Posted by: rolfsky | April 5, 2010

I see what you’re doing there Steve Jobs…

Ok Steve, I’m calling you out.image

The iPad is not what you say it is.

You’re defining something not quite like what we’ve seen before, because that allows you to define every aspect and control every nuance.

It’s OK, you’re going to sell a bajillion of them.

Behold the iPad: an over-grown iPod Touch with 3G, or iPhone too big to hold to your head, or an eBook reader with short battery life.

The doubters will tell you that it’s not going to work, because of all the things it is like, the iPad is better than none of its competitors at what they do. Too input-hampered to be a laptop, too expensive to be a bunch of other things. Stacked against the competition it’s a loser.

But, that’s not what it’s all about, is it Steve?

What they nay-sayers don’t get, is that while the iPad will not be very good at being any one of those other things,the iPad will be great at being an iPad.

A few months back I was showing my Christmas-iPod touch to my 80+ year-old relative. He really liked it, but couldn’t help but to squint at the tiny screen. This thing did what he wanted (email, web, facebook) without the pain of a computer. What he wanted was this iPad.

imageHere’s what finally tipped me off to your master plan: the iPad accessories page.

PSSST: Steve’s making a computer, a very special type of computer.

It tipped me off because looking at the “dock with integrated keyboard” now finally makes sense. You’re making the next step in the computer’s evolution:

The iPad: a magical world unhampered by viruses, conflicting software installs, buttons, right-clicks, confusing menus or any of the numerous other pains computer users deal with.

This is what the computer will become, something truly personal, simultaneously both usable at a desk, and mobile; a glossy, simplified, connected experience which is one step closer to fixing the wrongs obviously done to you at some point in the past.

There are a few things “missing” from this dock. It would be easy enough to put a USB jack (or a few) tucked inside along the edge of the iPad or the dock, or even a nice secure-digital card reader lurking somewhere. But that’s not going to happen while Steve is on watch.

Why? Because every open standard is one less thing that you can control, opening tiny cracks in the walls of your utopic  computing universe. It’s one giant conduit through which all nature of creative, unapproved accessories which might cause the poor iPad to crash or memory to be corrupted. Additionally, if you add such simple things as USB and ethernet, then the thing really starts to look like a crippled laptop.

Also, I’m calling you out on Flash support. It has nothing to do with batteries or bandwidth or processor power. It has everything to do with a fully exploitable virtual machine that not only allows random, unapproved content providers to create applications which compete with iPhone-platform applications, it also opens a huge hole for potential attacks. And that, Stevo, is why you hold back, lack of control.

All that being said, I’m fine with what you’re doing. If you want to create your tiny world filled with unicorns, sweeping hand gestures, and locked-down accessories; go ahead, we need someone to lead the way. Modern “computers” are a total pain in the ass, and you know it. They are riddled with problems, and honestly ill-suited for most of the tasks we use them for.

I’m not worried, because I think you’re going the right way in spirit, and I know in my heart that “open” will always win (eventually) over closed. If you need a refresher, mull the words “PC-compatible” over in your head a bit while you sleep in your satin sheets. The more money you make, the bigger target you’ll be, and they will come; believe me, they will come.

They have a cave troll, and it’s called Open Source.



  1. […] I see what you’re doing there Steve Jobs… « Rolf Skyberg – pattern hound – […]

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