Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

More on the iPad

with one comment

Via Smarterware, this post by Alex Payne:

For years, me and thousands of other techies have been wondering what comes after the Personal Computer as we’ve known it. Yesterday, in Apple’s iPad, we caught a glimpse. If I had to pick one predominant emotion in reaction, it would be “disturbed”.

The iPad is an attractive, thoughtfully designed, deeply cynical thing. It is a digital consumption machine. As Tim Bray and Peter Kirn have pointed out, it’s a device that does little to enable creativity. As just one component of several in a person’s digital life, perhaps that’s acceptable. It seems clear, though, that the ambitions for the iPad are far greater than being a full-color Kindle.

The tragedy of the iPad is that it truly seems to offer a better model of computing for many people – perhaps the majority of people. Gone are the confusing concepts and metaphors of the last thirty years of computing. Gone is the ability to endlessly tweak and twiddle towards no particular gain. The iPad is simple, straightforward, maintenance-free; everything that’s been proven with the success of the iPhone, but more so.

From iPhone to iPad

The iPhone can, to some extent, be forgiven its closed nature. The mobile industry has not historically been comfortable with openness, and Apple didn’t rock that boat when it released the iPhone. The iPhone was no more or less open than devices that preceded it, devices like those from Danger that required jumping similar bureaucratic hurdles to develop for.

That the iPad is a closed system is harder to forgive. One of the foremost complaints about the iPhone has been Apple’s iron fist when it comes to applications and the development direction of the platform. The iPad demonstrates that if Apple is listening to these complaints, they simply don’t care. This is why I say that the iPad is a cynical thing: Apple can’t – or won’t – conceive of a future for personal computing that is both elegant and open, usable and free…

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 January 2010 at 12:52 pm

One Response

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  1. I don’t think iPad is a threat to open computing. I do think it’s a giant step forward in making technology accessible to non-technical people–that thing we’ve been promising people for many years but have done exactly jack and shit to achieve. One of my duties as a technologist is to teach non-technical people how to use technology. As such I’ve become particularly sensitive to the fact that this stuff isn’t any easier to use today than it was a decade ago. Apple takes a stab and, predictably, the tech elite pan it.


    30 January 2010 at 4:27 pm

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