When I first heard about iPads, I thought it was something that geek girls might use during their iPeriods. But it seems I was mistaken.
Actually, I think the tablet form factor is an interesting one and may have great appeal in areas such as education. That’s why Nicolas Negroponte and his team have adopted it for the next generation X0-3 OLPC. However I have serious misgivings with regard to both the price and even more so with regard to Apple’s heavy-handed deployment of DRM (digital restrictions management) in these devices. In a nutshell, Apple can:-
- Decide what software you are allowed to use.
- Delete any content it disapproves of.
- Disable the device completely.
Nevertheless, a reasonable degree of commercial success for the iPad will no doubt inspire Chinese and Taiwanese companies to produce perfectly adequate generic clones. These will be significantly cheaper than the iPad, whilst not being infected with Apple DRM. Then it would not take the open source community long to write and compile decent apps for the clones. I understand that the XO-3 will be 100% OSS (open source software). So I suspect that many existing OSS apps will be ported to the generic pads very rapidly.
Therefore I’m perfectly happy to let the Apple fanbois have their fun. If they are prepared to pay through-the-nose whilst Steve Big Jobs & his minions @ Apple Computer Inc. spy on their data and dictate what apps they can and cannot use, then more fool them! Meantime, smart people will wait for one of the new generation generic pads that will undoubtedly follow – running some form of GNU/Linux and c/w 100% open source software of course.
Translated into practical terms my little goslings, that means 1/3 the cost of an iPad, 100% freedom regarding what software you install and infinite superiority in terms of privacy and security.