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Wednesday
Jan272010

Apple's iPad Misses the iBoat

I eagerly watched today as Steve Jobs spoke about the long anticipated 'iPad'.  I have to admit, with all of the talk, press coverage and guesswork directed at this tablet, part of me was secretly hoping that Apple wouldn't announce it, just so I could see the look on people's faces when it was over.

But alas, that didn't happen and Apple's newest creation that has had the world on it's toes is now available, or at least it will be this summer.

Apple iPadSo I watched the speech (via TWiT.tv), watched the demos, read the blogs and even watched the Apple promo video.  And now that it's all over, I'm left with one lingering question: "That's It?".

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't think the iPad is impressive (even if the name isn't).  From what I can see, without holding it in my hands, it boasts a beautiful display, is super responsive and has some nice multi-touch features and eye-candy.  But what exactly are we looking at here? 

Seems like we are just looking at a big iTouch (or iPhone w/o the phone).

Now perhaps that is exactly what Apple was going for.  But let's keep in mind that Steve Jobs started out this morning pointing out the problems with Netbooks.  He also highlighted the gap between the iPhone/iTouch and the MacBook line.  The problem I have is that this gap isn't filled with the iPad.

Why, you ask?  Because the iPad applications are still restricted to the iTunes store.

The Blundering App Store Review Process

The review process by which Apple is unfortunately using to accept applications into the iTunes store has been under scrutiny for a long time.  From the Google Voice debacle that brought in the FCC to the South Park application denial, Apple has proved time and time again that there are major flaws with the review process.

In fact, if you will recall, Joe Hewitt, the creator behind the popular Facebook app, threw in the towel with Apple this last November, stating that "My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer."

Jailbroken iPhone with MultibarLockscreenAnd he is not the only one.  Over the last few months I have watched a handful of developers who have created some the most popular iPhone applications leave the platform in hopes for more freedoms on the Palm and Android platforms.

When Steve Jobs finished talking today, I was shocked that none of this came up.  I had high hopes that he and Apple were going to announce the next iPhone OS and a completely revised review process that would finally open the doors and true potential of the iPhone and the iPad.

I guess for the time being I'm sticking with my jailbroken iPhone and a welcome screen that doesn't suck.

The iPad = The iLock

Which brings me back to my point:  If the iPad is restricted to what Apple 'allows' on the iTunes store, it's not innovative, it's stifling.  We think we are getting the next great thing when in fact we are just getting a nicer cell in Apple's jail.

Thanks, but no thanks.  I love my iPhone, but I'm not interested in another device that tells me what I can and cannot do.

If Apple truly wants to be innovative, they need to stop holding back innovation.

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