Why the iPad is the iFad or, DIY WTF?


Over at Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow scowls at Apple's latest money-maker and sees the second coming of a CD-ROM-like thang as revolutionary technology that really ain't:

With the iPad, it seems like Apple's model customer is that same stupid stereotype of a technophobic, timid, scatterbrained mother as appears in a billion renditions of "that's too complicated for my mom" (listen to the pundits extol the virtues of the iPad and time how long it takes for them to explain that here, finally, is something that isn't too complicated for their poor old mothers). The model of interaction with the iPad is to be a "consumer," what William Gibson memorably described as "something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth… no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote."

The way you improve your iPad isn't to figure out how it works and making it better. The way you improve the iPad is to buy iApps. Buying an iPad for your kids isn't a means of jump-starting the realization that the world is yours to take apart and reassemble; it's a way of telling your offspring that even changing the batteries is something you have to leave to the professionals.

Whole thing here.

Via Henry Copeland's Twitter feed (read on a Droid phone, btw).

And that's a good entry point for's interview with the guys at the Prometheus Institute who are creating online tools for boosting freedom.

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  1. I’d consider one. I check foreign markets on my iPhone late in bed, and have been known to lounge on the couch or after a run reading Reason on the laptop. I can see the functional form of the iPad being appealing. It’s a step in the right direction imo and not a just a dumbing down. (that’s unless I read that article wrong, kinda scanned it)

  2. “something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It’s covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth… no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote.”

    William Gibson is fucking awesome.

    1. If “awesome” means performing painful verbal gymnastics.

    2. Actually, we’re going steady!

    3. One man’s awesome is another man’s incoherent.

  3. I so tired of Apple Nazis. I mean Apple Racists. Something like that.

    1. They’re called Tea Baggers.

      1. iTea Baggers*

  4. Oh, and cue the Ipad/menstrual cycle jokes…

    Teehee, it sounds like something women put in their underwear so they don’t get menstrual blood on their panties. lolz.

    1. Exactly what my wife said when she heard the name.

      Then again, look at the runaway success of the Wii…

  5. Cory Doctorow scowls at Apple’s latest money-maker and sense the second coming of the CD-ROM…

    senses? That was my WTF moment.

    Apple’s model customer is that same stupid stereotype of a technophobic, timid, scatterbrained mother…

    Dad finally got Mom to use the Internet. Take that Apple!

  6. Every time I see Doctorow get on his high-horse, I feel like I’m watching the International Socialists read out the National Socialists. Great that he cares about electronic freedom, would that he were as committed to actual freedom.

  7. Cory’s diatribe is ridiculous. Basically, he’s a guy who loves trading comics and installing sound cards and the iPad doesn’t support either. Therefore, the iPad is evil and anyone who buys it is a consumer as Gibson describes.

    I wrote a rebuttal of Cory’s post, called “Cory Doctorow, iPads, and the End of Technological Innovation,” which addresses the problems with his arguments in more depth.

    Bottom line: Cory see’s one way of interacting with technology as legitimate and thinks any other way (i.e., ways that allow people to just do what they want to do without having to learn the esoteric ins and outs of 1970s era tech) as anti-free.

    1. I think your bottom line is a bit unfair. It is quite possible to create a device as simple and easy to use as ipad, but still allow the users who are interested in actually knowing how it works and doing things on their own still can. I think that the Mac OS does this very well. And I think that it is a major flaw with Apple’s other products.
      Of course, Apple can sell what it wants to and if people buy the stuff, then good for them. But ultimately, I think that keeping these platforms closed is a bad decision. Ipad seems like a very nice platform and if it was really open for people who are interested to develop new things on, I suspect that they would sell a lot more.

      1. The odd thing about this comment is that Apple has bent over backwards to make it easy to develop for it. They have what must be the best free development environment around for the thing. They do put some limitations on what you can develop that I think are silly, but Apple is actively trying to encourage people to do what you describe. Those who want to understand more about how it works can. Doctorow’s comments here are just bizarre, because anyone who does want to know how it works can do so and can develop their own applications for it. For the really daring, the thing’s already been jail broken. I don’t blame Apple for trying to keep a lid on that (the routes to jailbreaking generally are real security holes that can be exploited to do bad things), but people still do it.

        1. The issue is that Apple doesn’t sell you equipment, they rent it to you. They control what software you are and are not allowed to install. Apple is continuing the trend that we’ve seen with music and movie publishers – that even after you buy something you still are not allowed to control what you’ve purchased. The urge to reject that line of thinking if almost automatic.

          1. Can’t the iPad be hacked?

            1. Sure, most things can be. But wouldn’t it be a better product if you could use it to its full capability in a straightforward way?

            2. Apple’s position is that hacking their equipment is illegal.


          2. Saying that Apple “rents” equipment to you is absurd. Renting means continuing to pay a fee on some schedule in order to keep using the device. If you buy an iPad and software for it, that will work forever without paying additional fees. You own what you buy (in the sense that you can continue to use it indefinitely without further fees). You’re renting nothing.

            And, like others have mentioned, you can jailbreak an iPad and do whatever you want with it. It’s already been jailbroken, in fact, and less than a week after release.

            1. Bullshit. Renting means that you get to use something on somebody else’s terms – that you get to use what somebody else owns. A continual fee is common, but not required. Apple is in the business of renting hardware.

              I have no idea why Steve Jobs is so obsessed with controlling what people can and can not use their own computers for, but for some reason he is. My hope is that it’s driven by economics. Nonetheless, I want nothing to do with it.

              My libertarian disclaimer, of course, is that Apple has every right to do what they’re doing and I have every right to say I don’t like it, etc., etc., etc.

              1. Shorter Thom: I hate anything that’s popular.

                1. Not true!

                  But also, fuck off.

              2. If you read his book, it’s pretty clear that the reason he’s obsessed with making sure no one uses their iPhone to look at dirty pictures is because this cunt is convinced he’s an artist, and every computer out there in the hands of every last user is part of his ongoing work of art.

                Blah blah blah blah don’t psychoanalyze people you don’t know, but I am SURE this fucker has in his head a picture of the universe of Apple users as looking something like the TNG version of the Enterprise, where everyone is walking through beige rooms doing wholesome shit that he’s “empowering” with his technology, and the idea that someone might use his computer to look at dirty pictures messes up that fantasy he has in his head.

              3. To say that a piece of computer gear will continue to work in perpetuity as it did when you bought it, without ever upgrading, is a very simplistic statement — pretty much wishful thinking in the modern world. There are many reasons why a non-upgraded computer will either quit working or quit being of practical use to you. In the first category, there are various debilitating built-in bugs that can compromise a system’s usefulness. In the second category are forced upgrades: “We no longer support your old version of our app (or our continually evolving website no longer supports your old browser). You can have the new version for free, but it is not compatible with your operating system, so you’ll have to upgrade, perhaps at a cost to you.”

                Said more succinctly, the world moves on, even if you would prefer that you and your computer stay put. At some point, you almost certainly must upgrade something, just to remain compatible with all the other systems on which your computer or application depends. And sometimes, those upgrades will NOT be free. Typically, each installed computer system represents a flow of cash — however minimal it might be — from the consumer to the producers of hardware or software.

            2. Regardless of its legal status, having a company manipulate what are generally standard perks for customers (free updates to fix errors on the part of the manufacturers) to harshly punish customers who have the gall to use their property in a way that Steve Jobs disapproves of should be enough to piss off anyone who actually respects themselves as a consumer.

              It would be one thing if Apple said “Hey, you modified your device. We can’t give you updates anymore because we don’t know what will happen.” Even if they were being disingenuous, it’s like anything else where DIY invalidates a warranty. But let’s make an analogy:
              1) You add more RAM to the computer you bought at Best Buy. For some unrelated reason (according to you, at least) you have a minor issue, though the computer is still usable. You take it in, since it’s still under warranty. Best Buy points out that the warranty no longer applies, so it’s your own problem to solve. You are sad, but tough shit — this was an entirely forseeable result.
              2) You add more RAM to the computer you bought at Best Buy. For some unrelated reason (according to you, at least) you have a minor issue, though the computer is still usable. You take it in, since it’s still under warranty. Best Buy flips you the bird, throws your computer into an incinerator, and says ‘Time to buy a new computer, bitch. Next time, don’t fuck with what we “sell” you, and we won’t have to take it away.’

              Anyone who supports Apple by buying their products is a fucking Uncle Tom.

        2. It is the fact that Apple wants to control what apps are OK that bothers me mostly. I am aware that they do make a development environment pretty readily available. But they still try to control it. And I don’t think that that will ultimately be a great business decision.

  8. Basically, you’re paying $500 for an iPhone that doesn’t make calls and can’t fit in your pocket?

    Apple makes status symbols. That’s it. For a few hundo, even the sweatiest prole can buy a smooth-edged, soothingly colored ticket to a feeling of participation in the technological race.

    It’s over a decade behind the times, but Neal Stephenson’s In the Beginning was the Command Line is still a pretty good read.

    1. Their programs for music recording and video editing are still better than what you can get for Windows boxes, although the gap isn’t what it was ten years ago.

      1. Good thing too, because that is what everybody uses their computers for.

        1. that’s bull, actually, since i’ve been at audio and (some) video editing on a pc platform for over a decade.

          unless you’re counting pro tools, but that’s hardware chained anyway. (and the non hardware chained LE works on both platforms)

          1. For me, or the tuxedoed one? ‘Cause I was being sarcastic.

          2. dhex, what do you use for video editing? I use Premiere Pro 2, and while it’s a decent program, you’d better save every half hour or so. I’ve known a lot of people with Final Cut, and while it’s marginal, I’d say it’s a better program. The big difference is that I haven’t known the Apple users to have FC crash their machine like PP does.

            I could be wrong about the music. I installed Guitar Port and Sony Acid Pro 6 on my XP machine, and they work well, the only trade off being that I had to redo the default audio settings so Media Player audio doesn’t work anymore.

            1. Answering for Dhex: I think he uses Vegas video.

              Best reason for doing audio/video on PC?: Warez, baby. Everywarez! Plug ins for Apple apps? Start saving up for a $500 suite. Any DirectX stuff? I can still use TCaudio/Waves/some freebees from 7 years ago on all my PC apps. And they work better over time because of increased horsepower on the machines. Apple, not so much. At least not so flexible. Although to be fair the hardware choices for DA/AD converters, etc. have come in line where most of what you can do with a PC you can do with an Apple.

              Biggest love about Apple: turns on fast, turns off faster, never crashes, never causes weird incompatibilities between hardware & software that leave you spending hours trying to fix the rig.

              However, the price there is less choice of platforms…

              1. Biggest love about Apple: turns on fast, turns off faster, never crashes, never causes weird incompatibilities between hardware & software that leave you spending hours trying to fix the rig.

                Share the luv of Apple all you want, but please leave the iMythos out of it. Macs crash, fail and can (and have) take hours, if not weeks to fix. They didn’t invent that little spinning ball for nothing.

                My Dells at work, OTOH, get fixed the next day, on the rare times they fail. No schleppng to the mall.

        2. Video watching, on the other hand…

    2. A Porsche with the hood welded shut > station wagon

      1. Right up until you need an oil change, SF. Then the station wagon wins.

        1. Ever dealt with Apple Care? They don’t change your oil, they give you a new car.

          Not everyone has had super-great service with Apple, but I have a pretty good track record with them, and I’ve owned various Apple products for 16 years now.

          And, of course, Stephenson’s metaphor was a bit extreme. They aren’t welded shut, they are just not very friendly to self-service. The vast majority of people don’t change the oil in their own cars, they pay someone else to do it. Understanding the value of the division of labor is not some grand moral failing on the Mac owners part.


            I am going to so rag on you, Mr. jerkPhone user.

            1. Thus spake the owner of a pink Motorola Razor.

              1. Nooooo, Sug as a iHag? :::boggles:::

                Nah, it’s cool, as long as you don’t use it as a declaration of your hippness and worth as a human being, which far too often is what Apple products are for too many people.

                It’s an overpriced tool. Not one I’ll ever own, but a tool, all the same. I like being able to build and open the hood of my PCs. That has more value to me than any retail hipster “genius” in the THX-1138 Store will ever have for me.

          2. True, I don’t change the oil on my Corolla — but I don’t take it to the Toyota dealer either. And looking under the hood doesn’t void the warranty.

      2. What the fuck do I need a Porsche for. Being a practically minded person, I’ll take the station wagon.

        1. And hipsters drink PBR because they like the taste.

  9. an iPhone that doesn’t make calls

    It doesn’t even have a camera! How am I supposed to sext my panty pics?

  10. There are plenty of legitimate criticisms one can make of the iPad, but throwing a hissy fit over Apple’s proven business model isn’t one of them

    1. It gives us something to chat about. What the hell are we supposed to do? Work?

    2. Apple can do what it wants, but I am not convinced that their business model is the best they could do. Have they forgotten that their early success was exactly because of the applications other people developed for their platform without their even knowing about it.

      1. That’s a good point. The iPad may not enjoy the success of iPod and iPhone. It may well be eclipsed by some other product that’s more adaptable. But Doctorow’s whining over Apple not making the iPad to his specifications is just retarded.

      2. The App Store already has something like 150,000 apps and billions of downloads. It’s probably the #1 place for online software sales. I’m sure they’re aware of how important that is.

        Also, Apple can relax the restrictions at any time. Recall that when the iPhone just came out, developers couldn’t write native apps and were encouraged to write web apps.



      2. Definitely one of the better spoof trolls to appear recently.


  11. Doctorow talking about comic books really brings out the alpha geek in me. I was doing a slow burn reading his review of the recent hardcover collections of Eerie and Creepy. It was painfully obvious that tool had them mixed up with the earlier, more controversial EC comic books.

    And sharing comics? WTF?!? Maybe, but we’re the same age, and I’d argue that comic books brought out the greedy, capitalistic speculator in me. If I hadn’t had the same misfortune to be born on the same side of the border as Doctorow, The Democratic Peoples Republic of Northern Canuckistan, where such capitalistic activity is viewed with suspicion, I’d be working as a broker on Wall street right now.

  12. Overpriced, limited-function tablet? There’s a sap for that.

    1. Haha, but all the iPad haters will be shocked at how popular it becomes. It won’t replace laptops or desktops for most people, but it will be hugely popular and transformative.

      I predict the iBookstore will do for publishing what iTunes did for music retailing. By enabling something close to a micropayment system, publishers will be able to sell digital copies of not just books (as currently done via Amazon and elsewhere), but magazines and articles.

      1. I’d take that bet. I agree that Apple’s got a better shot at making the iPad work than anyone else has had with a similar device, but I’m not convinced they will, mostly for the reason that it doesn’t fit well into any niche. It’s too big to carry around like a cell phone, and not featureful enough to mostly replace laptops.

      2. I just got back from a lunch with a bunch of sales guys who all have iPhones and MacBooks because it is part of their hipster ethos. None of them had bought an iPad and all of them mocked it for being a stupid rehash that doesn’t do anything new.

        I own a Mac Book and really like it. I also have a Kindle and don’t see how the iPad will be able to kill it off. The thing I like best about the Kindle is that you can read it outdoors in the light.

        One other interesting note is that all the fan bois I ate with also said that the one thing they had learned from the iPhone was that they should hang tight until version 2 came out.

  13. I bet they’re great for small children and toddlers. I know people who’s kids love the iPhone and Touch, everything is very tactile and you don’t need to be able to read well or type.

    One of my friend’s 4-year-old figured out how to edit photos just playing around with an app, and has her own folder full of them.

    1. Kids nowadays need a swift kick in the ass and not some $6oo video-touch thingy gadget!

  14. Agreed, Aaron.

    This screed from Cory is a less nuanced, whinier version of Zittrain’s lament about the growing dominance of “sterile” appliances versus a “generative” network with open devices. It seems like Cory is searching desperately for reasons to dislike the iPad because he can’t share his comic books with his buddies.

    There are a lot of people who WANT devices that work without having to “figure out how it works and make it better.”

    And there are a lot of people who want to tool around with code to figure out how things work.

    And there are people like me, who like having devices that work reliably and are consistently updated with little or no input from me, who ALSO like to tool around on other devices to find out how they work.

    What Cory fails to acknowledge is that most people fall in that former category–they want devices that work that are useful to them. How it works or whether its usefulness is fully unleashed to the full extent of the hardware is just not something that occurs to most users.

  15. I’m about forty paragraphs of outraged that there are things made for people who aren’t exactly like me, too.

    But what I really hate is those people, their existing like they do, all icky and retarded and shit, so the part where I convey my disgust at them has to be really vivid. So even though I’m mostly rattling on about some kinda leisure-electronics-as-soulcraft crap or something, people will know what I’m really wadded up about, you know?

    Unfortunately, I’m much more “windy puritan scold” than “jaundiced misanthropic observer,” so I guess I’ll have to outsource the exciting super-hatey part to an actual writer.

  16. I used to be a die-hard Mac lover, back in those heady days of the mid-late 90s and early 00s, until two things happened nearly simultaneously: key caps started breaking off of my iBook’s keyboard about two months after I bought it, and when I called the help line and invoked my Extended Protection Plan, they said it didn’t cover key caps because they were “wear and tear” parts. Surely enough I pulled out the warranty document, which was like the contract at the beginning of Willy Wonka, and found that it specifically excluded key caps as well as several other vital parts of the computer. So, I hung up and acknowledged that they got me.

    The other event, of course, was the debut of those awful Mac vs. PC commercials.

    1. The other event, of course, was the debut of those awful Mac vs. PC commercials.
      See? Advertising really does rule our lives.

    2. I went to the Apple store three times before I was able to bring myself to order a mac book.

      I really wanted one and thought it was a good product. The problem was that the smugness of the “geniuses” was too much for me. I literally had to walk out and think if I really wanted to become known as an Apple person.

      It is like bike riding. I like to do it a lot. I can’t stand the other bicycling geeks though.

    3. I went to the Apple store three times before I was able to bring myself to order a mac book.

      I really wanted one and thought it was a good product. The problem was that the smugness of the “geniuses” was too much for me. I literally had to walk out and think if I really wanted to become known as an Apple person.

      It is like bike riding. I like to do it a lot. I can’t stand the other bicycling geeks though.

  17. This explains why Nick and Cory are both so much richer than Steve Jobs. I have never used an Apple product (they’re for girls, aren’t they?), but calling the iPad a piece of shit is about as impressive as calling it a new dimension of greatness.

    I for one am content to wait for the Microsoft rip-off two or three years down the road. A portable library of all the eight-ball books I like to read, the eight-ball music I like to listen to, the eight-ball movies I like to watch, plus being able to piss off “Warty” at my leisure–what’s not to like?

    1. There have been tablet PC’s for like 10 years now.

      1. I tested out a pad from Qube (IIRC) in Comdex in 1999. I kept waiting for them to catch on.

    2. The libertarians that live in leftists’ heads are truly hoary and disgusting creatures, are they not? Judging worthiness by wealth, in this case.

    3. I beckon you sir, as we have issues of temerity to discuss.

    4. I look forward to the Microsoft version because they’ll probably support flash.

      1. Ahh Flash…for all your virus and security needs. One thing Apple has done a fine job of (and yes thier share has increased) is maintain a solid platform. Be it iPad, iPod, iPhone, iRack, iRan, iMac, they are all infinitely more secure and stable than any IBM Compatable machine(small rant here PC stands for “personal computer” which was pioneered by Jobs and Woz). The underlying OS on Mac OS-X is BASH Unix. Add to that Apple’s own flavor and security protocals and you get “nice and clean”. Ran a scan on my iMac last week…over 1.2 million files, had it for two years, came back 100% clean. Didn’t even have to quarantine anything.

        So if you want your porn to come to you then by all means get something with Flash.

        Not a deciple but close.

        1. Let me introduce you to my little friend.

          PWN2OWN baby

          1. The fact that some uberhacker can pwn a Mac doesn’t prove anything beyond the fact that no OS is perfectly secure. In the real world, though, Windows machines are pwned by the millions, whereas you’ll be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of Macs infected by viruses in the last decade. And it’s more than market share: Macs may be @5% of computers, but Windows accounts for 99.999% of real-world security threats.

            1. It’s far more profitable to write Windows malware than Mac malware, just because of market share. So it is to be expected that Mac viruses are going to be disproportionately rare.

              It’s not as if the viruses are competing for computers out there.

              1. There are tens of millions of Macs with no anti-virus software hooked up to broadband connections. If they were such easy targets, scumbags would be targeting them. And yet that hasn’t happened. It’s more than market share; they’re inherently more secure.

                1. Charlie Miller has interesting insight:

                  In the end, Miller agreed that hackers’ disinterest in Mac OS X comes down to numbers rather than the security measures that Apple adds to the operating system. “It’s harder to write exploits for Windows than the Mac,” Miller said, “but all you see are Windows exploits. That’s because if [the hacker] can hit 90% of the machines out there, that’s all he’s gonna do. It’s not worth him nearly doubling his work just to get that last 10%.”

                  1. Sorry, I don’t buy it. No Windows hacker penetrates 100% of Windows machines. They’d be happy to get 1% of them, or maybe a fifth the number of OS X machines. If hacking OS X was “easier” we’d see these exploits in the wild, not just in hacking contests. Heck, just the fame the hacker would get for successfully pwning thousands of OS X boxes would be substantial. Some punk would do it for kicks or because he hates Apple, regardless of market share.

                    But it may partly have to do with the fact that many hackers live in places with few Macs like Russia and Bulgaria, and so they attack what they are familiar with.

                2. Actually, there were quite a few interesting viruses on Macs in the late 1980s and early 1990s — possibly more than on comparable PCs of the era. If there are relatively fewer instances of malware on Macs now, I would think that this more illustrates the poor market penetration of Macs vs. the Windows-style computers. On the other hand, I would think that there might be quite a growth market in malware for iPods and iPhones. Is it true?

                  1. I don’t think there was ever a time when there were more Mac viruses. There were some 20+ years ago, but the only one I can remember “in the wild” since then was Leap-A about four years ago.

                    You’d think there would be iPhone viruses, but again, not really. Partly that’s because of the “walled garden” of the App Store. I think that there may have been one or two that afflicted jailbroken iPhones, though.

        2. The underlying OS on Mac OS-X is BASH Unix.

          Huh? bash is a shell. Would have accepted “Mach microkernel,” “POSIX Unix,” or “Free/NetBSD.”

          1. Ooops…was being stupid and meant BSD not Bash, sorry (incedentally there are most of the shells included…kind of nice).

            To JW’s point, That article basically says dont use flash (couldnt agree more) and that iphone/android are pretty secure and windows 7 had a hit displayed at black hat. I am NOT saying OS-X is perfect. It is not, and any platform is suceptable. But there are two factors helping Mac: 1. still not quite the share as Windows so a smaller target 2. Unix > Windows all day long. Perfect no, impenetrable, hell no, better than windows? yeah.

            If you are super paranoid write your own VM and move on. Had a freind do that and he ended up selling it to a conferencing company, kinda cool. I am not going to spend two weeks locked in a basement to write one so I will just buy a mac.

            Anecdote: I have never had an IBM Compatable machine last error/crash/virus free for more than six months…not an exageration. Had one Mac crash in whole life of owning Macs…probably my fault as I was screing around with the file system in C at the time (this was on OS-7. I never want to see a x eyed mac again, very traumatic).

            1. Anecdote: I have never had an IBM Compatable machine last error/crash/virus free for more than six months…not an exageration.

              Pilot error. You likely ran with admin rights, which all Windows OSes did by default until Vista. Yes, hella stupid design flaw.

              I never ran as an admin and have been virus free for 15 years of Windows computing, excepting that time I root-kitted myself d/l’ing music off of blogs. Nasty little shit, it was.

  18. that you can’t make an ipad application on an ipad says everything you need to know about the ipad.

    1. Really? Then you’ve said it about virtually every embedded system out there. A lot of devices require support from other devices to be programmed. I’m not even sure what your comment is supposed to mean.

  19. I like my iPhone. I also listen to Neil Diamond on rare occasions.
    Fuck you haters.

  20. I like my iPhone. I also listen to Neil Diamond on rare occasions.
    Fuck you haters.

    (What’s up with the spam filter? Has it been cranked up, or am I somehow banned? It’s blocked me three times this morning. Just adding text to see if that helps. blah, blah, blah…)

  21. Noting i post is getting through.

  22. I like the iPhone. And I listen to Neil Diamond on rare occasions.
    Fuck you haters

  23. Why can’t I post this morning? Every time I try to post it’s held back as spam.
    Am I on super-secret probation?

    1. Yes, and that’s Double-Secret Probation.

    2. “Every time I try to post it’s held back as spam”

      Is this some kind of surrealist performance art?

  24. There’s a sap for that.

    Very nice.

    Giant iPhone? Do Not Want.*

    *Std Libertarian Free Mkt Blah Blah Blah

  25. I’m pretty agnostic when it comes to Macs and I love my iPhone but…

    I don’t really see the point with the iPad. Also, I can’t believe it doesn’t come with a USB port or a video out port.

    1. It has a docking port at the bottom, and the dock can have those things I believe.

  26. Is the iPad the new MacBook Pro? No? Well, call me when they release the new MacBooks.

  27. The iPad strikes me as a good example the main rule for buying Mac products: Don’t buy the first generation.

    Apple engineers are fuzzy-head, if lovable utopians. They imagine their products being used in a sterile environment by the most conscientious and careful consumers imaginable. The final beta test is always the real world in the hands of early adopters.

    1. Excellent point. See WiFi troubles on iPad currently.

      Where’s the beef?

  28. My rule of thumb is that anything a herd of humans would camp outdoors for, in a filthy city street, just to be the first to buy/rent/see it, is well worth ignoring.

  29. I can’t figure out the point of a 10″ smart phone, without the phone part. You’re not going to want to do much that involves real typing on it, it’s too small to replace a tv/media streaming, and too big to really be portable.

    Admittedly, I don’t like Apple. I don’t like their business model. I don’t particularly like their aesthetic. I don’t see how the iphone OS is so great. Even with that, I wouldn’t buy a 10″ droid, either.

    I’ll check back when the 10″ touch screen can be folded up to fit in my pocket.

  30. Am I on super-secret probation?

    Your thought crimes have not gone unnoticed, Sir.

    1. There’s an app for that.

  31. Cory is another in a long line of pseudo-intellectuals who like to dress up their personal likes and dislikes as grand statements about the world. Cory likes free shit, so he constructed an elaborate justification for the badness of copyright. Cory doesn’t like the iPad, so it’s an attempt to shackle consumers to Apple. It’d be funny if it weren’t for the fact that too many people take his blathering seriously.

    Me? I don’t see what an iPad does that my netbook doesn’t, and my netbook does lots of things an iPad won’t. The sole exception is the shiny touchscreen, which I’ve been using in various form factors for freaking 12 years (Ipaq on forward). It’s a big version of my old PDA, which I don’t need anymore because I got a smartphone.

    1. Agree 100% – said much of the same below

  32. The real story is all the free advertising given to Apple by newspapers and TV news outlets – the same outlets that complain about advertising income falling.

    1. Back in the 1980s, a group at Apple actually provided cash incentives to employees to get articles featuring Apple products in magazines and newspapers. It’s always possible that they also — then or later — provided similar incentives to outsiders. The iPad itself is not so remarkable, and Apple not so buzzworthy, that the hundreds of off-hand references I have seen, heard, or read throughout the media world in the past several weeks were all spontaneous. I’m wondering what the quid pro quo terms were to generate as much hype as we have seen.

      1. You really don’t think an Apple multitouch tablet for $500 is buzzworthy on its own, without secret payola?

  33. Thought about iPad: its the hybrid ‘mountain bike’ of computing: not as functional as a laptop, not as convenient as an iphone/bberry, mostly a product made for demand that doesnt yet exist. Its another attempt at the Tablet concept, when it already failed the first time.

    I think Netbooks – cheap ones – are the machines waiting to fill the gap. Not these touch screen doohickeys that make simple tasks *harder* in many cases because they require two hands to use…. unless they are mouse compatible? Would be interested in how crappy their (virtual) keyboard works because thats my big bitch about iphones versus blackberry. Bberrys do the basics – text, email, phone – better than anything, while iphones are groovy web surfing/mmedia devices that suck at typing and phone calls…

  34. I’ve owned a tablet PC since 2004 now, its made by HP and runs Microsoft Windows Tablet PC Edition OS. I thought Apple was supposed to be bleeding edge tech, what’s with rolling out something 6 years later that has less functionality than my HP and pretending to be new?

    1. SHHH! You’ll ruin the Apple fanboys orgasm!

    2. The Apple wasn’t the first personal computer. The Mac wasn’t the first GUI. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player. The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone or touchscreen. And yet all were designed better than their predecessors and were successes. What’s new is the design and integration, not some checklist of features.

      1. Bullshit. iPod are not designed better than any number of competing media players. In fact, the mandatory integration with iTunes makes it a worse product. Something isn’t better designed just because it sells a ton of units.

        As always, remember the technology truism: the marketplace is littered with technically superior solutions that didn’t sell.

        1. Companies don’t succeed based on mere “technical superiority,” true. But iPods are hugely successful because of their overall design, iTunes included. Imperfect? Sure, but obviously the market has spoken. Human factors and UI design are crucial.

          1. Actually, in my completely jaundiced opinion, the integration with the iTunes store is what made the iPod so successful. Everything else about the UI (especially iTunes) is average to substandard. But a one-click interface to buy music, which is then automatically loaded onto your device? Nicely done.

        2. Wrong. There is no “mandatory integration with iTunes”. Other players can synch to iPods too.

          1. I know. I use MediaMonkey. But you’ve got to have iTunes installed somewhere to make any of them work.

            After all, dragging files to your device was too simple for Apple. We had to install a layer over that to complicate the process.

            1. I suspect that was part of the deal with the record labels. Apple could say: “See, we’re making it hard to pirate music!”

            2. I wouldn’t know cuz iTunes is fine by me… tho it’s getting a bit bloated with crap I don’t use like Movies – most of which can be turned off. I’ve tried the alternatives on both OS X and Windows and frankly none of them are particularly good.

  35. Apple is a bunch of dicks and the people who buy their products are sheep.

    And I can tell you this much: we are really, really lucky Microsoft won the early software wars and not the dicks at Apple. If Apple had won, they would have locked down every last piece of software brought to market, including the web browser, and if Apple didn’t want you to look at it or use it, you wouldn’t. I am not in the least exaggerating when I say that if it had been up to Apple, your browser would block pornography and any political content Steve Jobs doesn’t like or Steve Jobs doesn’t think fits with his “brand aesthetic”. The only reason – the ONLY reason – Safari and other Apple products can be used in somewhat free ways is because they’re knock-off copies of Microsoft’s knock-off copies of other companies’ products.

    Microsoft is hugely underappreciated. In the alternate universe where they aren’t around or where Bill Gates gets hit by a bus before dropping out of Harvard, computers suck because the petty “brand totalitarians” at Apple think consumers “like it better that way”.

    -Insert standard libertarian disclaimer about how Apple can do whatever they want with their own products.- But that doesn’t mean I can’t think they’re dicks.

    1. Yes, I don’t get the Apple = liberty theme either. Jobs really and tryuly is a nutbag authoritarian with an ego that could kick Stalin’s ego’s ass and have some left over for Idi Amin’s.

      You want liberty? Roll your own x86 PC and install a Linux distro. Of course, I’m appy as an MS monkey-boy, so take of that what you will.

      1. appy = happy

        :::shakes fist at RC:::

    2. Oh, nonsense. True, Apple wants to keep the App Store fairly family-friendly and non-controversial, but that only applies to iPhone and iPad apps, not to Macs in general. Use your browser to get all the porn and politics you want, whether on the iPhone or iPad or whatever.

      Apple’s designs are more tightly coupled regarding OS and hardware, and that is more restrictive than generic Windows machines. But that also makes them more secure and easier to use. And Microsoft deserves all the flak they get for Internet Explorer, that non-standard piece of crap. All web developers spend huge amounts of time working around working around its bugs and quirks. And soon we’ll have to deal with four different versions of it! (IE6, 7, 8, and 9.) Curse you, Microsoft!! *Shakes fist.*

      1. It applies to the iPhone and iPad because that’s as far as the filthy, shit-stained fingers of Apple currently reach.

        If Apple had 90% desktop share and had introduced the browser, it would have applied to those too. That’s my entire point.

        The open technologies are the ones where Apple’s attempts to foist a closed technology on its sheep customers failed. That implies, to me, that had Apple’s other attempts NOT failed, they would look like the ones that we currently have that didn’t fail.

        1. There’s no censorware built into Safari for iPhone or iPad, so no, I don’t find your hypothetical convincing.

        2. Your FUD is ridiculous. “If Apple had 90% desktop share” – well that’s not the case, so we don’t know anything, do we? As for “open technologies”, there is a company that has a long history of using its dominant market share to cram unwanted standards down our throats and its name is not Apple.

    3. It’s doubtful that Apple would have been able to hold on to their market share if they behaved in that manner. Remember, back in the early days of Windows, there were several other operating systems in wide use — Amiga, OS/2, etc. It’s by no means clear that Apple would have won by default.

    4. Pretty fucking hilarious that the bundling “anti-trust” bullshit leveled at MS basically defines Apple’s entire business strategy.

  36. “Buying an iPad for your kids isn’t a means of jump-starting the realization that the world is yours to take apart and reassemble; it’s a way of telling your offspring that even changing the batteries is something you have to leave to the professionals.”

    Interestingly enough, the personal computer revolution, which Apple cleverly exploited to catapult itself to prominence, was founded on the idea that people shouldn’t need IT departments, repair geeks, commercial software programmers, or other experts to get between them and their computers — that real, everyday people could learn to take apart and reassemble their computers, and not only enjoy the experience but profit in several ways from it. The old Apple II, with its built-in BASIC-language interpreter, was a concrete manifestation of that vision. The original Mac, which was much harder to program, was a manifestation of the opposite point of view (which Doctorow laments). Now, we can argue that neither computer was a suitable vehicle for the revolutionary idea stated above. But the early Apple at least paid lip service to that idea, while latter-day Apple — even with its modern Mac offerings — seems committed to the customer as mere consumer. There was a culture war within Apple and the consumerists won. I’d say that victory was complete by around the mid-1990s. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    1. Making the battery removable would make the iPad (and iPhone and iPod) bigger and heavier. It’s a design decision you may not agree with, but it’s not hard to justify.

      1. Not much bigger and heavier, though. If the price of bleeding-edge uber-cool factor is locking out the user from self-servicing and deep customization, then, speaking as merely one consumer, the price is probably too high.

        I’m not a real hardware geek, though I know how to use a soldering iron and voltmeter. I don’t so much worry about “no user serviceable parts inside” as I do about the fact that Apple products, in general, tend to be platforms for the expression of user creativity only on the most shallow, consumerist level. The old Apple slogan was “power to be your best.” I don’t see them flying that flag anymore, much less the legendary pirate flag.

        1. I’ve built websites on Macs for about a dozen years now, so I disagree with your point about about creativity. And there’s an artist who does New Yorker covers on his iPhone, for heaven’s sake. That doesn’t strike me as “shallow” or “consumerist.”

          As for user serviceability, I just replaced the DVD drive in my MacBook. No easy, but doable. A hard drive swap was easier, and upgrading the RAM was easier still. And all with standard parts. iPhones and iPods and iPads are a different issue, because they are even more miniaturized.

          1. I’m not saying that great feats of creativity or personal expression aren’t possible. Even Apple can’t completely geld a general purpose computer, and I’ve certainly used enough Apple products in productive and creative pursuits, myself. I’m just saying that, as I see it, the emphasis has clearly and steadily moved away from helping people to master the world by mastering technology, and toward interacting with the world through the medium of a technology that people are encouraged to think of as “magic,” and not shape for themselves. Look at the ads for iPads, for a literal example of this.

            1. I admit I wish Apple paid more attention to pros for whom a Mac Pro is overkill. I need something to replace my G4 desktop, and would like something more than a Mac Mini or iMac, but not for $2000.

  37. How do you think the Chinese government would feel about a device where you could only obtain apps from a single source? And where you couldn’t install a web-browser from another vendor?

    Seems to me that Apple’s lock-down ecosystem would make actual censorship by repressive governments substantially easier, which is one reason I really hope Apple’s creepy, proprietary closed model doesn’t become SOP across the industry (every app within the state, no apps against the state, etc).

  38. I wonder if some of the iPad hate (from people like Doctorow) stems from the possibility that it’s the first Apple product to copy and market an end user hack from a few years prior. I recall somebody making something very similar with a Macbook and some sourced hardware not too long ago.

  39. And as long as we’re on the Apple subject and how fantastic the UI is on Apple stuff, I got one word: iTunes. iTunes is the biggest piece of shit media manager going, and Apple should burn that thing to the ground and start over. They made the process of adding mp3 to a device exponentially more complicated than it needs to be.

    Man, I miss my iAudio X5.

  40. “In the alternate universe where they aren’t around or where Bill Gates gets hit by a bus before dropping out of Harvard…”

    I used to see pre-Gazillionaire Gates at the occasional Homebrew Computer Club event or West Coast Computer Faire cocktail party. Not long after he became famous, I wondered what would have happened, had he hit it off with a cute nerdette or a booth-babe, and been distracted away from what we all see in retrospect as having been his “destiny.” There was a lot of such “distraction” going around in those days, not to mention oceans of alcohol and carloads of drugs in the mix — along with the more common caffeine. I’ll bet I was in the room when at least one of those turning points occurred, but of course, the room was also filled with people who seemed as brilliant, driven, and ambitious as Gates, so I didn’t pay any special attention to what was going on in his corner, and so missed the tell-tale details that were probably fairly obvious at the time. Oh well.

  41. the ipad is a piece of shit. tablet PCs are better and beat them to it. netbooks and tablet PCs are the future. ipads are expensive tablet PCs with less features.

  42. I ordered one of these over the weekend, after reading a lot of the reviews. I think my story is fairly typical, and the reason iPad will be a big hit.

    I don’t have an iPhone, I don’t have an iPod, I don’t have a Kindle. I have a cheap mp3 player, a regular phone (that I use for, you know, calling people), and I really wanted an ebook reader for my business travel.

    The iPad is perfect for my family. For about double what I was going to spend on the Kindle, I get my mp3 player, a decent browser, a way to watch movies, AND my book reader.

    My kid will play with it during the day, my wife will use it when I am on the family computer or for recipes, reading books, etc., and I will have a great travel diversion and toy.

    For the young folks with all of the Apple gadgets, and total geeks, I guess it could be a let-down, but for the middle-aged masses who just want something functional and fun, this will be a hit.

    1. At some point, the iPad or something like it will acquire phone powers, which can be accessed either by interacting with the screen or via a bluetooth-type voice device that would use the pad as a base station, in either case while I was doing one or more other things on the screen. Once such a unit exists, I might want it, as I could then have a right-sized “slate” computer and dispense with a separate smart-phone. Maybe Skype or a similar service will work with the iPad now; in that case, we’d be halfway to where I hope this technology goes. Will Apple or someone else get there first?

  43. Shorter Cory Doctorow:


    1. He’s never been that succinct in his life.

  44. The beauty thing: It doesn’t matter what any of us thinks. The market will decide.

    1. Beautiful? It makes me regret that hipsters have money, however briefly.

  45. While the average consumer might like it, if you value being a power-user, having control, customization etc over allegedly slick design interface, not to mention any measure of freedom as it may apply, then Apple products are not good. Its simplicity is incredibly limiting. Its strict paternal control over all products, stores, etc polarizes these differences, further defining Apple products between those who want simplicity and everything taken care for them and those who want control, efficiency, and power. On top of that, Apples ability to generate hype for its products (with no small help from many journalist fans in tech blogs) definitely generates demand. But there’s no doubt that most users are happy with their product. I suspect many more could be taken to my way of thinking if they had better exposure to my sort of usage patterns.

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