Mark Pilgrim On iPad Freedoms

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.

Apple iPad Thoughts

So the iPad is now official (like it was yesterday).

The most interesting thing is they bumped the OS version to 3.2. I suspect this summer we’ll see a 4.0 for a much more radically changed iPhone than we’ve seen in the past 2 revisions. Otherwise I think they would have called this 4.0.

Some semi-random thoughts:

  • It’s an oversized iPhone/iPod touch. It’s software really isn’t revolutionary, at least so far.
  • It will be hard to compete with the Kindle. The Kindle’s screen isn’t back-lit hence it’s easier on the eyes. Don’t underestimate this.
  • Typing on a solid surface can’t be that comfortable, especially if you touch type. It works on the iPhone since you use your more padded thumbs. It’s not a laptop replacement.
  • It may be thin and light, but it’s not as mobile as phone. It’s not a mobile replacement.
  • It has the potential to be a GREAT gaming device.
  • It has the potential to hurt netbook sales by serving as a handy “around the house” internet device.
  • It’s wireless pricing and iTunes are combined to make it feel cheap to own/operate but will still get expensive quickly.
  • It’s sold unlocked. They are catching up with Google in that regard. I wouldn’t be shocked if the iPhone is soon sold on similar terms this summer. UMTS/HSDPA.
  • That black bezel will likely disappear once they can shrink the internals in future revisions. It will eventually become closer to the iPhone.
  • Still a mostly closed platform. The justification on the iPhone was security since it’s a safety device as well. Why the iPad?

Confirmation of the Tablet

The tablet was a foregone conclusion. Since late last year even if Apple didn’t want to build one, investors pretty much forced it upon them with the hype. Failure to produce at least a proof of concept by the end of the quarter would really hurt the stock.

Terry McGraw, CEO of McGraw-Hill decided to announce it a day early. Newsweek jumped the gun in 2004 with an iPod update. I’m sure their legal team is working late tonight.

With it presumably comes iPhone OS 4.0 preview for developers.

Either tomorrow or next month Apple will announce an update to the MacBook Pro lineup. It’s now 232 days since the last update (avg 200) and will likely get Core i5 and Core i7’s and slight hardware tweaks. I think Blu-Ray is still 50/50. Apple might hold this until early or mid February so it’s not overshadowed by the tablet announcement.

Likely a few other tweaks to the lineups, perhaps a CPU bump on the Mac Pro’s and perhaps a small tweak to the iPod lineup (more storage, new colors nothing major) though I expect the iPod/iPhone focus to be in June not now.