Monday, April 5, 2010

The iPad Controversy - Too Much Hot Air

With the roll-out of Apple's iPad on Saturday, my radio and the stuff that I read have all been overflowing with a bunch of stories that revolve around a single theme: Apple's iPad is possibly the greatest threat to the universe, the space-time continuum, and all that is holy that we have ever seen.

Most of the stories start with something like, "with long lines and strong sales, lots of people are excited about the iPad, but not everyone thinks it's great." This is usually followed by their tech-expert commentator that wants to highlight how the iPad is a closed system. "It's not like a PC," the tech expert says, "Apple controls everything that you can put on it. What happens if other companies do the same thing?"

Of course, you can understand his complaint as you read this post and marvel over it's incredible flash graphics from the open platform of your Nintendo DS. You were probably thinking about that just the other day while finishing up your taxes in Turbotax for Xbox360. Or maybe you can't be bothered as you hammer out guitar riffs on your Kindle guitar chord application. And if you think that content control is all about tiny tech devices, perhaps that's because you remember the last time that you marveled in the spectacle of naked bodies writhing in iMax porn.

The funny thing about all of this is that people forget how it was before the iPhone. I remember when Verizon wanted to charge me $1 per image that I downloaded from my camera phone, and the only way to get photos out of it was to upload to Verizon then download. Of course, the hardware wasn't limited like that -- it was firmware designed to meet Verizon's specs. I have colleagues with Blackberry's that have the internal GPS chip essentially disabled in firmware courtesy of the carrier specifications.

Anyway, the purpose of the story isn't really about the looming danger to the fabric of the universe, it's for yet another media outlet to find a vehicle for publishing a story about something that everyone is talking about. Here's mine.

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