Why The iPad Must Be Hacked: To Prevent Crap Futurism

Crap FuturismAfter reading Gizmodo’s “8 Things That Suck About the iPad” and seeing this image illustrating that article for me, I really though the iPad was nothing more than a bulky, expensive iPhone. But there is one difference, it’s not a phone — something that you want to be totally reliable (work all the time). While many people jailbreak their iPhone to provide greater control over what you can do with it, I have been resistant to due to concern I might screw it up.

But after reading Annalee Newitz’s io9.com article about the iPad I realize the iPad is a device that you buy to hack. Not only that, it must be hacked. She makes the excellent point that Apple’s latest “must-have” device is nothing like a computer, it’s more like a television:

Apple is marketing the iPad as a computer, when really it’s nothing more than a media-consumption device — a convergence television, if you will. Think of it this way: One of the fundamental attributes of computers is that they are interactive and reconfigurable. You can change the way a computer behaves at a very deep level. Interactivity on the iPad consists of touching icons on the screen to change which application you’re using. Hardly more interactive than changing channels on a TV. Sure, you can compose a short email or text message; you can use the Brushes app to draw a sketch. But those activities are not the same thing as programming the device to do something new. Unlike a computer, the iPad is simply not reconfigurable.

And so, this is a big deal to those who care where Apple’s shiny new toy is bringing us:

So the iPad takes us back to the 1980s, or maybe even the 1950s. It’s likely to be a device that changes our future, but what that means is we’re facing a tomorrow where true innovation is sidelined by a device that represents a convergence of old media and shopping.

I encourage everyone to read this article — there are lots of excellent observations about where technology has been and where it should be headed. I agree with Newitz, this is what a “magical” and futuristic device really is:

The only way iPads can truly become futuristic devices is if we hack them so that we can pour whatever operating system we want inside. We need to jailbreak these media boxes so we can install the apps we want, not the ones provided by the Apple shopping mall.

Read Full article at io9.com

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  • http://www.theamericanbookofthedead.com/ Henry Baum

    Sort of tired of iPad negativity – because this isn't true: “Apple is marketing the iPad as a computer, when really it's nothing more than a media-consumption device.” It's very much being sold as a media consumption device.

    That and how are apps not a form of programming? And how many Macbook users are programmers? They have to buy software for the computer too. This is a good counterpoint: http://joehewitt.com/post/ipad/

    Much of this seems like criticism by people who have yet to hold the device. Once they do, they'll probably be saying, Wait, holy shit.

    • randall

      Please… I've already held this device – it's called my iPhone. In just a short time I'll be able to update my iPhone OS and get the books and other doo-dads too. I do expect some things to be developed to work exclusively on the iPad, but since I no need for the device I can't see having a need for these apps either. The iPad doesn't do anything new or anything innovative at all. Apple seems to be trying to solve a problem that just doesn't really exist.

      • http://www.theamericanbookofthedead.com/ Henry Baum

        Read that link. The fact that it's an overgrown iPhone is not a small thing.

        I'm not saying it's perfect. It's the first generation of something that'll get better. And I'm not going to buy one. I've got a Macbook and a Sony reader, does me fine. I just hate all the knee-jerk cynicism.

        • randall

          I find just about every point that Joe Hewitt makes in his posting to be trivial and, largely, just wishful thinking. The iPad is just an iPod Touch with a bigger screen. Period. All of the supposed (hopeful) advancements in the way we use and interact with computers could be, and I suspect have already been, said about the iPhone/iPod and I've yet to see any of these possibilities materialize. Admittedly a bigger screen does have an impact, making the device a bit more accessible; but ultimately it changes little. I find most of the points in the io9.com article (link listed above) to be spot on. This is just another stepping stone in Apple's ultimate business plan to have significant control over how and what we consume media. That might be good business, but it is not what I personally want.

  • loamy

    I would just like to congratulate the person who made the picture that accompanies this article.

  • 5by5

    My issue with this is the notion that somehow it's “revolutionary” simply because it has a bookstore on it.

    Unless I can SHARE those books, as I would be able to share, loan, trade, or resell a regular “analog” book, then the iPad is no better than a sexier looking Kindle. And the Kindle is wicked lame. For chrissake, they censored George Orwell's “1984” with the Kindle. You don't get much lamer (or ironic) than that.

    At this point, the device, unless it can project holograms or something, it's really that TECHNICALLY revolutionary. And indeed when it comes to advancing the law in the digital world to match that which already exists in the real world, it's rather a step BACKWARDS.

    And since (for some idiotic reason) Apple has still attached itself to the fascists over at AT&T who were not only willing but EAGER to snoop on U.S. citizens and violate their 4th Amendment rights, I want the iPad no more than I want the iPhone.

    Until they start respecting my rights, I'm not gonna be dropping extra bank on your products. Rather I will use the internet, email, and the phones only to the extent I have to in society, but I'm not going to make an already dwindling bank account even smaller on your stupid Little Brother gadget.

    ENOUGH of the monitoring, snooping, and control crap.

    Enough of the Stazi nonsense. Time for this to go back to being a FREE country, dammit.

    You want to do something revolutionary? Make it so that after I download a book, you stop tracking it. Make it so that I could walk up to another device – even a device that isn't iPad, and bump that content over to a friend with a simple, “Hey dude, check this out,” and not have that totally innocent act logged into some damn fool database somewhere, much less be prosecuted for exercising my fair use rights. And once I've bought it, I want it recognized that it is MINE to do with as I will, and you can't just jump onto my device and yank it back from me the way Amazon did on the Kindle.

    Without those assurances? This device is meaningless to me.

  • mbennett717
  • mbennett717
  • barry

    the ipad wasn’t meant for any sort of computer savvy customer, as it seems with every other computer oriented sector – the wii, 360 and ds – the companies are going where the money is and making it out of pure and utter ignorance by the normal consumer.

    @ henry baum, I have used the device, and holy shit! its worse than I thought. there’s no flash making the ‘out of this world web browsing experience’ mute, its heavy and to actually use the keyboard I had to lay it flat even then the typing experience was annoyingly clumsy and less efficent compared to an actual keyboard, the ebook reader is the same as reading from a computer and its too bulky to be anymore portable than a laptop, which actually has functions I want at the same price and mobility as the ipad, and please reply about battery life, as what is battery life without me wanting to use that battery life… a brick inside an aluminium rectangle

  • barry

    the ipad wasn't meant for any sort of computer savvy customer, as it seems with every other computer oriented sector – the wii, 360 and ds – the companies are going where the money is and making it out of pure and utter ignorance by the normal consumer.

    @ henry baum, I have used the device, and holy shit! its worse than I thought. there's no flash making the 'out of this world web browsing experience' mute, its heavy and to actually use the keyboard I had to lay it flat even then the typing experience was annoyingly clumsy and less efficent compared to an actual keyboard, the ebook reader is the same as reading from a computer and its too bulky to be anymore portable than a laptop, which actually has functions I want at the same price and mobility as the ipad, and please reply about battery life, as what is battery life without me wanting to use that battery life… a brick inside an aluminium rectangle

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