How A Great Product Can Be Bad News: Apple, iPad, and the Closed Mac

Peter Kirn, writing for Create Digital Music:

I think the new, mobile Apple is doing immense harm to the computing legacy the company has forged. We could have had a Mac tablet today. Instead, we have a giant iPhone – and that’s a decision that has some serious repercussions. It’s a blow to open source alternatives, but also to open development in general: the power of interchangeable hardware and software, on which everything we do with music and visuals on computers is based.

Kirn argues in repeated forms that the iPad is very closed in every way and that, as a result, it stifles creative people. My response to that is: look at what the iPhone did to enable people to be more creative, extra (existing) peripherals be damned.

The real power in creative computing is in software, not hardware. The iPhone has proved that any creative app developer can help enable millions of users be more creative with the very same hardware, in myriad ways. The iPad will be no different, and serve instead to allow people be even far more creative than they already can be with their iPhones.

The takeaway for me from the iPad announcement is that manual file management is destined to go the way of the dodo. I would not want to use a Finder with long lists of files on iPad, not even with a revamped UI at the level of excellence shown in the new iPad apps. Dedicated apps with dedicated management for its files offer a much better user experience, and serve 90% of the needs of the masses.

Apple may be more closed than they were a few years ago, but they’ve enabled and stimulated far more creative outlets and creations than ever before in doing so.