (Score:3, Interesting)

    by itomato ( 91092 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:34PM (#30936352)

    Steve's focus has shifted. What does he have to prove? The challenge and thrill of pushing the curve of personal computing are for younger men. No longer do you hear Steve talk about how awesome, fast, and powerful something is. Now, it's about making it sleek and clean, at the expense of expansion, user access (batteries, RAM, all a thing of the past) and function (unitasking? how is that not a step backward? vendor lock-in?)

    It's now a matter of what's easiest to use, most comfortable, and what develops the relationship between Apple the device vendor, and Apple the content vendor.

    If you think the Mac OS has a future, you're looking squarely at it. What the iMac did for floppy drives, USB, and the iPod did for CDs, and Apple TV seeks to do with video and TV, the iPad aims to accomplish with the next most precariously positioned medium - print.

    People will always need tools to create content, it's true, but you can bet as online application delivery becomes the norm, and iPod-style dashboard apps take prevalence over shrinkwrapped retail media, so will the look and feel of the environment for running those apps.

  • by Nicolay77 ( 258497 ) <> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @01:36PM (#30936386) Homepage

    I'm sorry to point this out, but reality seems to contradict you.

    I have an Android Phone. I can develop whatever the hell I want to develop for it, and install what I want without jailbreaking it or something.

    And it does what it is supposed to do, and it does it well. If I don't want to thinker with the device, but just use it, then I can, with no hassle.

    Now, any feature you can imagine that could make my device easier to use, doesn't imply closing the device and make it so full of DRM that it no longer interests me.

    The fact that older Linux distros or other open source software were both the epitome of openness and also very hard to use is just an stupid cultural thing, not a hard rule.

    If some software is hard to use, it only depends on the quality of the developer, not on the censoring policy of the platform. Good developers can make usable and powerful software for any platform.

    If you think that a platform should be very closed to be easy of use, then you have been brainwashed.

  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnu p . net> on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:06PM (#30936992) Homepage

    You think Apple doesn't have people analysing places like Slashdot?

    It's 2010. The producers of Lost study Lost fan forums, and make agile changes to the show in according to what they find.

    If the makers of a TV programme do that, surely savvy makers of gadgets study comments on prominent tech blogs.

  • by thesandtiger ( 819476 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:15PM (#30937226)

    You're missing my point, but that's cool.

    The person I was responding to was essentially saying that people are sheep because they don't want to fuck around with doing maintenance on their gadgets, and because most people generally want something that just does whatever it is that it does, without them needing to be arsed with learning more.

    My point is that no, this doesn't make people sheep, it just makes them people who don't really care about all of that stuff, and who just want to use their gadgets, and could really not care less if the device is "open" or "closed" as long as it works.

    I think closed platforms can have much greater quality control over user experiences and ensure a consistent experience than open platforms, certainly, if done well: not allowing shitty design, shitty interfaces and buggy apps to be put on the App Store will, on a closed platform, keep those shitty designs, shitty interfaces and buggy apps off of the devices that use that store.

    I think open platforms are fantastic - I use a jailbroken iPhone and have all kinds of good stuff on it that Apple doesn't want me to have - but I certainly don't think that somehow makes people who use a locked iPhone because they have no need or interest in the kinds of things they could get on a jailbroken one into sheep. It just makes them people who want different things from their gadgets than I have.

    Is someone who uses a modern car replete with computerized control systems that they can't easily modify a sheep? Is someone who buys clothing off the rack and doesn't modify it a sheep? Are people who buy frozen dinners, cook and consume them as the directions say sheep? No, they're just people who don't care about modding their car, clothing or frozen dinner cooking times because they have other priorities. So why is it OK to call people sheep because they see a device that does what they want, does it well enough for their purposes, and happens to be locked down sheep?

    They aren't sheep. They're people. Devaluing their humanity because they like a different gadget is demented.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:28PM (#30937572)

    Actually, I think there is a system emerging here.

    The general public is highly resistant to new technology. Things like iPod, IPhone, tablet PCs, GUIs, touch screens, multi-touch, etc. were all invented long before Apple marketed them to the public. But the did not catch on.

    However, Apple has it's rabid fan-bois who will buy anything Apple makes as long as Apple makes it look hip, trendy, and expensive. Once that has happened, so called cheap knock-offs (even if they existed before the Apple product) can then sell better since Apple created the demand.

    Microsoft has always helped keep Apple afloat with money and software. They've had tablet OS features since 2001, but it never took off. If Apple can sell this "innovation" to it's rabid fan-bois, then Microsoft and the PC industry will eventually end up selling more tablets.

    Is Apple just a tool of Microsoft?

  • Re:The Don't Buy It (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 28, 2010 @02:52PM (#30938244)

    This is exactly why I will not be buying it. It is a supper iPod. I have an ipod already. Which is something I want to be small.

    The iPhone I get that being locked down. I do not want people jacking up my phone.

    Now the iPad (which btw sounds like a feminine product) I have a meh attitude towards. If its a bigger iPod then so what. If it is a bigger phone then so what. BOTH of those need to be somewhat small.

    I cant really figure out what niche this device fills. If it had been a full out OSX on there. THAT I would have got. Is it going after the kindle market? I think this is a solution looking for a problem. Which nearly always fail in the market.

    But like most computer products skip gen 1 and 2 wait for 3 or better 4.

  • by Geof ( 153857 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @03:38PM (#30939332) Homepage

    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.

    This is not an argument. That consumers make choices is the definition of the market, not an argument for it. You say the market will produce the best outcome - so whatever outcome the market produces is best!

    You say that no-one should concern themselves with the the actual, practical consequences in the real world. Whether the system is locked down is "irrelevant": the actual outcome - the actual impact on people's lives and freedoms - is beside the point. All that matters is that this was a result of market choices. This is a purely abstract position that explicitly claims that practical reality does not matter.

    You say, "Just wait a year, and we will see if Apple made a good decision." So we will find out whether Apple acted in its own interest. Yippee. This tells us nothing at all about whether the outcome will be good or bad, and it doesn't give a hoot about the actual empirical results. Consumers often make choices that do not lead to outcomes they would prefer. If there's a conflict between your theory and actual evidence, I'm sorry but evidence wins. Of course, real human good and bad don't boil down to a single number like price, so that involves making value judgements. Maybe you're uncomfortable with that, but there is no way around it. To make value judgments, you actually need to - you know - make value judgements. There is no magic solution that makes that go away - not even, for all its merits, the free market (which, whatever else we think of it, I think we can all agree is not "free").

    But your amoral slight-of-hand claims that value judgements are superfluous. This is no different than saying "the hurricane was the act of God, therefore it must be good." Only you are replacing God with the market. Maybe you have faith that markets do produce ideal outcomes. Fine. But that is a personal conviction, not a reason "why markets are so great." You deceive yourself if you think it is.

  • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Thursday January 28, 2010 @04:44PM (#30940666) Homepage

    But you can't help but notice how the things went horribly wrong :

    Apple in 1984 :
    "Hey, don't be a sheeple like everybody else ! Don't let an evil corporation decide what you should do ! Buy our Macintosches and get a product that will let you think in any innovative way you want !"

    Apple, 25 years later :
    "Hey, wan't to be as cool and as hip as all the other cool guys ? Go buy our iTrendy iProducts ! Just don't do anything silly with them. We decide what goes on an iPhone/iPod/iPad, because we know what's good for you. We select which are the best application, we select which feature another studio can use if they want to innovate. (WARNING: attempt to circumvent this limitation to do what you want the device in creative new ways may infringe the terms on your contract/make your plan cancelled/violate the DMCA/voids the Warranty/exposes you to viruses)"

    If you told 1984-era Steve Jobs how the iProducts work, he would probably never believe you that he'll be leading a company doing that.

    I agree that the iP*s are appliances. It's just weird whan a company which spent so much effort creating a public image which was all about freedom (from corporation) has turned into a corporation whose most popular product is precisely controlled in terms of what can go on it. And is actively doing everything possible to make this situation remain so.

    Meanwhile other appliances have been very successful without the need to restricting users' freedom. Both old devices (such as those based on PalmOS and Windows CE) and modern devices (like the latest running WebOs) have been made in a way where the user can get administrative right on any model out-of-the-box (not only special "developer" models) and use them to do what pleases them without arbitrary restriction by the manufacturer (old PalmOS where single-task OSes. Nonetheless, methods existed to have some background tasks anyway, and Palm never did anything to prevent this. Unlike with the iP*s). This never did prevent these devices to be successful.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents