Steven Johnson Pod Person: We Were Wrong to Resist Apple


Invention of Air author Steven Johnson says the success of Apple's iPhone apps calls into question the wisdom of more than a decade. At least since the late 1990s, conventional thinking has held that closed, top-down, closely policed structures (such as the old AOL and MSN) can't compete with the "generative" power of millions of people working out in the unfenced interwebs. Johnson says the iPhone store is changing that:

Over the last two years, however, that story has grown far more complicated, thanks to the runaway success of the iPhone (and now iPad) developers platform — known as the App Store to consumers.

The App Store must rank among the most carefully policed software platforms in history. Every single application has to be approved by Apple before it can be offered to consumers, and all software purchases are routed through Apple's cash register. Most of the development tools are created inside Apple, in conditions of C.I.A.-level secrecy. Next to the iPhone platform, Microsoft's Windows platform looks like a Berkeley commune from the late 60s.

And yet, by just about any measure, the iPhone software platform has been, out of the gate, the most innovative in the history of computing. More than 150,000 applications have been created for it in less than two years, transforming the iPhone into an e-book reader, a flight control deck, a musical instrument, a physician's companion, a dictation device and countless other things that were impossible just 24 months ago.

0.6 percent of Americans can't be wrong.

Because Apple is what Kevin McCarthy was warning your granparents about, I prefer not to believe this argument, and I hope Steven—who has worked as a distributed-computing guru while moonlighting as a collaborative-filtering seer—is just making a conceit for a column rather than ceding so much ground to the cult of Jobs.

But the iPhone's (and potentially the iPad's) dominance of mobile apps is impressive. This ArsTechnica report has i-Apps accounting for 99 percent of sales at all app stores. That figure, from the marketing research firm Gartner, seems incredibly high, but as Saddam Hussein said of his own vote totals, you can take a lot away from that and it's still a large number. Apple's app store offers many times more products than its competitors. This performance is even more impressive given that iPhone's penetration in the smartphone market is only 25 percent.

That last part may be the solution. Hardware is the word of Apple's undoing. For about a decade, from the introduction of Macintosh to the introduction of Windows 95, Apple had no serious competition in the market for operating systems featuring the then-novel graphical user interface.* I would tell you how that story ended, but it's too depressing. Already, the sock-knocking apps for which the iPhone is loved—including bump and reliable GPS—exist in the larger smartphone market. Steven Johnson, who I'll bet had an eWorld account back in the day, must understand how freedom-loving people will in time recognize the alliance of Apple and AT&T as a menace to be fought with hammers and fire if necessary. (The free market "jungle" outside Apple's "walled garden" gives you the more peaceful option of just buying somebody else's product.)

* Commenter Tulpa points out that Microsoft has always had a larger OS market share than Apple, and that earlier iterations of Windows were available before Windows 95. Having used all of these operating systems through Windows 3.1, I can tell you that they were strictly something you worked around to get to the DOS prompt where the actual applications were available. (Windows 3.1 did have a Solitaire game that worked pretty well.) Reasonable people can disagree, but I say Windows 95 was the first Microsoft OS that behaved like what we now think of as a graphical user interface.

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  1. I’m with Apple – win, lose or draw.


    1. Lol. I agree.

    2. Lol. I agree.

      1. What the fuck are you laughing at? Are you high? I don’t think dude was even trying to be funny, and there is no way that is close to unintentionally funny.

  2. And yet, by just about any measure, the iPhone software platform has been, out of the gate, the most innovative in the history of computing. More than 150,000 applications have been created for it in less than two years

    Which makes one wonder how many more apps would be out there if Apple didn’t police it so hard.

    And the other thing is that most jerkPhone apps are free or really, really cheap. Your average app developer for the jerkPhone isn’t going to make any money. So, much like open source, it’s great that someone was willing to essentially work for free, but economically, it doesn’t mean very much, except to Apple who I bet (a lot) takes a percentage cut of every purchase in the App Store. So, once again, people who love their Apple product are…fleeced by Apple. I’d feel bad for you folks, but I don’t really have much sympathy for suckers.

    1. There’d be more apps, and more of them would suck, and people would have bought fewer of them total by now.

      At least, that’s as plausible as the reverse.

      1. Doubtful. Remember, one of Apple’s policing policies is that apps can’t run in the background–only one app can run at a time. Apple has their reasons for this, but it’s a massive area of development that isn’t being explored, and could be extremely useful.

        1. Hence why I still opt for my Windoze based PDA as a dedicated doc buddy. I can run multiple apps as necessary, since I don’t have

          1. grrr. one application that does everything I need.

        2. only one app can run at a time. Apple has their reasons for this,

          What are their reasons? Will multi-tasking slow things up, or cause it to crash?

          1. Being able to switch between apps complicates the UI a lot. How does one switch? How do you tell what’s running? Solving these issues would possibly require buttons, or something else that Apple doesn’t want to do because it’ll fuck up their otherwise very simple and elegant design. Plus, memory issues arise as well.

            It’s a lot of headache for Apple, so instead, they say “fuck you, too bad” and their fans don’t care.

            1. That is why I don’t understand the hype behind the ipad. Maybe my needs are different than what most users would use but I don’t think so. Usually if my computer is on I have excel, word, firefox, and maybe a game going all at once, lately I have even needed matlab. And my dell laptop, that costs about as much as the most expensive ipad, handles all this honorably. Oh yeah, it has 4 usb ports that I also need for a memory stick that is filled with data and things to be edited.

              1. I think the jerkPad is going to be a failure, like AppleTV was. It just doesn’t make any sense. Plus, Tosh destroyed the one Apple sent him without even ever turning it on, and I enjoyed that.

                1. Just googled that, nice.

                  Who needs a gadget that won’t even stand up to a nine iron?

                2. Epi — the iPad has already sold enough copies to be considered a runaway success even if no more were ever sold.

                  I’m not buying one — still haven’t bought an iPhone, because I don’t believe in overpaying — but a large market niche exists of people who love Apple’s new stuff.

                  1. Really? Jeebus, Jobs really has people under his spell.

                    1. Mac users . . .

                      *makes masturbatory gesture*

                    2. Apple zombies and Obama zombies…lots of overlap between those two groups.

            2. we solved this problem. It wasn’t that hard. All you had to do was make your coders use java, ditch the whole int main(){} concept, and let them live with giving up control of process flow to the OS.

        3. The upcoming iPhone OS 4, due out this summer, supports multi-tasking. The hold up is that as a company they are generally perfectionists, and they wanted to find the best way to implement it without degrading the user experience. Giving a less than optimum experience was not an option.

          1. They’ve taken that option plenty of times before.

          2. Nah, it had everything to do with them being lazy and stripping down OSX instead of writing a new OS from scratch. If you understand the architecture behind Android, you would see why apple had to do what it had to do.

          3. The upcoming iPhone OS 4, due out this summer, supports multi-tasking. The hold up is that as a company they are generally perfectionists, and they wanted to find the best way to implement it without degrading the user experience. Giving a less than optimum experience was not an option. This kinda makes sense if you think about it, lol.


            1. Look, I’m totally acting like a google fanboy here, but seriously the Android platform figured out how to do multitasking “without degrading the user experience”. Google wrote their OS in two years (which is far, shorter time than apple). The reason why they were able to do this was because they started with a first principle rewrite, asking the right questions about what a dataphone user experience should be like, and how to deal with limited phone resources, and not being afraid to rewrite the rules of computer programming itself.

              Apple, on the other hand, took OS X, stripped it down, and grafted it onto a dataphone platform. This was a more conservative approach (or if you want to be disparaging, lazy). The setback is that OSX is not designed for the limited resources of a dataphone platform; the reason why they couldn’t do it is because there was always the threat that the coder would write a cycle-sucker that would drain battery power while sitting in the background. This is also exactly the reason why the iPhone doesn’t support “push” as easily as the Google phones do.

              1. You see what I did there?

                1. no, not really. I just came off of a three day dance bender and have only 20 hours of sleep over the weekend, and I’m also sleeping at work because I won’t be able to commute between home and work because our blessed president has called some sort of international nuclear summit or some BS and traffic is liable to be mired in the city.

    2. I’ve used a Blackberry since they had a gray scale screen. They’ve had hundreds of thousands of apps over the years. Many were free. All apple has done is create a single repository for apps for their devices.

      To get Blackberry apps you had the onerous task of using a search engine to find what you wanted. And anyone could create on with no restrictions.

      Yeah apple is really a world changer.

      1. World-changing can happen with less. Henry Ford didn’t invent automobiles or mass-production, either. Many of Apple’s successes involve taking something “not new” (GUIs, MP3 players, smartphones) and doing them better. A centralized, easy-to-use, trustworthy marketplace for downloadable apps is clearly successful in the marketplace.

        1. Hell, the app base that Palm had in its heyday at least equals that of Apple. But, you had to go looking for them.

        2. “Many of Apple’s successes involve taking something “not new” (GUIs, MP3 players, smartphones) and doing them better”

          The iPod wasn’t the best MP3 player when it came out.

          As for GUI’s- just about every Linux distro emulates the windows GUI not an Apple one. As a tech support guy at one time I’ve yet to find a person who thought apple’s GUI was more intuitive or easy to use that a Window’s GUI.

          Smartphones- they upped the ante for touch screens but that’s about it.

          I see it as Apple hiring great advertising minds.

          *not that I care one way or the other about what OS/device someone chooses. I just don’t blindly recommend Apple products.

  3. You have “Pod Person” right in the title but you inexplicably post a clip from Invasion of the Body Snatchers instead of Pod People? At the very least you could have easily referenced “Idiot Control Now” somewhere in the post…

    1. Tim’s drunk, dude; it’s Sunday afternoon, after all. Cut him some slack.

    2. You do realize that the aliens in Invasion of the Body Snatchers used pods that (somehow; it’s never quite made clear) take the identity of the local townsfolk, right?

      See here, for example.

      1. I do, and perhaps “inexplicably” was a bad word choice. I’ve just gotten used to Hit & Run contributors passing up the low-lying pop culture fruit in favor of much more awesome references, and it doesn’t get much more awesome than Pod People.

  4. So, much like open source, it’s great that someone was willing to essentially work for free, but economically, it doesn’t mean very much, except to Apple who I bet (a lot) takes a percentage cut of every purchase in the App Store

    Interesting take Epi. Got a serious question, since you are a programming/IT wizard deity: besides dedication to craft (like the open source developers), are the folks out there trying to develop apps for Teh iPhone perhaps trying to make their mark by coming up with some wondermuss app that Apple hasn’t yet come up with? Like as a resume booster?

    1. They’re developing apps for several reasons:

      1. Some people just love their jerkPhone and think of what they think would be a really useful app, develop it, and submit it to the store. They probably figure maybe they make a little money, but mostly they did it because they just wanted to.

      2. As you said, coming up with the next super-popular app would be a great thing to have on your resume, but I think it’s more useful for your resume just to be able to say that you know how to write a jerkPhone app.

      3. Some do it for financial reasons, where they really think they might be able to make some money. I think they’re delusional, but hope springs eternal in some people.

      4. Some are written just as exposure–“see, we have a jerkPhone app too!” Sometimes these are popular and useful, like Zillow’s app.

      Those are the general motivations I’ve seen amongst people creating jerkPhone apps.

      1. And a lot of those apps are intensely useless marketing apps, like the Cylon Detector.

      2. A decent number of apps are really just alternate ways of accessing some corporate website.

    2. some wondermuss app that Apple hasn’t yet come up with

      No one wants to do this. If Apple is going to come up with it eventually, it’s incredibly stupid to compete. They will crush you when it comes out. What you want is “an app that Apple never plans on coming out with,” preferably something that’s very necessary to a niche audience but an audience too small for Apple to care. Things like “a physician’s companion” given in the article.

    3. And for the record I still use my trusty PDA with Wi-Fi as my physician’s companion. I have all the apps I need, such as Epocrates (mostly pharm stuff like checking drug interactions,) and get regular updates.

  5. Didn’t the European Union just fine Microsoft for prepackaging Windows Media player with its OS?

    Steve Jobs better keep giving out blow jobs, or Apple will be the next multinational to lose an antitrust case in Europe.

  6. Never, EVER rely on Gartner Group “research” – it is nothing but fake, paid-for “analysis”. They should be headquartered on K street. Seriously, CONGRESS is more honest, reliable and transparent than Gartner.

    And every Apple fan-boy has always waxed effusively over the superiority of all things Apple – whether warranted or not.

  7. What you want is “an app that Apple never plans on coming out with,” preferably something that’s very necessary to a niche audience

    Like a “stick pins in your Krugabe virtuasl voodoo doll” app?

  8. My first computer was an Apple IIe in high school.

    I remember thinkin’ I was gonna get the new Macintosh when they first came out, but I wanted to wait for all the software first…

    Jobs stupid proprietary philosophy is what ruined that company the first time, and it was only the success of Napster and Jobs’ proximity to the entertainment industry that saved them. His weird take on the proprietary just happened to coincide with what the industry needed at the time, but what did that take? 15 years?

    I remember when Microsoft was buying out secondary offerings to keep Apple afloat, just so Microsoft could argue in court (in Europe and elsewhere) that they still had competition!

    And it’s funny ’cause the things I hate about the Apple products I have today are the same things I hated about Apple products in the ’80s.

    I remember with my mid-gen shuffle having to buy a replacement connector that almost cost as much as a new shuffle, ’cause only Apple made ’em…

    I bought the 4th gen shuffle? What a piece of crap! You can’t turn the volume above whisper unless you use the apple’s proprietary headphones! And the ones they give you won’t stay in your ears! Yeah, you can buy replacement headphones, or an adapter, but if I’m not mistaken, only if the people who made them bought a license from Apple!

    You can’t skip songs or turn up the volume on a 4g shuffle unless you pay for Apple’s proprietary headphone technology! And their phones won’t stay in your ears while you’re jogging!

    It’s a piece of crap! But you’re already invested in all those aac files, you’ve already got your play-lists set up in iTunes, and you can’t believe you just spent $50 on a piece of technology that supposed to be designed to wear while jogging–but can’t be worn while jogging!

    So you buy the crappy adapter…

    We invented the fax machine and email to get around the post office. We invented much of what we know as the PC in order to get around Apple, and I suppose we’ll innovate around Apple’s latest proprietary craptacular too…

    But never forget that Apple’s playing the role of the postal workers’ union in all of this. They always have. But we’ll get around it. We will. Jobs couldn’t cheat us for long before, and we won’t fall for his crap forever. I remember when AOL came out, people used to think AOL was the whole internet, but they couldn’t fool everybody forever…

    I bought a $10 mp3 player at a convenience store yesterday. I wouldn’t go long on Apple if I were you.

    1. And AOL would’ve been the entire internet, if it weren’t for those meddling unlimited providers!

      1. Kids today probably don’t believe it, but there was a time when a nice sized chunk of the American people thought that AOL’s website was the whole internet.

        You couldn’t blame ’em ’cause you had to hit like five links in the right order just to get out of AOL’s hideous grasp. And that’s basically what Apple’s all about too–it’s just that instead of trapping people in a website, they’re just trying to trap people with hardware.

        I’ve been a bit of a gadget freak for a long time, so I’ve bought a lot of crap over the years, but I’m tellin’ y’all, the 4G Shuffle is the crappiest piece of hardware I’ve bought in the last ten years, and all of Apple’s products seem to move along the same arc…

        Apple’s doing better right now because people do so much online, so the crap that made Apple’s machine itself suck so much doesn’t really intrude like it did before.

        But it all seems to evolve on the same arc… “Insanely great” becomes insanely proprietary–every time. The iPhones of the future will suck. Resistance is futile.

        1. Jobs’ business model is reminiscent of AOL’s business model, i.e. instead of “I want my MTV,” it was “I want my AOL”. Especially after the AOL/Time Warner merger so AOL would have greater access to entertainment and news content and vice versa. AOL, and Prodigy and Compuserve for that matter, was never intended to be unlimited access as opposed to pay by the minute access. Fee for unlimited service thankfully did away with that model.

          Jobs’ business model is essentially the same thing, instead of “I want my MTV”, it’s “I want my i(insert whatever product).”

    2. Apple’s darkest days — the mid/late 90s — came after Jobs had left the company, and while Apple was (for the only time in its history) allowing its operating system to be used on hardware produced by other manufacturers.

      1. This is a good point. In the late 1990’s Apple swathed the Macintosh in beige plastic and tried to sell it as a mainstream corporate computer. (anyone remember the Macintosh LC? …anyone?)

    3. My first computer was an Apple IIe in high school.

      Mine too. BASIC in HS, then FORTRAN 77 in jr college. Ever tried programming FORTRAN on a IIe? I learned then, never to buy any Apple product. Ever. I fell well behind the curve for not knowing DOS.

      I run Windows 6 on an HTC touch. I hate the fucking thing, but I’ll never buy an iFuck. Just give me a fucking Flash.

    4. Just did a quick double-check, and it’s a 3rd generation Shuffle…

      “Unlike most other portable audio players, the iPod Shuffle’s controls are situated on the packaged headphones. One will be unable to control the device unless they use either Apple headphones designed for the 3rd-generation Shuffle, or third-party headphones or adapters that must be licensed by Apple. The 3rd-generation iPod Shuffle’s headphones contain a proprietary integrated circuit.”…..e_controls

      Insanely proprietary. See?

      Understand, you can’t even really listen to it on shuffle settings either because the sound is muffled to a whisper without proprietary headphones.

      So you want to see the future of the iPhone? Take a look at the Shuffle today. …take a look at the Macintosh! It’s always the same.

      1. By the way, from the same link I gave above?

        “Also, inline control adapters that were made by third-party companies for use with the iPhone and iPod are incompatible with the iPod Shuffle.”

        Steve Jobs, you insanely great bastard!

        1. I think you are failing to make a distinction between proprietary for its own sake and proprietary because they feel the design requires it. Apple certainly does lots of the latter; it’s a large reason for their success. But I see no evidence of the former. E.g.: They’re against Flash on portable devices for a number of valid reasons, but Safari supports it on desktops and laptops. They are pushing HTML5 to replace Flash, not some proprietary Apple tech. There are no major restrictions on developing for OS X in general, in fact the dev tools come on the system disks at no extra charge. Etc.

    5. Jobs left Apple not long after the first Mac shipped. He started NeXT where they produced a computer with slots and based on Unix and a variety of standards. (Which went on to become os/x)

      During the years when Microsoft achieved it’s dominant position, Apple was run by dorks like Sculley and Spindler.

  9. For about a decade, from the introduction of Macintosh to the introduction of Windows 95, Apple had no serious competition in the market for operating systems featuring the then-novel graphical user interface.

    Wait, what? There was another GUI OS with larger market share than Macintosh before Windows 95 was released. You have one guess.

    1. I said “serious competition.” Did you ever use Windows 3.1?

      1. An OS that has a higher market share than you still qualifies as serious competition even if it sucks. I can’t believe you based your entire argument on a naked falsehood.

        1. Naked falsehood? Sounds serious.

          Paragraph added. It’s not market share of the product I question, but whether the product was an actual GUI. Windows 1 through Windows 3.1 had as much to do with graphical user interface as the German Democratic Republic had to do with democracy. All the actual applications ran off the DOS prompt — and DOS, not the Windows shell, was responsible for Microsoft’s dominance.

          1. Once you have an interface where you move a pointer of some type around the screen and click on objects to make things happen, you have a GUI. Even Windows 2 was a GUI, though not a commercially successful one.

          2. He’s gotcha on this one Tim. Yes, DOS was the platform with a windows shell, but as Win95 was an improvement in stability, both are still GUI’s.

            From Wiki:

            Windows 95 was intended to integrate Microsoft’s formerly separate MS-DOS and Windows products, however it is still considered an operating environment that sits over the DOS operating system. It features significant improvements over its predecessor, Windows 3.1, most notably in the graphical user interface (GUI) and in its simplified “plug-n-play” features. There were also major changes made at lower levels of the operating system. (emphasis mine).

            From A History of Windoze 3.1 GUI:

            There were a variety of reasons that Windows 3.1 became as popular as it did. Marketing and OEM bundling certainly played a big role, but one reason I observed was the presence of Microsoft Office for Windows 3.1 (sold seperatly).

            In corporate environments this meant that they could use Word and Excel on existing or inexpensive commodity IBM-PC compatible computers in the same way as users of those “overpriced” Macintoshes.

            Another selling point of Windows 3.1 was that it was backwards compatible with DOS application, and even somewhat extended the DOS functionality. In 386 mode it can run multiple DOS applications at the same time using “Virtual DOS Machines”. Additionally text can be copied and pasted from the DOS application screens and in to other DOS or Windows applications.

            Because Windows runs on top of DOS, each VDM automatically can access any DOS drivers or resident programs that were loaded before Windows was launched.

            In general Windows 3.1’s DOS support was considered better than that of OS/2 or Windows NT, even if it was technically not as good. This is probably because most comparisons usually boiled down to “It can run Doom with sound”.

            Of course, for those applications that refuse to run in a Windows VDM one only needs to exit Windows to be right back in a native DOS environment.

            1. Having a GUI and being a GUI OS are not the same thing.

          3. Wow, I must have hallucinated Office for Windows. And Publisher. And Visual C++. And Netscape. And AOL.

            In fact, about the only thing I ran in DOS were games. And even then, that was only some games; I certainly had a few for Windows 3.1.

            I think your memory is on the fritz here.

          4. Mac OSX is a graphic shell that sits on top of BSD, just like Windows 3.1 was a shell that sat on top of DOS.

            1. Really the only OS that is a GUI OS is BeOS.

      2. Yes, and I found it very useful at the time. Plus, PC’s were cheaper. However, for desktop publishing, I seem to remember Mac was the one to beat.

        1. And nobody in the accounting department (or IT for that matter) could understand why they should pay thousands of dollars for a dedicated desktop publishing machine. …they just knew the creative types had a hissy fit if you didn’t get ’em one.

          The things that went into most people’s thinking had to do with third party software. You could wait around for Apple’s vaporware to materialize or you could run down to Egghead and buy whatever you wanted right off the shelf. Why wait for Apple to reinvent the wheel?

          After Windows ’95, especially, there was the gaming question too for a lot of people. Why would I pay that much for something I can’t play Quake on? It took ’em forever to port stuff to the Mac. How long did it take ’em to port Starcraft?

          The industry was being pushed along by companies that didn’t have much to do with Apple or Microsoft OSes. It had to do with innovations by third parties like 3dfx and id software. …innovations that couldn’t be integrated into Apple’s products in some cases for years!

          Apple still hasn’t caught up with the gaming side–not that they’re trying. You know what really made Apple ready for the masses? It was when they finally went to x86!* When they finally became a non-differentiated, commodity. Look! You can dual boot Windows on your Apple now! Now will you buy one to go with your iPod?

          If you’re just doing web browsing and email, who cares whether you’re on an Apple or something else? And that’s what Apple’s machines are competing with now, the ultimate commodity PC–the netbook. That’s as close as we’ve come to a commoditized product since the dumb terminal.

          I think that’s the problem. Apple (Jobs) is really good at outperforming other commodity products. …but God forbid you want to do something with it that they haven’t thought of beforehand. And in the meantime, the more invested you are in their hardware, the more the next generation is going to clamp you down.

          …and then it’s, “Hello proprietary headphones!” It’s happened with the iPod already. It’ll happen with their other hardware too.

          *and they only did that because their partners were losing so much money–because they had to!

          1. I know all this history. Like Pee Wee Herman, I lived it.

            I’m saying if But Selig can keep Pete Rose out of the Hall of Fame, I can unilaterally declare that Windows 3.1 was so shady it did not deserve the title of a functioning GUI OS.

            Like Bud Selig, I’m acting in my capacity as a despot. But for fun I’m also coming up with arguments to support my position.

            For example, Groovus: You know why the Mac OS was the one to beat for desktop publishing? Because for desktop publishing you need something approaching a graphical representation, which Windows simply did not provide.

            That’s why the typical newsroom from 1990 to about 1997 consisted of a bunch of terminals running a Microsoft OS, with or without Windows, and one Mac that was manned by the graphics/layout guy (or team, depending on size of the book) who actually needed a graphical interface.

            1. Fair enough Tim. I can appreciate your argument as well as your despot position, as well a sense of history.

              Yeah, I remember having to hunt down a MAC user or go to the college library to scan pictures and setup presentations.

      3. Yes it was good even if I did reload it 3 times in that comps life.

      4. Yes, actually. We did. Did you? BTW, Win95 is when Microsoft began losing credibility(not a big fan actually; more of a unix guy myself, but I would never knock 3.1). Also, in case you were unaware, you could make 95 boot to a Dos prompt(version 7) and start windows from there if you wanted to do so.

      5. I remember my mother bitching about Win 3.1. She kept asking me why everyone thought Windows was so cool because she didn’t see any advantage to it at all.

        When I went home I looked at her setup and she had simply installed Windows on her DOS PC but hadn’t bought a mouse. She navigated entirely through key strokes. It was sort of impressive.

        In her defense, she was always on the cutting edge of computers because of her job (tax preparation). She probably bought Win 3.1 before 99% of the rest of the country.

        By the way my first computer (my mom’s) was a Kaypro 4 running CP/M

      6. Agreed. My first computer had DOS 3.31 but also came with the current version of Windows – which I quickly deleted as useless. My second computer came with DOS 6.0, which was the first (and only) stable release of DOS, and again came with Windows (4.0 I think), which, again, I deleted. The first MS Windows release that was useful was Windows 95, and the first MS Windows that was stable with Windows XP.

    2. And don’t forget all those expensive unix/vax workstations with GUIs that were used for scientific/graphics industry computing.

  10. Johnson needs to get his lips off Steve Jobs’ johnson or he is going to choke…

    first of all apple’s success according to Apple was hiring some accountants from the Obama team-

    from the Apple statement-
    “The new accounting principles result in the Company’s recognition of substantially all of the revenue and product cost for iPhone and Apple TV when those products are delivered to customers. Under historical accounting principles, the Company was required to account for sales of both iPhone and Apple TV using subscription accounting because the Company indicated it might from time to time provide future unspecified software upgrades and features for those products free of charge. Under subscription accounting, revenue and associated product cost of sales for iPhone and Apple TV were deferred at the time of sale and recognized on a straight-line basis over each product’s estimated economic life. This resulted in the deferral of significant amounts of revenue and cost of sales related to iPhone and Apple TV”

    so they changed accounting and had the biggest quater ever, has anyone ever changed accounting to make numbers worse? just a question.

    From the Johnson blowing Jobs article-

    “None of which is to suggest that the iPhone/iPad ecosystem couldn’t benefit from a little more openness. Apple should stop blocking apps that compete with the iPhone’s default apps ? e-mail clients, for instance ? as this is the one area where innovation has truly suffered…..”

    whats that you say, the area of the iphone even more tightly controlled than the app store is also the one that suffers the most from lack of innovation, this one statement takes all of his previous points to task.

    Jobs does not innovate products or markets he innovates ways to make people pay much more for older technology, in that respect he is a great innovator.

    I guess it is true what the PC fanboys say, “If Steve Jobs took a shit, then wrapped in pretty plastic, he could sell it for a premium.” and Johnson would be first in line for the I-TURD…

    1. so they changed accounting and had the biggest quater ever, has anyone ever changed accounting to make numbers worse? just a question.

      Yes; all those corporations who just took a markdown thanks to the tax change in the “health care” “reform” bill that got passed.

  11. The walled garden sounds nice if, you were in it. I just never have gone in it for, alot o reasons.

    1. You are hereby sentenced to die for heartless violence to the common comma.

      1. But that might prove that he’s the true king of Ankh-Morpork.

        1. Well played sir.

        2. My cousin’s got a birthmark shaped like and anchor and he’s not an admiral.

      2. My lowly grammatical skills doesn’t mean I don’t have access to a keyboard. I hope that in another 10 years I can write like a 10 year old but,,, maybe there is no hope. Thanks for trying seriously.

  12. Two words: Droid Does.


    Every time I write about Apple or the iPhone, I hear from BlackBerry fans who consider Steve Jobs and his minions to be nothing more than image-conscious showoffs. Whether or not you agree with this view, you can’t deny that there’s a huge customer base of people who hate unnecessary showiness?that’s why we’ve got car companies like Subaru and Volvo (and even Toyota and VW), computer companies like IBM, and, until recently, mobile-phone companies like Research in Motion.

    I work with a couple of Apple-lovers that never shut up. I try to be polite, but eventually I am just going to have to tell them I don’t give a rat’s ass about Apple products.

    Owner of 6 Subarus over the years 😉

  14. I still have an Amiga.

    1. As did I. An A1200, until my parents sold it a few years ago. I can’t imagine they got much for it, which is irritating, since it had a high sentimental value to me. That, and personal information that they probably didn’t format off of it.

      1. I have that model as well, though the keyboard has a few bad keys, and the disk drive is shot. Haven’t used it in years, but I loved it.

        It’s a shame they didn’t make it in the long run. Competition makes Gates uncomfortable. Mwahaha.

    2. I was wondering when someone would mention Amiga. They had a pretty OK GUI going well before Windows 95.

  15. Well, there’s only one way to unseat a powerful company; roll up your sleaves, fly the Jolly Roger, and challenge the Navy.

    Droid, Linux, anything that we can do to unseat Apple. Because if we don’t, the Antitrust Division will try; and they’ll make a bigger mess than creative destruction.

  16. The article doesn’t mention the Jailbreak app and the author doesn’t understand iPod/iPhone/iPad market at all.

    Apple has come up with a great application and business model, iTunes. It sells hardware compatible with that application. The application allows outside content creators access to the application’s millions of users. It attracts a vast array of content for that reason, build some good content (music, videos, games, applications), get some good reviews, and you could suddenly have a several hundred thousand purchasers of your content with the retailer only taking 30% of the top. Someone above mentioned that this is like AOL’s business model. I’ll agree, except that Job’s version of this model allows content creators to actually be paid.

    1. The article doesn’t mention the Jailbreak app and the author doesn’t understand iPod/iPhone/iPad market at all.

      Big oversight. No discussion of this would be complete without mention of how Apple makes running applications that they haven’t approved using a jailbreak tool into a felony using the DMCA’s ridiculous “anti-circumvention” provisions.

  17. Love ’em or hate ’em, there is no denying that Apple created a revolutionary device in the iPhone. The sheer number of copy cat devices testifies to this. It is not just a phone with a pretty touch screen. It is an extremely useful device which has one of the best human-computer interfaces ever designed. Their tightly controlled app store model may eventually die at the hands of Android. As a developer, I would prefer to forgo the app approval process. Especially when submitting a bug fix. Having to wait 2 weeks to fix your app just plain sucks.

    1. The iPhone itself is a copycat device, or do you think Apple really invented the ‘smart phone’?

      1. The Model T is a copycat device, or do you really think Henry Ford invented the automobile.

        1. Comparing the iPhone to the Model T is laughable.

      2. You miss the point completely. It’s not that they invented something which enables a person to do something no one could do before, it’s that they made it work in a fundamentally different way than ever before.

        Think of it in terms of flying to a destination v driving. Both get you there, but in dramatically different ways.

  18. Droid, Linux, anything that we can do to unseat Apple. Because if we don’t, the Antitrust Division will try;

    The Obama administration, going after a bunch of MacFuck liberals? Riiiight…. MacFucks and other retards put this black Jesus into office, for fuck’s sake.

  19. “Reasonable people can disagree, but I say Windows 95 was the first Microsoft OS that behaved like what we now think of as a graphical user interface.”

    This isn’t a philosophical argument, you’re wrong.

  20. GEOS was an x86 GUI, for fucks sake.

    Not a successful one, but it was a GUI.

  21. The iPhone’s success is probably despite the closed nature of the App Store. The people at Apple work extremely hard to achieve a level of hardware and user interface design polish that nobody else can touch — that’s why they are successful.

    1. “There’s a buck to be made here!” Gee…

      1. Why is it bad to make a buck. I mean, this is still America and we are still on a Libertarian site right.

        Isn’t making a buck the whole point?

    2. One of the reasons that Apple can polish up its products to the degree that they can is because they control exactly what is running and allowed in their “walled garden”.

      It’s a lot like teaching to the test. Apple teachers know what will be on the No Children Left Behind test so they are able to make passing the test easy and painless.

      Linux is like the crazy teacher who thinks everyone should start out with a few basic axioms and then use them to prove out any and all theorems. Those kids might have a hard time passing the test but they are set for whatever life throws at them.

      There is something to be said by having your hand held. After the Vista disaster I bought a macbook pro and really like it. Of course I’ve been lucky that the tools I need are readily available for it.

  22. This entire thread gave me a headache. Helluva way to start the day.

  23. Meh. The Android Market will reign supreme soon enough.

  24. Go buy your iPad, iPhone, i anything that’s Wifi enabled. Then buy the Sprint overdrive and (after you’ve got wimax coverage) you can connect at 2-4 Mb downlink.

  25. What about Amiga?

  26. Just in time to get in on the Apple hatred.

    1. Macs: they’re nice-looking and all, and OSX is a well-designed system, but otherwise? I don’t get why they’re so fascist about their hardware. Even Microsoft allows you a choice of hardware – if you don’t like the ergonomics of, say, HPs, you can get a Lenovo and move on with your life. Not to mention that, a few months after switching to Linux, I can’t imagine not being able to debug my own OS.

    2. iPods: So much to dislike. Hate the proprietary formats that can’t play on anything else. Hate iTunes, which never worked correctly on my Windows machine. Hate the proprietary-headphones crap. Hate Apple’s insistence on trying to hold your music collection hostage by making it a challenge to transfer music between machines. I use a Cowon player now, which I like a lot.

    3. iPhone: Looks really cool, but otherwise I don’t get why I should spend this kind of money on what’s, essentially, a toy that can make calls. Not to mention that adding on Apps would require more contact with iTunes.

    1. So much of the WRONG here, I’m not even sure where to start.

      Most importantly, there is nothing proprietary about the files that an iPod plays. MP4 files play on any modern media player on the planet, and they also play MP3, AIFF, and WAV files too. And they dumped DRM over 2 years ago once they got the okay from the labels. There is no proprietary headphones either. Where do you get this stuff?

      As far as iTunes is concerned it seems like an actuator problem as over 100,000,000 users seem to do just fine. It certainly has its flaws, but basic usability isn’t one of them. A drunk retarded money off a weekend bender could figure it out (as my 3 year old has).

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