Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Feb 2010 23:25 UTC, submitted by Chicken Blood
Apple The beauty of the internet is such that every opinion has become worthless; this goes doubly so for those with publish buttons on (relatively, we're humble) major websites. For every opinion, there's a matching counter-opinion, and that's great. Yesterday, we linked to an article by Mark Pilgrim about tinkerers and the iPad, and of course, someone was bound to disagree with that one.
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Us humans revolt at sudden change, but usually adapt and accept it when it's gradual. It's like that with social norms, politics and it's the same thing with technology.

At the palm of my hand, I have a nice looking piece of metal, plastic and silicon which gives me access to the largest collection of human knowledge, just with a few taps while lying in the bed. It even changes orientation to make it more comfortable for me. Quarter a century ago I would not have dreamed of it, but today I don't even feel special, it's like it's always been like this. I accepted it as the way things are. This is a good example of course.

As you say turning OSX into iPhone OS will cause an uproar and it is true, but the uproar will come from you and I who are experiencing it the way it is today, the open multi-purpose multi-user multi-tasking operating system. On the other hand, another generation is growing up with iPhones (and very soon iPads) as their main "computing" device; step into a high school and see for yourself.

Case in point, the other day a non-techie colleague of mine sent me some 6 emails, each containing a single link to a webpage using Safari on her iPhone. This is of course the approach Apple recommended (enforced) when there was no copy-paste in iPhone OS. You could click on the "Mail Link to This Page" button in Mobile Safari and email the link, one email per each link. My colleague of course didn't know about copy-paste and saw nothing absurd with this much more time and energy consuming workflow. Even though copy-paste is now provided, the non-techies will go the old way because Apple told them it's good enough.

I see a lot of similar cases everyday and think of how much productivity will improve if people could take as much advantage of their phones as I do of my jailbroken iPhone. The problem here is of course two fold: the general ambivalence toward technology and the limited functionality "appliance" view of technology spearheaded by Apple.

The point I'm trying to make is that while we love and much more importantly expect and demand openness, if the phenomenal growth of iPhones and iPads continue (which all evidence point at it being true) the future generations would not only not demand openness but also wouldn't even know that such a thing as open computing is a possibility. They would live "happily" with an App Store as the single gateway to software and entertainment on their phones, tablets and even laptops.

Lastly, I don't want to lay the blame with Apple alone, as if it were not for Apple we would not have had the recent surge of innovation in mobile market. They do scare competitors and inspire innovation. I just hope their competition survives and continues to provide alternatives, that is more open alternatives so we won't forget what computing is about.

Edited 2010-02-03 03:13 UTC

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