Mark Pilgrim has a brilliant blog post on the iPad and the freedoms it’s taking away from tomorrow’s programmers. My favorite part:
Now, I am aware that you will be able to develop your own programs for the iPad, the same way you can develop for the iPhone today. Anyone can develop! All you need is a Mac, XCode, an iPhone “simulator,” and $99 for an auto-expiring developer certificate. The “developer certificate” is really a cryptographic key that (temporarily) allows you (slightly) elevated access to… your own computer. And that’s fine — or at least workable — for the developers of today, because they already know that they’re developers. But the developers of tomorrow don’t know it yet. And without the freedom to tinker, some of them never will.
I’m not sure how we got here, but it does now cost $99 to tinker with your iPhone and soon iPad. While your computer is still pretty open, it’s only a matter of time before the iPad can be used for development via Xcode and a new UI builder. Want to share your creation with someone? You need Apple’s permission (App Store) or you can’t easily do so. Back in my day you took a copy of Stuffit (you can use the 30 day demo) and put it on a server with a web page explaining it to the rest of the world.
However the web is still open. This is exactly why HTML5 and the open web is so important. The web is playing catchup to desktop computing and is accelerating. Browsers like Gecko and WebKit are making it more compelling than ever. The iPad like the iPhone is an awesome way to browse the web. Making the web powerful enough to take advantage of the hardware is the near future of personal computing.