Holman W. Jenkins Jr. on the iPad:
And what about Apple’s decision to exclude Flash? Apple and its
supporters stake out aesthetic and philosophical grounds: Flash is
buggy. Flash is a power hog. Flash is “proprietary” (horrors).
Flash is used to create those annoying Web ads (never mind that
advertising is what pays for most of the Web).
Uh huh. Flash would also allow iPhone and iPad users to consume
video and other entertainment without going through iTunes. Flash
would let users freely obtain the kinds of features they can only
get now at the Apple App Store.
So his argument is that no matter how bad Flash is technically and experience-wise, Apple should add it to the iPad so people can watch Hulu. And that there’s no other way to obtain video for the iPad other than stuff you buy from iTunes. Jiminy. If only there were, say, a YouTube app included with the OS.
I suppose that if you really miss things like Hulu and animated web ads, it makes sense to argue that Apple should support Flash on iPhone OS no matter what. I honestly don’t see how anything regarding the iPad, the iTunes Store, or Apple’s policy toward Flash is in any way reminiscent of Microsoft, though. I’d say the iPad only serves to bring into relief just how different the two companies have become. Perhaps what Jenkins is getting at is Apple’s willingness to impose its will, to make decisions rather than offer choices.
Apple didn’t emphasize this heavily at the introduction, but the iBooks app is not going to be bundled with the iPad — it’s an app you download from the App Store, putting it on an (at least somewhat) equal footing to e-book readers from other companies. From the “Features” page in Apple’s iPad web site:
The iBooks app is a great new way to read and buy books. Download
the free app from the App Store and buy everything from classics
to best sellers from the built-in iBookstore.
If you look at the photos of the iPad, the only bundled apps included with the system appear to be Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Maps, Videos, YouTube, iTunes, App Store, Settings, Safari, Mail, Photos, and iPod. Perhaps this will change if and when iBooks becomes available outside the U.S.
Update: Good point from a reader on Twitter: making iBooks an App Store download will allow Apple to update the app more frequently than if it were tied to OS updates.
Ian Youngs, reporting for BBC News:
Record label Warner Music has said it will stop licensing its
songs to free music streaming services. Companies like Spotify,
We7 and Last.fm give free, legal and instant access to millions of
songs, funded by adverts.
Warner, one of the four major labels, whose artists include REM
and Michael Buble, said such services were “clearly not positive
for the industry”.
Update: Spotify, on Twitter, says Warner isn’t pulling out.
No sarcasm intended, I’m enjoying Thurrott’s perspective on the iPad. I found this perspective intriguing:
Further unclear is why we would want to learn yet another user
interface. Phones, by nature, are simple to use and limited by
onscreen real estate. Laptops, of course, offer more expansive
screens and more powerful capabilities. But the iPad introduces
yet another UI, one that is based on that of the iPhone, of
course, but one that is different and more advanced (and complex).
Not as advanced and complex as a PC, perhaps. But different from
both the iPhone and laptop.
The starting point Thurrott is espousing here, more or less “Let’s start with something the user will already be familiar with” sounds good, and many times it is the right approach. That’s the consistency argument for Mac software being Mac-like, and Windows software being Windows-like. But if you shackle yourself to starting with something already familiar, then the state-of-the-art is never going to make a great leap forward. This sort of thinking is why Microsoft’s tablet computers all run Windows 7.
Clearly, the way Apple approached the iPad was that of course the iPad was going to introduce a new UI. They’re really rather fearless about it, because, I think, they’re so confident in its obviousness. Unfamiliar and new isn’t a problem if the whole thing is obvious and easy to figure out.
Insightful reporting based on interviews with current and former Microsoft employees:
“When I started at MSFT in 1996, there were six people between me
and [Microsoft cofounder] Bill Gates,” Boris said. “In 2009, there
were 13 people between me and [Microsoft CEO] Steve Ballmer.” Fred
said, “the number of managers between me and the CEO went from six
to 10,” during the last decade. Another long-time Microsoftie,
whom I’ll call Barry, saw his reports go from six to 12.
Fascinating stuff, too, about the bizarre incentive structure for Microsoft employees. I think this gets to the nut of exactly what’s wrong with Microsoft. They’ve evolved a powerful, deep bureaucracy that has lost any sort of focus on creating great products. Worse, for obvious reasons Microsoft’s management is unlikely to see itself as the problem. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
Arik Hesseldahl on a “preliminary estimate” of iPad component costs from iSuppli:
Research firms including iSuppli conduct so-called teardown
analysis of consumer electronics to determine component prices and
makers and estimate margins. Researchers at iSuppli didn’t have an
actual iPad and instead relied on Apple’s public statements on its
The next step, I guess, is issuing “pre-preliminary estimates” of component costs for products that haven’t even yet been announced.