This post is only tangentially about the iPad, which truth be told, I think is a very good consumer product. I don’t think it is the be all and end all of tablet computers, or even Apple products.
What I find particularly strange is the mention that Apple has closed off this device, which it has, and that this is a terrible thing, which in some ways it is. However, is this anything really new? I first ran into this when reading Peter Kirn’s response on Create Digital Music. He writes about how previously Apple fan’s railed against Microsoft’s closed mentality, which they did, but now are cheering a particularly closed device.
Here is where my problem arises from. Apple is proprietary and closed, always has been and always will be, so is Microsoft. OBVIOUSLY both are open to some extent, and in some ways Apple is maybe a bit more sympathetic to the idea of being open, as my collague Eric reminded me today with the example of Webkit. What bothers me is that Apple and Microsoft are even being bandied about as one is more open than the other. This is essentially saying that World War 2 was more peaceful than World War 1 , a certainly interesting hypothesis but one that misses the crux of the issue in a tremendous way.
Neither of these companies should be spoken about as a model for open computing. Kirn is 100% correct to criticize Apple fans who do not see the problem or limitations of closing off hardware like the iPad that has such tremendous potential. Those Apple fans were more interested in putting “their” chosen computer company on a pedestal while taking shots at Microsoft. These are people who care nothing about open computing, they care about Apple.
This is a short post on a larger idea, wanted to get it out before it ran away, obviously there is more to say about all these topics…