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Monday, March 22, 2010

Could the IPad be the new Mac? Could it kill the old Mac?

(Hat tip to Louis Gray for this one)

At first, I agreed with Louis that PCWorld must be off it's medications.

But the more I thought about it, the more I came to see the logic:

The Mac's greatest enemy may not be Microsoft Windows. It may beApple itself. In a conversation at a Goldman Sachs technologyconference, Apple COO Tim Cook said that Apple is a "mobile devices company," and that more devices will get the iPhone OS. A bit later, AT&T's CEO said the iPad would mostly be a Wi-Fi (read: home) product rather than something you tote around and use on the street.
This jibes with something I've been thinking about Apple: if it could do the Mac all over again, it would use the iPhone OS. Don't think of the iPad as a big iPod touch. Think of it, rather, as the new Mac—a new mode of home-based computing that Apple hopes will bubble up through its product line.
If the touchscreen keyboard is as easy to use as it looks. If it has an easy to use Office Suite, like IWork. Well, Hmmmm. But then there's this:
This means no independent software stores, fewer open-source projects, and perhaps a blanket ban on BitTorrent, Flash, and Firefox. It means a much more restricted peripheral market. The Mac will no longer be a PC as we know it—it will be an "end-to-end experience" like the iPhone.
Bleggghhhh! Now there would be a deal-killer. One of the few things I miss from my old PC days is the Open Source Software availability. I have HATED the closed market of using the Mac. I knew it when I got the IMac and my beloved Mac-mini. But I sure haven't liked it.
I could have written this last part myself:
Maybe it's just that I was raised on 1980s personal computers, or that I took too many American civics classes in school. But I feel that absolute power tends to corrupt, and having a single gatekeeper with no checks or balances is almost never a good thing. Obviously, the iPhone ecosystem has flourished under Apple's benign dictatorship. But the whole ecosystem is reliant on that dictatorship remaining benign. (And even now people who enjoy BitTorrent would argue that it isn't benign at all.)
As someone who's owned a Mac since 1986, and as someone who likes the vibrancy and innovation that open platforms bring to the marketplace, I'll admit I'm fearful, uncertain, and doubtful. Apple has fallen in love with end-to-end experiences, and I don't want anyone other than me to have the last word on what I can install on my own home computer.
Yep. So give me my IPad, but understand that I want it to be MINE. ObamaCare will be enough of a dictatorship. I don't need one on my computer.

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