After 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.