Skip

What you need to know about the iPad
April 8, 2010 3:12 PM   Subscribe

iPad, one week later. Ars Technica gave it a very through review. ifixit tore it apart and Will It Blend? threw it in a Blendtec. Adam C. Engst said in a column at TidBITS: "The hardware is so understated [...] the fact that you’re using an iPad falls away. You’re using the app, whatever it may be, and while you’re doing so, the iPad is that app." An Apple event today announced an iPhone OS update that brings a lot of what was missing so far (multitasking!) while also screwing over a Adobe by changing the developer license agreement. 300,000 sold.

ifixit also toredown the Apple A4 processor, the mysterious chip that powers the iPad.

Important point from Tim Bray's review: "For a 1Ghz device with limited memory, the iPad is unreasonably fast."

John Gruber's review at Daring Fireball hits two important points I want to point out: the memory craps out in Safari so tabs are forgotten too often and how terrible syncing is with iWork. "It’s not just pre-Cloud, it’s pre-network. It’s effectively the 'Who’s got the latest revision of this file?' workflow of the days when we moved files from one machine to another via floppy disks."

iSuppli puts the total cost iPad components at $260. That means the device is being sold at a healthy markup for the electronics industry, but it also means that the future will probably eventually become impressively inexpensive.

(previously)
posted by The Devil Tesla (806 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just don't need an iPad at the price. I want the new OS4 iphone though that is due out this summer!
posted by giftideas at 3:13 PM on April 8, 2010


As I said before that developer license thing is very, very nasty. Basically they seem to be trying to pull the plug on anyone not developing their code from the ground up on their platform, which means anyone trying to share code across, say, Android and Windows 7 and the iPhone is shit out of luck.
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on April 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


The change to the Developer license, days before the release of the release of Flash CS5 and its iphone app compiling option, is such a dick move.
posted by ericost at 3:16 PM on April 8, 2010 [17 favorites]


the release of
posted by ericost at 3:17 PM on April 8, 2010


Big. Fucking. Deal.
posted by chillmost at 3:19 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


An Apple event today announced an iPhone OS update that brings a lot of what was missing so far (multitasking!)

About 21 million people have gone pretty far without the use multitasking, so it's great that it's coming, but it wasn't anything that killed the platform, except for people who weren't going to buy one anyway.

Still, I can't wait to hear what the next "missing" feature will be so that we can hear 0.01% of the blahgosphere complain vociferously about it.

I have no doubts that multitasking was a lame and dishonest canard for the haters, just like when copy-paste was missing in the Google phones, and just as copy-paste and multitasking will be missing from the Windows 7 devices, and pretty much no one who hates Apple talks about those devices having any shortcomings.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:22 PM on April 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


An Apple event today announced an iPhone OS update that brings a lot of what was missing so far (multitasking!)

Not unless you've got the latest phone of course. Grumble.
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on April 8, 2010


Leave it to Apple to make Microsoft seem like nice, reasonable people.
posted by mullingitover at 3:24 PM on April 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


mathowie, Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis and Gina Trapani talked all things iPad on This Week in Google.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:26 PM on April 8, 2010


Somehow or another, Steve Jobs (or the people he hires, or Apple, your pick) gets people intoxicated about technology, for better and for worse. Part of it is packaging, yes, and style and marketing, yes. But Apple does make new things, or just new enough that they're startling when they arrive. The Apple II, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone — they're all easy to pick on individually, but they're undeniable taken all together. They each gave people a giddy feeling and they're each real accomplishments.

All four gathered up a lot of unrealized potential that was lying around unused or poorly deployed and gave it a single, charismatic form. So yes, there was a graphic interface waving its hands around at Xerox PARC; yes there were monitors sitting on handmade cases at the Homebrew Computer Club; yes there were mp3 players and apps on phones and demos of multitouch screens. But it took massive stubbornness and a relentless (perhaps verging on sociopathic) editor to get them in people's lives in a useful form.

Is the iPad one more in the series? I suspect it is. I think the thin, magazine-sized slab that moves fast, responds to the touch and does one clear task at a time is a form that will keep going. But even if its meanders, Apple gets a secure place in history, Ford vs. Chevy style crud notwithstanding.
posted by argybarg at 3:28 PM on April 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


iPhone OS 4 looks neat. If this summer's iPhone hardware update includes support for AWS, I'll probably finally get one. I'm disappointed (but not surprised) that my poor 1st gen iPod touch will be left out in the cold, but that's OK. It's had a good run.
posted by threetoed at 3:28 PM on April 8, 2010


As I said before that developer license thing is very, very nasty. Basically they seem to be trying to pull the plug on anyone not developing their code from the ground up on their platform, which means anyone trying to share code across, say, Android and Windows 7 and the iPhone is shit out of luck.

Remember that time Microsoft got sued for antitrust for trying to force people to use IE? Those were good times. I miss those times.
posted by mek at 3:32 PM on April 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think people have confused the iPad (and the iPhone similarly) with an actual computer. It's not. It's an entertainment appliance in the same way a handheld games console is. No user-serviceable parts inside. Development only on the terms of the manufacturer, i.e. with the manufacturer's approved tools. It shouldn't surprise anyone that they feel threatened by Adobe's attempt to open the market with a different development tool.

Apple go completely against the trend that other manufacturers of phones and PCs are following - namely one of ever-increasing openness and community participation. They prefer to follow a similar model of restriction and control to that of the music industry. It works really well for them now because they can dictate every aspect of the user experience and deliver something that reeks of good design. But ultimately the open-source, user-participatory products will win out, in the same way that open-source operating systems will eventually kill Windows.

God, I sound like Cory Doctorow. I'm going to bed to listen to some free audiobooks on my firmware-hacked non-Apple MP3 player...
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:33 PM on April 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


Did they fix the bluetooth A2DP profile that they broke in the last major OS release?

(Pissed off Sync user... 3.0 worked fine, 3.1... broken bluetooth A2DP)
posted by jkaczor at 3:34 PM on April 8, 2010


People of the internet! STOP IT with all the APPLE now. PLEASE. It HURTS.
posted by mr.marx at 3:35 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think the iPad is the start of a revolution in media interfaces. It's smooth and natural and good.

I really hope another company can pull off an equally good UI and device, because Apple without competition == Microsoft without competition. IOW, a big ol' pile of massive suck.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:35 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would like to see books that are written for the device. A textbook or popular science or history book that actually uses the multimedia and hypertext capacities--big win. Graphic novel--consider the possibilities.
posted by cogneuro at 3:36 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


In that Blendtec video some guy reduces one to a powder. I couldn't believe he took off the lid without a mask on.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:36 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, if there's a company that deserves to be fucked-over, it's Adobe. Between the humongous security issues they've introduced into PDF, the horrible incompetence of Flash, and the ceaselessly annoying inconsistencies in their production suites, they've caused me enough aggravation and harm to gain my ire.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:37 PM on April 8, 2010 [25 favorites]


I just got back from an Apple store, where I went to play with an iPad.

Preeettttyyyy!!!!! And fast. And pretty. I'd have a more in-depth assessment, but apparently the entire student body of the local high school decided to turn up at the store about five minutes after I got there. I got tired of having anxious teenagers breathe down my neck, so I left Safari open to That Other iPad Thread You Know the One I mean and split.

All said, though, I'm thinking I'm going to drop cash on a new generation ipod touch (I have a 1st gen) when the new OS comes out.
posted by rtha at 3:38 PM on April 8, 2010


I followed the Apple event today. SJ has always been a salesman, and he still is. Pimping the iPad relentlessly. The superlatives he came up with - paraphrasing from memory here /'people will look back and see the launch of the iPad as a revolutionary even in the world of electronics/. Then I go back to reading about the iPad, and keep wondering what the hype is all about. I mean, if it was anybody but SJ, I'd laugh at the hype. But since he actually, you know, did bring revolutionary stuff out, like the iPhone, I guess, I'll reserve judgment. In a couple of weeks a friend is coming to visit and he's bringing an iPad, so I'll spend some time with it. I'll be pissed, if I find out it was just a salesman snow job SJ pulled.
posted by VikingSword at 3:39 PM on April 8, 2010


Remember that time Microsoft got sued for antitrust for trying to force people to use IE? Those were good times. I miss those times.

Microsoft totally dominated the PC market, with well over 90% of the market, and used that position to explicitly prevent, for example, OEMs from packaging Netscape. Apple has a whopping 25% of the smartphone marketshare right now. If you wanted a non-Microsoft option, you were pretty much SOL; right now, there are clearly several viable alternatives to Apple's offering, running Google's OS and Palm's OS and soon Microsoft's OS. Want something more free? Go to Google; the very rapidly rising marketshare of Android devices proves they've got something to offer.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not happy with these moves by Apple, and in particular the changes to the dev license incense me. But Apple's unpleasant behavior toward a large minority of users/developers is simply not on the same scale as Microsoft's egregious abuse of a monopoly position.
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:39 PM on April 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


All of this is a pity because the iPad itself is damn nice. Using multitouch on a larger display like that is a great experience, and the whole thing is very slick and solidly built. Heavier than you might expect though.

The eBook stuff is nice, and though I don't expect it would be as good as a reading experience as a Kindle, and the schools using it as their replacement for textbooks are just being ridiculous and trend hopping, but it's just one function of a multi purpose device. The various video and audio stuff is as you'd expect - very nicely done and very familiar, there's already some good games for it.

Reading comics on it is amazing. I don't know if a better comics reading device could be designed if someone tried. And i say that as a real print die-hard.

I'd say the area where it falls down is the keyboard. People have been trying all kinds of weird strategies to use the thing, like one poor guy i saw in a coffee shop holding it at an angle with one hand and prodding at it with a single finger, or the people doing giant sized thumb typing with it. If wedge it up at an angle you can just about type on it at a speed faster to what you can on the iPhone but not by much. And some of the key placements are maddening, as is the retention of the limited number of keys from the iPhone. For a company that is so perfectionist about everything it seems curiously undesigned.

It's absolutely not a general purpose computer, or a netbook, or quite the future of computing just yet - it's a media player device with some interesting ancillary functions. But it's a damn nice media player - I'd totally buy one, if I had the free cash and were in a good mood. Right now I'd feel a teensy bit bad about giving Apple more of my money though.
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I had an Apple 2+ as a kid. Once the Iphone launched and they released the new Unibody macbooks, I finally gave in and bought another Apple product.

I got the Macbook and loved it. I bought it to use with Unity Iphone.

I then bought an Iphone, also for development. My plan was to continue development on to the Ipad, purchasing one within the next few months.

If Apple has decided that all of the middleware out there is acceptable collateral damage to make sure Adobe can't push flash to the iphone, fuck these guys.

Fuck objective C, Fuck Xcode, Fuck developing on OSX. I love OSX as a day to day os... But as a development box? I'd rather tear out my own eyes. I work under bootcamp windows 7 and boot into osx when I need to run against the simulator. If I need to be in OSX I run devstudio under vmware.

Losing Unity or the other middlewares simply kills Iphone os as a usable platform. Fuck them if they make me write off my Unity License, fuck them if they make me move back to pure objective C for development.

I'm mad, but I really hope i'm simply overreacting...
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:40 PM on April 8, 2010 [14 favorites]


Oh yeah, in case anyone read my rant above and is confused.

Fireball explanation.
New dev agreement potentially bans all of the existing middleware (Shiva, Unity, Etc), in an attempt to keep Flash off of the Iphone.
posted by Lord_Pall at 3:42 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


In order to try one out in the local Apple store, I had to wade through kids who were randomly tapping the screens, imagining that it was some game I guess. It's really pretty, but kind of annoying to use. Typing is weird, as it's not a full qwerty keyboard (even though there's ample space), and reading books is annoying (turn pages faster, damnit!). The fact it doesn't have any ports beyond the 30 pin means every add-on needs a new dongle (or a 30pin-to-USB adapter).

Anyone know how the MacBook Air is doing? I remember so much hype around that, and it seems no one talks about that less than a year later. Copies and clones sprung up, and maybe this pushed other companies to lighten their laptops, and the iPad might bring a nice push to the tablet market (Microsoft failed to do so in 2001 and 2006).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:42 PM on April 8, 2010


Basically they seem to be trying to pull the plug on anyone not developing their code from the ground up on their platform, which means anyone trying to share code across, say, Android and Windows 7 and the iPhone is shit out of luck.

Somewhat. You can still make a web application that will run on just about any smartphone that exists now and will exist in the future, and if thats important it really is the way to go.

I think Adobe was wasting its time by making a way to get flash game on the iPhone, the games that came out of an early version of it weren't anything special on the user end and kind of sucked compared to games that were made with the iPhone in mind. I just wish that Apple let this idea die naturally instead of going out of their way to standardize development.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 3:42 PM on April 8, 2010


> what was missing so far (multitasking!)

To repeat what's been said a zillion times, because the above has also been said a zillion times: The iPhone's been able to multitask since the day the App Store went live. The only constraint was that it was only a few specific Apple apps that were allowed to run in the background, and no third party apps could.

If you've ever listened to a podcast while using Google Maps, hey presto, your phone was multitasking. You could probably web browse, play music and talk on the phone at the same time if the iPhone wasn't already programmed to preempt iTunes when a call comes in.

What OS 4 does is allow any app to run in the background, not just Apple's, and provides a mini-Chooser for picking between backgrounded apps. Jobs claims that running an activity monitor on your phone is Doing It Wrong, and I'm with him on that, but he couldn't get around having something similar, even if it's sufficiently abstracting process management away from the user that you never have to issue a handset-ish equivalent of top to see which app's not acting nice.
posted by ardgedee at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2010


a web application

FAIL
posted by Artw at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2010


I'm at the point where I just want Apple to crush every competitor in the phone and tablet market, so antitrust laws can finally be applied to them. As it stands, they can do whatever they want with their platforms because they'll argue that consumers can just switch to another platform (an argument MS couldn't make in the 90s because almost every computer at the time ran Windows). So I'm all for Apple's success.
posted by reformedjerk at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2010


I would like to see books that are written for the device. A textbook or popular science or history book that actually uses the multimedia and hypertext capacities--big win. Graphic novel--consider the possibilities.

There's at least one already.

Certainly science textbooks should have visual realizations you can play with; change a variable using a slider, for example, and see how the output in the graph changes.
posted by argybarg at 3:44 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm mad, but I really hope i'm simply overreacting...

Maybe a little bit, about Unity at least. I think that Unity can output in some kind of C. Unity is super mac friendly, so I wouldn't be surprised.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 3:45 PM on April 8, 2010


It's been three days since there was a front page post about this product.

We needed another one why?
posted by washburn at 3:46 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've been using the iPad since I got it and I'm still surprised that I can zone out for hours, on a device that simply replicates the functionality I already have (with my desktop, laptop, etc.). If there was ever a gadget that epitomized filling a need I never knew I had, this is it.

For whatever reason it just feels more natural than a laptop when you're sitting, watching tv. It is almost as if it is less intrusive? Like with a laptop it is always there, the iPad is so much more ... casual.

This also bans apps compiled using MonoTouch — a tool that compiles C# and .NET apps to the iPhone.

This makes no sense.
posted by geoff. at 3:48 PM on April 8, 2010


To repeat what's been said a zillion times, because the above has also been said a zillion times: The iPhone's been able to multitask since the day the App Store went live.

Yes, I know, it's been like that since it came out even. I just shortened (app store apps can multitask!) to (multitasking!) because the fact that only some applications could run in the background was a severe limitation.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 3:49 PM on April 8, 2010


Somewhat. You can still make a web application that will run on just about any smartphone that exists now and will exist in the future, and if thats important it really is the way to go.

That's simply not true, though. Web applications through HTML 5 can't access local storage or interact with other applications the way that you can with code actually running on the machine. It's a hack, and not a very good one.
posted by kafziel at 3:50 PM on April 8, 2010


The lack of cut and paste was a ridiculous missing feature, as is the failure to multitask. It's not a .1% of the blogosphere thing. These are huge and glaring oversights.

That being said, it sure looks like Apple is correcting multitasking pretty much at the same point they fixed copy and paste last year- when they were about to start suffering competitively for it. Sure, other phones multitask. But the iPhone remains a couple of years ahead in apps and most other features. So they fix it now and they keep ahead for another year.

Sorry, developers!
posted by norm at 3:52 PM on April 8, 2010


This is a mixed bag of news. I got an iPhone 3G on launch day and my contract's up in June. AT&T's 3G network was sufficient in the town I used to live in, but it is non-existent where I am now. I'm very satisfied with the hardware (though I'm due for an upgrade) and software selection but extremely dissatisfied with the carrier.

I'm interested in OS 4.0 and I'll probably be drooling over the next phone that comes out just in time to succeed my current one... but everything hinges on my ability to use it with Verizon. If Apple has no such announcement to make, well, I'm gonna have to switch to something else, probably some Android device. Which makes me sad because honestly I've gotten dependent on the whole iLife package, particularly iTunes and iCal, and I don't want to have to jury-rig some makeshift equivalent.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:52 PM on April 8, 2010


"It's been three days since there was a front page post about this product. We needed another one why?" Because the last one was more about auto modding and this one is about the iPad now that people know more about it.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 3:53 PM on April 8, 2010


This also bans apps compiled using MonoTouch — a tool that compiles C# and .NET apps to the iPhone.

This makes no sense.


It makes sense if you recognize that Apple's goal here is allegiance, not usability. It doesn't matter how well third-party apps will run, and the presence of third-party apps in the first place was a grudging concession. Apple's shitcanning submitted apps for having interface methods that are too consistent with the rest of the platform, and using a double standard to force third-party developers to cripple their releases. That's not the behavior of a company that's trying to let you use the best software out there.
posted by kafziel at 3:54 PM on April 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


And in 3 days will there be ANOTHER iPad thread, becuase people will know MORE about it?
posted by Big_B at 3:56 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Web applications through HTML 5 can't access local storage or interact with other applications the way that you can with code actually running on the machine.

Well, iPhone/iPad apps are separated from each other to the point where, beyond copy and paste and accessing music and photos sometimes, they can't really do those things either.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:00 PM on April 8, 2010


Web applications through HTML 5 can't access local storage or interact with other applications the way that you can with code actually running on the machine.

I'm not sure what you mean. Local storage in HTML 5 is a major improvement on what we had before, isn't it?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:01 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


And in 3 days will there be ANOTHER iPad thread, becuase people will know MORE about it?

MeTa it if you want to, no need to shit in the thread.
posted by mek at 4:02 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


It doesn't matter how well third-party apps will run, and the presence of third-party apps in the first place was a grudging concession.

I'm not being contrarian here, but if this is true then why do does Apple act as a gatekeeper (by approving or rejecting 3rd party apps) and then take 30% of the revenue?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:03 PM on April 8, 2010


Well, son of a bitch. Our new game in development is Flash, and I was all excited about using CS5 to get it on the iPad as well. So much for that. What a fuckin' buzzkill.
posted by rifflesby at 4:04 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think people have confused the iPad (and the iPhone similarly) with an actual computer. It's not. It's an entertainment appliance in the same way a handheld games console is.

It's definitely marketed as such, but that doesn't mean that it can only be used as an entertainment appliance. I don't really give a crap about being able to watch movies on the go, and my ancient 3rd gen iPod still holds enough music that I couldn't possibly exhaust its resources in the amount of time I'm likely to be away from a bigger library of sounds.

I am all for modifying and customizing the technology I interact with frequently, but I don't understand why folks are so worked up about not being able to hack the everloving shit out of the iPad, or why that makes it the bane of the future for "real" computer lovers. To me, it's a pretty screen, a terminal from which you can remotely manage other devices. That I can check my email or screw off on the internet as well is a bonus, but it's not by any means why I'd consider dropping a serious chunk of change.

I'm not a hot-shit programmer by any means, but I spend a damn lot of time with the ole glowbox, and the iPad has the potential to be an insanely useful device for someone like me. The ability to control any of the other computers I regularly use from anywhere I happen to be on a terminal that's aesthetically pleasing and doesn't require that I boot up a laptop is invaluable.

Sure, you can control distant computers from a smart phone, but monitoring a big data analysis or reading a journal article from a 3-inch screen is a damn pain in the ass. I almost bought an eBook reader before the iPad was announced so that I can cut down on paper, but the idea that I can have access to (and manipulate even) a self-updating annotated reference library on a device that I can hold like a book (Sente for iPad is gonna be the absolute dang) is way more appealing to me than a device that's infinitely customizable but nowhere nearly as convenient.

It also has the potential to really change the way lectures or talks are given. Who needs a damn laser pointer when you can just draw right on the screen that controls the display you're projecting? Try as hard as you like, it's damn near impossible to deliver a good talk from behind a computer, and you can't exactly walk around in front of the audience with a laptop in hand. You can do this on a phone, too, but again, the screen size is really limiting.

Yeah, perhaps the iPad is marketed as a shiny toy, but just because you can't rip a thing's guts out or install whatever software you want on it doesn't mean you can't make it do something other than what it's primarily designed for. As far as I'm concerned, figuring out how to make a device do what you need it to is the essence of hacking, and you don't have to fuck with the hardware to do it.

I think I'll take the shit-pot of money I saved building a hackintosh instead of buying a new MacPro and get an iPad. Making the internet more accessible to folks who otherwise might not use it is not a bad thing, and for those who already know how to control the information to which they have access, the iPad presents a slick new way to do so.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 4:07 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


> The lack of cut and paste was a ridiculous missing feature, as is the failure to multitask. It's not a .1% of the blogosphere thing. These are huge and glaring oversights.

I'm pretty sure that for Apple, these issues were interaction design constraints, not technical constraints.

I rarely mind the inability to background apps on my iPhone because I don't really run apps that are useful when backgrounded. What I would appreciate, even if multitasking was unfeasible, was a way for iPhone apps to efficiently save user state and restore quickly when relaunched. That doesn't really exist in the current iPhone OS either, for whatever that's worth.

Incidentally, Windows 7 Mobile won't have Flash, won't provide copy and paste and won't extend multitasking to third-party apps when it ships next winter. This isn't to snark on Win 7 Mobile, honestly. I find it interesting because it indicates to me that Microsoft also sees these as UI design challenges at least as much as technical challenges.
posted by ardgedee at 4:08 PM on April 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


The presence of third-party apps in the first place was a grudging concession.

Apple certainly isn't acting like that, advertising app store apps in commercials and holding events like WWDC. The App Store took time to get right, but it's part of why it has been so sucessful.

Apple wants you do use the best software in their minds, no doubt about it. I happen to think like them, so yay.

But yea, the App Store, like the rest of the iPhone stuff, is both incredibly awesome and mindnumbingly awful for reasons you point out. That's kind of what this post is about.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:11 PM on April 8, 2010


ardgedee - I would point out that the Win7 Phone doesn't have flash because it has Silverlight (Microsofts Competitor to Flash) instead.
posted by Riemann at 4:19 PM on April 8, 2010


I think that Unity can output in some kind of C
Doesn't matter. The License says Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++... (emphasis mine).

I'm really suprised at the inclusion of these terms by Apple and I'm annoyed by them. It's a big Fuck You to Adobe, but it's also potentially damaging to Microsoft too. I know monotouch isn't owned by microsoft, but the ability to cross-compile c# to Mobile7 and iPhone has been completely cut off.

With Apple currently falling out (bigtime) with Google, it looks like they're in the process of burning every other bridge they have with the large Web Players. Not to mention the damage caused by pissing off the scores of developers that make the app-store the success it is. I really don't understand why they would do this.

My thinking is that they'll pull the offending sections in the next week or so.

* This comment bought to you by the next iteration of the iPhone. Powered by alta-vista search and mapquest *
posted by seanyboy at 4:20 PM on April 8, 2010


So now that BP has gotten his token comment out of the way I found it odd that Jobs brought up task switchers/killers/managers. This is a straw man, IMO as I can't think of a smartphone that has a task killer shipped as part of the OS. I have an old iPaq that had one, but the task manager was very explicitly a Compaq thing and wasn't part of the Pocket PC core. Android has a screen for seeing background processes buried deep within the setting app but it's not necessary for users - I've only used it was I was developing an app that ran amok. There are third-party task managers/killers for Android but again, those are pretty unnecessary. Android's app management technique is basically the same as what was described in iPhone OS 4 with tasks serializing their state when you switch away and being brought back to life when you switch back. Sometimes actions/activities stay live but the OS manages when to keep it alive and when to kill it without any issues. Do Symbian devices have a built-in task killer?

Also, I think it's odd that they're so explicit about what kinds of background activities are permitted. No generic background tasks accessing the internet? Can I read from a bluetooth device in the background? Maybe it just how they described it and it's generic in the actual docs. If someone's actually read them, please clarify.
posted by GuyZero at 4:22 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Phonegap seems upbeat about the whole thing.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:22 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I were a crazy billionaire, I'd set up a foundation to provide warranty service to people who jailbreak their iDevice. The warranty provided this way wouldn't be any better than the Apple warranty---you couldn't dunk your iPhone into the bath and expect a replacement---but in the event of ordinary hardware failure, etc., you would get the warranty service that Apple would refuse to provide.

I realize this sounds like a daft idea, but the strictures of the Apple developer license are dangerously close to becoming normative. This is a big risk, since it makes coding a marginal form of personal expression in the future of handheld computing devices. I can draw a drawing or write a novel on an iPad; I can make a movie with a 3G. Why can't I write a program? It's an important creative outlet for me, and I think everyone is better off if there are more ways to be creative. In light of this threat, a radical action like this foundation idea strikes me as a way to ensure that the "culture" of handheld computing starts off on the right track. If I were Bill Gates (ok, maybe a bad example), that would be worth a few million to me. (Actually, if you think about it, Bill Gates might be a great example.)

Of course, the second job of the foundation would be to promote the use of a non-Apple channel for app downloads---because (1) choices are good, and (2) otherwise Apple would just jailbreak all their phones in the store and let the foundation handle warranty service for everyone.
posted by tss at 4:23 PM on April 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I mean to clarify that this warranty service would be free for a year, just like the one that comes with the phone. More time would be available for an additional fee, just like AppleCare.
posted by tss at 4:25 PM on April 8, 2010


ardgedee - I would point out that the Win7 Phone doesn't have flash because it has Silverlight (Microsofts Competitor to Flash) instead.

They're keeping it pretty close to their chests, and it won't be available at launch, but Flash support does seem to be something they are working on. There certainly isn't an Apple-style religious war against Flash going on there.

Alsdo, and I could be wrong on this, I believe that though Mobile 7 apps are built in Silverlight the phones actual browser will not be capable of running in page silverlight at launch.
posted by Artw at 4:28 PM on April 8, 2010


you couldn't dunk your iPhone into the bath and expect a replacement---but in the event of ordinary hardware failure, etc., you would get the warranty service that Apple would refuse to provide.

Can you not un-jailbreak it, or is the point that if there's a massive hardware failure, you won't be able to do so, and if you sent your busted pad to Apple they'd know and wouldn't show you any warranty love?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 4:30 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


[Your favorite Apple product] sucks and makes me angry. So very angry.
posted by LordSludge at 4:31 PM on April 8, 2010


In fairness to the whole "I CAN'T PROGRAM ON THE IPAD" meme, you can't program on 99% of PCs as well. You couldn't program DOS and back when I learned how to program windows in, ugh, 1990, there was a pretty large cost in writing Win32 "Hello World". You can't program my Droid on itself any more than you can an iPad although yes, it's not prohibited by the license. heck, I recall seeing cross-compilation instruction for Windows NT on 68000-based machines because once upon a time Windows couldn't host its own toolchain. (admittedly that was for a pretty short time) It's not like Apple has stopped selling MacBook Pros which are about a million times better to develop on anyway. And considering that the dev tools are free (more or less) once you have said Macbook, the barriers to entry for iPad development are about as low as you can reasonably expect short of getting everything for free.

I know the difference between libre and gratuit but as a practical matter it's not an issue.
posted by GuyZero at 4:32 PM on April 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Mobile app can be built in Silverlight but don't have to be. There is also, for example, XNA which is specialized for game dev.

It is the same platform which currently can be used to create games for Xbox Live Indie Games, PC and Zune (though there is no distribution channel for the Zune). It's actually very nice to work with. I sure like C# and that version of .NET (with Visual Studio, including the free Express verion as the dev environment) a hell of a lot better than objective-C and cocoa.
posted by Riemann at 4:32 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't Adobe totally used to getting screwed by Apple by now? I mean it's been going on since the '90s.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:33 PM on April 8, 2010


[Your favorite Apple product] comes out of the box with a message requesting you connect it to a machine running iTunes and is as such very much a secondary device and not a general purpose computer.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on April 8, 2010


GuyZero - DOS came with GW and later QBasic. So yes it came with a (albeit simple) programming tool out of the box.

In more recent eras, Visual Studio Express is a free tool that is quite up to the task of non-enterprise / database app dev.
posted by Riemann at 4:34 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, I was sitting on the couch last night with my iPad on my lap and I popped open the "Photos" application and I went into the "Albums" section and I was very impressed with the way I could move photos around and resize them and twist them and turn them and scale them and the entire interface was very... cool.

Recently I was lamenting the awful fate of my photo library. 10, 15 years of photos just sitting in a big messy heap of a directory - and I thought to myself, "God, self, how cool would it be to use this as a tool to organize them - to move them around, create libraries, manage libraries, scale and edit photos... it would be terrific.."

So then I started to actually explore those options, and I was happy to see that Apple was predictably Apple and absolutely none of the tools to do absolutely even the most basic of these things was in any way available to me. Then I checked the App Store. Nope, nothing there either.

So I've got this awesome revolutionary interface and it lets me consume, consume, consume... but not much in the way of create, create, create.


Hey, maybe Steve will make an iPad version of iPhoto. I'll just be over here, holding my breath.
posted by kbanas at 4:36 PM on April 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


All I'm saying is that the lack of a self-hosted toolchain is neither new nor is it the end of the world. They didn't write the Tivo software on a Tivo, etc.
posted by GuyZero at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2010


The only thing that gets me is about the iPad is my real worry that it actually will end up being a Kindle killer -- the same way that VHS (inferior product, better market penetration) wound up being a Beta killer in the ancient days of prehistory. Wired's mindblowing ongoing rimjob of the iPad has gone out of its way to make all manner of false claims w/r/t the Kindle's sluggishness, etc., and while I'm certainly not saying that Wired's coverage is at all biased toward Apple (!), it wouldn't be far-fetched to think that such claims might get picked up by others who don't know any better (e.g., media outlets obsessed with "text rage" and the like), all contributing to the dominance of a platform that, for reading, kinda sucks. It's too big and unwieldy and heavy, you can't look at it in direct sunlight, you'll get fingerprints all over the screen turning pages and no, just no, don't put the reader that's actually worth a shit out of business, oh please and thank you, Mister GaterJobs.

That said, as a groovy TV on which you can check your mail and shit, I am all for the iPad and think it's pretty neat, leaving aside the locked-into-Apple aspect and the number of things you can't do on it. If I had a spare $600 and didn't mind paying a monthly connection fee (did I mention that connection is free on Kindle?) I would love to sprawl out in bed watching Netflix instant viewers on it. That's not really worth $600 to me, but $300 is pretty fucking steep for a book reader in a lot of people's minds, but obviously not mine, and so it's all about who you are and how much extra cash you've got on hand, I figure.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:37 PM on April 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


Can you not un-jailbreak it, or is the point that if there's a massive hardware failure, you won't be able to do so, and if you sent your busted pad to Apple they'd know and wouldn't show you any warranty love?

I suppose those are the risks. As I see it, though, there are two blocks keeping everyone from jailbreaking their iP____. The first is that it's technically challenging, and people are afraid that they'll brick their device. The second problem is larger, and it is psychological: people fear that Apple will find out about the jailbreaking somehow and refuse to offer warranty service if they need it sometime in the future.

Take care of the second issue, and the first one goes away too, I think. If you brick your device, send it in to the foundation warranty service and get it fixed for free. If more people become interested in jailbreaking, the bigger the community gets, and the more people there are to make jailbreaking easier and more worthwhile.

Eventually enough people get on board that Apple won't have the leverage they have now. Either that or they squelch it through other means.
posted by tss at 4:38 PM on April 8, 2010


I got tired of having anxious teenagers breathe down my neck...

There are many who pay good money for that.
posted by MysteriousMan at 4:40 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only thing that gets me is about the iPad is my real worry that it actually will end up being a Kindle killer

If there's ever a Burgess Shale of electronic gizmos, it will be full of Kindle fossils. It's an evolutionary dead end. "Kindle" is a platform for electronic books for Amazon that happens to have been made, uh, "flesh" in the form of a specific device. It's cool that it spurred commercial development of e-ink displays. But that godawful keyboard? 4 levels of grey? The unbearable sluggishness coming from what I can only assume is a CPU implement with discrete TTL op-amps?

The Kindle will be lucky to be remembered as the Betamax of ebook readers and not the carousel slide projector.
posted by GuyZero at 4:43 PM on April 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Stop with all things APPLE people. Thanks!
posted by VickyR at 4:45 PM on April 8, 2010


I rarely mind the inability to background apps on my iPhone because I don't really run apps that are useful when backgrounded.

Most of the apps that I run on my android phone (htc dream, not nearly enough power but a nice keyboard) regularly are backgrounded. Not that I run that much, but:

Music is usually on when I'm walking/biking somewhere

Locale is always on. When I walk into school, phone goes to vibrate.

Mytracks is on when I'm doing outdoor exercise (walks, biking).

Then whatever I may actually use while walking or whatever. So a minimum of 2 at a time, usually 3, often 4. Plus some monitoring stuff when I'm worried about hitting my data limit, so 5.

Background apps fit with the whole conception of the iPad that I hear - "fills a niche I didn't know about".

You will run useful background apps when you can, I bet.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:47 PM on April 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


The Kindle will be lucky to be remembered as the Betamax of ebook readers and not the carousel slide projector.

On the other hand the purpose built e-ink devices are all superior for reading to the iPad in terms of battery life, readability of display and possibly most important of all weight. iPad really is a heavy sucker, and inconvenient in shape to boot.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, if there's a company that deserves to be fucked-over, it's Adobe.

Excuse me? Fuck that noise. Fuck it hard, in the ass, unlubed, with a giant horse cock.

You don't like Flash. Why? Because people use it badly. Do you not like guns because sometimes people shoot each other? Do you hate automobiles because sometimes someone gets run over? Do you hate Metafilter because sometimes someone says you've got your head so far up your ass you should be able to taste lung?

Adobe leveraged the things they are—not just good at… the things they are the best at—graphics, fonts, and with the aquisition of Macromedia, vector animation. They are the best at these things. And they put those things on the web. While committees of eggheads argued (and still argue) over minutiae and half-assed implementations, Adobe did it. It's 2010. Flash has been around for… shit, almost fifteen years. And HTML5? With it's no fonts and it's we-can't-decide-what-video-formats-to-support?

Between the humongous security issues they've introduced into PDF

Bugs happen. To everyone.

the horrible incompetence of Flash

Vector animation, native MP3 and MPEG-4 support, a scripting language familiar to anyone that's ever hacked some JavaScript, and real, honest-to-goodness it just works cross-platform (as opposed to everything else on the web), and that's "horrible incompetence" to you? Get. Fucking. Real.

There are plenty of things wrong with their developer tools (and Flex is an abomination), but Flash writ large? That's what you call an incredible success.

and the ceaselessly annoying inconsistencies in their production suites, they've caused me enough aggravation and harm to gain my ire.

Their developer tools suck balls. This much is true. But take off your blinders, because Flash is the single most successful platform on the web, even more than HTML.

Adobe even open-sourced their JavaScript VM. 135,000 lines of code. It's the largest single contribution to the Mozilla code after original Netscape code.

But please continue to explain how they "need to be fucked over."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:49 PM on April 8, 2010 [19 favorites]


(did I mention that connection is free on Kindle?)

It is pretty cool that Amazon managed to get that in, but it's really really slow. You get what you pay for.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 4:50 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


If there's ever a Burgess Shale of electronic gizmos, it will be full of Kindle fossils. It's an evolutionary dead end. "Kindle" is a platform for electronic books for Amazon that happens to have been made, uh, "flesh" in the form of a specific device. It's cool that it spurred commercial development of e-ink displays. But that godawful keyboard? 4 levels of grey? The unbearable sluggishness coming from what I can only assume is a CPU implement with discrete TTL op-amps?

It's actually NOT sluggish, though, is the thing, and I believe it (ohhhhhh!) has sixteen shades of gray. You're probably thinking of the first iteration of the device (I have the second, because I didn't want to end up with the early adopter's remorse all the new iPad owners will have in about a year's time). The keyboard's barely necessary, but I don't have any problem using it. Re: its being an evolutionary dead end, it's meant to take the place of paper books, which haven't evolved much in, um, kind of a while now, largely because there's no need.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:51 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


> The only thing that gets me is about the iPad is my real worry that it actually will end up being a Kindle killer

I used to assume it was, now I'm not so sure.

The iPad is physically larger than a Kindle and weighs twice as much. That counts for a lot when you're traveling, reading while standing in a queue, and so on. The Kindle still has a place in this world. The Kindle DX, I'm not so sure about.

> If I had a spare $600 and didn't mind paying a monthly connection fee (did I mention that connection is free on Kindle?) I would love to sprawl out in bed watching Netflix instant viewers on it.

You only need to pay a connection fee if you're using the cellphone data network. You don't have to pay Apple or AT&T anything for downloading over wi-fi. If you're downloading Netflix movies, for your sake I hope you're using wi-fi.
posted by ardgedee at 4:52 PM on April 8, 2010


Apple triumphant is Apple abusive; twas ever thus.
posted by bonaldi at 4:55 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


In fairness to the whole "I CAN'T PROGRAM ON THE IPAD" meme, you can't program on 99% of PCs as well.

You can, and it's only a few downloads away. A more precise version of your statement is: you can't program on 99% of PCs right now. You can't program on an iPad ever.

Is this a problem? I think so, and probably not for the reason you imagine. I don't think the iPad is the ideal device for writing huge, feature-complete apps, or for doing large-scale computations. These are what desktops and laptops before. I don't miss the opportunity to do either of these things on a tablet.

The potential I see for the iPad and similar devices is a concept that I might call "casual computing." I'm thinking of little programs that you write on the spot to explore questions, data, and ideas that you come across moment by moment, day by day. What if you think of a cool Processing script or a little game while you're sitting idly in a coffee shop? What if you come up with a new way to organize your store's inventory and want to doodle up a quick implementation? Suitably equipped, an iPad could be more present for these random moments of inspiration than, say, a bulky laptop or even a netbook.

You may think I'm silly for suggesting that "casual computing" needs to exist or will exist sometime in the future. I'd bet good money that it'll be a lot more common in ten years or so. People love asking questions. Casual computing could answer a lot of them.
posted by tss at 5:01 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


what desktops and laptops are for.
posted by tss at 5:01 PM on April 8, 2010


As I have said elsewhere, some kind of Hypercard like app would do a lot for that, though apparently again this is something Apple is philosophically opposed to.
posted by Artw at 5:04 PM on April 8, 2010


Toekneesan: "In that Blendtec video some guy reduces one to a powder. I couldn't believe he took off the lid without a mask on."

I know.

DO NOT RELEASE THE GREY GOO!
posted by mwhybark at 5:06 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would love to see a fully functional implementation of Hypercard for the iPad as a defiant statement, something saying "Look at what you could have if Apple weren't being so asinine."
posted by tss at 5:06 PM on April 8, 2010


Excuse me? Fuck that noise. Fuck it hard, in the ass, unlubed, with a giant horse cock.

Ha, Flash fanboys are the best. The interesting thing, though, is that while Apple fanboys are by and large end users, Flash defenders are nearly always Flash developers.

Users, if they're aware of it, hate Flash. If it makes a web dev's life easy, well, hurrah. It makes a web browser's fucking suck. Users hate when the fans spin up on their laptops for no apparent reason. They hate when their battery life plummets. They hate juddery video, text you can't select, broken back buttons and all the other crimes perpetrated by Flash developers. (Yes, yes, you can code around these things. You can write great things in BASIC, too.)

As for the rest of Adobe -- yep, they hate that too. They hate waiting for Acrobat PDF plugin to launch and process its 400 plugins. They hate the marketing-driven CS upgrade cycle that prioritises new shiny way, way more than actual bug fixes or any attempt at consistency. They hate its batshit-insane installers and its clinically insane upgrader which has to run way too often because of all the security holes that seem to crop up so much more frequently than the norm. If their memories are long enough, they hate how the people that brought us Postscript, PDF, Type One, ATM, Photoshop, Illustrator and other amazing things ended up foisting so much shoddy, shoddy software on us.

Adobe were a great engineering company once, but now they're a marketing-driven abomination. They're not quite Quark yet, but in so many ways this story is pretty familiar.
posted by bonaldi at 5:07 PM on April 8, 2010 [40 favorites]


I really hope another company can pull off an equally good UI and device

HTC with a Chrome or Android OS would blow the iPad out of the water except for the crappy Android apps when compared to Apple's app store
posted by KokuRyu at 5:10 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The developer issue isn't "I can't program on the iPhone". It's "Even though people have created them, I'm not allowed to tools which are better than Apple's tools to make programs for the iPhone."

An example. I'm a programmer, and the language I use is a bit clunky. And I've a bunch of tools that I made that allow me to create project scaffolds for that language. (The tools write some standard code for me to get me going) They save me *so* much time.

This is a pretty common thing to do as a programmer.
But guess what. I am legally obliged *not* to use tools like this when creating iPhone Apps. I have to do it the hard way. Just because Apple Hate Adobe.

Another example. Different programming languages are better at different things. I may want to use c# to create the iPhone App because it's easier. I need to do a lot of string handling, or I want to interface to an encryption library I wrote in f#. Or I want to use vb.net or Flash because I'm 14 and it's easier. Well guess what. I can't. I am legally obliged to do all that work again, and stick to using tools which are sub-optimal for that particular job. I have to do it the hard way. Just because Apple Hate Adobe.

If you're a programmer, and you don't get why this is bad, I don't really know what to say to you.

If, back in the day, Microsoft had forced people to only write Windows programs using Windows tools, this is what would have happened...

- The current set of microsoft tools wouldn't be so great.
- No Delphi, no Java, no Ruby, no Python. No Basic Variations. No dBase. No FoxPro.
- No 1,000,000 other languages you haven't heard of.
- No scripting in excel or outlook.
- No Open Source programs in Windows. No Firefox. No Open Office.
- You wouldn't be playing any of the games you play.
- No Farmville. (so it's not all bad).
- Half the programs you use would *suck balls*

This is just the stupidest thing in the world. The "other" tools exist. Other people have spent months creating these tools to help the iPhone be great. And Apple have told them that they can't use them any more.

If I were an iPhone developer, then I'd be pulling my apps from the apple store right now.
posted by seanyboy at 5:17 PM on April 8, 2010 [19 favorites]


As I said before that developer license thing is very, very nasty.

I generally find most of the anti-Apple rants to be nitpicks over matters of personal preference and negligible problems. And I actually really like Javascript and Cocoa.

But come on, Apple: it's not enough for people to target your runtime? They have to write in a specific language, using your tools? You're actually going to actively bar developers from making or using tools that better fit the way they like to work? You're going to keep 'em out if they, say, write in something else that compiles to C/ObjC/C++? How are you even going to tell? Are you going to do source audits? Seriously?

I think I'm going to join the haters in hoping that in the next year or two Apple faces challenges that threaten its relevancy in the mobile market, because that is messed up.
posted by weston at 5:21 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I were Steve Jobs I would be doing everything in my power to keep Flash the fuck off the iPhone / iPad too. The vast majority of Flash uses are for video playback and vector animation, and you don't need their Adobe's wretched, unstable CPU-hogging bloatware for either of those things. Once upon a time I was a big fan of Flash. That was like a decade ago, when it was produced by a reasonably respectable company and there was nothing out there that could do what it did. Neither of those things are true anymore.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:28 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I were Steve Jobs I would be doing everything in my power to keep Flash the fuck off the iPhone / iPad too.

Keeping the Adobe's Flash runtime off of Apple's mobile devices: fine.

Not fine: telling Adobe and everyone else they can't create a development environment that targets Apple's runtime.
posted by weston at 5:32 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]




If you're a programmer, and you don't get why this is bad, I don't really know what to say to you.

No, you make a very good point. There should be no restrictions on using variant toolchains. The only reason Visual Studio exists is because of Borland. Heck, the only reason .NET exists is because of Delphi, again a Borland product.

Unfortunately the economics of development tools went to zero profit ages ago as dev environments became freebies to entice developers. Even without Apple's restrictive license on what tools you can use, there is very little economic incentive to create a variant tool set. The only cases are cross-compilation from existing tools like Flash and cross-platform toolkits for building Android & iPhone apps from a single code base. But absolutely, it's criminal that these are disallowed on the iPhone OS.
posted by GuyZero at 5:38 PM on April 8, 2010


Not fine: telling Adobe and everyone else they can't create a development environment that targets Apple's runtime.

Agreed. Hopefully they'll relax this restriction in favor of a finer-grained set of rules that accomplish the goal of protecting the quality of the platform experience without this flamethrower approach. I think the problem is mainly that they don't know how to create and implement that ruleset yet.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2010


this is what would have happened...

Well, some of it would have happened but we'd all be stuck using Microsoft C++ 8.0 and weak copies of make, et al.
posted by GuyZero at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2010


Sales have been impressive, and I'm sure there's quite a few people waiting for version 2 like I am.

I remember reading on metafilter that the iPad was only for fanboys, design nerds, and the most diehard.

Oops.

It's absolutely not a general purpose computer, or a netbook

It absolutely is, at least very close. Not for you maybe, but for many. You're blind to looking beyond your own needs. Give me some way to back it up beyond using a mac and you're looking at my mothers next computer.

Give it to me and my macbook pro spends 80 percent of the time on my desk. And we're talking version 1. Impressive. Thank god apple didn't take the easy road and just come out with another crappy notebook.
posted by justgary at 5:44 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


An example of something useful, which creates objective-c code, which is no longer allowed by the new license requirements.

It's possibly arguable, but I don't think that is no longer allowed. You're not allowed to link via an intermediary translation layer -- the language in the agreement doesn't seem to prevent you using tools that spit out obj-c which then is compiled and linked directly. Contrast this with the Flash "compiler", which takes ActionScript and outputs ARM.

Here, I wonder if there's something in that: if Apple's planning another CPU transition -- possible, now that they're working on their own chips -- it could make a little bit of sense for them to rule out anything that tries to do an end-run past their compiler. It's at least less wholly evil than just "let's really fuck with Adobe now."
posted by bonaldi at 5:47 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


it could make a little bit of sense for them to rule out anything that tries to do an end-run past their compiler.

In that case, Apple would have implemented a VM, like Dalvik on Android. In fairness, I doubt the iPad would be so snappy had they done that.
posted by GuyZero at 5:52 PM on April 8, 2010


Also, even if they did a CPU transition, they'd probably stick to the ARM instruction set. There are lots of binary-compatible ARM CPUs out there. It's not impossible to maintain binary compatibility - the internals of various Intel x86 chips are like night and day but they all manage to grind along under the same version of Windows.
posted by GuyZero at 5:55 PM on April 8, 2010


...while also screwing over a Adobe by changing the developer license agreement
Or, they're trying to avoid being screwed over by Adobe and Microsoft. It all depends on your point of view.

I think they're trying to prevent their platform from being commoditized by the likes of Adobe and Microsoft. At least that's what I would be concerned about if I was responsible for the iPhone platform. Despite the iPhone's immense popularity with developers, Objective-C and Cocoa are still very small fish in the overall developer pond.

The risk is that they turn off potential new developers who want to write Flash software. I don't think that's much of a risk, and they certainly have had no trouble attracting developers to the Mac, the iPhone, and the App Store.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 5:59 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm an iPhone developer. (yes, I do a lot of things.) I'm pissed off by the frameworks clause. If I had seen that clause yesterday, I would not have paid a sack of money to import an iPad into Canada yesterday evening to get a head start on whenever His Steveness gets around to allowing us to touch his latest toy. (No, I will not ship an app without testing on the device.) Objective-C is obnoxiously wordy, so I've been writing my latest app in Lua using the wax framework and really enjoying it ... which I now can't (apparently) do anymore.

I do think, though, that there is going to be a shitstorm of backlash about this clause because just about everyone who is being commercially successful on the iPhone today is using a framework, and I think there will be, first, a clarification of exactly what is and is not okay, and then some serene backpedalling when it becomes revealed just exactly many apps that are already in the store will not be permitted. No one is going to want to rewrite that shit.

Scary times right now. Don't like it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:01 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Great quote from the Unity forums-

"I'm tired of being collateral damage in someone else's war."
posted by Lord_Pall at 6:15 PM on April 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wait, how was Lua running on the iPhone ever allowed? I was under the impression that scripting languages were categorically forbidden, according to the clause:

3.3.2 — An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise. No interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).

(bolding mine)
posted by Pyry at 6:17 PM on April 8, 2010


I mean, seriously. Lua is huge in the game space. Hundreds of games use it for AI and game object behaviours. Hundreds of other games use other scripting languages. Is this not permitted now? Bullshit. It won't last, not even through the weekend. That clause was written by some journeyman lawyer who really has no technical idea of how top-flight software is made.

Nevertheless, I'm not going to sleep well tonight. Fuckers.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:20 PM on April 8, 2010


Pyry: It's been the received wisdom from Apple based on many app submits and consultations and specific responses that you can embed script interpreters as long as you neither 1) let end users write code with them or 2) download scripts off the net. In other words, if 100% of your functionality is embedded in the package and not exposed to the user, it [was] golden, no matter how it's coded.

Even so, a couple apps bust this rule -- there's a couple math applications in the store right now that allow formulas to be entered with flow control constructs that are true Turing-complete programming languages. So, yeah.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:25 PM on April 8, 2010


seanmpuckett: I think that clause Pyry cites has been in the developer agreement for years; it's not new with the 4.0 release. Perhaps Apple lets things slide for games, particularly if end users are not able to modify the functionality of an app with Lua code. Then again, downloading an expansion pack with, say, new Lua-coded NPCs is a lot like the app "install[ing] or launch[ing] other executable code".
posted by tss at 6:29 PM on April 8, 2010


Hopefully some disaffected developers will start writing for WebOS over on Palm.

It's a great little OS that just might save us from all having to be Apples or Androids, if Palm can manage to stick around for just a little while longer.
posted by washburn at 6:29 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


on preview: thanks for that clarification seanmpuckett---that's very interesting.
posted by tss at 6:30 PM on April 8, 2010


As a flash developer who is interested in making iPhone/iPad apps, I know I should be pissed off, but I'm having too much fun on my iPad. Maybe I'll be angry later. Meanwhile, this is the best web-surfing experience I've ever had. It's so nice to lounge on the sofa with my iPad propped against my knee, snickering at my wife who is stuck holding a big, clunky Mackbook.

I mostly bought it for writing. I lover the fact that I can sit in a coffee shop with just the pad and a bluetooth keyboard. Small as my laptop is, It's still not fun to lug around.

So far, I'm enjoying reading on the iPad more than on my Kindle. I love the kindle, but I'm more in love with the crisp text on the iPad.
posted by grumblebee at 6:39 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even so, a couple apps bust this rule -- there's a couple math applications in the store right now that allow formulas to be entered with flow control constructs that are true Turing-complete programming languages.

The day that those languages allow useful applications with GUI sugar etc. is the day those apps get pulled. Until then it is a theoretical matter that Apple is unlikely to bother pursuing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:42 PM on April 8, 2010


No dalvik style VM on the iPhone OS? Do they do anything to sandbox things, and is it going to be trojan central in a few years?

On the other hand, I'm happy to hear about email encryption in v4.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:45 PM on April 8, 2010


As I said before that developer license thing is very, very nasty. Basically they seem to be trying to pull the plug on anyone not developing their code from the ground up on their platform, which means anyone trying to share code across, say, Android and Windows 7 and the iPhone is shit out of luck.
Ordinarily, developers could just laugh off restrictions like that. I mean, I doubt there's any real legal justification for not letting people develop using whatever tools they want.

But the problem is that by controlling the distribution channel, they can shut you down if you don't do what they want. Revoking your developer's license and removing you from the iTune's store could break a small independent developer, so obviously no one is going to do anything to antagonize Apple.
About 21 million people have gone pretty far without the use multitasking, so it's great that it's coming, but it wasn't anything that killed the platform, except for people who weren't going to buy one anyway.
Heh. I knew the cognative dissonace caused for the hardcore belivers would be hard to swallow. "Multitasking sucks! No one needs it!" and now "Apple has multitasking!" I still expect we'll soon see people claiming that the iPhone's multitasking is better then any other app.

Oh and the real reason that the iPad doesn't do multitasking now: Probably the lack of RAM. It's only got 256 megs(!). Android was built from the ground up to do multi-tasking in low memory environments -- basically apps get shut down when RAM gets low, but with a chance to save their state first. That's not something common in most desktop OS's
Is the iPad one more in the series? I suspect it is. I think the thin, magazine-sized slab that moves fast, responds to the touch and does one clear task at a time is a form that will keep going. But even if its meanders, Apple gets a secure place in history, Ford vs. Chevy style crud notwithstanding.
Except, of course it's not new at all. There were a bunch of devices that already did that -- as well as ones that multi-tasked and used regular desktop/laptop OSes. Just not with all the hype of the iPad. That's one of the things that really irritates me here. There's nothing new here, it's just that since Apple is the first one with resources and inclination to push this everyone acts like it's a godsend.

The technical limitations sound pretty obnoxious as well 256mb of ram? No multi-tasking (for now) and a locked down environment? But people who love apple flip and say it's the best thing ever.
In fairness to the whole "I CAN'T PROGRAM ON THE IPAD" meme, you can't program on 99% of PCs as well. -- GuyZero
I don't even know what this is even supposed to mean, but taken literally it's completely incorrect. Anyone can download Eclipse, Visual Studio express, Cygwin or any of thousands of smaller, no-cost, mostly open source development platforms and start hacking away in a few minutes on pretty much any PC (Windows, Linux, Macs, whatever).

Seriously, this is just so incorrect I have to ask, what do you even mean?
You can't program my Droid on itself any more than you can an iPad although yes, it's not prohibited by the license.
First of all, the dev kids for android are free. Anyone with an android phone can plug it in via USB and hack away from their desktop. I don't think people are complaining about not being able to program directly on the phone. Is that what you're talking about? It took me about 5 minutes to download the SDK and write a "hello world" app for my G1.
All I'm saying is that the lack of a self-hosted toolchain is neither new nor is it the end of the world. They didn't write the Tivo software on a Tivo, etc.
No one is talking about a self-hosted toolchain. But far more then 1% of PCs are capable of running their own development software. To say otherwise is just bizarre.
The only thing that gets me is about the iPad is my real worry that it actually will end up being a Kindle killer -- the same way that VHS (inferior product, better market penetration) wound up being a Beta killer in the ancient days of prehistory.
The Kindle is just as locked down as the iPad. But Amazon can just lower the price point. No reason they can't sell kindles for $99 or even $50, $25 at some point in the future. The technology for a black and white screen and physical keyboard isn't exactly cutting edge. And Amazon's business model is to make money selling e-books, not the devices themselves.
Bugs happen. To everyone. -- Civil_Disobedient
Bugs are shit like files missing their fonts or programs crashing. Most of them don't let the Chinese government spy on human rights workers. For an application that's used on so many machines for files that come from the internet and without a good auto-update that works well the security updates are really kind of inexcusable.
posted by delmoi at 6:50 PM on April 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Anyone who has actually held a Kindle in their hands and used one would also find the Betamax metaphor a bit odd, since the iPad does a whole bunch of different things, has a color screen, touch surface etc. These two devices just do totally different things.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:56 PM on April 8, 2010


Anyone who has actually held a Kindle in their hands and used one would also find the Betamax metaphor a bit odd

Yeah, if you compare the devices, I agree. But if you just look at the 'e-book' part of it, I think I can see that. You have two competing stores now, and ugly stories about pricing wars and exclusivity deals and such - I think people definitely see that as a 'format war' so to speak.
posted by kbanas at 6:58 PM on April 8, 2010


First of all, the dev kids for android are free.

As is true for Xcode.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:59 PM on April 8, 2010


As is true for Xcode.

Don't you need a $99/year dev license to upload your code to the phone, though?
posted by delmoi at 7:08 PM on April 8, 2010


As is true for Xcode.

Well, no, not really. The Android dev kit lets you put the software on Android phones to test or release, again for free. You can code an iPhone app without having to buy Xcode, but even testing it requires that $99.
posted by kafziel at 7:10 PM on April 8, 2010


I don't have feelings about the iPad one way or the other but I find this whole discussion fascinating. Yesterday, I came across this review of the iPad as an ebook reader yesterday: 10 hours with the iPad: Why the iPad Is Not a Kindle Killer
The reviewer does not think that the iPad is a good ebook reader.
In summary, the iBooks Store is sparsely populated and unbrowsable unless you only want to read and buy contemporary and historicals that Apple or the publisher have determined should meet your gaze. Organization is hampered by the publishers failure to provide good metadata resulting in odd names, missing covers, and inaccurate tagging information. The App itself is crippled by the lack of annotations. Thus, the iBooks Store and App won’t kill off the Kindle, nook, Kobobooks. There is a place for them, but I think the right price is $150 or under. The real drawback for eink readers is a) the time it takes for the pages to turn and b) lack of an integrated light.

[...]

If you want to buy the iPad solely as an ebook reader, I would advise against it. It is heavy. You can’t read outside and will cause more eyestrain than an ink device. The iBooks store has meager romance offerings at high prices.

If you are looking for a true multi function device that allows you to cruise the web, send emails, watch videos, do any number of things via the third party apps, and read, then iPad is a good value. If your primary thought is to get this to read digital books, I would tell you this. I plan to get a dedicated ebook reader, either a Kindle or the Kobobooks within the next couple of months, even though I am thoroughly enjoying the iPad.
posted by nooneyouknow at 7:17 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone who has actually held a Kindle in their hands and used one would also find the Betamax metaphor a bit odd, since the iPad does a whole bunch of different things, has a color screen, touch surface etc. These two devices just do totally different things.

That is true, and like I said, I wouldn't mind having an iPad at all -- but I wouldn't use it as an e-book reader. One way or another, I'm going to have an e-book reader for the rest of my life -- I mean, not the same device, obviously, but a device with that functionality -- because it's a damn convenient thing that I can't see going without. But I'd rather that reader not become the iPad by default, because as an e-book reader, it's the inferior product. (For text -- no question it would be the better reader for comics, color magazines [in cases where color is really important to a magazine, which isn't that many magazines, but], and manuals that rely on detailed illos. But these are cases where I would be willing to tolerate the drawbacks of the iPad as e-reader because there isn't anything better. For plain text books, which is really kinda most books you'll ever want to read, the Kindle's the better reader.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:20 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Addendum: I'm speaking here of Baby Kindle and not Kindle DX. Kindle DX, to my mind, has one of the iPad's bigger flaws -- it's too big to be considered all that portable. That size does make it better for displaying illustrations and whatnot, but for me at least that's a pretty minor concern, and doesn't compensate for its otherwise purposeless gigantosity. Baby Kindle is the size of a mass market paperback and weighs next to nothing. This is good.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:25 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Amazon is not a small company. Nor is it stupid. That's why the Kindle store is available for iPad. Their store is larger, more open, and it's connected to the largest e-commerce store in the world.

I don't think it'll outsell the iPad. Because, you know, I'm not stupid. But that's all right! Because it's a specialty tool, developed for people who have a real passion for reading.

Know what else doesn't sell well? Huge enormous TV screens. Most people purchase a middle-of-the-line TV that's very good for what they want. But cinephiles are not wanting for enormous screens or for projectors.

The Kindle will do fine. It will sell to anybody who really wants a pure reading environment.

Heh. I knew the cognative dissonace caused for the hardcore belivers would be hard to swallow. "Multitasking sucks! No one needs it!" and now "Apple has multitasking!" I still expect we'll soon see people claiming that the iPhone's multitasking is better then any other app.

I'm sick of your point-by-point obsessive negativity, delmoi. You do it in every Apple thread.

Find the people who said "Multitasking sucks". Seriously. A lot of people said "I don't need multitasking on this device," but they didn't say it sucked. I didn't, and I defended the iPhone's lack of multitouch a lot, simply because I thought that for most apps, push notifications and simple app switching (for a device that auto-saves your progress) were acceptable stopgaps.

Now Apple has multitasking, yes. And being happy about that isn't sucking Apple off. I'm happy about it. I was also happy about the iPhone 3GS's compass, because I thought it was neat. But I didn't think it was an essential feature, and I don't think multitasking is an essential feature either.

Now that it's there, I'll use it, and perhaps my personal experience will change drastically for the better — though I doubt it; I don't use Twitter and I don't use Pandora, Skype will still be using push notifications and I never used its voice calls, and so the only multitasking I needed was the iPod feature that already had it. But at the moment I feel no disadvantages to not having it, and I have seen no use cases for multitasking on a phone that would make me consider a Nexus over an iPhone (though a Nexus does have some neat things).

I'm happier that it's here because it'll stop a certain argument against it that irritates me than I am because I'll see a practical use to it myself. And the argument irritates me because I don't really feel that it was ever relevant to me as a consumer. (This versus the iPad-as-closed system, which I understand and sympathize with, though it doesn't turn me off of the product.)

You're smarter than this shit, man.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:26 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


If, back in the day, Microsoft had forced people to only write Windows programs using Windows tools, this is what would have happened...

- The current set of microsoft tools wouldn't be so great.


Why?

- No Delphi, no Java,

Why would there be no Java? It succeeded on the server, not the desktop.

no Ruby, no Python.

Why not? Neither language is particularly tied to Windows. Their heritage is Unix if anything.

- No 1,000,000 other languages you haven't heard of.

Again, Windows hasn't generally been the source of language innovation.

No scripting in excel or outlook.

Isn't Office scripting entirely based on Microsoft tools?

- No Open Source programs in Windows. No Firefox. No Open Office.

The Windows build instructions for both of these products specify Visual Studio.

Seriously, step back and take a breath.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:33 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The new argument will be that it doesn't do real multitasking.

And yeah, the point was that Apple sold a lot of iPhone/iTouchs without multitasking, so it was hardly as needed as some thought.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 PM on April 8, 2010


FoxPro? The one MICROSOFT owns?
posted by grubi at 8:04 PM on April 8, 2010


"FoxPro? The one MICROSOFT owns?"

The one that started as a third-party system, and was acquired my Microsoft?

Yeah, that one.
posted by potch at 8:22 PM on April 8, 2010


First of all, the dev kids for android are free. Anyone with an android phone can plug it in via USB and hack away from their desktop. I don't think people are complaining about not being able to program directly on the phone. Is that what you're talking about? It took me about 5 minutes to download the SDK and write a "hello world" app for my G1.
This is, in my opinion, a really legitimate gripe about the iPhone/iPad development ecosystem. Even a halfway solution would be a gamechanger. Say, the elimination of the $99 licensing fee for test app development, and the ability to install unsigned apps that other people have made as long as you do it using dev tools. Open source iPad and iPhone apps could float around pretty easily, but would be out of reach for the casual Apple Store folks, only usable by people with the smarts and inclination to compile and push their own builds onto their own hardware.

I'd like that. I'd like it a lot, actually. It wouldn't make Cory Doctorow happy, because it would still be 'a device for consumption,' but he's off on a weird twisted rant about how only people who enjoy building trebuchets out of old motherboards deserve recognition as humans.

The problem is that this legitimate argument is, in my opinion, eclipsed by a world of would-I-need-a-TV-to-understand-that snarking. We get it! You don't like the Brent Sienna iDouches who treat their brushed aluminum toys like a technological Mensa membership. Seriously, we get it. Our favorite band sucks, Swatch watches aren't ironically cool, Apple products are neither perfect nor well-suited to everyone, and anyone who deserves to breathe wants to compile homebrew crypto apps.

We get it.
posted by verb at 8:30 PM on April 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


FoxPro? The one MICROSOFT owns?

Yes that one. The one MicroSoft bought out in 1992 when it looked like it was going to become a serious threat to their Access products. Yes, that FoxPro.
posted by bonehead at 8:37 PM on April 8, 2010




You can't program my Droid on itself any more than you can an iPad although yes, it's not prohibited by the license.

Uh, yes you can.

Android Scripting Environment

Python, Perl, JRuby, Lua, BeanShell, JavaScript, Tcl, and shell supported. I made a fortune app with it in python.
posted by zabuni at 8:42 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Great reviews. Convinced me this thing is awful for me. I'll stick to my netbook and tablets that we can write in-house open source applications for corporate use. To each their own.

As for multitasking, sure, lots didn't care. So what? Others did. Doesn't mean they are haters. That such an argument (together with the fanboy "argument" for anything positive said about Flash) is on Metafilter is quite astounding.
posted by juiceCake at 8:42 PM on April 8, 2010


Great reviews. Convinced me this thing is awful for me. I'll stick to my netbook and tablets that we can write in-house open source applications for corporate use. To each their own.
Yeah, I don't know. I've got a MacBook Pro, two PCs, a mac mini, an old Palm V for nostalgia, a Sony Magic Cap, a eeePC, and now an iPad. Yes, I am that guy. I spend my days making open source software, and then making it do stuff that I and my clients need it to. For me, it's actually pretty nice to have at least one tool in my toolbox that just does the stuff I want it to do. I spend my days (and often nights) bending computers to my will. I get that some people want the entire lives to feel like that, but I don't mind the break.
As for multitasking, sure, lots didn't care. So what? Others did. Doesn't mean they are haters. That such an argument (together with the fanboy "argument" for anything positive said about Flash) is on Metafilter is quite astounding.
Well, Flash got a lot of hate before the iThings eschewed it. And on the Mac side, there's always been a lot of bitterness about the CPU-sucking quality of Adobe's Flash plugins. Blame whoever you will, but a quad core desktop machine shouldn't spin up its fans and start lagging because you have a flash banner ad on the page you're reading.

This isn't to say that Flash (done well) wouldn't be a great addition to the iPad. But there's been bad blood for a long time and it's not just because people see stars when Jobs walks into the room.
posted by verb at 9:31 PM on April 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


grumblebee: I love the fact that I can sit in a coffee shop with just the pad and a bluetooth keyboard.

I can't wait for the future, when someone really smart will think of a way to combine both of those devices into a single device which is twice as powerful and costs half as much!
posted by oulipian at 9:49 PM on April 8, 2010 [18 favorites]


... it's not new at all. There were a bunch of devices that already did that -- as well as ones that multi-tasked and used regular desktop/laptop OSes.

First of all, no one likes slate/tablet PCs, the ones with "regular desktop/laptop OSes." That's a loser. The fact that the iPad fills its screen, one task at a time, and gets rid of the windows and menus and trash can and control panels and all the other noisy junk of the desktop computer is a feature. It's a feature consonant with the directness of the single, simple screen that you touch, and the unencumbered lightness of the device.

I like OSX — on my desktop. If the iPad were just a MacBook without a keyboard, running OSX with a touchscreen, I would have absolutely zero, zero interest in owning one. I don't think anyone else would want it, either. For better or worse, it's the novelty and simplicity of the apps that take over the screen, clearing everything else away, that makes the design work. (This is why HP's supposed "iPad killer," with its camera and Flash support and Windows Frickin 7 colossally misses the point.)

As for the other devices that did what the iPad does — alright, citations please. All I can think of is a bunch of devices that are to the iPad what the Creative Nomad was to the iPod. But I'm available to be surprised.
posted by argybarg at 9:52 PM on April 8, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "no one who hates Apple talks about those devices having any shortcomings."

Nice straw man, there. Those of us who actually use our phones for real work think any platform lacking essential features like multitasking are pretty much worthless. That extends to Apple's new pseudo-multitasking, which seems more like a bullet point feature than actually useful since it adds little to no new real functionality.

You want to SSH in to a server and switch over to Safari to access some reference material? Sounds like you'll be out of luck. We'll see when it actually drops.

I'm more concerned about anticompetitive moves like the new Developer Agreement dictating not only what the apps are, but how they are developed.

GuyZero wrote: "Do Symbian devices have a built-in task killer?"

The task killer is part of the task switcher on Symbian. You long press the menu (or home, if it's an Eseries phone) button and it brings up a list of the running programs. You can either switch to the task by using the select button on it (or tapping on it for the touch phones) or kill it by pressing the backspace or delete key. (or long pressing and selecting 'close' from the context menu on the touch phones)

It's handy as a quick way of ending tasks that you're done with. I don't get Apple's UI here. I guess once you start an app it remains forever in the task manager?

Maemo 5 handles it by having the task switcher as part of the menu. In the upper left of the screen, there is always a menu/task button. If you have a program running, tapping that button will take you to the screen showing all your running apps (with live preview, like a desktop). Tapping on the program brings it to the foreground. There is also a little 'x' you can tap on to close it from the task switcher.

If there are programs running, you must tap the menu button a second time to get from the task switcher to the menu.

GuyZero wrote: "All I'm saying is that the lack of a self-hosted toolchain is neither new nor is it the end of the world."

It's not the end of the world, but it sure is nice to have available if you want it...
posted by wierdo at 9:56 PM on April 8, 2010


You want to SSH in to a server and switch over to Safari to access some reference material? Sounds like you'll be out of luck. We'll see when it actually drops.
Amen to that. SSH and VNC over VPN is actually one of the things that I already use my iPhone (and now iPad) for on a near daily basis. The lack of multitasking for 'non-presence' tasks is annoying and will continue to be annoying. Not annoying enough that it's not still an excellent tool for me, but still annoying.
GuyZero wrote: "All I'm saying is that the lack of a self-hosted toolchain is neither new nor is it the end of the world."
It's not the end of the world, but it sure is nice to have available if you want it...
Right. But I think it's also fair to say that "I'd like that, I probably won't get one if it doesn't have it" is different than, say, Cory Doctorow's position. Which seems to be, "If it doesn't have a self-hosted toolchain, only stupid overweight trailer trash will want it."
posted by verb at 10:11 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can code an iPhone app without having to buy Xcode, but even testing it requires that $99.

No, you can test your "Hello, World!" app without spending $99. If you want to distribute applications on phones, you need to buy a certificate, but tools and testing are both free.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:11 PM on April 8, 2010


You want to SSH in to a server and switch over to Safari to access some reference material? Sounds like you'll be out of luck. We'll see when it actually drops.

I'd say 99% of people I know don't use their phones for anything remotely like this. Hell, 99% of people I know don't use their computers - desktop, laptop - for this. I work with people who use computers every day, all day, and most of them have some sort of smartphone. I think your sample is really specialized.
posted by rtha at 10:12 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Those of us who actually use our phones for real work think any platform lacking essential features like multitasking are pretty much worthless.

I can't stop laughing at that.

"Those of us who actually use our phones for real work."

Those of us who use a hammer to cut our steak feel for you.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:13 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nice straw man, there. Those of us who actually use our phones for real work think any platform lacking essential features like multitasking are pretty much worthless.

I'd believe this if Apple's haters were fair and balanced, complaining stringently about the lack of these and other essential features like copy/paste when they aren't available on Android or Windows 7.

That extends to Apple's new pseudo-multitasking, which seems more like a bullet point feature than actually useful since it adds little to no new real functionality.

It hasn't been released yet and already it is worthless. That was fast, even by Metafilter standards.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 PM on April 8, 2010


Stanley Tools is just like Apple. You want SSH to mulitask with Safari, and I want a hammer with a serrated edge. You'd think a smart company would listen to its customers!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Stanley Tools is just like Apple. You want SSH to mulitask with Safari, and I want a hammer with a serrated edge. You'd think a smart company would listen to its customers!
To be fair, though, the appeal of the iPhone is that it is more than just a phone. Its form factor and all that means that it is best used for quick, focused tasks -- and that means that "real" multitasking is not as essential. But, you know, I love my iPhone and I'm liking the iPad, and that specific SSH/VPN thing is definitely one of my biggies.
posted by verb at 10:22 PM on April 8, 2010


Doesn't matter. The License says Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++...

You know, I'm not really sure that they're going to be able to verify this. Still, this will scare some commercial development away from the platform.
posted by ignignokt at 10:41 PM on April 8, 2010


I wouldn't buy any first gen Apple product, but I won one in a crossword competition last night (using the same easels that were used in Wordplay, that was neat).

I always wanted to own Penny's computer book from Inspector Gadget. That is what this is and that is why it is great.
posted by painquale at 10:44 PM on April 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Pyry: I believe that clause about interpreters was tightened up in the 3.0 SDK. Prior to that, embedding a Lua interpreter would have been considered fair game, but the 3.0 terms appear to forbid it. That said, some developers claim to be the box3d engine (which embeds Lua) and getting their apps approved (reddit thread - in which I was a participant.)

goodnewsfortheinsane: As far as I can tell, the Phonegap guys are in denial. I had a mail exchange with Brian Leroux after his tweet, and he pointed at the source code which he claims is all good under the new terms. It includes code that handles magic URIs (set by the phonegap javascript code) and uses them to load Objective-C classes and invoke methods on them which in turn call native APIs for Camera support. I think Phonegap is toast like all the other guys, but you be the judge.

I'm going to make myself unpopular here and say that I am not upset about this change, I believe I understand Apple's reasons for doing this and am fairly comfortable with them. And I say this as someone who has developed as bridge between a non-Apple language and Apple's APIs which will almost certainly never make it to the iPhone or iPad.

My personal take on this is that when it comes to a choice between the experience of a developer for their platform, and the experience of a *user* of their platform, they always favour the user. The user is where all of Apple's revenue comes from and I believe Apple sees their success at getting this revenue is tied to having a user experience that those users will pay a premium for. Developers naturally want to use tools that make their lives easier but in this instance that desire is in conflict with the experience of users. Hell, Apple hasn't so far provided a garbage collector for Objective-C developers on the iPhone even though they have a perfectly workable one on the Mac. I don't believe this is done out of spite, rather it is done because because it doesn't work well enough. So I don't expect Apple to be overjoyed at seeing every loophole in previous T&Cs exploited to subvert this, and I'm not surprised to see them being progressively tightened.

Call me a fanboy if you like. Personally I like programming in Clojure (and ActionScript for that matter) quite a bit better than I like coding in Objective-C - but if I were to choose to build a business that depends on the iPhone platform for survival, I'm sure as hell I would not be exploring the grey areas of the T&Cs in order to satisfy my coding preferences.
posted by pascal at 10:46 PM on April 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Except, of course it's not new at all. There were a bunch of devices that already did that -- as well as ones that multi-tasked and used regular desktop/laptop OSes. Just not with all the hype of the iPad. That's one of the things that really irritates me here. There's nothing new here, it's just that since Apple is the first one with resources and inclination to push this everyone acts like it's a godsend.

I know, Microsoft totally didn't try to push abatable 2 or 3 times in the past decade.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:56 PM on April 8, 2010


Tablet, even.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:57 PM on April 8, 2010


Two minor corrections:

"some developers claim to be using the box3d engine"
"which in turn call native APIs for things like Camera support"
posted by pascal at 11:09 PM on April 8, 2010


Android Scripting Environment
I figured there was probably something like that out there, but I had no idea how to search for it, I mean what terms would you use? :)

And actually I knew about the android scripting environment, but I didn't realize there was an on-device editor for it. I thought it was just a way to add scripting to apps. That's actually pretty cool, I'll have to check it out.
Cory Doctorow's position. Which seems to be, "If it doesn't have a self-hosted toolchain, only stupid overweight trailer trash will want it."
Dude, NO ONE is complaining about the lack of a SELF HOSTED toolchain. That's a complete strawman brought up in the thread. The problem is that even if you have a secondary computer you still can't program it without a license, you can't distribute your programs outside of the apple store, etc. Unlike a normal computer, or an android phone.
I'd believe this if Apple's haters were fair and balanced, complaining stringently about the lack of these and other essential features like copy/paste when they aren't available on Android or Windows 7.
Since when is copy+paste unavailable on android? I just tested it on my G1 and it works fine. What are you talking about? I also think WiMo 7 will have copy and paste when it's released, but we'll see. I'm not exactly a big fan of Microsoft either. Their phone seems to be designed for facebook/twitter junkies, which I find rather boring.
posted by delmoi at 11:23 PM on April 8, 2010


rtha wrote: "I'd say 99% of people I know don't use their phones for anything remotely like this. Hell, 99% of people I know don't use their computers - desktop, laptop - for this. I work with people who use computers every day, all day, and most of them have some sort of smartphone. I think your sample is really specialized."

Substitute SSH for Remote Desktop, if you like. Lots of people use that sort of thing. Many of my clients (normal businessfolk who often end up working from home and are the sort to buy an iPad) would just love to be able to do that. It would be suboptimal at best if when they went to change the music that was playing or check sports scores on the web the RDP app had to disconnect.

Blazecock Pileon wrote: "I'd believe this if Apple's haters were fair and balanced, complaining stringently about the lack of these and other essential features like copy/paste when they aren't available on Android or Windows 7.
...
It hasn't been released yet and already it is worthless. That was fast, even by Metafilter standards.
"

I don't see a lot of Android or WM7 threads here on the blue. If either of them can't copy and paste, that sucks for them. I won't consider them as an option.

It's not my fault if Apple chose to release a quite underwhelming implementation of multitasking. I am, of course, basing my statement on the coverage of the feature to date. If it turns out that only certain types of programs are first-class citizens and can truly do things in the background, it's not much better than what it replaces.

I was hoping the rumors of multitasking on 4.0 would turn out to be true. I think the iPad form factor is very nice. I'd like to have one. Too bad we seem to have gotten something not quite what is implied when one says multitasking.
posted by wierdo at 11:25 PM on April 8, 2010


Since when is copy+paste unavailable on android? I just tested it on my G1 and it works fine. What are you talking about?

When Android was released, like iPhone OS, it did not have copy and paste.

I also think WiMo 7 will have copy and paste when it's released, but we'll see.

Well, what Microsoft is saying is that it won't.

Fair and balanced. Fair and balanced.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:29 PM on April 8, 2010


You want to SSH in to a server and switch over to Safari to access some reference material? Sounds like you'll be out of luck.

It's been clearly stated both in this morning's presentation and in the promotional materials on the Apple site that background services will let you persist an active network connection while switched over to another app.
posted by Lazlo at 11:51 PM on April 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lazlo wrote: "It's been clearly stated both in this morning's presentation and in the promotional materials on the Apple site that background services will let you persist an active network connection while switched over to another app."

If it turns out that your interpretation is correct, I will no longer be underwhelmed; I will be whelmed.
posted by wierdo at 12:32 AM on April 9, 2010


I'd believe

Blazecock, you believe people who own Apple gear are a superior form of life. I really doubt you're ever going to be in a position to halfway rationally evaluate anything anyone says about the company or products, any more than I expect sense about Battlefield Earth from Scientologists.
posted by rodgerd at 1:24 AM on April 9, 2010


That seems a bit much.
posted by Ritchie at 2:25 AM on April 9, 2010


The "Will it Blend?" video was strangely satisfying. Even with the sound off. I have no animosity towards the iPad or other technology generally, but seeing it pulverized was amazing fun! Thank you, Blender Man.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:27 AM on April 9, 2010


All the stuff being said about the iPad sort of makes me want to buy one to see for myself. I've never bought Apple before. I don't even own an iPod. But every so often you get the urge to be The Guy With The Cool Toy in your social circle, you know?

I almost definitely won't, for the following reasons:
  • it seems like it's optimized for content delivery, whereas I like having devices that can do all sorts of things, even if it does none of them amazingly well
  • being a content delivery device, when it arrives in Australia the apps will no doubt be encumbered by all kinds of regional content restrictions that will push all my buttons
  • the way it seems to fit seamlessly into your life doesn't really appeal to me, because then I might become dependent on it. It sounds stupid, but I kind of like that a laptop gets uncomfortably hot on my legs because it reminds me to turn it off and go do something else. I don't want to be friends with my gadgets because then I'd take them and all their accessories everywhere like a parent with five children in tow
posted by Ritchie at 2:46 AM on April 9, 2010


None of you have jail broken iPhones? I have one and use the backgronding and task switching programs all the time. It let'se dobthings like have gchat open in a broswer in the background. Real useful. It's nice that king jobs is letting you law abiding peasents have it too now. I doubt you will ever be able to get the real goodies like tethering and crating wifi hotspots though.
posted by afu at 3:11 AM on April 9, 2010


T'was backgronding, and the slithy tasks
Did let'se dobthings in the gchat
All peasents were the tethering
And the wifi crating crat.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:38 AM on April 9, 2010 [16 favorites]


Users, if they're aware of it, hate Flash.

Users hate Flash, huh? Users hate YouTube? Users hate MP3s on their MySpace pages? Users hate embedded clips on the three hundred gajillion sites that use video?

You are so full of it.

It makes a web browser's fucking suck.

Yeah all that fucking content, sure does suck. All that video sure sucks balls. Boy, I hate video. I'm sure you hate video, too. What am I saying? You're an end-user, of course you hate video. You've probably never even heard of YouTube.

Users hate when the fans spin up on their laptops for no apparent reason. They hate when their battery life plummets.

The more I drive, the more gasoline my car consumes! It totally SUCKS! Therefore, I hate cars. And you, Mr. Car Builder? You fucking fan-boy! Go back to your garage. Using your computer causes the battery to die. This is gadgets 101.

and all the other crimes perpetrated by Flash developers. (Yes, yes, you can code around these things. You can write great things in BASIC, too.

Ahh, the root of the problem. You hate Flash because people use it badly. You can just come out and say it and save yourself a bunch of typing.

As for the rest of Adobe -- yep, they hate that too.

Sure they do.

Adobe were a great engineering company once, but now they're a marketing-driven abomination.

Sure they are.

Bugs are shit like files missing their fonts or programs crashing. Most of them don't let the Chinese government spy on human rights workers.

DIRTY COMMIES!
Except for the fact that any bug that escalates privileges to root can get DIRTY COMMIES on your computer. Like this one you've probably never heard of. But how could a bug in a PDF doc escalate privs? Maybe… if you're running as root?

You're blaming Adobe because of a Microsoft fuckup.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:54 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


There were a bunch of devices that already did that -- as well as ones that multi-tasked and used regular desktop/laptop OSes. Just not with all the hype of the iPad.

After I went to Best Buy this past weekend and played with an iPad, I went looking for PC tablet to compare it with. There wasn't one. There were 4 iPads though.

After trying the iPad, Ed the friendly Apple sales rep, asked me what I thought of it and we gabbed for a minutes, before he moved on to the another person. I saw Ed again this past Wednesday, he's having trouble keeping the 32gig's in stock, they just fly outta there, but he usually has a few of 16 and 64 gig. We didn't talk much, it was late in the evening, about 8pm, and other customers needed help. I went over to the PC side again, looking for tablet. There wasn't one.

Delmoi, I remember a link you put up once, that went a Computer World report on the 42 other tablet computers that were already available when the iPad was first announced. I haven't seen a one in the wild. If it's "hype" to to put your product in a mainstream electronics store and then staff it with friendly and knowledgeable sales people and run ads about the product, it makes ya wonder why other companies can't do hype, you know?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:19 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


The most interesting thing for me is the fact that it could go either way - it may be a game-changer or it might flop stupendously. Time will tell.
posted by wubwub at 4:20 AM on April 9, 2010


Users hate YouTube? Users hate MP3s on their MySpace pages? Users hate embedded clips on the three hundred gajillion sites that use video?
No, users love them, and will continue to love them when they're done in HTML5, too. Will they shed a tear for Flash as the door hits it on the ass? Will they fuck.

Using your computer causes the battery to die. This is gadgets 101.
This is idiot argumentation 101. If turning on the radio caused my car to become twice as slow and fuel consumption shot up, would you say "the radio's retarded" or "well, using the car uses fuel, this is mechanics 101"? Flash uses disproportionate amounts of CPU power and hence battery, too.

Ahh, the root of the problem. You hate Flash because people use it badly. You can just come out and say it and save yourself a bunch of typing.
Well, yes and no. It seems like everyone uses it "badly". I never see people using it correctly, only hear about it when Flash developers flail around trying to defend it. "Hey, it doesn't have to piss in your eyes, it just happens to because all the developers who aren't me can't use it right, that's all". Flash itself makes devs take extra effort to be a good web citizen, is it surprising that "badly" is actually the norm? Goto considered harmful, like.

Sure they are.
Way to prove my point. CAF is shiny marketing-driven feature bumps, to justify leaping from CS4 to CS5 with barely a bug fix inbetween. But will they have they fixed even a fraction of the many bugs in CS4? Judging by the CS3-CS4 transition, I'll wager not. The adobegripes tumblr has nothing to fear.
posted by bonaldi at 4:36 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, okay, I see how we're going to act here:

The one that started as a third-party system, and was acquired my Microsoft?

Yeah, that one.
posted by potch at 11:22 PM on April 8 [+] [!]

Yes that one. The one MicroSoft bought out in 1992 when it looked like it was going to become a serious threat to their Access products. Yes, that FoxPro.
posted by bonehead at 11:37 PM on April 8 [+] [!]


Well, let's examine the original comment, shall we?

If, back in the day, Microsoft had forced people to only write Windows programs using Windows tools, this is what would have happened...

- The current set of microsoft tools wouldn't be so great.
- No Delphi, no Java, no Ruby, no Python. No Basic Variations. No dBase. No FoxPro.


If back in the day, Microsoft had forced people to only write Windows programs using Windows tools, HOW THE HELL WOULD THEY KEEP PEOPLE FROM USING FOXPRO IF THEY ACQUIRED IT AND DISTRIBUTED IT?

It's a poor fucking example. Don't fucking talk down to me.
posted by grubi at 5:32 AM on April 9, 2010


I was holding out on getting a new laptop because I figured I'd finally go for a top end MacBook Pro once the refresh happened. Looks like I'm buying another Dell. Given how Apple shits all over the people who develop on their platforms, I think I'll avoid giving any more money to that company. I'll also make sure my company targets the Android platform for any mobile development.
posted by ryoshu at 5:37 AM on April 9, 2010


No, you can test your "Hello, World!" app without spending $99. If you want to distribute applications on phones, you need to buy a certificate, but tools and testing are both free.

No, you have to test on real hardware. There are subtle differences between the simulator and an actual phone. You cannot install on your own phone without buying the annual $99 developer license.

I was iffy about this when I was first considering getting an iPhone two years ago, but Android wasn't out yet, so I sucked it up and bought on. Great phone, great dev environment, but the arbitrary restrictions are getting annoying. First they added a three month expiration to the provisioning profiles. I write apps for the app store and for myself, but those for myself expire after three months and I have to regenerate certificates and rebuild and reinstall the app.

Even with that, I was interested in the iPad and the new 4.0 OS release and was considering a MacBook Pro with the refresh coming. But with these additional restrictions, I'm starting to think it may be more trouble than it's worth. Android is improving and I can buy a Nexus One that works with AT&T, plus there are a number of Android tablets coming out this summer and fall.

I'm going to see how this plays out over the next few weeks. If smaller developers get screwed because of a dickish battle between Apple and Adobe I may jump ship.
posted by beowulf573 at 5:44 AM on April 9, 2010


Substitute SSH for Remote Desktop, if you like. Lots of people use that sort of thing. Many of my clients (normal businessfolk who often end up working from home and are the sort to buy an iPad) would just love to be able to do that.

I use RDC...on my laptop. I can't imagine why I'd want to use it on my phone. The work people I know (again, regular officeworker-type people working in non-computer-related jobs in which they use computers all the time) use their smartphones to check work email and make calls. They use (company-issued) laptops to actually work on documents.

Regarding flash: it's incredibly useful and of course I watch cat videos on youtube etc., but it sucks battery life and is also used for all kinds of obnoxious blinking advertising, which is why I run a combination of adblocking and flashblocking software. It's not like I'm the only person who does this, either.
posted by rtha at 5:57 AM on April 9, 2010


There's two factors here that crank me off. (I've slept on this now and I'm still pissed off.)

First, I'm lazy. I wouldn't be a developer if I wasn't lazy. I don't know any great developers who are not also lazy. (I think of myself as a great developer. Sorry about the ego, but there it is.) What a great, lazy developer does is solve problems efficiently and effectively. We think, "okay I want to do X" and figure out how to do X, where X is something like "capture video." That might take a week to code up. And then we say, wow, X is useful. Next time I want to do X, I would like it to take less time. A good programmer would put X into a subroutine or a library or something so X can be done again. Good programming practice, and smart. Next app, video recording, call X() and done.

But what if X isn't a simple discrete function? What if X is something more general than that? What if X is "Put up a dialog with some fields in it and interact with the user?" Once you've hardcoded that shit a dozen times, you get a feel for the repetitiveness of it and you think, "hey, I could abstract out the common code here and write a little scripting tool to manage the 'simple form' user experience." (This is a thing I have done.) So now you have a little box full of Obj-C code that, given a few lines of definition of a form dialog -- basically: label, type and dictionary key -- can create and mediate that experience effectively and smoothly. I can create another form in five minutes -- I've leveraged my knowledge by creating a tool, a framework, that takes my hard-won knowledge and boils it down into an elixir of commonality that reduces my repetition, chance of error, and allows optimization of both programmer time and user experience.

This is toolmaking, and all great developers do it. Good development houses take their great developers off the front lines and turn them into toolmakers so they can create tools that junior programmers can use to create good applications quickly, with fewer errors.

It is also leverage for guys like me who don't have junior developers. If I create tools, I can use them to cut down on mind-numbing, repetitive coding so I can focus on crafting the unique, stand-out functionality that makes my apps stand out.

My reading of the new SDK agreement is that they are telling us that many classes of tools are now not allowed. So my form scripting tool is probably against the rules, because I have dialogs in my app that are not created and mediated by hand-written Objective-C. They're created, instead, by a few lines of text embedded into an initializer.

And, to co-opt the vernacular, I am all what the fuck?

Apple, I'm a patternmaker -- it's what I've done for almost thirty years. I've done mobile development for RIM, Palm, iPhone and WinMo for over a decade and in all cases I never made a single cross-platform app because cross-platform apps suck ass. All of my code has been tuned specifically for the platform it's run on, taking advantage of its best features, because that's how I can make apps that stand out. But if, in the course of your hissy fit about cross-platform solutions, you make it impossible for me to create the tools that make it practical for me to create a single-platform app quickly, efficiently, robustly and reliably... then this may be the end. Don't do this, man. Tell me I don't understand.

--
I've read the clause closely, and it seems to still allow interpreters and tools as long as your language doesn't do anything with the documented APIs. So a game AI could still be written in lua as long as it doesn't attempt to bind to the device SDK -- it must be a purely abstracted language that controls your game objects only.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:34 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple: the iPhone walled garden is to keep porn out

It is amazing how people are so willing to accept "protect the kids!" from Apple on this, considering how annoyed they get when Walmart does the same.
posted by smackfu at 6:35 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


It also has the potential to really change the way lectures or talks are given. Who needs a damn laser pointer when you can just draw right on the screen that controls the display you're projecting?

Smart already does that and other white board companies have similar products. We have teachers who use the product and it works quite well. I think there's something to be said for utility where a device is made for a specific task.

So now that BP has gotten his token comment out of the way I found it odd that Jobs brought up task switchers/killers/managers.

WM5 has the task killer feature. My old HTC Wizard requires me to go in often enough to kill open tasks.
posted by jmd82 at 6:43 AM on April 9, 2010


I'd believe this if Apple's haters were fair and balanced complaining stringently about the lack of these and other essential features like copy/paste when they aren't available on Android or Windows 7

But but but Clinton!
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:53 AM on April 9, 2010


It is amazing how people are so willing to accept "protect the kids!" from Apple on this, considering how annoyed they get when Walmart does the same.

Aye, their similarity to Republicans should be emphasized. It might be the only way to get through to them.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:55 AM on April 9, 2010


This thread turned really shouty in the last 100 or so comments.
What time is it over in the US? Nap-time yet?
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:10 AM on April 9, 2010


Cory Doctorow's position. Which seems to be, "If it doesn't have a self-hosted toolchain, only stupid overweight trailer trash will want it."
Dude, NO ONE is complaining about the lack of a SELF HOSTED toolchain. That's a complete strawman brought up in the thread. The problem is that even if you have a secondary computer you still can't program it without a license, you can't distribute your programs outside of the apple store, etc. Unlike a normal computer, or an android phone.
honestly, after reading Doctorow's screed, I don't know whether anyone can say which interpretation is right. He accused Apple of displaying 'contempt for consumers' by making a device focused on content display out of the box. Then he went on to describe people who are interested in that as fat, friendless subhuman potato-blobs. And waxed philosophical about Maker Faires.

I understand that no one in this thread is taking the sort of rageaholic angle Doctorow is, but he typifies the sort of irrational Anyone-Who-Isn't-Like-Me-Is-The-Problem response to tailored tools. To quote:

Apple's model customer is that same stupid stereotype of a technophobic, timid, scatterbrained mother as appears in a billion renditions of "that's too complicated for my mom" (listen to the pundits extol the virtues of the iPad and time how long it takes for them to explain that here, finally, is something that isn't too complicated for their poor old mothers).

The model of interaction with the iPad is to be a "consumer," what William Gibson memorably described as "something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth... no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote."


That is what Cory Doctorow thinks of people who don't care about hacking their hardware or rolling custom software. And if his mindset dominates open-device circles, closed devices will win.

At the end of the day, I want open devices. But before that, I want things that work well. And based on my experience, Apple's closed devices are smoother than open devices. I say this as an OSS developer, mind you. Even inside OSS, the closed/open development models are in conflict over this same question and the answer is the same: closed means, in almost all cases, more coherent. And when you're putting a tool in the hands of people who care about doing a task and not customizing the tool, coherent counts a lot more than capabilities.
posted by verb at 7:21 AM on April 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm reading this book right now, Life On the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, and it's about how personal identity is influenced by computers, and especially by networked communication. It's good, but it's a little dated because it was published in '97 and its reference point for online indentity are MUDs.

I actually like the fact that it was written 13 years ago because it's nice to look back on technology that is familiar, and has passed from breathless wonderment to deprecated in the intervening time.

The first part of her book opens up with the difference between "transparent" technology, which at the time were computers you built yourself with command prompt interfaces, as opposed to "opaque" technology, which at the time was a power mac with a sealed case you would never have to open, and a symbollic GUI.

It's interesting to take a look at the partisan standpoints that her interview subjects take, about how Macs are the future and power users will die out, and on the other side how GUI will cause the death of serious computing.

It's obvious that neither is the case. GUIs are standard with todays computers, but computers still have the ability to go beneath the skin of the desktop-as-metaphor, and make changes to the actual system configurations and code.

I think that computing is better as a result.

So while I think the iPad is a little silly (no USB port without an attachment? aren't you a media player?) it's weird the allegiances that people will form for and against it, and it seems like a battle that's been fought over and over with the same result every time.

One of the claims that I've read on blogging sites is that the iPad will kill desktop computing, since the average user hates the desktop-as-metaphor system of computing, and finds it confusing. More than likely, if the iPad is a success, I think we'll see new ways of thinking integrated into the desktop system, with more user accessibility to the system, and a more open environment there-in.

So, basically, I'm not buying an iPad, but I'm glad it exists and is getting attention. The last time that happened it blew computing wide open, and invited in a whole new generation of computer user.
posted by codacorolla at 7:45 AM on April 9, 2010


Tell me I don't understand

If I understand your example, then no, you don't understand.

It sounds like you've written a generic form generator in Objective C which takes a string of config data to dynamically instantiate Objective C form objects and put them all together into a dialog.

The SDK restriction in question says nothing about that:
3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).
Since your form generator is written in Objective C it's fine.

If you wrote your form generator in Flash using Adobe Air dev tools and cross-compiled it to Objective-C, then you'd be running afoul of the SDK guidelines. If you included a Python interpreter in your app and wrote your form generator in Python, you'd be afoul of the guidelines.

Apple wants people to use Apple's tools to make software on Apple's platform. This move prevents Adobe from doing an end-run around Apple's restrictions* on alternative run-times by cross-compiling to Obj-C.

This is, to be sure, a high-handed competitive tactic. But I suspect there are some other aspects as well. For example, how can Apple vet cross-compiled code for security and performance? It directly stems from the walled-garden approach to the app store. If you're going to have a walled garden, with a pay-to-play developer agreement, and your justification to your customers is assuring a base level of quality and security, you can't very well let Adobe build some wonky stuff that looks sort of like a real Obj-C app but not really. If you're going to have arbitrary and capricious standards, you have to enforce them if you want people to take them seriously.



*Apple said from the get-go that they weren't allowing flash, java, or whatever on the iPhone OS. They never stated anything to the contrary, their position only got firmer. Therefore, it was dumb-dumb-dumb for Adobe to pursue Flash-to-iPhone compiling and try to release it as a commercial product without Apple's blessing. That doesn't mean that Apple's in the right here, but Adobe fired the first shot in this particular kerfuffle.
posted by device55 at 7:58 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm always amazed at how Apple threads bring out the Full Metal Retard in people.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:06 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think his argument is that his form generation specification language is powerful enough to be considered an interpreted language with his Objective-C code serving as the interpreter.
posted by Pyry at 8:12 AM on April 9, 2010


Is the Nintendo DS an open programming platform, free to get into? Or is it also a restricted environment?

How about the Blackberry? Can you use any programming language you like? Do you have to pay to get your apps signed?

The Zune?

HP's high-end calculators?

The Kindle? How open is that?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:27 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


And, what the hell, I'll go FMR here as well:

If you don't like the iPad buy something better.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:34 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think his argument is that his form generation specification language is powerful enough to be considered an interpreted language with his Objective-C code serving as the interpreter.

If that is true, then there's definitely a big fat grey area. What if the form definition was simple xml? or Json? and Obj-C interpreted that? What if it were xml passed to XSL which has conditional and looping tags like a programming language but was all interpreted by the Obj-C xmlxsl library? Confusing.

His description sounded like he was passing a string label, string type name, and a dictionary / hash of form fields (maybe these form fields would be defined in a standard plist. I don't know) - that doesn't sound like an interpreted language to me - but of course I don't know any details at all.

I still think the specific requirement language used is intended to screw Adobe out of pimping Flash as a great iPhone development tool, not to screw developers out of coming up with a clever way to create forms. I still think it's high-handed. And I still think Adobe was dumb for trying to release that commercially without some kind of partnership with Apple. (reminds me of when Palm tried to just build iTunes synching into the Pre without permission. Yeah. That'll work.)
posted by device55 at 8:36 AM on April 9, 2010


If you don't like the iPad buy something better.

Kind of like, just move to Canada if you don't like the US politics.
posted by smackfu at 9:05 AM on April 9, 2010


Well, the bigger problem (in my mind) is that almost all sufficiently powerful programs are running interpreted languages, whether or not they expose that to the user. The [no interpreted languages ever] clause basically rules out all high-end 3d modeling and image editing software.
posted by Pyry at 9:05 AM on April 9, 2010


Kind of like, just move to Canada if you don't like the US politics.

There's lots of countries too, you have choices!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:10 AM on April 9, 2010


Kind of like, just move to Canada if you don't like the US politics.

Or if you lived in the UK during Thatcher, like my family, move to Canada because there were few prospects in the UK.

No one is forcing anyone to buy an iPad. Apple doesn't have a monopoly on personal computing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:13 AM on April 9, 2010


I recall an interview with a finance guy who worked for the World Bank (can't remember the name, sorry) who was offering advice to the U.S. for its banking policies. The short version: Stop trying to snip off exotic undesirable side activities, because banks will always sprout more of those and you'll never keep up. Instead, start from scratch and come up with a very short, concrete list of what banks are allowed to do. Everything else is off the table.

The idea is not that banks will stay with that root set of activities forever. Secondary products will always proliferate. But the idea is that a hard pruning down to a small core set is a better way to manage the complexity you anticipate than snipping at the extreme margins, which only intensifies the problem.

Clearly, Apple is trying to create a highly managed environment for its new (post-Mac) line of products. Feel free to dislike this approach. But given that approach, I suspect Apple is right not to make a lengthy, specific list of banned practices. If you try to kill a tiny subspecies of behaviors you wind up with three in its place. But if you begin with a very few allowable core practices, then people like seanmpuckett will push against those core practices and not the exotic ones.

The real test will be the results. The iPad came out of the gate with a (to me) surprising diversity of extremely good apps, and there's no doubt that better are on the way in the short term. But if, in the long term, the environment stagnates, then it will be fair to say that Apple got it wrong.
posted by argybarg at 9:17 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I really doubt you're ever going to be in a position to halfway rationally evaluate anything anyone says about the company or products, any more than I expect sense about Battlefield Earth from Scientologists.

Likewise. I haven't seen any kind of fair evaluation of, say, Google's terms of service and how similar they are to those from Apple, or how other companies' devices were "missing essential features" when released, just like those from Apple. Folks on Metafilter have shown time and again how incapable they are of evaluating this technology rationally and impartially. Hell, this editorialized thread only exists to give an reason for folks like you to come out from under their bridges.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:20 AM on April 9, 2010


No, you have to test on real hardware. There are subtle differences between the simulator and an actual phone. You cannot install on your own phone without buying the annual $99 developer license.

Only if your application has very specific hardware requirements, like accessing the accelerometer or compass, or if you are running an OpenGL application and need to test frame rate performance (beyond making sure it just runs), in which case you will need different and specific models of devices, not just your own phone.

In that case, you buy a $99 certificate to install on multiple phones, because you're are a professional developer, you are rich enough to buy multiple devices, and you have a good reason to spend $99.

If you're in the pool of developers who are just writing "Hello, World!" applications, no, you do not need a $99 developer's license and, yes, the tools and testing suite are free.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 AM on April 9, 2010


Number of people on earth = 6,800,000,000

Number of computers on earth = 1,800,000,000

The iPad is for that lagging 5,000,000,000 that don't give a shit about multitasking.
posted by xjudson at 9:29 AM on April 9, 2010


Only if your application has very specific hardware requirements, like accessing the accelerometer or compass,

I don't know, I think the big huge difference is that my PC doesn't have a touchscreen.
posted by smackfu at 9:34 AM on April 9, 2010


I don't know, I think the big huge difference is that my PC doesn't have a touchscreen.

Within the testing app, pretend your mouse pointer is the tip of your finger, and a mouse-click is your fingertip hitting the screen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:37 AM on April 9, 2010


If you don't like the iPad buy something better.

I did - a netbook - a year ago.
posted by rfs at 9:38 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Kind of like, just move to Canada if you don't like the US politics.

A perfect example of going FMR.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:39 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is it that when faced with alternatives, humans act as if there's only one option? If I had stumbled into this thread knowing nothing about the technology, I'd assume that everyone here was going to a desert island, and they were allowed to take one device with them and they'd be stuck with that device forever. What'll it be? iPad? Android? Laptop? CHOOSE!

Which drink is better, tea or coffee? No, I'm not asking which drink you prefer. I'm asking which drink EVERYONE prefers -- or should prefer. There MUST be one drink that's the best. Okay, I'll just tell you. It's coffee. It's coffee even if you prefer tea.

Upthread, I mentioned how much I was thrilling to the idea of going to a coffee shop with my iPad and a bluetooth keyboard. To which oulipian quipped, "I can't wait for the future, when someone really smart will think of a way to combine both of those devices into a single device which is twice as powerful and costs half as much!"

Why do I (me, not oulipian, me) need a machine that's twice as powerful for word processing, reading ebooks and reading articles on the web?

And why would I (me) want a device with a built-in keyboard when I just stated my preference for one that's NOT built in?

If you want a device WITH a built-in keyboard, then the iPad is a bad choice -- for YOU.

Here's what I want: I want a device that's about the size of a large paper-back book. I want to be able to write on it, send and receive emails on it, read web articles and message-boards on it, draw on it and be able to use a wireless keyboard with it. I would also like to be able to put apps on it from Apple's store. I'd also kind of like this device now. Not in the future. (In the future, I might buy some other device.)

Given those requirements, what device would you recommend I buy?

(Oh, and dogs ARE better than cats. Just wanted to clear that up.)
posted by grumblebee at 9:40 AM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm always amazed at how Apple threads bring out the Full Metal Retard in people.

And, what the hell, I'll go FMR here as well:

A perfect example of going FMR.


Are you trying to be as offensive as possible?
posted by kmz at 9:46 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you trying to be as offensive as possible?

Tribalism brings out the worst in people.
posted by bonehead at 10:12 AM on April 9, 2010


any more than I expect sense about Battlefield Earth from Scientologists.

Dude, cut it out.

Hell, this editorialized thread only exists to give an reason for folks like you to come out from under their bridges.

You too.

A perfect example of going FMR.

You as well. For god's sake.
posted by cortex at 10:17 AM on April 9, 2010


DIRTY COMMIES!
Except for the fact that any bug that escalates privileges to root can get DIRTY COMMIES on your computer. Like this one you've probably never heard of. But how could a bug in a PDF doc escalate privs? Maybe… if you're running as root?
Well, there are lots of bugs to exploit, but the Chinese have chosen PDFs as their preferred attack vector.

Anyway, If you look at other programs that are "internet facing" like IE, Firefox, they auto update and do a lot to prevent hacks. Acrobat is way behind the times and it's just inexcusable.
Delmoi, I remember a link you put up once, that went a Computer World report on the 42 other tablet computers that were already available when the iPad was first announced. I haven't seen a one in the wild.
The reason I pointed that was because of all the people running around claiming that the iPad was some totally new revolutionary thing that no one had ever seen before, bla bla bla. Nothing it does is new, but people are acting like it's going to "change everything!!!!" and so on.

Also, you've never seen people using a Kindle? For the other ones, you can buy them online. here's a video of someone using a Viliv S10, which has a physical fold-in keyboard, and you can buy here.

Apple is obviously spending a lot of money to promote this. And yes, getting products in stores, sales people, etc are examples of marketing, they have nothing to do with the underlying technology.
That is what Cory Doctorow thinks of people who don't care about hacking their hardware or rolling custom software. And if his mindset dominates open-device circles, closed devices will win.
I don't know if that's fair, I assumed he was talking about what he thought apple thought of their users. He says "Apple's model customer is..." but that's in the paragraph above. I suppose you could interpret it either way.

But none of that has to do with whether the tool chains are SELF-HOSTED or not. No one cares about whether you can program the device direcatly on the device using the virtual keyboard and touch screen. It's whether or not they can program it at all including from another computer. On android you can, on the iPhone you have to buy a dev license, your code expires in three months, and you can't distribute your software anywhere but through the filtered App store.
Is the Nintendo DS an open programming platform, free to get into? Or is it also a restricted environment?

How about the Blackberry? Can you use any programming language you like? Do you have to pay to get your apps signed?

The Zune?

HP's high-end calculators?

The Kindle? How open is that?
Well, TI's high end calculators are hackable, I don't know about HPs. The other things you mentioned are toys, for the most part. I'm not fan of the Kindle's locked down DRMness either. But no one is going on and on about how the DS and Kindle are going to make PCs and desktops irrelevant.

posted by delmoi at 10:30 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I know I could load any program I wanted onto my HP48G. I think you could cross-compile for it from GCC.

I don't know about Blackberrys but I can self-sign apps to install on my Nokia. And I can get Python on it too.
posted by kmz at 10:42 AM on April 9, 2010


What's wrong with the iPad? Let's start with the lack of a clock

I actually hadn't noticed that Clock, Weather and Calculator were missing - that's a bit weird.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on April 9, 2010


Only if your application has very specific hardware requirements, like accessing the accelerometer or compass...

Nope, there are other gotchas that have nothing to do with hardware variations. Anybody who develops an application without testing on both the simulator and actual hardware is asking for trouble. I don't hold this against Apple, I've been using simulators to write software for over twenty years and it's always been the case. The simulators never match the behavior of the actual hardware perfectly.
posted by beowulf573 at 10:46 AM on April 9, 2010




The reason I pointed that was because of all the people running around claiming that the iPad was some totally new revolutionary thing that no one had ever seen before, bla bla bla. Nothing it does is new, but people are acting like it's going to "change everything!!!!" and so on.

Oddly enough a lot of reviews seem to say the same as above.

Also, you've never seen people using a Kindle?

Honestly, I can't recall any off hand. I'm sure I have, but nothing sticks out.

Apple is obviously spending a lot of money to promote this. And yes, getting products in stores, sales people, etc are examples of marketing, they have nothing to do with the underlying technology.

It must suck for all those other poor companies who have such great technology that nobody notices.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:49 AM on April 9, 2010


Nope, there are other gotchas that have nothing to do with hardware variations. Anybody who develops an application without testing on both the simulator and actual hardware is asking for trouble. I don't hold this against Apple, I've been using simulators to write software for over twenty years and it's always been the case. The simulators never match the behavior of the actual hardware perfectly.

Well, yeah. I can assure you that the developers working on iPad apps without access to the physical devices found the whole process absolutely nervewracking and didn't stop worrying about it until the hardware was out and they could test the things for themselves.
posted by Artw at 10:49 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I actually hadn't noticed that Clock, Weather and Calculator were missing - that's a bit weird.

Real artists ship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:50 AM on April 9, 2010


If you don't like the iPad buy something better.

I wasn't really interested in an iPad, but probably would have picked one up for development. I was interested in a MacBook Pro, but instead I purchased a fully loaded Studio XPS 16 (RGBLED screen @1080p, try that Apple) this morning. I'm not the only developer sick of Apple treating us like crap.
posted by ryoshu at 10:57 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The clock and such are such basic functionality - also it's the kind of thing you'd expect from some kind of dashboard widget - I wonder if they intended including something and ran out of time on it?
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2010


What's wrong with the iPad? Let's start with the lack of a clock

Wow. I must have gotten a special iPad. Mine HAS a clock. I'm guessing they mean a clock app. It doesn't have one of those. But it's got a time-readout (a.k.a. a clock) along the top.

Calculator IS a weird omission though.
posted by grumblebee at 10:58 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Smaller and cheaper iPad already on its way

Hmm, I don't really feel that there is a good size between the iPod Touch and the iPad. It wouldn't be pocketable like the Touch, and the smaller screen would force you zoom in when surfing, much more than the iPad. Lighter would be nice, but most of the weight is in the batteries so you would lose battery life.
posted by smackfu at 10:59 AM on April 9, 2010


Nope, there are other gotchas that have nothing to do with hardware variations

Nope, not major ones, if you're writing "Hello, World!"-level applications. It's not 100% perfect, but for simple apps that don't use hardware-specific features, it really doesn't need to be. Honestly, download the free tools and try them out. You'll be surprised how well it all works.

Anybody who develops an application without testing on both the simulator and actual hardware is asking for trouble.

Well, you'll only get in trouble if it's an app you plan to distribute, so in that case you'd be buying the $99 certificate, anyway, so that you can test for devices that you don't use yourself, devices which your customers will be using.

If you plan to sell something, buy the $99 cert. If you just want to play around and actually program, you can code and test for free.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:05 AM on April 9, 2010


delmoi, the Viliv S10 you linked to is a notebook running Windows 7, with multitouch on its screen. Yes, the form factor is vaguely similar, but I believe we've seen over and over again that the model of the keyboardless laptop with a desktop OS is a dog. It's a new form; it needs a new interface. (And tetchy detail: I assume there's no accelerometer.)

But even if you prefer the tablet PC model, and even if it turns out people do favor it with time, to say it's the same thing as the iPad is absurd. The iPad is a manicured environment (one I freely acknowledge you dislike), and the App Store is 80% of the deal. The hardware and system design are carefully thought out for a different sort of use than the tablet PC, and I think the total form factor is distinct from any predecessors. No, it doesn't have a single element that isn't in another device somewhere, but the combination of elements, especially within the wrapper of the applications environment, is unique.

As I said way up above, you can look very closely at the Apple II, the Macintosh, the iPod and the iPhone and, in each one, find predecessors for bits a pieces of each one. But it would be foolish to deny, given the distance of time, that they each made a unique statement and created distinctive ecosystems around them. I suspect, but cannot know, that the iPad is next in this series.
posted by argybarg at 11:14 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is, to be sure, a high-handed competitive tactic.

I'd use the phrase "high-handed anti-competitive tactic" myself.

how can Apple vet cross-compiled code for security and performance?

Unless the approval process involves having a deeply experienced C/ObjC/C++ developer auditing your source code top-to-bottom, which is (a) unbelievable from an efficiency standpoint and (b) kindof creepy, the same way they'd do it for any other environment that targets their runtime.

you can't very well let Adobe build some wonky stuff that looks sort of like a real Obj-C app but not really

There's a big assumption here that may not be warranted about the quality of the third-party tools. And if we're worried about consistency of appearance, well then, I expect they'll also be cracking down on apps that are essentially a WebUIView pointed at pages on the Internet or a big ol' OpenGL panel.

Apple said from the get-go that they weren't allowing flash, java, or whatever on the iPhone OS. They never stated anything to the contrary, their position only got firmer. Therefore, it was dumb-dumb-dumb for Adobe to pursue Flash-to-iPhone compiling

Are you sure you understand the distinction between having Flash-the-runtime on a given device and having Flash-the-dev-tool target another runtime?

Is the Nintendo DS...Blackberry...Zune...HP's high-end calculators...The Kindle? How open is that?

How many of these devices have any restrictions on what tools developers can use upstream of compilation?

(And does HP even make high-end calculators anymore? Nobody I know has liked anything they made since the 38/48 series, which were popular in part because you could indeed swap programs w/o HP's permission, up to and including stuff written in machine language for the thing.

And the Kindle is actually pretty open--more or less a Linux box--once you do a little bit of work to get the hood open.)
posted by weston at 11:16 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I don't really feel that there is a good size between the iPod Touch and the iPad.

I'm assuming that a year from now Jobs will announce the iPad Nano with a new 3.5" screen and the media (and MetaFilter) will go crazy about what a brilliant product it is.
posted by ryoshu at 11:19 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you plan to sell something, buy the $99 cert. If you just want to play around and actually program, you can code and test for free.

The middle place between literally-just-for-giggles fiddling and being-dedicated-to-selling-aps is the place giving people trouble though, because if where you're at is more like contemplating-serious-development the answer is also "pay the annual fee".

There are a lot of things about the iPhone that make it interesting that also make it functionally different from the simulator, nice as it is that the sim exists for rudimentary testing. People who want to get a feel for how their ideas for those features would work on a physical device in practice have no choice but to drop the extra cash speculatively. (Or, as I understand it, do significant hoop-jumping with the help of a developer friend who is paid up and willing to do some grunt-work for you.)

That's frustrating. And it's fine to say "tough shit, that's how it is", and certainly the iPhone/iPad is not the only platform where free on-device development is non-trivial—but that's also certainly not universal, either. And in a case where the hardware differs in practice more significantly from what a sim can provide, the frustration of not being able to test your own work on your own device without paying entry fee up front is magnified.

You can "test" for free, but you certainly cannot do the main thing most enthusiastic amateur developers who want to test an iPhone/iPod app they're working would want to do, which is test it on the device they already own.

At the end of the day, an extra $99 on top of the cost of the device is not a great big deal, and I don't consider it something worth waging a holy war over. But it is unquestionably frustrating.
posted by cortex at 11:20 AM on April 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nope, not major ones,

Sorry, it's just not true. I've been writing iPhone apps for a couple years now. There are all sorts of subtle differences between the simulator and iPhone that will bite you in the ass. Sure, you can write a hello world app and get a feel for the environment, but you can't write anything useful without testing it against real hardware. Most developers do like I do and manage it via conditional compilation, but you never know until it runs on the hardware how it's going to turn out.

Apple's increased restrictions are frustrating. I learned to program on an Apple ][, I've got a Mac classic I boot every once in a while for nostalgia and I've been writing iPhone software for a few years. I *like* Apple; the company, the hardware and the software. But they are making it more and more difficult for me to stay.
posted by beowulf573 at 11:26 AM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


(And does HP even make high-end calculators anymore? Nobody I know has liked anything they made since the 38/48 series, which were popular in part because you could indeed swap programs w/o HP's permission, up to and including stuff written in machine language for the thing.)

I was going to point out that TI's calculators are hackable, but the hardware is the almost the same as when I was in highschool. I looked a few years ago and they were still around the same specs. 16mhz CPUs and a few hundred kb of ram. Apparently they're up to 90mhz and 32mb of ram now.

Of course if you're going to do "real math" it makes more sense to use a netbook with some real software on it.

posted by delmoi at 11:44 AM on April 9, 2010


RPN forever! Up with (old-school) HPs, down with TIs!

(Oh god I'm such a geek. Mac vs PC and emacs vs vi aren't enough, I had to pick sides in TI vs HP calculators too.)
posted by kmz at 11:49 AM on April 9, 2010




Go screw yourself Apple.

I wonder if Adobe talked to Apple about doing this beforehand and if Apple was initially agreeable or didn't care and then changed their mind.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:57 AM on April 9, 2010




John Gruber's follow up on why changing 3.3.1 is a good thing, if you ever doubted he would have a reason. It's utter nonsense of course, but expect it to become the party line.
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on April 9, 2010


I wonder if Adobe talked to Apple about doing this beforehand and if Apple was initially agreeable or didn't care and then changed their mind.

If Apple had any kind of agreement with Adobe, be it a gentleman's agreement or a real contract, I think Adobe would state so explicitly and would be bringing out the lawyers. Instead of saying "hey dick move, Apple."

They may still bring out the lawyers, but it might be to force Apple to stick to their word, and cause trouble for all those game makers using 3D libraries (as mentioned up thread by Pyry)
posted by device55 at 12:14 PM on April 9, 2010


How about the Blackberry? Can you use any programming language you like? Do you have to pay to get your apps signed?

The Blackberry can be directly programmed in J2ME (or Javascript for web apps), much like the iPhone/Pad can only be directly programmed in C/C++/obj-C/Javascript. Unlike on the iPhone, there are no restrictions on writing runtimes, interpreters, etc to run on the Blackberry.

There is no need to have Blackberry apps signed unless you wish to call certain security-sensitive APIs. If you do wish to have your code signed, there is a one-time $20 fee payable to RIM. Once you have paid the $20, RIM will sign as many different apps as you like. Furthermore, RIM never reviews, approves, rejects, or even receives a copy of your code. They receive only a hash of your code.

Yeah, it's not as open as a PC, but it's a far cry from the restrictions on the iPad/phone platform.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 12:14 PM on April 9, 2010


Those links mostly from the programming section of Reddit. I'm not a super heavy Reddit user- is it usual for one subject to totally dominate a subreddit like that? It's like the WIRED front page only against rather than for Apple?
posted by Artw at 12:17 PM on April 9, 2010


It's utter nonsense of course, but expect it to become the party line

I think he does a pretty good job of trying to determine what Apple's reasoning and strategy is, who benefits and who gets screwed.

It doesn't read like he's advocating the decision. Unless I'm missing something, which is entirely possible.
posted by device55 at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2010


He's certainly advocating a deeply questionable quality benefit, which I expect we'll be seeing our resident unpaid shills from now on whenever the subject comes up.
posted by Artw at 12:27 PM on April 9, 2010


The more I think about it, the more Apple saying all applications must be written directly in Objective C with Apple's tools makes me angry. I can only see one reason to do that and that is to try to make it as hard as possible to make cross platform applications and to lock people into the Apple ecosystem. Fuck that shit. Seriously. This kind of hamfistedness is exactly why the whole walled appstore garden is dangerous for developers and in the long run hurts consumers.

I've been using Apple products for years and have been very happy with them, but in the last year or two I've seen how Apple has been behaving now that they have such a successful product, and it's been a bit scary. And any honest developer should realize that this is a bullshit move that is bad for the industry. Hopefully there will be enough pushback that Apple realizes they've gone too far, but I'm not optimistic.
posted by aspo at 12:31 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


By resident unpaid shills are you referring to Apple fans or Linux developers?
posted by entropicamericana at 12:34 PM on April 9, 2010


Sorry, it's just not true. I've been writing iPhone apps for a couple years now.

As have I, and the minor differences are just that, minor. Sorry, but you can code and test for free. No quotation marks needed. If you need to distribute a polished app, or run a signed app on your phone, then spend the $99 on a certificate. Otherwise, the fact is that you can code and test for free. Sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:51 PM on April 9, 2010


John Gruber's follow up on why changing 3.3.1 is a good thing

To be clear, he thinks it's a good move for Apple and its users, but admits that Adobe is royally screwed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:54 PM on April 9, 2010


Now let me put aside my role as an official representative of Adobe for a moment as I would look to make it clear what is going through my mind at the moment. Go screw yourself Apple.

If Adobe had only bothered to engineer their product well for any other platform than Windows... As it stands, all the complaints about Flash remain true: It is slow, it is buggy, it eats CPU and battery life. Adobe did nothing to address these technical points, and has only started to now that Apple ate their lunch.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:58 PM on April 9, 2010


but admits that Adobe is royally screwed

Also developers who focus on Flash or .Net or anything that isn't Obj-C and hope to push something to the iPhone w/o using Obj-C
posted by device55 at 1:00 PM on April 9, 2010


From Adobe's site. I found this amusing.

Log in (returning users)

Already registered? Adobe has a new talent acquisition system. This system is optimized for performance on IE 6 or IE 7, running on Windows XP. Unfortunately it is not supported on Firefox, nor is it supported on a Mac at this time.


IE 6? Really? My talent can't be acquired by Adobe unless I'm running IE on Windows? Okay.
posted by rtha at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If Adobe had only bothered to engineer their product well for any other platform than Windows... As it stands, all the complaints about Flash remain true: It is slow, it is buggy, it eats CPU and battery life.

Funny. I have exactly the same complaints about Adobe software on both Linux and Windows XP. I've loathed Reader for more than a decade now... (last good version about 3.0).
posted by bonehead at 1:09 PM on April 9, 2010


You can write code completely inside a web app. We're talking about it over here and here's Processing running on top of ECMAScript in the browser and a version Brian made that stores your code locally after you add a "bookmark" (it's really more) on your home screen.

You can edit the code right there but eventually there will be services for hosting your in-browser code that let you get at your source with a native editor through FTP or WebDAV.

Anyone want to invest in a Commodore 64 IDE on your HTML5-tablet startup?
posted by morganw at 1:15 PM on April 9, 2010


Ouch. Did Apple just ban Wired's iPad app?
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on April 9, 2010


bonaldi wrote: "Well, yes and no. It seems like everyone uses it "badly". I never see people using it correctly"

It's called confirmation bias. You don't notice it the hundreds of times a day you load a flash applet that doesn't fuck up your computer.

It's OK. Me and my N900 will keep enjoying playing flash games, using the instant rimshot, and watching YouTube. Can't wait for GPU-accelerated 10.1.

rtha wrote: "They use (company-issued) laptops to actually work on documents."

I was talking about the iPad, not the iPhone. An iPad-sized device would be great for logging on to my work computer to peruse some documents or whatever.

Blazecock Pileon wrote: "Likewise. I haven't seen any kind of fair evaluation of, say, Google's terms of service and how similar they are to those from Apple, or how other companies' devices were "missing essential features" when released, just like those from Apple."

Say hello to Mr. Confirmation Bias. In places on the interwebs where people discuss these things daily, people complain about missing features and heavy-handed application policies from every manufacturer. Since nobody bothers to make a thread on the Blue for every S60, Android, or Palm device that is released, you don't see those complaints here.

I've long used Nokia devices because I'm perfectly capable of accessing most APIs without any application signing at all. Most of the rest I can use personally on my own device by submitting the application package to the Symbian Signed page. If it doesn't use one of the few APIs that require a developer's certificate, the system will automatically sign the app for you with your phone's IMEI, allowing to use it on your own phone. And they don't get their panties in a bunch if you want to generate your code with a third-party tool.

delmoi wrote: "Acrobat is way behind the times and it's just inexcusable."

I still have a copy of Acrobat 6 on my XP installation. (I got it with a scanner I bought some years back) It still complains loudly about wanting to download updates.
posted by wierdo at 1:24 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Programmer peeps, any truth to this nugget from AppleInsider or is it BS?
Reports of the change in Apple's 4.0 license trickled in from a variety of sources, many of them either glad Apple was taking a tough new stance against "Flash shovelware" or alternatively upset that the company was limiting developers to its own development tools and languages.

But if Apple were simply trying to block Adobe from cross-compiling Flash to create iPhone apps, it could have added the changed text to its existing license agreement and spoiled Adobe's CS5 party immediately, rather than just threatening change that appears fated to kick in when Apple delivers iPhone 4.0 in June.

The primary reason for the change, say sources familiar with Apple's plans, is to support sophisticated new multitasking APIs in iPhone 4.0. The system will now be evaluating apps as they run in order to implement smart multitasking. It can't do this if apps are running within a runtime or are cross compiled with a foreign structure that doesn't behave identically to a native C/C++/Obj-C app.

"[The operating system] can't swap out resources, it can't pause some threads while allowing others to run, it can't selectively notify, etc. Apple needs full access to a properly-compiled app to do the pull off the tricks they are with this new OS," wrote one reader under the name Ktappe.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:38 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brandon: That sounds like some serious grade A bullshit. And if it's not it means Apple's multitasking "solution" is a horrible, horrible mess.
posted by aspo at 1:46 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that is not confidence building at all, especially given how random the current process is.
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on April 9, 2010


Ouch. Did Apple just ban Wired's iPad app?

Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:02 PM on April 9, 2010


Looks like lack of multitasking support for the 3G is an Apple choice rather than a technical thing. Thanks Apple for this upgrade opportunity, though quite possibly I will take my money to someone who isn't a fuckover artist.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on April 9, 2010


Looks like lack of multitasking support for the 3G is an Apple choice rather than a technical thing.

What is the implementation like? Does it kill the battery quicker than on a 3GS? It's easy to turn on features, but how well it actually works is probably the more relevant issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 PM on April 9, 2010


You really are the perfect customer.
posted by Artw at 2:13 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You really are the perfect customer.

You leapt to a major conclusion without much in the way of facts, so I asked you an honest question. Thanks for answering it in the way you did, though.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:19 PM on April 9, 2010


I didn't mention in my post the other thing that was announced at the iPhone OS 4 event, which is iAds (check out the video and you'll see what I mean). It's a lot more involved than I thought it was. It includes flash like interfaces built in HTML 5 and will totally screw over the companies that already sell ads on the iPhone.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 2:24 PM on April 9, 2010


You really are the perfect customer.

I thought the same thing actually. Can the 3G not do multitasking because Apple really really wants be shitty and "encourage" the upgrade or did they decided it killed the battery too much? I can see it going either way, but lean more to the latter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:28 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The primary reason for the change, say sources familiar with Apple's plans, is to support sophisticated new multitasking APIs in iPhone 4.0. The system will now be evaluating apps as they run in order to implement smart multitasking. It can't do this if apps are running within a runtime or are cross compiled with a foreign structure that doesn't behave identically to a native C/C++/Obj-C app.
Android handles it fine, without needing to restrict any runtime stuff.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple backs down on this. After all, one of the selling points was all the "interactive features" in magazines like Wired. But how is that going to be possible without scripting support?
posted by delmoi at 2:35 PM on April 9, 2010


t can't do this if apps are running within a runtime or are cross compiled with a foreign structure that doesn't behave identically to a native C/C++/Obj-C app.

That might be true, but it's a flat-out bullshit justification of the license language. If that's their intention, they should change it so that it doesn't forbid writing in another language that targets C/C++/ObjC to be consumed by their toolchain.

Not only that, but... I'd actually be pretty darn surprised if Adobe and others didn't use the same open gcc source XCode uses behind the scenes for the build stage, along with a limited set of closely-spec'd Cocoa Touch components (if not original components).

I just don't buy the quality control argument. It doesn't jibe.
posted by weston at 2:39 PM on April 9, 2010


> Programmer peeps, any truth to this nugget from AppleInsider or is it BS?

If the primary source is AppleInsider, I'm disinclined to believe it. There are other websites that are more trustworthy when making unverifiable claims, while AppleInsider has a history of making shit up.
posted by ardgedee at 2:42 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Android handles it fine, without needing to restrict any runtime stuff.

Apple SEEMS like it's shooting for a sweet spot between some form of multitasking, performance and battery life.

But, you'd think they explain to people (especially Adobe) why they made the change or come up with scheme (API? not sure of the lingo) which lets developers know what the OS is looking for, so the App could be coded to handle that from whatever tool.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:44 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple SEEMS like it's shooting for a sweet spot between some form of multitasking, performance and battery life.

And cost. There's only one reason to only put 256 MB RAM on these devices and it's not multitasking, performance or battery life.
posted by GuyZero at 2:52 PM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Using the iPhone Simulator:

-You are using your Mac's memory and CPU, which are usually much more plentiful than those of the target device. Want to load up to a Meg of HTML from the web into the DOM? Your Mac won't even blink, but when you finally pony up the $99 you realize that your trusty 3G suddenly has a lot to think about even when the data has long been loaded. This has serious UX implications.

-You are using Wi-Fi or Ethernet, clueless about the patience asked of those poor souls condemned to EDGE or GPRS or homing pigeons.

-You are working with a larger display than the target device user will (iPhone / iPod touch). This has implications for interface design and text readability, among other things.

-You can't really tap with a mouse, let alone scroll. Things like scrolling speed are dramatically different from the experience on the device. This of course is largely subjective, but that is precisely why you need the device: if you are serious about your application, you need to understand the user's subjective experience. Maybe it takes twice as long to scroll through a list on the device, you simply have no way of knowing in your Platonic cave that is the Simulator.

-Finally, to state the obvious, you can't use your app on a crowded bus.

So yes, the quotation marks are justified: you can "test" in the Simulator just as I can "see" without my glasses.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:32 PM on April 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Android handles it fine, without needing to restrict any runtime stuff.

Android runs everything on a Java Virtual Machine. I suspect it offers more opportunity for system introspection than code running directly on an ARM.

> If that's their intention, they should change it so that it doesn't forbid writing in another language that targets C/C++/ObjC to be consumed by their toolchain.

Languages invented after 1986 Considered Harmful. HAMBURGER.

> Looks like lack of multitasking support for the 3G

3GS and 32/64GB iPod touch have double the memory & faster CPUs than the rest.
posted by morganw at 3:33 PM on April 9, 2010


My suggestion would be for Apple to have two tiers of applications: ones without multitasking and ones with. The ones with multitasking pay more to have Apple verify they don't suck too much juice from the battery. Or they could have a warning in the App Store, something like "This App may cause your battery to drain more quickly than you desire".
posted by Green With You at 3:40 PM on April 9, 2010


Finally, to state the obvious, you can't use your app on a crowded bus.

I had a long answer written before my copy of Firefox under Linux just crashed. Yay, Mozilla.

Anyway, I had been thinking about a hypothetical hobbyist license program for a little while, and would be curious how this program could operate without Apple losing its ability to earn a 30% cut on app sales.

For the sake of discussion, let's say Apple sells a $1 "hobbyist" certificate. It doesn't matter what it is called, so long as the implication is clear that you, the certificate buyer, can:

1. Compile any source code, whether yours or someone else's
2. Sign your or anyone else's compiled, unsigned app
3. Install that signed, compiled app on your device
4. Any signed, compiled app that is signed with a hobbyist cert will not be distributed through the App Store

In this chain, technically, what stops a developer from directly selling you a compiled, unsigned app which you then sign and install on your own, using the code signing tools packaged in Xcode? How does Apple earn its 30% cut on app sales in this arrangement, which effectively side-steps the App Store?

I agree with the general sentiment that would see some way for hobbyists to be able to compile open source or other free source code and install it on their own phone, for no or a trivial cost.

However, technically, I don't see Apple doing this without setting up a complex licensing arrangement that is essentially unenforceable. They would cede both control and profitability. What would benefit you would not benefit them.

From a business perspective, it is patently obvious why there is no hobbyist certificate program, especially for a device that was never really intended for the hobbyist market in the first place.

From a usability perspective, look at how messy the process is to buy apps for other products -- does anyone remember how difficult it was to buy and install third-party apps for the Palm Pilot? There's something to be said for one-stop shopping, from a user's perspective. It is arguable that both iPhone and Android users benefit from one, central market.

The alternative to charging $99 for the certificate is to simply raise the cut that Apple takes from selling through the App Store. But then that simply encourages developers to side-step the App Store entirely and sell to users directly, which defeats the purpose.

In any case, one has to pay registration fees to Google and Blackberry for the use of their markets and developer kits. Maybe if Apple didn't charge so much up-front, it would be more palatable to hobbyists. But that's the reward for making a better mousetrap, in any business.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:36 PM on April 9, 2010


Only if your application has very specific hardware requirements, like accessing the accelerometer or compass, or if you are running an OpenGL application and need to test frame rate performance (beyond making sure it just runs), in which case you will need different and specific models of devices, not just your own phone.

Heh, now I know you're blowing smoke.

And no, both Google and BlackBerry allow installation to hardware without fees. Android requires it for the Market ($25), and BlackBerry requires it to use special signed APIs ($20). And both are one time only.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 5:14 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


They would cede both control and profitability...
There's something to be said for one-stop shopping, from a user's perspective...


I'd personally prefer it if Apple would cede control and rely on the benefits of their superior market to draw developers. Google allows me to install random apps I find online, but I've only ever done that for a beta version of Swype and stuff I've written myself. Everything else I've gotten from the Android Market because it's easier to discover stuff there and because of the "one-stop shopping" you mention. If only Apple would have as much faith in their App Store as they do in their Music Store.

In any case, one has to pay registration fees to Google and Blackberry for the use of their markets and developer kits.

Just to be clear, since you're sort of lumping things together here. Google does not charge for use of their developer kits. They charge for use of the Android Market. You can write apps, test them, and distribute them for free... you just can't put them on the Android Market for free.
posted by SAC at 5:15 PM on April 9, 2010


For the sake of discussion, let's say Apple sells a $1 "hobbyist" certificate. It doesn't matter what it is called, so long as the implication is clear that you, the certificate buyer, can [install unsigned apps]

As it turns out, this is free, and is called jailbreaking (although my experience with this a year ago was that it's still a royal pain to either package your app for something like Cydia or try to get your unsigned app working on the phone), and it doesn't seem to have ruined the app store.

I think your proposal would work for Apple rather well at a higher price, say $30. Not particularly a burdensome price to a hobbyist, might provide some significant revenue to Apple if it takes off, but doesn't make a lot of sense for your everyday consumer who could just buy a dozen or two apps in a more convenient process for that price.
posted by weston at 5:30 PM on April 9, 2010


Thanks gods, it looks like Apple has fixed the problem with whingers.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:54 PM on April 9, 2010


Man. My programming days are far behind me (starting with the apple ii+ and ending with visual basic macros), and between my job and my hobbies, I have no time (and less desire) to treat any computing device as more than an appliance.

I just played around with an iPad, and if I wasn't getting ready to drop $1600+ on the next MacBook pro? I'd have one in my hands.

I create AND consume content. As a creator? The iPad is lacking the tools I need. As a consumer? I'm sold.
posted by malocchio at 5:58 PM on April 9, 2010


The more I think about it, the more Apple saying all applications must be written directly in Objective C with Apple's tools makes me angry.

I'm an apple fan, but yeah, this just seems like bullshit to me. If I were Adobe, I'd pull the next version of CS from OSX.
posted by empath at 6:27 PM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I were Adobe, I'd pull the next version of CS from OSX.

Not going to happen, thankfully. Thankfully Apple never bought them and I hope they never will. InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects do well on OS X and Windows and Adobe isn't going to pull their applications to spite the spite company.
posted by juiceCake at 10:35 PM on April 9, 2010


After thinking about this a bit more, doesn't Apple's own Interface Builder violate the re-written 3.3.1 section? Rather than "originally" producing interface related code in Objective C, you're using an intermediate visual representation not in any of the approved languages that generates the Objective C for you.

Also:
"Personally, I think the outrage should be over the metaphysical angle here, not the business angle. Apple is implicitly taking a position that apps are not “originally written” in the minds of developers, in the form of cognitive representations of problems and their solutions. They are taking a position that the brain is not a translation tool for mapping from these representations into C, Objective-C, or what have you. They are subscribing to the theory of a “ghost in the machine”, implying that at some point an app crosses some magical boundary from being an mental thing into a physical thing that is “written” in some definite programming language. They are maintaining this because, if they weren’t, every single iPhone app would violate their licensing agreement by virtue of the developer’s mind itself being a tool that produces Objective-C as an “intermediary result”. Apple may thus be the first company to bet the farm on Cartesian dualism."
posted by weston at 11:07 PM on April 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not going to happen, thankfully.

Yeah, that would be suicide for Adobe, and they are already in enough trouble trying to figure out their next move.

Rather than "originally" producing interface related code in Objective C, you're using an intermediate visual representation not in any of the approved languages that generates the Objective C for you.

It's a "freeze-dried" user interface, not a program for making one. The compiled Objective-C app unpacks the archive and builds an interface from it at runtime.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:22 PM on April 9, 2010


Not going to happen, thankfully. Thankfully Apple never bought them and I hope they never will. InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects do well on OS X and Windows and Adobe isn't going to pull their applications to spite the spite company.

If I were Adobe, I'd put in a big-ass discount for Windows users to try to get designers to move away from Apple.
posted by delmoi at 11:46 PM on April 9, 2010


If I were Adobe, I'd put in a big-ass discount for Windows users to try to get designers to move away from Apple.

Like Apple did with Shake, killing it for Windows, selling it for double the price on Linux (so why not buy a Mac!), and then killing it all together (and of course when they bought Logic they killed the Windows version entirely even though it accounted for about 30% of the total user base). I suppose people could argue Adobe did that with Freehand and their own GoLive in a way but killing both on any platform entirely but I don't think they'll out dick Apple and punish their own customers, much less developers, as response. Quark and Microsoft absolutely, like Apple, but not Adobe. It's not in the interests of either Adobe or their customers to sell hardware dongles with their applications. I remember Jobs pulling all Wiley & Sons books from Apple stores because they published a biography of him he didn't care for. Adobe doesn't have that lack of respect for it's customers to make things personal. Thankfully/hopefully. Adobe isn't taking away their development tools from developers, Apple is just banning the use of it. When you're in such a strong position, you can afford to piss off and on developers and strong arm your way about things. I doubt anyone is surprised.
posted by juiceCake at 12:40 AM on April 10, 2010


I really hope Apple pulls back on the section 3.3.1 restrictions. I don't really miss flash, and the issues with CPU utilization and battery life may be true. I understand the restrictions on interpreted code, although I don't agree with them. But the restriction on compilers and libraries is just a load of crap. These emit either Objective-C/C or assembly output and then use Apple's own tools.

The one exception seems to be Adobe's product, since from what I understand it bypasses Apple's toolchain. That I agree is iffy and could legitimately be prohibted.

But MonoTouch? freepascal? Or even Unity, I mean that's no small list of quality games that would be banned under the new license.

The excuse that this is related to the new multitasking support is more BS. Are they going to ban apps linked against the pre-4.0 frameworks?
posted by beowulf573 at 7:38 AM on April 10, 2010


iPad? It sounds like a feminine hygiene product!

Flash? Isn't that when one briefly exposes one's body in a usually sexual way, acceptable or not depending on context?

if i x it <>I got nuthin'.
posted by mazola at 8:23 AM on April 10, 2010


Oh hey, that didn't work at all.
posted by mazola at 8:27 AM on April 10, 2010




I suspect the broader development community is experiencing what it would be like to be an in-house developer under Steve Jobs. I'm sure the verdict on that experience is mixed, probably violently so. He's clearly a monomaniac. At times Steve Jobs run amok isn't pretty (the magnesium cube on the NeXT) but often the results are spectacular.

I think Jobs' real target here is not developers, who will find workarounds (probably involving integrating Objective-C more deeply into their toolkits, if not coding directly in it). His real target is creative agencies and small-time freelancers without coding background. I already know one page-layout guy who has convinced a client that he can make them an iPad app, even though his background is in brochures and dabbling in web design. He probably thinks he can because he read that CS5 will include an export-to-iPhone option. So he probably thinks he can do some layout in Flash, hit "export" and be done.

There are two nightmares with this:

1) Adobe-generated (or other-generated) apps become generic to all smartphones and the iPhone disappears as a true platform. The phones themselves become, from the user's view, a matter of a hardware brand name and a few interface touches. As things are now, even non-Apple types buy iPhones because the App Store a uniquely rich environment. But if the apps are the same everywhere, then the only Apple buyers would be Apple buyers.

2) The UI cruft and bad code would turn the App Store into a garbage environment. It's true that non-savvy users do not hand out blame finely; when something doesn't work on the phone, they don't say ___ Software makes buggy products; they say this thing keeps crapping out on me, and the thing is the phone.

Now, think about this: If you were in Steve Jobs' position*, what would you do about Adobe's export-to-iPhone option in CS5? And what would you do about cross-platform programming suites in general?

*Yes, I know you would sell off the company, donate the proceeds to the EFF, give all the code to Ubuntu and put grape soda in the drinking fountains. But perhaps try to play along some...
posted by argybarg at 9:52 AM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


argybarg, I tend to agree with you on this. It's much easier to institute a blanket ban on development processes that can lead to lowest-common-denominator design and take all the heat for that decision in one chunk than it is to reject the lowest-common-denominator apps as they're submitted. The former is far less subjective and arguably fairer to developers over the long term.

The test will be whether on not they refine the terms to address the things that were inadvertently caught up in the net.
posted by Lazlo at 10:14 AM on April 10, 2010


Here's one prominent iPhone developer/evangelist abandoning the platform. Expect more to follow before Apple modifies their position. But by then it may be too late.

I feel badly for Apple. I don't own any of their product and don't plan to but the iPhone is a great device and a great platform. Steve Jobs is now starting to dismantle all the hard work and goodwill he's built over the past few years. We may have already reached peak iPhone.
posted by euphorb at 10:16 AM on April 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure that the majority of Garbage apps in the store are Obj-C based.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on April 10, 2010


...also, my god is there going to be sone howling if apple audits the code on existing obj-c apps and ejects several thousands of them that have memory leaks.
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on April 10, 2010


If you were in Steve Jobs' position*, what would you do about Adobe's export-to-iPhone option in CS5?

If this is really about quality control for the build (ie, if the problem is really that they don't trust the output of Adobe's compiler or any other third party compiler), then all they have to do is just stipulate that the final binary has to be built by Apple's toolchain. Keep the old clause about not using undocumented APIs for good measure so that Apple can manage backward compatibility issues with each OS upgrade. Let developers build upstream development tools, because that's what good developers do.

UI Cruft? I don't see any greater danger from this than I do from apps whose interface is largely in a UIWebView or OpenGL canvas. Or even a badly conceived series of Cocoa widgets.

If it's fears about the relevancy of Apple's tools and the attractiveness of their platform if apps don't distinguish it, I think actually competing might be a considerably better choice, particularly in the long term, than choosing to deal with the problem by imposing burdens on developers (which eventually going to come back to bite you).

Think about what's going to happen to the different app ecosystems if Adobe makes Android a target. Sure, maybe it's a crapflood, but let's say 20% of this new pool of developers invested in flash can make smart, functional apps. What has Apple gained?
posted by weston at 1:45 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Think about what's going to happen to the different app ecosystems if Adobe makes Android a target. Sure, maybe it's a crapflood, but let's say 20% of this new pool of developers invested in flash can make smart, functional apps. What has Apple gained?

It depends on what kind of crap is in the crapflood. If it's just dumb games (throw paper in the wastebasket and make a fart sound), then you're about where you are with the App Store already. But if it's gummy, slow, broken, unusable stuff, constantly asking for updates or fighting back as Android updates, then Apple has a new competitor that makes Android owners wish they had iPhones.

I'm not sure Apple really does have a way to zone off its iPhone environment. I suspect that many people consider any iPhonish sort of thing with a camera, a touchscreen and a grid of icons on the front to be close enough, and go shopping by carrier and price. But I can understand, even if it's a hopeless battle, trying to keep the smartphone environment from leveling. Apple could drop precipitously in that setting and be left with the booby prize of having started it all.

I suspect that companies that work on unobtrusive upstream development tools to drive through Apple's toolchain will work out a way to do so without punishment. There will either be a don't-ask-don't-tell approval process (don't have Adobe's fingerprints on your work and no flags will go off) or the language will be fine-tuned. But this is unknown territory, and I'm more unknowing than many.
posted by argybarg at 2:10 PM on April 10, 2010


The Absurdity of Apple’s New iPhone Restrictions

In particular, note that the author mentions a real live example of a popular iPad app that was essentially written using Mathematica.

I await Apple's ruefully consistent pulling of that app from distribution, or their modification of the terms. Or, more likely, their completely inconsistent application of terms that should scare the will to actually try anything like this out of other developers.
posted by weston at 2:13 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


my god is there going to be sone howling if apple audits the code on existing obj-c apps and ejects several thousands of them that have memory leaks.

From developers. I can't imagine users are going to be upset that bad programming is being removed.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:25 PM on April 10, 2010


I think Apple is betting that there's more profit to be had by providing premium design with a solidly pleasant UI experience; than there is to be had scrabbling to compete against everyone in the "open" sphere.

You can choose to go iWhatever, and know that (a) the UI experience is superb; (b) if shit happens, Apple sends FedEx to your door to fix the problem; (c) the software is reasonably good, secure, stable, etcetera.

Or you can choose to go Alternative, and know that (a) the experience is widely variable; (b) if shit happens, replacement is cheap; (c) the software is of widely variable quality, security, stability, etcetera — but often free, often hackable, often very geeky. Plus you can hack hell out of it, which is pretty damn cool even if one can sometimes fubar things.

Apple is trying to bifurcate the market. They're trying to establish their unique selling point. Differentiate themselves from the crowd. Gain the premium crowd, the aspirational crowd, the people who spend that extra bit more for a perceived increase of design and build quality.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:36 PM on April 10, 2010


Blackberry bought QNX the other day. The QNX OS is superlative. I think it might put Apple's OS to shame.

It would be very interesting to see RIM become the alternative to Apple. I hope they figure out the importance of build quality, design aesthetics, and qualified-application stores quickly. QNX gives them one hell of an opportunity.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:43 PM on April 10, 2010


Steve Jobs Responds To iPhone SDK Complaints: ‘Intermediate Layers Produce Sub-Standard Apps’

He actually his response (In email) was just to link to the daring fireball post linked above.
posted by delmoi at 6:22 PM on April 10, 2010


How astonishingly full of shit.
posted by Artw at 6:47 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Jobs believes Gray's The Elements qualifies as a substandard app.
posted by weston at 6:53 PM on April 10, 2010


This is getting weird.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:36 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, after years of Apple users being bullied by substandard treatment by Adobe and Microsoft, it is richly and bitterly ironic that Adobe is complaining about having to improve their products. Quit blaming Apple for the garbage you're trying to monetize.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:54 PM on April 10, 2010


But personally, when it comes to the iPhone, my language choice is C#: it’s significantly higher-level than C or C++, it’s a little more terse and cleaner than Objective C, it has certain language features that are undoubtedly ahead of Objective C (LINQ), and it provides a better type system. That is just one person’s opinion and Apple can certainly afford to ignore me, but if they think can ignore the last two decades of advancement in the programming marketplace, they’re over-confident.

I don't know why LINQ gets pushed as this new hot thing that sets C# apart, when Apple has had Core Data and NSPredicate for a long time now. Apple had DBKit and EOF in WebObjects since 1995. Predicates have been built into the Foundation classes for years. This is not something new that Microsoft invented.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:09 PM on April 10, 2010


Seriously, after years of Apple users being bullied by substandard treatment by Adobe and Microsoft

Well of course MS is going to sabotage anything they do for Apple users. As for Adobe, from what a former Apple employee told me about how in house OS developers jerked Adobe around in the early 90s, I wouldn't be surprised if they resolved to always develop last for Apple's platforms. Note that I'm not absolving Adobe for their bloat ware, but it takes two to ruin a good business relationship.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:54 PM on April 10, 2010


Apple Mac Goatse Sticker, NSFW, NSFAnyone. But damn funny.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:00 PM on April 10, 2010


After hearing that Windows 7 isn't an act of violence against users, and seeing the new Zune UI is pretty slick and makes me want to give it a try, and having enjoyed using a few of their hardware products, I'm kind of hopeful that their Courier concept, if and when it ever comes to fruition woe these many years from now, will actually be pretty bitching.

I just wish they'd get with the program, and not make us wait so long for an option.

I'm kind of hopeful about the RIM deal, too. If they can pull off a good UI, they could be providing product that is way more suited to the business work tasks some people in this thread have suggested. A real keyboard in combination with a slick multitouch UI that makes it possible to work on multiple tasks with the ability to split the view would provide a platform for some killer apps. And QNX is by all accounts a great realtime OS that is designed to be used on "devices" — car controllers, cnc, medical devices… iPad-like devices.

Is Palm still around?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:12 PM on April 10, 2010


Some speculation that the Great Apple Fuckover is an attempt to provoke Adobe into abandonning the mac, leaving room for a hypothetical Apple Photoshop competitor... I'm going to call this the "gimpy" theory.
posted by Artw at 11:01 PM on April 10, 2010


Apple Mac Goatse Sticker, NSFW, NSFAnyone. But damn funny.

I like the Snow White sticker. Clever!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:04 PM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is Palm still around?

Uh, have you heard of the Pre? It actually has Pretty amazing multitasking as one of their core features. You actually slide between programs as tiles on the screen. Much nicer then Android's multi-tasking, which only shows you one app on the screen at once, along with notifications on the top. The OS is WebOS, and you can write your application as local HTML+Javascript files, or use C/C++.

It's closed source, and probably won't get the saturation of Android, but it's pretty slick. Definitely slicker then the iPhone's UI.
posted by delmoi at 11:47 PM on April 10, 2010


Is Palm still around?

I'd be surprised if they didn't go bankrupt or weren't bought out by year's end.

If anything, Palm is a textbook example of how unsexy, if not entirely meaningless the notion of multitasking is to, well, 99.5% of anyone using a phone. Whoever thought up their ad campaign should have been fired a long time ago, as they are about to fold because of mistakes like this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:05 AM on April 11, 2010


Palm was nearly bankrupt when they launched the Pre, it was always a hail-Mary situation, they didn't have the cash to survive if the Pre wasn't a massive success.

Also, their ad campaign was pretty memorable. I don't know why you think multitasking is such a non-issue for consumers. Droid ads constantly hammer the multitasking ability, and even recent iPhone ads highlight the fact that you can surf the web while on the phone (since built in apps can multitask)

I guarantee you when OS 4 comes out we'll see Apple TV ads showing off multitasking on the iPhone.
posted by delmoi at 1:07 AM on April 11, 2010


Some speculation that the Great Apple Fuckover is an attempt to provoke Adobe into abandonning the mac, leaving room for a hypothetical Apple Photoshop competitor... I'm going to call this the "gimpy" theory.

Agreed. Sure Apple could develop a Photoshop competitor (and use a lot of the common graphic editing paradigms that Photoshop and other image manipulation applications use but it will only be cool and stuff when Apple does it) but hoping to kill all the other applications Adobe develops at the same time would be so unfathomably senseless it seems unlikely (and I say unlikely because Apple are being total dicks about this framework nonsense so it could happen). The article actually proposes that the loss of Illustrator isn't too bad and that "The rest of the CS4 apps don't really matter..." What does that mean? How does InDesign not really matter? How does After Affects not really matter (the suggestion that FCP is Premiere Pro and After Effects roled into one is absurd)? Is it "I don't use these so they don't matter"?
posted by juiceCake at 1:30 AM on April 11, 2010


How astonishingly full of shit.

Indeed. Apple is the Fox news of the computer world and Jobs is Glenn Beck. Frameworks, a foundation of programming for years, result in sub standard applications and they are used by people who program administration interfaces for death panels.

Apple uses Prototype and Scriptaculous JavaScript frameworks for their web site. Does this make it substandard? Shouldn't they have not used any JavaScript frameworks to ensure the bestest quality website for us all? They're even using a call to throw IE 8 into IE7 mode. Why are they not supporting modern web standards and browsers?
posted by juiceCake at 1:41 AM on April 11, 2010


Apple is the Fox news of the computer world and Jobs is Glenn Beck

lol
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:14 AM on April 11, 2010


doesn't Aperture already do basic photo editing?

Apple is actually over ten times the size of Adobe in terms of Market Cap. They could probably afford to recreate Photoshop, illustrator, etc. And it could make sense for them to create a flash/shockwave clone that's allowed to target the iPhone/iPad.

It makes sense that apple would want to make it difficult to make cross-platform apps. But is that really that big of a motivation? It's hard to think of any true "Killer" app that makes people want to run out and buy a phone. And if there was a "Killer" app it could just be ported to other phones anyway.

So I wonder if this isn't just an early step towards trying to drink Adobe's milkshake. Apple could be preparing to release an interactive content editing suite for designers and graphic artists to make Apps and content for the iPad/iPhone.

One of the hype points on the iPad was the interactive magazine spreads. But how on earth are designers going to be able to create that without using Flash and other authoring software? It would seem that taking away the ability to target flash/shockwave apps basically kills this, unless Apple provides a way to do it.
posted by delmoi at 2:23 AM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


As far as I'm concerned, there are two killler apps for phones. Syncing contacts and calender over the network with Exchange, and syncing contacts and calendar over the network with Google. RIM, iPhone, and Android support both, I'm not sure which smartphones don't, but I suspect they'll lose market share until they do.

If Apple has their own calendar/contact software as well, I'm sure that's useful, but I don't know that it's a killer app.

As for the iPad, it looks great for arty types, but I'd rather have a laptop with a keyboard or a netbook.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:57 AM on April 11, 2010


Hey, does anyone know what the official Scrabble App was made with? Flash?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:02 AM on April 11, 2010


A (sort-of) reply from Steve Jobs
posted by bonaldi at 7:09 AM on April 11, 2010


PopCap use a framework for their Mac and PC work, and presumably have a version of it for the games they are now porting over to iPhone. It's C++ based, and so *may* be within guidelines, but it's still a framework - is Plants Vs Zombies considered by Jobs to be "substandard"?

Oh, and there's all the substandart games the Mac is now getting from Valve?
posted by Artw at 8:52 AM on April 11, 2010


hay d00ds did u know jobs snaks on babies
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on April 11, 2010


I would think the interactive magazines are going to go for HTML/Javascript/SVG/etc. By using open standards and going webby, they've got a much, much bigger market for their product.

Although I suppose the downside is that there's no DRM on that.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:21 PM on April 11, 2010


As for the iPad, it looks great for arty types

Not until they add a pressure sensitive display.
posted by Tenuki at 1:19 PM on April 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Although I suppose the downside is that there's no DRM on that.

Probably not a lot of need for DRM for HTTP-delivered content, since the iPad doesn't provide the user a means to copy off the site.

It isn't sufficient to qualify as DRM by the standards of most of the people still hanging out in this thread (for example, user agent identification is trivial to spoof when you know how, so it's hardly a robust method if the only barrier to access is having an iPad and the correct URL), but it's sufficient to prevent the average user from making a copy in passing. For a while now Apple has been far more interested in preventing casual redistribution of the software it markets to consumers than it has been in strongly locking down everything. When Apple wants to be serious about DRM, it is, as anybody who's managed Mac OS X Server or Apple's pro media software knows.
posted by ardgedee at 1:21 PM on April 11, 2010


It wasn't copying I had in mind, but to prevent non-subscribers from having access. I just clued in that this is a solved problem: there are subscription-only sites, of course. And they don't seem particularly concerned about piracy.

So, yah, I imagine that most content providers can accomplish what they want without using Flash at all. And with the recent developments in allowing the browser access to the GPU, and increasingly fast JS engines, all Apple and Microsoft are doing is accelerating the inevitable.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:01 PM on April 11, 2010


BrotherCaine wrote: "As far as I'm concerned, there are two killler apps for phones. Syncing contacts and calender over the network with Exchange, and syncing contacts and calendar over the network with Google. RIM, iPhone, and Android support both, I'm not sure which smartphones don't, but I suspect they'll lose market share until they do."

Essentially all smartphones do that and have since what seems like the beginning of time.
posted by wierdo at 2:01 PM on April 11, 2010


Bravo Apple
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on April 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apple haters are a tedious, whiny bunch.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:46 PM on April 11, 2010


Apple haters are a tedious, whiny bunch.

Dismiss it if you want, but these are apple owners and developers. If I hated Apple I wouldn't have a half dozen products by them around the house.

I'm disappointed that platform I respect and enjoy developing for is taking what I consider to be a wrong turn.
posted by beowulf573 at 6:06 PM on April 11, 2010


Well, let's all hope that Apple has screwed itself and is vapourised from the market. Companies that do Bad Things deserve the corporate death penalty.

Or if not death, at least let's see the stock knocked back to $15, where it belongs, right? Surely this…
posted by five fresh fish at 6:12 PM on April 11, 2010


Interesting that the Apple's new gaming-central logo is the same colour scheme as the Microsoft logo. That has to be deliberate.

imgur link.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:19 PM on April 11, 2010


You know, the 3rd party ban has great potential to be the true litmus test of the fanboi elite - disagree with it and you can like Apple products all you want, you're still ideologically suspect.
posted by Artw at 6:20 PM on April 11, 2010


"Apple haters are a tedious, whiny bunch."

There are of course the people who've always had it in for Apple, but the notable people who are complaining here are owners of Apple hardware and people who want to develop software on Apple's platform. These people are Apple fans. However you do have a point, Apple fans are a tedious, whiny bunch.
posted by mullingitover at 6:25 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple haters are a tedious, whiny bunch.

Tedium and whining are platform-independent.

see what I did there, cortex?
posted by dw at 6:38 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


From my point of view, that of the end-user, Apple's developer rules matter not. There are plenty of people who will create software I want to use, and it's only when there is something advantageous to me — not the developer — that I'll jump ship to competing product.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:42 PM on April 11, 2010


I am curious to see what this does to software currently in the App store that doesn't follow these new rules.

Looked at the Android Market, but it seemed very sparse with the only categories being Paid or Free. Evidently I need an actual Droid device to fully browse the market. Is that correct?

Seriousy Steve, I don't need this shit, developers all in tizzy, preaching the end of the world as we know it. Did you have to piss them off?

I'm ok with you slapping Flash around a bit, somebody needs to (Though you could probably stand a bit of that yourself).
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:51 PM on April 11, 2010


This article does a good job of capturing the paradox here: That Apple's closed system of the App Store, a model that is supposed to be antithetical to innovation, has instead exploded with invention and new possibilities and a market for (at least some) small-time developers. The author seems unsure (as I am) if Jobs' latest moves are a step too far or yet another restriction that winds up paradoxically beneficial for the whole ecosystem. Do you know for sure?
posted by argybarg at 6:57 PM on April 11, 2010


If the iPad really takes off, I'm betting enough developers will stick around to keep things humming. If not, well it's been a fun ride!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 PM on April 11, 2010


However you do have a point, Apple fans are a tedious, whiny bunch.

No, I'm talking about the Apple haters in this thread and in the blogosphere who get on their soapbox about something they wouldn't stoop off their lofty pedestals to use themselves.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:14 PM on April 11, 2010


All we're doing here is trading hateful cliches that we would never employ if we were talking face to face. Do we have to apply the model of identity politics to computing? Assume the best about each other, MeFites — the alternative is ugly.
posted by argybarg at 7:53 PM on April 11, 2010


Haters? Really? You do a great parody of using a lazy argument on them there internets boards. Bravo. That anyone would use that term seriously is indeed both sad and hilarious.
posted by juiceCake at 7:57 PM on April 11, 2010


Seriously, boring. Boring.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:01 PM on April 11, 2010


No, I'm talking about the Apple haters in this thread and in the blogosphere who get on their soapbox about something they wouldn't stoop off their lofty pedestals to use themselves.

Do you really not see the absurdity in what you're saying? That people have to like Apple, have to be eager to spend $3000 on a $1000 desktop, have to want an iPad, before they're qualified to criticize Apple products on their merits? And the implication that nobody who actually ever used an Apple product would have these objections?

You know what? I don't live in Australia, and will almost certainly never move to Australia. And yet, somehow, I don't think that disqualifies me from having a negative opinion of Australia's censorship policies. I don't vote Republican, but when Republicans are throwing around racial slurs and inciting violence, I somehow feel I'm allowed to be irate about it. China's human rights and environmental abuses upset me, despite (shock) not being Chinese. Do you think I'm out of line in that? Or is it just Apple where only fans can have opinions?

How many Windows computers do you own? How many Android phones? Because you do litter Apple threads with a lot of hate for them, which doesn't seem to meet your own standards.
posted by kafziel at 8:03 PM on April 11, 2010


Remove from activity is on the right, just under the FPP text.
posted by Artw at 8:16 PM on April 11, 2010


My guess is that Apple with enforce the ban on middleware and code generation selectively. Adobe is out of luck; EA Games and popular games using Unity will probably be ok if they keep quiet. There are too many best sellers already for Apple to just yank them.

It will be interesting to see what happens regarding MonoTouch; they are in violation of the language of the license, but it may be possible to obfuscate the resulting code enough to not be detectable. Right now they generate assembly, but it's possible to generate Objective-C. Not that I would recommend doing so. It will be ironic if Apple bans MonoTouch given how much some in the open source movement are against Mono because they are afraid Microsoft would come after them.

It's personally frustrating, I was planning on replacing my aging laptop with a new MacBook Pro after the coming product refresh, and was considering a pair of iPads for my wife and myself. The language restrictions don't affect me directly as I only use Objective-C/C/C++, but I'm trying to decide how strongly I feel about it, and I worry what will be next on their ban list and if that will affect me.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:27 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm...

Another way to look at this is ask yourself a simple question: If Apple had this clause when they originally launched the platform would as many programmers have adopted the platform? I say probably not because, even though they could learn Objective-C pretty easily, they would have baulked at their favorite language being classified as "illegal" or inferior. It wouldn't have been a technological statement, it would have been a cultural statement.

What has happened is Apple did a bait and switch. They told programmers for years that they love all their languages and all their cultures and invited them to write software for the new iPhone platform. Programmers came in droves because Apple looked like a good guy offering them lots of help. After Apple built up the platform and established it as a leader, they removed any hope their most loyal fan base had of writing software for their platform.

I actually predict that this will be a major problem for Apple in the future, but probably won't impact their bottom line for their mobile platforms. Programmers never forget things. They are notorious for not updating basic knowledge they believe and for spreading myths and rumors about technology for decades. I can actually see a situation building where programmers who maybe wouldn't have worked on an iPhone application would still avoid targeting Apple products simply because of the stories about Apple doing "A Section 331" on them.


"Programmers never forget things" is certainly very true - see half the stuff that gets trotted out whenever Microsoft is mentioned.

And then on the more speculative side...

Which leads me to my final guess as to what may start happening and where there could be a potential lawsuit against Apple regarding Section 331. What if the real reason they require the above clause is not because they plan to do any analysis to enforce it, but instead that they plan to look for the same application in competitor's "AppStores" and then use the presence of the application on multiple platforms as a means of rejecting it?

Imagine if what Apple is really doing is setting up a way to enforce that applications be written only for them but doing so indirectly by using the word "originally". You write an application for Android and iPhone. They see it available in the Android, then simply say that your application is rejected because they believe you have cross compiled it. The fact that it'd be hard to actually prove this through analysis may be to their benefit since you also couldn't prove compliance without releasing your source code them, which they probably won't accept.

In this case I think they could be sued or investigated the same way Microsoft was regarding their unfair business practices in licensing.


Like I say: Hmm...
posted by Artw at 8:31 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


How many Windows computers do you own?

I have three Windows workstations and a Linux workstation in the office. I end up fixing my parents' two Windows computers more often than I'd like. I'd say I'm more qualified to speak on them than the average Windows user.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:50 PM on April 11, 2010


I mean, seriously, some of you make comments along these lines:
Apple is the Fox news of the computer world and Jobs is Glenn Beck
and still expect to be taken as credible voices on the subject. It's absurd. Really. Get over yourselves.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:56 PM on April 11, 2010




Artw:

The sheddingbikes post is good and insightful. I agree that Apple is being heavy-handed in a way that's probably not enforceable. But I don't agree that it's correct or useful to ask what the App Store would look like if this rule had been in place from the start. Circumstances change. The App Store, if anything, needs a little weeding (it certainly needs a real navigation system, stat). A little browsing reveals frequent complaints about broken and buggy apps. Not that those are impossible to create with Apple's toolkit. But I suspect, but do not know, that overall reliability would go up as developers work straight from Apple's SDK instead of cross-compiling. That's Apple's claim, at any rate.

I think Apple, oddly enough given their temporary dominance, is desperate in this one. If Android and RIM and Windows Mobile and the iPhone become indistinguishable carriers for a generic mobile platform then Apple regresses to its hardcore audience of logo-buyers. Shifting towards the iPad is one way out of this trap, perhaps. But and this point Apple can shed its cloud of fickle or halfhearted iPhone developers and, perhaps, tighten to a core of ones more committed to playing to the iPhone's APIs. Whether that would work, or if the bloodbath would have too much collateral damage to be worth it, is an open question.
posted by argybarg at 9:19 PM on April 11, 2010 [1 favorite]




No, I'm talking about the Apple haters in this thread and in the blogosphere who get on their soapbox about something they wouldn't stoop off their lofty pedestals to use themselves.

*sigh*
You know - I've had two iPhones and two Macs in the last 4 or so years, and I can categorically state that my "hatred" in this thread has nothing to do with my ignorance of the platform and everything to do with monopolistic practices from Apple.

So there's that.

For the most part any anti-Apple sentiment is expressed the way it is simply because any criticism of Apple, however mild, brings down on it the wrath of the Apple Loyalists.
We know you have nice products which work well for you. We know that you've paid too much for them. We know that microsoft have a bad track record. We know that Apple like to play hardball too.

The frustration here, is that you don't get the opposite perspective, and that any criticism of the "things" that Apple makes is met with contempt and anger.

So, Blazecock Pileon - Give us a break. Try not to take this so personally. We're criticising Apple's business practices. We're not having a go at you.
posted by seanyboy at 4:54 AM on April 12, 2010


Don't believe them Blazecock, they still worship the two button mouse! Avert thine eyes from the heretics!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:36 AM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


More speculation (via Gruber) as to Apple's reasoning. It matches an earlier train of thought I had so obviously the linked post if brilliant. I remember Quark taking forever to do a Mac OS X version and Apple being really pissed about that, so it makes sense that they don't want to be in that position ever again.

And frankly, a Flash Evangelist publicly saying "Screw you Apple" is pretty unprofessional and certainly doesn't reflect well on Adobe
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:27 AM on April 12, 2010




Via that post, the speculation as I read it, is that Apple doesn't want to be stuck maintaining binary backwards compatibility. Sort-of like the linux policy with regard to "Binary Blob" closed-source drivers. Or put another way, Apple doesn't want Adobe doing the same thing Quark did, delaying a major app when they migrated to OS X.

It doesn't say much about Apple's OS though. Are they taking shortcuts with the architecutre? Insiting that kernal binary interfaces aren't stable is one thing, saying that user-land interfaces aren't is quite another. Or is there a difference in the iPhone OS?

Sucks for the customers and the third-party developers, I guess. The policy really leaves people who just want to throw together a quick app in the cold. I bet that if Apple announced a Hypercard-for-iPhone, 99% of the whinging would go away.
posted by bonehead at 9:04 AM on April 12, 2010


Or put another way, Apple doesn't want Adobe doing the same thing Quark did, delaying a major app when they migrated to OS X.

Adobe already has (Was "late" shipping an Intel version of CS)and so have other companies (I think Microsoft has held a gun to Apple's head on more than one occasion with the Office Suite), leaving Apple starved for love and affection and extremely cautious in all future relationships.

So yeah, Apple needs some one on one time with Doctor Phil, but who doesn't?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:17 AM on April 12, 2010


Given a popular enough product there will always be risk there will be pressure to delay a release or change an API. Apple can't get away from it; they can either negotiate or just do what they want and deal with the consequences.

Hell, we had to rewrite portions of video drivers so that Myst would work correctly even though Cyan screwed up. Sometimes you do what you need to in order to keep your customer happy.
posted by beowulf573 at 9:35 AM on April 12, 2010


Apple can't get away from it; they can either negotiate or just do what they want and deal with the consequences.

They're scarred man, can't you see that?! The world has been so cruel and hurt them so deeply, they need to control everything to ensure no one will boss them around again.

Quar 5! NEVER FORGET!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:46 AM on April 12, 2010


Well, you whingey bastards can have your iPad and put the hate on it, too: Win95 installation.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:19 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the most part any anti-Apple sentiment is expressed the way it is simply because any criticism of Apple, however mild, brings down on it the wrath of the Apple Loyalists.

I think the problem, amply displayed here, is that, when it comes to Apple, for whatever reason, a lot of you take over Metafilter, ganging up on anyone who dares to disagree with you about your wildly hyperbolic opinions, points out the glaring factual errors in your statements, or notes hypocrisies by pointing out what never gets said about Google and Microsoft doing the very same things as Apple. I think the increasing levels of dishonesty are what bug me most about the anti-Apple whining, and if you're a part of that, it reflects poorly on you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think you're looking at a mirror.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on April 12, 2010


Or the back of an iTouch.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 AM on April 12, 2010


Time to turn in your 2G
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on April 12, 2010


I think you're looking at a mirror.

For someone "looking at a mirror" I'm not the one comparing Apple with Fox News, or saying you can't test a simple app through a Simulator, or denying that Google has restrictions on its own app store and didn't release their phone with copy/paste, etc. etc. etc. I'm not the one who responded with a "perfect customer" quip for daring to ask if there might be a technical reason Apple didn't enable multitasking on the older phones. That your comment is so laughably childish only goes to prove my point: You cannot cope with someone disagreeing with the party line.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:02 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tiny violin for the independant free thinkers whose views have been crushed by the "party line".
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Mono's de Icaza: Novell MonoTouch to forge ahead on iPhone OS despite 3.3.1

"If Apple's motives are technical, or are intended to ensure the use of the Apple toolchain, MonoTouch should have little difficulty staying compliant with the terms of the SDK. MonoTouch runs only on Mac OS X, and integrates tightly with XCode and the iPhone SDK," the notice reads. "Applications built with MonoTouch are native applications indistinguishable from native applications, only expose Apple's documented APIs and uses a rigorous test suite to ensure that we conform to the iPhoneOS ABIs and APIs."
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on April 12, 2010


They might want to talk to Apple about that, just sayin'.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:52 AM on April 12, 2010


But that optimism is based on hope that Apple will write a note back to the Mono team, which it evidently has not done yet.
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on April 12, 2010




3 reasons why Apple is right. (NSFW)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:28 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"...some of the very applications that Jobs demonstrated at the Apple event appear to use techniques that are now forbidden..."

Standards, Quality and Lessons from History (ars Techninca)
posted by bonehead at 1:44 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


bonehead wrote: "Via that post, the speculation as I read it, is that Apple doesn't want to be stuck maintaining binary backwards compatibility."

Uh, they have had a clause in the developer's agreement since day one that requires that your program only use public APIs. How you generate the code that calls those public APIs is completely irrelevant to maintaining binary backwards compatibility. (which is the entire point of forcing developers to use the public API)

Blazecock Pileon wrote: "pointing out what never gets said about Google and Microsoft doing the very same things as Apple"

So it's really necessary to say "Apple is doing this bad thing (oh, and by the way, so are Google and Microsoft)" every time someone criticizes a choice of Apple's? Somehow I think you're just being disingenuous here.

Sorry, I don't buy into that. I don't need to enumerate each of the companies who have done things which I think are wrong every time I discuss any one of them.
posted by wierdo at 3:02 PM on April 12, 2010


About 21 million people have gone pretty far without the use multitasking, so it's great that it's coming, but it wasn't anything that killed the platform, except for people who weren't going to buy one anyway.

Still, I can't wait to hear what the next "missing" feature will be so that we can hear 0.01% of the blahgosphere complain vociferously about it.

I have no doubts that multitasking was a lame and dishonest canard for the haters, just like when copy-paste was missing in the Google phones, and just as copy-paste and multitasking will be missing from the Windows 7 devices, and pretty much no one who hates Apple talks about those devices having any shortcomings.


BP, I think you are normally a good poster, but this is quite frankly crazy talk, and comments like this are why Apple threads are always you vs the world.

I own a macbook, an appletv and an iphone, and I love them all, but I did think that not having multitasking, mms, cut and paste and lots of other features that other phones had were serious omissions and I always thought that apple would get around to adding them eventually.

It's fully possible to criticize Apple's products and policies without being an Apple Hater, and indeed while being an Apple Fan. I'm really, really disappointed with the closed direction he is taking with the app store, and I've been considering an Android for my next phone because of it. I certainly will go with Android if the developers go that direction. And it's not just about limiting what developers can sell, its about what I'm allowed to put on MY phone.

The iphone when it came out had no competition in the marketplace. Now it does. We'll see how well developers and users like getting jerked around now that they have someplace else to go.
posted by empath at 3:29 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"WePad"?
posted by Artw at 4:37 PM on April 12, 2010


My favorite rumor so far -- a Google version of the Ipad. Now, that I'd line up to buy.

*clutches Droid tightly*
posted by bearwife at 4:37 PM on April 12, 2010


Zune HD Phone
posted by Artw at 4:40 PM on April 12, 2010


Jean-Louis Gassée gets it

Who, in his right mind, expects Steve Jobs to let Adobe (and other) cross-platform application development tools control his (I mean the iPhone OS) future? Cross-platform tools dangle the old “write once, run everywhere” promise. But, by being cross-platform, they don’t use, they erase “uncommon” features. To Apple, this is anathema as it wants apps developers to use, to promote its differentiation. It’s that simple. Losing differentiation is death by low margins. It’s that simple. It’s business. Apple is right to keep control of its platform’s future.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:07 PM on April 12, 2010


Who, in his right mind, expects Steve Jobs to let Adobe (and other) cross-platform application development tools control his (I mean the iPhone OS) future?

Google lets anybody put whatever they want on their phone. I guess we'll see which model is more successful.
posted by empath at 5:42 PM on April 12, 2010


I think that's ultimately what it's come down to. Apple is going to pursue the locked-down methodology, believing that end-users will pay for superlative design and the security of audited applications. Google is going to pursue the open platform, believing that end-users will trade off risk for greater flexibility.

In the end, they're both going to be right. There's room enough for everyone in the pool.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:59 PM on April 12, 2010


Apple haters are a tedious, whiny bunch.
And Apple Zealots are totally not! (What happened to your argument about how everyone complained about the iPhone secretly wanted one, or how no one ever used the word "Smartphone" before the iPhone came out? Now we're just "boring"? Talk about... boring.)
Looked at the Android Market, but it seemed very sparse with the only categories being Paid or Free. Evidently I need an actual Droid device to fully browse the market. Is that correct?
The web interface is not very good, which isn't surprising since it's totally pointless. If you browse on the phone there are a lot more categories.
Via that post, the speculation as I read it, is that Apple doesn't want to be stuck maintaining binary backwards compatibility. Sort-of like the linux policy with regard to "Binary Blob" closed-source drivers. Or put another way, Apple doesn't want Adobe doing the same thing Quark did, delaying a major app when they migrated to OS X.
Except that they are also banning source code generators. The bullshit people come up with to justify apple's behavior is really astounding.
posted by delmoi at 6:23 PM on April 12, 2010


banning source code generators
I'm not sure the language of 3.3.1 really supports this, though if you read Hacker News you'd think it said "PROGRAMS FOR THE MAGIC BOX *MUST* ONLY BE TYPED WITH HUMAN FINGERS ON KEYS THAT ARE EITHER WHITE OR BACKLIT"
posted by bonaldi at 6:31 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Opera Mini approved for App Store.

Weird that Mozilla hasn't submitted Firefox. I figured they'd do it just to see what would happen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:13 PM on April 12, 2010


Opera Mini approved for App Store.

Guess Apple isn't completely evil.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:19 PM on April 12, 2010


For someone "looking at a mirror" I'm not the one comparing Apple with Fox News

I kindof get where you're coming from, BP, having spent a lot of time rebutting facile Apple/Microsoft comparisons and other tropes. And the Fox News comparison was over the top. And I appreciate your correction of my misconception about what Interface Builder does under the hood and some of the other contributions in the thread.

But...

On the other hand, the tone of particularly the last few of your posts does seem to be converging somewhat with "You just hate America!" to the extent that you're saying "This isn't really about any particular issue, you guys are just singling out Apple for abuse, because you just hate Apple!" There's some of that in thread but I honestly don't see it driving the discussion, and at any rate, as others have done, I can assure you -- with pictures of hardware from my SE/30 to the four Apple laptops I've had over the last 10 years, if you want -- it's not driving my rancor at the 3.3.1 license changes, or my skepticism that what it contains is necessary for QA and business success.
banning source code generators
I'm not sure the language of 3.3.1 really supports this


I suppose it allows generators written in Obj/C/++ that take Obj/C/++ and emit Obj/C/++.

if you read Hacker News you'd think it said "PROGRAMS FOR THE MAGIC BOX *MUST* ONLY BE TYPED WITH HUMAN FINGERS ON KEYS THAT ARE EITHER WHITE OR BACKLIT"

Yeah, it actually feels a lot like that to me. If you think this approach and this approach aren't verbotten now, though, I'd be interested to hear your case.
posted by weston at 7:23 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah yes, the "gets it" argument. Where people who disagree with you are cast as mentally deficient.
posted by GuyZero at 7:38 PM on April 12, 2010


Where people who disagree with you are cast as mentally deficient.

Kinda like Adobe's "What, we're just here for the developers, we want to give them great new tools" which was annoying. Come on, everyone knows you're on tight sched to get CS5 out the door for that all important infusion of cash. No harm in that, it's what a business is for, but I wish they or their Evangelists would drop that "We're the innocent heroes who have been wronged, wronged I say, by the evil tyrant that is Apple" schtick. Still use CS2 and 3, because I know what kind of crap Adobe can shovel out the door (CS4, Illustrator 9, their installers on the Mac)
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Opera Mini approved for App Store.

I wonder if it has JavaScript?
posted by Artw at 8:38 PM on April 12, 2010


Apple's iPad Brings Easy Reading to the Blind

Ask any PC-loving computer nerd why Apple products have become the de facto choice of the masses, and you’ll likely hear something like, “People buy Apple products because they’re pretty.” That may be true for many, but one group of consumers who care little for Apple’s prodigious aesthetics are the blind.

They care more about how Apple products actually work. And while the iPad may be Apple's most controversial launch in recent memory, the blind community is unanimous in its support. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) even released a statement last January praising the device...

Both the NFB and the American Council of the Blind have lambasted the Kindle, filing a lawsuit against Arizona State University, which had been part of Kindle’s pilot program to replace textbooks with the e-reader, and sending a formal complaint to the Justice Department insisting all Kindles be removed from five other universities testing the Kindle with their student body. Two other universities, Syracuse University and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, had previously told Amazon they would not order any Kindles until the text menus were fully accessible to the blind. Amazon has since released a statement saying the Kindle will be blind-friendly by this summer. It's too little, too late.

In stark contrast, all iPads have a standard application called VoiceOver, which allows for audible control of every single menu, even those included in third party applications. NFB has commended Apple for producing a device that is usable right out of the box for both seeing and the visually impaired alike. The NFB statement even mentions that the touch-screen “need not be a barrier” to the blind...

Call it further proof that Apple is more than just a pretty face.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:25 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Designing for iPad: Reality Check

Nice peice covering working on an iPad without having the actual device, the pros and cons of physical metaphors and what works and doesn't in interaction design.

Now, see, discussing this sort of thing, weighing the benifits of the platform, considering if I'd want to develop for it - thats what I'd like to be doing, if Apple hadn't dropped the 3.3.1 bomb and brought it's petty squabbles and control freakery front and center. Pity.
posted by Artw at 9:36 PM on April 12, 2010


I wonder if it has JavaScript?

Bummer, Mefi doesn't feed it the mobile site automatically. Trying to favorite a comment produces the "Javascript required" message, but flagging a comment works ok, so boo on that, good call Artw.

The browser is weird, it's really hard to precisely enlarge pages, it's like they've screwed up the multitouch actions somehow.

I actually use Alt Browser on my iTouch (search for it the App Store), it's a bit faster than Safari and has the most awesome feature ever, screen lock. It's a Safari clone, but it's worth the buck for not having a rotating the screen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:20 AM on April 13, 2010




Opera is speedy, I'll give it that. But I'm a bit leery about funneling all of my requests through their server. I don't like being dependent on third-party services if I can help it. It will be a nice alternative for when Mobile Safari craps out.
posted by beowulf573 at 6:24 AM on April 13, 2010




Neat article - FPP worthy in itself.
posted by Artw at 9:18 AM on April 13, 2010


Argh! Why no i3's in the new 13" MacBook Pro!?!?

Defend that Blazecock!

Apple bastards. And I already promised my wife we'd buy one too.
posted by GuyZero at 9:45 AM on April 13, 2010


i3's?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:02 AM on April 13, 2010


The new 15" and 17" MacBook Pro models get very new processors - Intel Core i5 and i7. There's a lower end model in the same family, the i3 but Apple kept the 13" MBPs with the older Core 2 processors. I like the new models generally but I was hoping for a bigger processor bump in the 13" model.
posted by GuyZero at 10:05 AM on April 13, 2010


I was expecting a storage bump, jeez.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:01 AM on April 13, 2010


Hush, Steve knows what you need and don't need.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM on April 13, 2010




Argh! Why no i3's in the new 13" MacBook Pro!?!?

Having just bought one in January, I say whew! to that!
posted by ignignokt at 12:30 PM on April 13, 2010


iTunes link for Alt Browser.

Is that using the iPhone OS Webkit engine to interpret its Javascript? Because if not, isn't it in violation of the new rules?
posted by kafziel at 3:56 PM on April 13, 2010


Yeah, it's using Webkit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:28 PM on April 13, 2010


Is that using the iPhone OS Webkit engine to interpret its Javascript?
Yes. The big deal about Opera mini was that it was the first browser to have its own rendering engine instead of wrapping around the OS view. But Opera Mini doesn't interpret javascript (or HTML for that matter), so it passed.

Yeah, it actually feels a lot like that to me. If you think this approach and this approach aren't verbotten now, though, I'd be interested to hear your case.
The Scheme one: It's hard to tell without knowing a bit more about it, but in general I think game engines with wrappers around them are going to be fine. It's all about intention with Apple, and always has been. The intention here, I think there's a growing consensus about, is to ensure that they keep as much control of the platform as possible, and aren't ever beholden to some third party. Does letting you use your own game engine cause that? Nope.

There are examples on the store of this already, too: There's even a C64 emulator! It was actively approved too (ie it didn't sneak in), and it was in contravention of a literal reading of the old terms, let alone these new ones.

Does that suck if you're a literal-minded programmer demanding clarity? Sure. Does it (more importantly) suck if you're a business trying to decide whether to invest or not? Oh yes. But Apple knows, and it doesn't care. It's betting that the draw of the platform will get you over the uncertainty, just as developers got over their fear that Microsoft would crush them back in the 1990s.

The Mathematica one: Again, it's hard to tell from the article, but it really sounds like Mathematica was used as a design tool and to generate the media files. The actual app itself is Obj-C. The Mathematica parts are in the creation, and are no more banned by 3.3.1 than Nib files or Quicktime movies are.
posted by bonaldi at 4:31 PM on April 13, 2010


What may make up for the looney terms, is the generous profit-sharing; developers take, what is it, 70% of the App sale and subsequent AdMob(?) (when advertising-supported) revenue? It makes it likely that independent developers will be able to make a good living wage.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:56 PM on April 13, 2010


If you're talking about iAds, it's 60%, don't know why it's different.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:59 PM on April 13, 2010




Adobe is powered by unicorns.

iAds. Now that is a product name worth hating on.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:36 PM on April 13, 2010


Apple apparently confirms Phone Gap as OK. (Make sure to look down at the Apr 13th update as well as the original Nov '09 text)
posted by weston at 11:14 PM on April 13, 2010


Yes, let's look at AppleInsider.com for an unbiased take on rumors involving conflict with Apple. Don't link to the blog that this guy is basically just paraphrasing with a distinct slant.
posted by kafziel at 11:21 PM on April 13, 2010


Yes, let's look at AppleInsider.com for an unbiased take on rumors involving conflict with Apple

It's a bit difficult to take this sarcasm seriously, given just about every link in this thread points to an anti-Apple rant from some know-nothing blogger, linked to with a snarky title.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 PM on April 13, 2010


It's too bad that Roughly Drafted fellow couldn't even bother to get 'Myth 1' of his five myths right. :(

Not only is he incorrect about the console makers forcing particular tools on developers (although he is right that there is a hefty licensing fee involved), but he doesn't even grasp that there was significant outrage towards Microsoft when they forced bundling on the PC makers and tried to dictate hardware specs to PC makers.

He continues by spouting the incorrect statement that Flash Lite couldn't play modern Flash content (it has, for many years, been able to play whatever was modern at the time the particular version of Flash Light in question was released). Moreover, he calls the iPod Touch a MID, which it is not. Actual MIDs, like Nokia's tablets, have been fully Flash capable for many years, although as sites have moved towards newer versions of Flash, they of course become outdated in that respect.

Basically, that guy is not only an Apple fanboy of the first degree (arguing against giving users the choice to run whatever software they like? Seriously?), but he's got his facts terribly wrong.

It's like trying to have a productive discussion on the merits of religion with an evangelist.
posted by wierdo at 12:12 AM on April 14, 2010


there was significant outrage towards Microsoft when they forced bundling on the PC makers and tried to dictate hardware specs to PC makers

Not anything significant. PC makers didn't threaten to leave. Those that did went out of business quietly. Developers didn't threaten to stop making Windows apps. Those that did were laughed at.

he's got his facts terribly wrong

Actually, it's one of the few level-headed and considered pieces linked to in this entire post. Here are some facts from your link that are indeed correct:

The first argument being thrown at Apple is that its new restriction on the source languages that can be used to link to its iPhone SDK APIs is a “restraint of trade,” apparently because Apple has a legal obligation to support third parties who want to apply their tools to build iPhone apps.

Never mind that such accusations have never been thrown about when the subject was developing titles for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, or any other game console. Those developers must not only use the languages and tools the vendor outlines, but typically must also pay thousands of dollars for licensing fees, specialized development hardware, and jump through a variety of other hoops.


Correct.

Adobe never been on top of things in the mobile world, and the desktop version is not exactly doing all that much anymore either. As companies shift their resources from everything Flash to HTML5, Adobe’s desktop monopoly over interactive content will rapidly erode. It’s not Apple’s fault that’s happening, it’s Adobe’s.

Correct.

It’s not Apple’s job to keep Adobe in business.

Absolutely correct.

Adobe and Macromedia helped delay Apple’s plans for a decade just so they could safely make money selling Mac users less sophisticated software.

Correct.

Who needs a web based on open, interoperable standards when you can have the Choice of all dynamic content being locked up in Flash? What a wonderful option.

Correct. And it puts a spotlight directly on the irony of those whinging being the same ones arguing to preserve Adobe's business at the expense of other options having a chance to be developed and to be improved.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:26 AM on April 14, 2010


> Never mind that such accusations have never been thrown about when the subject was developing titles for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, or any other game console. Those developers must not only use the languages and tools the vendor outlines, but typically must also pay thousands of dollars for licensing fees, specialized development hardware, and jump through a variety of other hoops.

Correct.


Blaze, I've done console development. The language/tools bit is very much incorrect. Hell, one series of AAA titles on the ps2 was written in lisp for fuck's sake.
posted by aspo at 2:03 AM on April 14, 2010




Blaze, I've done console development. The language/tools bit is very much incorrect.

For the XBox 360, the tools and middleware must be licensed, and it's Microsoft's prerogative to allow you to develop on their platform. For the PS3, you get a developer's kit and keys to sign your apps.

In any case, his main point about jumping through hoops to develop for other platforms is correct.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:18 AM on April 14, 2010


Blimey
posted by bonaldi at 10:20 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's a thing, all right.
posted by bonehead at 11:11 AM on April 14, 2010


I'd love to see Camino on the iPhone, Firefox not so much.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:25 AM on April 14, 2010


TBH given that it can never be the default browser I don't really see the point of an alternate browser without a strong USP like Opera's compression trick.
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on April 14, 2010


I'd love to see Camino on the iPhone, Firefox not so much.

head asplode.
posted by GuyZero at 12:34 PM on April 14, 2010


For the XBox 360, the tools and middleware must be licensed.

Not really, but I'm not surprised you refuse to understand the difference.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but on your mac you use Firefox, right? Do you like the fact that Apple has pretty much said that there will be no full featured browsers on the iDevices that aren't Webkit's in disguise? There will never be a system of browser extensions like Firefox's because that's not The Apple Way? The future you are championing is one where Apple gets to decide what users want and where Apple gets to decide to kill innovation if they think it's against their interests. That's a future that is a bad for outside developers, and eventually bad for the consumers. Why do you want to defend that?
posted by aspo at 12:51 PM on April 14, 2010


Oh, more PS2 notes. You could even program in flash on a PS2. At least one game used it for their menu code, for instance.
posted by aspo at 12:55 PM on April 14, 2010


I must say the vaguely maniacal stuff in some of the pro-apple blogs about how Apple was onced dissed by developers and now it will have it's revenge is rather offputting.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on April 14, 2010


Never mind that such accusations have never been thrown about when the subject was developing titles for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, or any other game console.

Those devices (and old-school mobile phones to boot) never presented as general purpose mobile computing and communications devices. Apple's mobile devices do. You look at the thing and it's obvious, this is a pocket computer with a touchscreen. The app store shouts "this is a general-purpose device."

Can you think of other general purpose computing platforms where developers were limited by contract to a single toolchain or a subset of programming languages?

I don't expect better of Microsoft and Sony and Nintendo on their consoles. They're limited-purpose devices with a history of tight control made by companies famous for being controlling. There's just no other expectation than hoop jumping and a sharecropping arrangement. But I have expected better of Apple based on my past experiences with their products. And I think you should be wary of arguments of the "but those guys do it too" and "you're holding Apple to higher standards" stripe, because if you win that argument, it erodes the idea of Apple as something more than just another company. What happens if you and Jobs convince everybody you're right?

Who needs a web based on open, interoperable standards when you can have the Choice of all dynamic content being locked up in Flash? What a wonderful option.

The red herring aside -- the banned CS5 capabilities under discussion here have little to do with Flash as a runtime platform and everything to do with Flash as a creator's tool -- if you do a comparison between the openness of Flash and Apple's mobile platform, Flash comes out looking OK. SWF has a published (though arguably incomplete) format. You could theoretically implement your own version of their runtime, though that's proven difficult, but implementing other tools which target Adobe's runtime is not only allowed, it's been done with MTASC and Ming and a handful of others. And basic Flex SDK is open source. And And Adobe doesn't insert itself between developers and deployment, and they've done plenty to signal that when the HTML 5 revolution arrives, they're happy to target that as well. All in all, they're arguably doing more to reassure the world they're committed to a growing platforms where developers have options than Apple is.
posted by weston at 1:00 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


head asplode.

Camino feels like it was written for the Mac, Firefox sometimes feels as a nice Macintosh body slapped on top of an engine designed for something else. It's a good browser overall, just not to my personal tastes, no biggie.

stuff in some of the pro-apple blogs about how Apple was onced dissed by developers and now it will have it's revenge is rather offputtin

Yes. Crazy uses all OSes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:04 PM on April 14, 2010


Camino and Firefox are the same browser save for menus and UI elements. They're probably more than 80% the exact same code. They (should) render web pages identically.
posted by GuyZero at 1:07 PM on April 14, 2010


Camino feels faster, lighter. Part of that, I believe, is because it was really designed for the Mac as opposed to be being bolted on. Safari feels fastest though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:34 PM on April 14, 2010


Let me take this moment to say OMG OMNIWEB and OMG HYPOTHETICAL OMNIWEB FOR IPAD THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN
posted by The Devil Tesla at 1:43 PM on April 14, 2010


Also, this dog would have liked the iPad if it ran a form a linux.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 1:48 PM on April 14, 2010


The nice thing about Camino is that if you need to haul something you can just tie it down in the bed. Though it's not so great if you have kids.
posted by cortex at 1:57 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not really, but I'm not surprised you refuse to understand the difference.
Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program

The Xbox 360™ Tools and Middleware Program licenses professional developers of games software tools and games middleware applications to obtain full Xbox 360 Development Kits and to distribute Xbox 360 code to approved Xbox 360 developers and publishers. .

Key Points

Participation in the Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program is generally restricted to those companies with good industry references and with prior experience in the games tools and middleware technologies field. If you represent a startup company you may still be considered if the team is made up of experienced individuals, and/or you have sufficient industry interest in using your technology on our platform.

Applications for entry to the Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program may be requested by emailing contact information and a brief description of the products and company to xboxtlsm@microsoft.com. Once your initial mail is received, if your proposal is of interest, you will be contacted.

Developers will be required to execute a non-disclosure agreement with Microsoft® prior to being considered for the program. Following review and acceptance of a submission form, selected applicants will be sent a license agreement, which must be executed before access to the development hardware and software can be granted.
Yet, when Apple implements something similar to protect their own "interests", they suffer the wrath of a thousand bloggers.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but on your mac you use Firefox, right? Do you like the fact that Apple has pretty much said that there will be no full featured browsers on the iDevices that aren't Webkit's in disguise? There will never be a system of browser extensions like Firefox's because that's not The Apple Way?

Firefox is great on Windows, but it is a piece of unstable garbage on Mac OS X and Linux, so I use Safari and Chrome when I'm on an OS X machine. Chrome offers extensions. Safari does too, sort of. I don't really care about extensions because I use so many different machines at work that I don't have control over, and so extensions don't really give me much of a consistently improved web browsing user experience. But I use Chrome more often as it is faster. I use Safari when Chrome breaks, which is often. I downloaded the Opera browser for the iPhone but I haven't synced my phone yet, so I don't know if that works better than Safari.

I'm pretty happy with the options provided so far. Apple has contributed so much improved code to WebKit that other companies, such as Google, use it. So that's a good indicator of the quality they offer. Chrome will likely never be on an iDevice, but that doesn't have to do with WebKit so much as Apple being pissed about Google Android copying huge chunks of the iPhone OS.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 PM on April 14, 2010


when the HTML 5 revolution arrives, they're happy to target that as well

That point in time is mostly here, without Adobe's help. So the fact that Adobe has dropped the ball there, as well as with Flash on mobile devices, doesn't speak too highly of their competitive prospects down the road.

Adobe could have been as competitive as Apple, by fighting to be among the best content-creation toolkit companies out there, but instead they chose to rest on their laurels and their market share for Flash.

Adobe chose not to prepare for alternatives to Flash, and instead of doing something constructive about it, they provoked the blogosphere's latent hatred for Apple into a frenzy.

There are a lot of similarities between how Adobe managed Flash and how Microsoft managed Internet Explorer that will seem self-evident in a year or two.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 PM on April 14, 2010


Adobe chose not to prepare for alternatives to Flash, and instead of doing something constructive about it, they provoked the blogosphere's latent hatred for Apple into a frenzy.

I could give two shits about Flash. I hope it dies a horrible death. I'd just like to be able to put stuff like Google Voice or whatever else on my phone without having to jailbreak it and without Apple making decisions based on their business model or whatever other arbitrary reason they came up with. I decided to make the switch to Android for my next phone based entirely on them bouncing Google Voice. The new application restrictions are just icing on the cake.

And the idea that 'the blogosphere' is full of apple hatred is so absurd, I don't even know where to start. I mean, the impression I get of most posts that are negative about apple is one of disappointment. One does not become disappointed with something one hates. I think Penny Arcade's two parter about the iPad just about sums up how I think most people feel about Apple right now. One can only be hurt that much by something one loves.

Do you really think that the blogosphere is full of secret Microsoft partisans or something?

How about, as an experiment, the next time an Apple thread pops up on metafilter, you at least pretend that the opinions of the people you are arguing against are held honestly? Because I really see no reason to believe otherwise.
posted by empath at 2:36 PM on April 14, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "Not anything significant. PC makers didn't threaten to leave. Those that did went out of business quietly. Developers didn't threaten to stop making Windows apps. Those that did were laughed at.
..."


I was going to go point by point, but there's obviously no purpose. No rational discussion is going to change your mind because your belief is irrationally held. You refuse to accept simple facts as truth, instead preferring the half-truths and obfuscations proffered by the Apple Defense Force in their attempts to rationalize Apple's complete asshattery here.

And just so you know, it's not about Flash. I don't really like Flash, although I also harbor no irrational hatred toward it. With the reports out today that Google will be opening up VP8 next month its days as a video player are numbered. It's still good for other things, but whatever.

My problem is Apple dictating to developers what tools they are allowed to use to build applications, not only what APIs (which I think is perfectly OK). That you refuse to acknowledge that it's not just about Flash is ample indication of your willful blindness on this issue.

And just to put the "Flash on mobile devices" canard to rest because I really hate misinformation, not because I give a shit about Flash in any way except when it allows me to access content I couldn't otherwise access due to some web designer's idiocy: Flash has been on mobile devices for 4 or 5 years. At the time each version is released, it has worked with the vast majority of Flash targeted to that version. Flash is updated quite regularly, though, and mobile phone manufacturers in general don't make major feature upgrades like new versions of flash after the product is released. That's their thing, not Adobe's.

On my current mobile, I have yet to run into any Flash content that the Flash player won't at least attempt to play, although people say there is some stuff that doesn't work, since it's only fully 9.4 compliant, with some of what 10 needs so that most sites targeting 10 will work.

I'm pissed because I want an iPad. The form factor is staggeringly good, IMO. I am not, however, going to buy an iPad from a company that not only won't let me put my own software on it without paying them a fee (I could live with that, grudgingly), but also won't let developers use whatever tools they like to develop for the platform. Just like I refused to buy anything made by Microsoft until they got their act together again.

It continues to shock me that these people who have been so anti-Microsoft can't see that Apple is now pulling exactly the same bullshit.

If I'm pissed off about anything, it's that Jobs has turned Apple into a company that I now respect less than Microsoft. As much as I hate the folks from Redmond, that's saying an awful lot.
posted by wierdo at 3:00 PM on April 14, 2010


Never mind that such accusations have never been thrown about when the subject was developing titles for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, or any other game console.

That's a divergent view of history, to be sure. There have always been voices griping about the closed nature of the consoles, particularly Nintendo's policies. The thing is though, after the PS2 solidified Nintendo as the market leader, their closed development model with the restrictive licencing terms becem normative for game systems. All of the console manufactuerers have closed systems because that's what the console game developers were found to put up with. Those that found the expereince too restrictive or expensive developed for the PC instead.

What concerns me about these recent changes and the development model that Apple is persuing is the exclusion of interesting new ideas in software. It's expensive, in terms of technical investment and monetary cost for newbies or part-time developers to make new stuff for the iPad, more expensive than Flash or python or Perl or Java development certainly.

I think that's the reason the now-huge "casual" game market developed on the PC/web platform. Casual, cheap, free games were not possible due to the high legal and monetary costs of entry on the console systems. If Apple wants the iPad/iPhone to be a more like a console and less like a PC, which is entirely within their rights, it seem in the bad long-term interests of their platform. I don't care about that particularly, but if other mobile and slate-like manufacturers also adobt closed development models, as has already happened with the console market, that does make my limit future options considerably. And I don't like that.

I don't hate Apple, I mostly don't care about Apple, but I do hate loss of choice in the marketplace. If the Apple model for this form-factor becomes commonplace, though, that's an outcome I don't desire.
posted by bonehead at 3:00 PM on April 14, 2010


Participation in the Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program is generally restricted to those companies with good industry references and with prior experience in the games tools and middleware technologies field. If you represent a startup company you may still be considered if the team is made up of experienced individuals, and/or you have sufficient industry interest in using your technology on our platform.

Which is not the same thing. If I'm a game developer I have to prove to Microsoft that I have the experience to produce a good game. If I want to then write or buy my own tool set more power to me. For tools and middleware the case is a bit different, but that's because Microsoft doesn't let just anyone have a development kit. You need to petition of a dev kit, just like a game developer does.

And you know what, while that model may work for a very specialized device, it's crap for general purpose computing because it creates a huge barrier for entry and in doing so hampers creativity.
posted by aspo at 4:07 PM on April 14, 2010


it's crap for general purpose computing because it creates a huge barrier for entry and in doing so hampers creativity.

Well, as much as I hate to say it, empirically no. Many iPhone OS developers had never shipped any commercial software prior to developing for the iPhone. It's a bi-level barrier to entry: if Apple likes you, the barrier is very low. Piss off Apple, the barrier is infinitely high. It's like a diode.
posted by GuyZero at 4:09 PM on April 14, 2010


The barrier is the console development model. It's not the same as what Apple's doing, but it has some parallels. I don't like seeing Apple get more and more dictatorial, because it's a bad direction for them to go in.
posted by aspo at 4:22 PM on April 14, 2010


For tools and middleware the case is a bit different

So it's different, even when it is the same. Come on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:29 PM on April 14, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "So it's different, even when it is the same. Come on."

But it's not at all the same. Consider the dev kit as Apple's license fee. Once paid, a console dev can pretty much do whatever the fuck they want as long as they comply with certain minimal standards about playing nice with background OS services.

And, perhaps you aren't aware of this, but: XNA. It allows pretty much anyone to write a game for the Xbox 360. I think Sony has a similar program for writing downloadable PSN games, although not being a console developer, I wouldn't know.
posted by wierdo at 4:46 PM on April 14, 2010


And, perhaps you aren't aware of this, but: XNA. It allows pretty much anyone to write a game for the Xbox 360.

I'm aware of it, and it has little bearing on this issue since no one can go to GameStop or wherever to buy XNA-written apps. It's a nice toy but only a toy. If we are saying that you can't test for free, at least.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:54 PM on April 14, 2010


No, you can go onto your xbox and buy XNA games from the indie games channel. You know, it's this thing called digital distribution? I'm not sure, but I think Apple might be looking into that as well.
posted by aspo at 5:45 PM on April 14, 2010


Adobe could have been as competitive as Apple, by fighting to be among the best content-creation toolkit companies out there

Like, say, by trying to extend one of their most famous and popular content creation tools to target a foreign runtime on a popular mobile platform?

(Leaving alone the fact that CS5 also targets HTML5, that they've been moving Flex and Air towards an embrace of XML,HTML, and JavaScript...)
posted by weston at 5:46 PM on April 14, 2010


Like, say, by trying to extend one of their most famous and popular content creation tools to target a foreign runtime on a popular mobile platform?

Even when that popular mobile platform shows no interest in having that runtime?

Adobe was stupid. It would have been brilliant if they had managed to force Apple to accept Flash, but that's not how it went down. Apple demoed the iPad with Flash noticeably not working (a page from the NYT website had the big X showing Flash wasn't playing) and as the audience laughed, Steve Jobs clearly didn't give a damn, didn't even acknowledge there was a problem. When the CEO of Apple demos the company's new 'i' device and blatantly highlights that your fancy new technology doesn't work on it and doesn't see that as problem, well, you've got problems.

There are 85 million devices iPhone/iTouch devices in the world. There were zero three years ago. Zip, nada none. Since then 85 millions birds have been flipped at Adobe in general and Flash in particular and that number just grew by half million via the iPad. Adobe has to do more than just try and shoehorn their way into the platform and try to out chicken Steve Jobs. If there's one thing everyone should take from this how episode is that Apple isn't bowing to anyone and will do whatever is necessary to stay in complete control of their platform.

Look, I remember the Quark 5 debacle, when everyone was expecting them to put out a Mac OS X version, instead they put out a Classic version and essentially said "Macs suck, buy a PC, ok?" That pissed everyone off, from Apple to the lowiest junior designer in the trenches, we were all held hostage waiting for Quark to get its damn act together (which they never did). So there Apple, having one of the killer apps for their platform saying "Screw you". No wonder they're being hard asses now, they've been held captive by others before and they're not having it anymore.

Now, it would be really interesting if Microsoft decided to port Office over to the iPad, mmm hmmm.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:37 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "I'm aware of it, and it has little bearing on this issue since no one can go to GameStop or wherever to buy XNA-written apps."

Yeah, what aspo said.

I don't mean to be fighty, but from my perspective it looks like you're wearing your ignorance on your sleeve and have decided that Apple is now a religion that you've chosen to buy into. It's quite disturbing, since you're usually against irrational belief.
posted by wierdo at 7:08 PM on April 14, 2010


Brandon Blatcher wrote: "Even when that popular mobile platform shows no interest in having that runtime?"

On not-preview, Apple shouldn't be the one who gets to decide. The developers, and through them, the users, should be the ones to decide. If CS5's Flash compiler leads to crappy software, chances are that said software will fail.
posted by wierdo at 7:11 PM on April 14, 2010


Apple shouldn't be the one who gets to decide. The developers, and through them, the users, should be the ones to decide.

They tried that. Turned out the developers (Adobe, Quark, Microsoft) were deciding for their benefit, not the users', so it seems Apple has decided to cut out the middle man. It's not pretty and it definitely sucks for the smaller developers, but if they users had been the actual focus before this whole episode wouldn't have occurred.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Even when that popular mobile platform shows no interest in having that runtime?

Said popular mobile platform is clearly interested in their own runtime, which is what Adobe targeted.

Interpolating your likely meaning rather than your actual phrasing, though... Adobe might have been stupid to think Apple wouldn't move their goalposts around at will for reasons practical or petty. But to visit a point I made above, I can see why they might have thought they could get away with it: Apple's mobile platform looks like a general purpose computing platform and I'm still having trouble thinking of another one where languages and toolchains are contractually restricted. Then add in the fact that even with all the App store evaluation drama, there's been an ecosystem not dissimilar to ecosystems that've grown up around other general computing platforms. It's not hard for me to believe they might have considered it unlikely that Apple would really stone-cold stomp that flat flies. Unless you're looking closely at the fact that this is also the first general purpose platform in history where the vendor has near-total control over distribution, it's hard to remember that they can do that.

But to come back to my question: I asked it mostly as a challenge to the idea that Adobe's merely been "resting on their laurels." CS5 (among some of their other recent developments) is clearly meant to do exactly what BP said Adobe should do: develop their tools to target platforms (Apple and non) beyond Flash as a hedge against the day the world may no longer choose Flash as a target.
posted by weston at 7:29 PM on April 14, 2010


I don't mean to be fighty, but from my perspective it looks like you're wearing your ignorance on your sleeve and have decided that Apple is now a religion that you've chosen to buy into. It's quite disturbing, since you're usually against irrational belief.

If you think this, you are ridiculous. Especially when you assert something is false, I provide you with a unedited quote taken directly from Microsoft's website that contradicts you outright and unequivocally, and then you say, "Well, hells bells, not in that case." You are ridiculously incapable of evaluating the merits of this issue with any sense of rationality or fair impartiality.

And, no, you can't buy any XNA game that a developer makes. Developers have to jump through several hoops. It's Microsoft's prerogative, in the end, whether a developer's software ever gets to be sold, if at all. But you won't bother to get on your high horse about Microsoft, even though it's marginally worse, if not the same, as the arrangement Apple has set up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:21 PM on April 14, 2010


Turned out the developers (Adobe, Quark, Microsoft) were deciding for their benefit, not the users

For people on the side of Adobe and Microsoft, while professing to use Apple products, a lot of you seem to have forgotten how long it takes those two companies to release software for Mac OS X. Software that often lacks functionality and performance that their Windows products can take for granted. I'm actually glad that Apple has the market presence and the courage to dictate terms to software developers who have and continue to bully and abuse Apple-using customers. Those "developers" can go peddle their garbage on other platforms.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:25 PM on April 14, 2010


For people on the side of Adobe and Microsoft, while professing to use Apple products,

Okay, just ignoring you from now on, you're hopeless.
posted by empath at 10:31 PM on April 14, 2010


Okay, just ignoring you from now on, you're hopeless.

Please. You guys are as biased as it gets. Ridiculous.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:35 PM on April 14, 2010


Just for the record:

I don't own a Windows PC. I'll never buy a Windows PC or any other Microsoft product again if I can avoid it, and I'm currently reading metafilter on a Macbook with Chrome as well as safari w/ flashblock running on it.

If I'm a partisan of any company in a dispute with Apple, it's Google, and I'm pretty sure I'll take Google over Apple 9 times out of ten and not feel remotely guilty about it.

Please stop accusing us of lying about our motives, its fucking rude and obnoxious and just factually wrong.
posted by empath at 10:40 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the record:

It goes both ways. What would be great is if you stop accusing me of being a religious zealot when I disagree with you, and when I point out — factually — where you have been wrong. That's fucking rude and obnoxious and tiresome. When you do that you're not much better than the ignorant rabble out there in the blogosphere peddling lies and misinformation, and I lose any respect for you when you do that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:44 PM on April 14, 2010


I haven't said that. And no one said anything of the kind to until after you STARTED the thread calling out 'apple haters' as being 'lame and dishonest' for complaining about the lack of multi-tasking in your very first post.
posted by empath at 10:49 PM on April 14, 2010


while professing to use Apple products

"professing?"

Software that often lacks functionality and performance that their Windows products can take for granted. I'm actually glad that Apple has the market presence and the courage to dictate terms to software developers who have and continue to bully and abuse Apple-using customers. Those "developers" can go peddle their garbage on other platforms.

Your argument at this point is really to cast Macromedia and Adobe's tools as useless garbage that's been nothing but baggage around the necks of Apple?

That's a hard sell. Even with any foot-dragging that's gone on in the move from Carbon to Cocoa, even with any gaps in functionality, even with bugs that I'm still encountering with CS2 & CS3, I've found Fireworks and Illustrator to be great tools. I can name problems, but I can't name many peers, and I've certainly never felt abused while using them. In fact, apps like that are half the reason I'm still using OS X rather than jumping ship to Ubuntu.

And the more I think about it, the less I buy the idea that restrictions like those in section 3.3.1 would actually prevent anything like this apparent abuse, even assuming your premise is true. The deprecated Carbon APIs and aging codebase of today is the blessed API and freshly-updated C/C++ source of yesterday. If anybody ever produces something that embodies the killer app for Apple's mobile platform as fully as these media creation and publishing tools did for Apple's Desktop, Apple isn't going to have an extra ounce of power to move them along from today's APIs onto tomorrow's.
posted by weston at 11:45 PM on April 14, 2010


I've certainly never felt abused while using them

I do find Adobe's update methodology to being one of feature creep that leaves older versions unpatched and unsupported, and introduces new problems that become tomorrow's unpatched and unsupported problems, once the next CSn comes out.

It wouldn't be so bad if upgrading to get meager improvements weren't so expensive. I think this relationship is fair to call abusive, to some degree, in that people keep coming back out of lack of alternatives, more than anything else.

And no one writes legitimate alternatives (Gimp is not a Photoshop killer, unfortunately — it's not even a Photoshop Elements killer) because Adobe has a hold on the market. I was amazed that the FTC allowed Adobe to buy Macromedia, frankly. The end result has been to our collective detriment. For all its faults, at least, Apple doesn't have anything near a monopoly and developers can go elsewhere to make a living, if they really want.

The deprecated Carbon APIs and aging codebase of today is the blessed API and freshly-updated C/C++ source of yesterday.

On the other hand, John Gruber puts the benefits into clear context pretty succinctly, given the past difficulties in getting Windows-first software onto the Mac:

Cheney’s idle speculation that the A4 CPU in the iPad is something other than ARM is not the case, but, still, it’s not silly in the least bit to think that Apple will someday add a new architecture for iPhone OS devices (or, will someday push for iPhone OS apps to go 64-bit). Not wanting to wait two years for Adobe to update Flash’s iPhone compiler is perfectly reasonable on Apple’s part. Adobe has a track record regarding their preparedness for Apple platform shifts, and it’s not good.

It's not just Adobe, either. Mozilla wrote Firefox for Windows first for a while. Google's Chrome is still in beta on OS X, still doesn't support Java, and crashes or hangs often on Flash content.

Apple and Steve Jobs learned the hard way that being dependent on the quality (or lack of quality) in third-party software will slowly kill their platform. Even with all the negatives of requiring developers to use Xcode if they want to sell their products through the App Store, I can understand Apple's rationale for setting things up this way, going forward.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:15 AM on April 15, 2010


It's not hard for me to believe they might have considered it unlikely that Apple would really stone-cold stomp that flat flies.

Yes, they were trying to the usual bag of tricks. Jobs, at the iPad demo, essentially told them that Apple had no intention of playing by the same rules, yet I don't think people grasped that at the time, because it was so out of the ordinary. Apple, rightly or wrongly, has a chip on its shoulder and is firmly in the mode of "No one is bullying us around anymore, period" and that has to be taken into consideration.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:52 AM on April 15, 2010


And to be fair to Adobe, I'm sure they feel like Apple is a prima donna who keeps messing with their work. Having to go from 68K to PowerPC to OS X to Intel processors is probably annoying from a business standpoint, especially when the Mac isn't their largest market.

Would love to be a fly on the wall in meetings/phone calls between Apple and Adobe these days, hee.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:41 AM on April 15, 2010


iPad Printing. Heh.

Anyone mention yet that Apple appears to be developing a habit of jumping from processor to processor? 68K, PowerPC, Intel, ARM… and that if you develop using XCode, a recompile is all (almost?) you need to do to port your software?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:35 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]




If Apple was serious about jumping architectures at will they would have done the logical think and stuck a VM in there. But that has both RAM and CPU costs. Apple wants to keep hardware costs to a bare minimum and doesn't care if they have to inconvenience developers to do that.
posted by GuyZero at 9:47 AM on April 15, 2010


Designing for iPad - following on from the iA article.
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on April 15, 2010


The thing has next to no ram - from what I've heard that was actually a bit of a nasty surprise fro some of the people designing for it (yes, developing only in simulation DOES have some major drawbacks).
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on April 15, 2010


Apple wants to keep hardware costs to a bare minimum

They want to keep their margins high. Buy for a dollar, sell for two.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:02 AM on April 15, 2010


As an end user, I couldn't give a shit how inconvenient Apple makes things for developers. I've put up with decades of piss-poor software because developers care more about making things easy on themselves instead of rightly focusing on the end-users' needs.

The arguments I've had to have with programmers as I document their software — gods.

If what Apple does is make things better for end users, more power to them.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:13 AM on April 15, 2010


If Apple was serious about jumping architectures at will they would have done the logical think and stuck a VM in there

I think this may apply (Vis Gruber).

Comic Book Publishers Plot Comeback via Apple IPad

Yeah, I downloaded the Marvel Comics App and Holy Christ is that thing sweet! It hit that magic spot of "It's hard NOT to spend here." I have my entire music collection on my iTouch, why not books and comics too?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:15 AM on April 15, 2010


Yeah, I downloaded the Marvel Comics App and Holy Christ is that thing sweet! It hit that magic spot of "It's hard NOT to spend here." I have my entire music collection on my iTouch, why not books and comics too?

yeah, it's absolutely there for comics. There's no having to imagine how it might sort-of work - it flat out works now, to the point where you might almost thing it was designed for it.

Books are a different kettle of fish, IMHO. It's strengths are less evident there.

I've put up with decades of piss-poor software because developers care more about making things easy on themselves instead of rightly focusing on the end-users' needs.

Good developers do not care about making things easy on themselves instead of focusing on the end-users needs. Good developers care about making things easy on themselves so they can have time to focus on end-users needs. The more time you spend re-inventing the wheel or struggling with the unfamiliar the less time you have to devote to that.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on April 15, 2010


I'm loving the comics thing, yeah. As a reading format, it's pretty darned nice, though I'll say the resolution the stuff was provided at seems more fit for iPhone than iPad—going panel-to-panel is basically a tour through low-res jagginess that I find pretty jarring in such an explicitly visuals-based medium. I wonder if that will change with time, or if Marvel et all are committed to relatively low-res as some sort of upsell-to-print tactic.

Anyway, I like the freebies approach. Since I'm cheap and have no loyalty to any ongoing series, the Marvel app hasn't done much for me so far other than confirmed that I don't care very much about current Spiderman or Fantastic Four storylines enough to pay for them (and that Red Hulk intro is just, what? A bunch of weird international superhero pettiness and then a Surprise Bruce Banner at the end? Blech...), but I did drop a couple bucks on the first issue of Eternals and will probably buy up the rest, since Gaimen pretty much always makes me happy.

But the comiXology app has a crapload of free stuff, and while some of it is pretty shit (I'm considering doing a little title-by-title writeup of all the freebies from a Not A Regular Reader's perspective, even), a lot of it is between nicely quirky and just really great. I am flat out sold on Atomic Robo, for example, and four bucks for six issues in the Volume One collection is just a stupid bargain.

There's some pricing weirdness about, though; you can buy issues of Invincible for two bucks a pop, or you can get issues 1-4 or 5-8 for the negative discount price of $10. What?

But, yes, anyway: I guess I will be buying some comics this way in the long run, to complement my standard practice of buying up a few graphic novels and trades every several months.
posted by cortex at 10:32 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]




Downside of the iPad being so perfect for comics - sorry, phone based comcis viewers, your weird hobbled reading experience is revealed by comparison to be completely crappy.
posted by Artw at 10:45 AM on April 15, 2010


Apple’s New Developer Agreement Unlevels the iAd Playing Field

From the article:
Under the rule, a third-party ad network could embed an ad within an iPhone OS app, as Muller said — but only if the advertiser didn’t care about who saw the ad, how long they may have looked at it, whether they interacted with it, or any of the other detailed metrics so prized by interactive marketers...The company told a developer whose app it was rejecting: “It is not appropriate for applications to gather user analytics. Specifically, you may not collect anonymous play data from a user’s game.”
Oh Steve, that's just wrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:58 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Exactly. Under the guise of "user experience" Apple is engaging in anti-competitive business practices that are akin to Microsoft's good ol' days of prohibiting OEMs from shipping anything other than Windows on their hardware if they wanted the best pricing on Windows licenses. Prohibiting third-party music stores, app stores, non-streaming video rentals, etc and now effectively prohibiting third-party ads.

The semantics of whose development license is the most restrictive is a very small issue compared to this.
posted by GuyZero at 11:06 AM on April 15, 2010


I'm not really sure its anti competitive at this point. I think Google can knock them off their pedestal pretty easily, as long as Apple doesn't sue Android out of the marketplace. I have a pretty firm belief that an open platform will beat a closed platform. I love the app store concept, I hate that one company with plenty of conflicts of interest acts as the gate keeper to what I'm allowed to put on my device. I wouldn't care what apple allows in the app store, as long as I could bypass it if I wanted to.
posted by empath at 11:23 AM on April 15, 2010


So, as an ad company, I broker deals with the developers of two games. My ads go in both. One game does extremely well, with thousands of people playing it for hours a day. The other game does very poorly, getting a lot of initial downloads that delete it after two minutes.

Under this agreement, there's no way for me to know which one was which. No paying developers on the basis of how many adviews I'm getting. That ... seems like it completely defeats the entire purpose of putting ads in your game.
posted by kafziel at 11:28 AM on April 15, 2010


And, of course, cue the "Well paying based on how many people see your ads is a terrible way to do business and it's right and proper that Apple is banning that for everybody except themselves" blathering.
posted by kafziel at 11:30 AM on April 15, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "But you won't bother to get on your high horse about Microsoft, even though it's marginally worse, if not the same, as the arrangement Apple has set up."

Microsoft claims to sell a game console, not devices which historically have been offered as general computing devices.

Microsoft does not have that policy on their smartphones, so why again should I buy into your false equivalence?
posted by wierdo at 11:44 AM on April 15, 2010


I suppose if you categorize the iPad as a game console and not a general-purpose computing device then it's not a false equivalency. I mean, it's not hard to basically think of the thing as a really big version of the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP.
posted by GuyZero at 11:54 AM on April 15, 2010


...a price tag of even several hundred dollars would be significantly cheaper (not to mention more portable) than some of the assisted communication devices currently on the market, which can cost more than $10,000.

For autistic kids, iDevices are life changers
posted by bonehead at 11:58 AM on April 15, 2010


the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP

I've been wondering this for a couple of weeks. In practical terms, those are probably the iPads closest competitor devices, at least right now (particularly in Canada---the ebook reader market here is at least a year if not two behind the US one). A parent wanting to buy a device for thier kids wants to know if they should by a DS, a PSP, an iPod or an iPad, in rough order of price. Be interesting to see sales figures next Christmas.
posted by bonehead at 12:08 PM on April 15, 2010


Microsoft claims to sell a game console, not devices which historically have been offered as general computing devices.

I certainly wasn't arguing that the iPad was a general computing device, whatever that is. In any case, I thought the blogosphere/Metafilter was calling this a content-consumption device, not a content-creation device.

Microsoft does not have that policy on their smartphones, so why again should I buy into your false equivalence?

Mister, you don't have to buy a thing, I'm just pointing out the general hypocrisy behind the anti-Apple point of view being peddled on Metafilter, as unpleasant as that might be to hear.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:48 PM on April 15, 2010




Real-world iPad annoyances: A timeline - The clock gets a mention again, though the guy points out that setting an appointment in calendar can be a workaround.

I suspect he'll be waiting a long time for his user accounts.
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on April 15, 2010


User accounts, heh. Just buy 4 more, buddy.
posted by GuyZero at 2:26 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "Mister, you don't have to buy a thing, I'm just pointing out the general hypocrisy behind the anti-Apple point of view being peddled on Metafilter, as unpleasant as that might be to hear."

Please explain, without using debunked "facts," what hypocrisy it is that you see?

Using the iPhone as an example, since the terms apply equally to any application on the App Store, how is it hypocritical to complain about Apple forcing particular tools on developers when there is no other smartphone on the market with that requirement?
posted by wierdo at 5:44 PM on April 15, 2010


debunked "facts"

You didn't debunk a thing, you shuffled it away. Sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:05 PM on April 15, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "You didn't debunk a thing, you shuffled it away. Sorry."

You're right, I didn't, but actual console developers have fully debunked your BS about the supposed restrictions console developers have on the tools they use to create games.

As I recall, the rest of it was just a bunch of other false equivalences. Do you deny that the iPhone is the most restricted of all existing smartphone platforms? Or that the iPad is the most restricted of all existing tablet platforms?
posted by wierdo at 9:12 PM on April 15, 2010


actual console developers have fully debunked your BS

No, actually he (singular) did not. I quoted Microsoft's own policy in full, unedited, which contradicts his claim, in full, unequivocally. Shuffle it away if you like, but their policy is what it is, in plain English. Sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:47 PM on April 15, 2010


I gotta say, the contract language does look restrictive.

Lack of User Accounts on the iPad is bullshit. It's just my wife and I in our house, but we're always on the web. I can easily imagine we'd end up with two of these devices, if they're really so pleasant to use. I just want a real nice device that lets me do 80% of the crap I do in bed on the laptop, more comfortably. The 20% left over, I should be doing on the desktop box anyway.

With User Accounts, we could always just grab and use the nearest device. And that would be one hell of a user-centered, do it the right way, make it easy improvement. That's one of the key features I hope a competitor nails.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how others compete. The larger device size is going to make it easier to create a useful device, because there's a ton more space. 10hrs battery life on an iPad, but limited ports and apparently crappy wifi; or 4hrs battery life on a NoNamePad, because it's using Intel chips? I'll take the latter.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:27 PM on April 15, 2010


FFF: consider ten hours battery life, with many ports and slots and choice of OS, for a couple hundred less.

Or wait a few months and there will be a billion things.
posted by kafziel at 12:05 AM on April 16, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "I quoted Microsoft's own policy in full, unedited, which contradicts his claim, in full, unequivocally."

It really didn't, unless you're reading into it things that are not there. Sort of like the people I sometimes debate with on other forums who read things into laws that aren't really there so as to reinforce their world view.

I notice you're still choosing to ignore my contention that other tablets and smartphones are not so restricted, instead going on about this game console canard, which even if you are correct is an entirely different market.
posted by wierdo at 1:52 AM on April 16, 2010


It really didn't, unless you're reading into it things that are not there.

You're just trying to fuck with me because you're bored or something, really, but here:

1. Here's what I said:

"For the XBox 360, the tools and middleware must be licensed."

2. Here's what aspo said in response:

"Not really, but I'm not surprised you refuse to understand the difference."

3. I then quoted Microsoft's XBox 360 terms verbatim. I'll quote them for you again since you are too lazy to read it:
Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program

The Xbox 360™ Tools and Middleware Program licenses professional developers of games software tools and games middleware applications to obtain full Xbox 360 Development Kits and to distribute Xbox 360 code to approved Xbox 360 developers and publishers. .

Key Points

Participation in the Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program is generally restricted to those companies with good industry references and with prior experience in the games tools and middleware technologies field. If you represent a startup company you may still be considered if the team is made up of experienced individuals, and/or you have sufficient industry interest in using your technology on our platform.

Applications for entry to the Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program may be requested by emailing contact information and a brief description of the products and company to xboxtlsm@microsoft.com. Once your initial mail is received, if your proposal is of interest, you will be contacted.

Developers will be required to execute a non-disclosure agreement with Microsoft® prior to being considered for the program. Following review and acceptance of a submission form, selected applicants will be sent a license agreement, which must be executed before access to the development hardware and software can be granted.
If you're a middleware developer, you have to have a license agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft has to want to offer you a license agreeement.

It's all there, word for word. Sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:14 AM on April 16, 2010


How to print from an iPad.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:53 AM on April 16, 2010


I'll take the latter

I think I'm really going to want the 3rd or 4th revision of the iPad.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:55 AM on April 16, 2010


That's a damn neat device kafziel! Thx.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:19 AM on April 16, 2010


FFF: consider ten hours battery life, with many ports and slots and choice of OS, for a couple hundred less.

And a whole raft of glitches and weirdness and what seems like downright poor design! http://www.linuxjournal.com/magazine/review-always-innovating-touchbook.

But it's the only review of that product I can find from this year - and their website says backorders are shipping in about two months - so I'd say save your money.
posted by rtha at 9:20 AM on April 16, 2010


Oops. Sorry for the naked link, which is the same as the "glitches and weirdness" link. Better get more coffee.
posted by rtha at 9:21 AM on April 16, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "If you're a middleware developer, you have to have a license agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft has to want to offer you a license agreeement.

It's all there, word for word. Sorry.
"

Thank you for showing your blatant misunderstanding. Please explain how that agreement prevents a game developer from using whatever tools they desire to develop their game (hint: that agreement is not what game developers sign). For extra credit, please explain how an unrelated third party providing code to a licensed developer can be required to enter into any agreement whatsoever with Microsoft, barring terms in the agreement game developers sign stating that they may only use code provided by licensed middleware providers.

Further, please explain why it is you refuse to engage on the point actually apopros to the iPad and iPhone, which is that no other tablet or smartphone has such onerous requirements. I would prefer to think it's not because you're being disingenuous in pushing this canard about game consoles.

Thank you, Mr. Pileon.
posted by wierdo at 11:27 AM on April 16, 2010


While I am not Herr Pileon and do not really agree 100% with him, on this point:

no other tablet or smartphone has such onerous requirements.

That's because software on all other tablets and smartphones sucks balls. At any rate, Apple is under no obligation to do what Microsoft, Palm or RIM have done with their 3rd party development ecosystem and, empirically based on their success, Apple is probably well advised to do the exact opposite of what those guys do.

Which doesn't mean their T's & C's don't suck, but there's no requirement to be the same as anyone else's.
posted by GuyZero at 11:45 AM on April 16, 2010


GuyZero wrote: "That's because software on all other tablets and smartphones sucks balls."

I strongly suggest you use some of the software available for other smartphones and tablets before making such blanket statements. ;)

My N900 has what may be the best in class social network integration built into the phone, plus a couple of third party applications and plugins that make that integration even better. Symbian has available what is probably the best social networking application on any platform, period (Gravity), as well as one of the best third party mobile email clients. (Profimail, also available for Windows Mobile)

Either way, that has exactly zero bearing on the fact that Apple is the only one doing this, and there's no contorted justification along the lines of "see, these other people do it too!" available without invoking a completely different market.
posted by wierdo at 11:54 AM on April 16, 2010


I strongly suggest you use some of the software available for other smartphones and tablets before making such blanket statements. ;)

I think part of the allure of Apple's stuff is that people don't have to shop around and try several options.

And I tried to look at other tablets, but there doesn't seem to be any others in town.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:01 PM on April 16, 2010




wierdo: have you done any N900 development? Not asking for purposes in the ongoing do-Apple's-terms-suck argument, I'm just wondering if you find it at all amenable. I've heard if you can write GTK apps in C or Java targeting their mini JVM, it should all seem familiar...
posted by weston at 12:42 PM on April 16, 2010


probably the best social networking application on any platform, period (Gravity) ...
You mean this? I'll see you that and raise you Tweetie (and I don't even think that's the best social networking application, either probably or period). Profimail is this and you put it against this?

Yeah, these really aren't making your case for you here. Part of it is the old feature-comparison-checklist-point-missing, which leads to the iPod sucking because it has less space than a Nomad and Rubin Vase situations where Emacs is simultaneously the best and worst text editor in the world.

The situation's been changing a bit since the iPhone and pre launched, but even mostly still now, GuyZero's right: smartphone and tablet software sucks balls. Watching it grow has been like listening to the talking dog. You're impressed that it's done at all, but by god it's a relief when you get to have a real conversation.
posted by bonaldi at 12:43 PM on April 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


Profimail serious should the email size in kilobytes on the main screen? You need some better examples indeed. Profimail is a textbook example of how a mobile mail client should not be written, that is, to try to look exactly like a teeny-tiny version of Outlook.
posted by GuyZero at 12:52 PM on April 16, 2010


Also, Scratch pulled from iPad store. Prefectly predictable and within the term of Apple's contracts but a total drag. Scratch is a great learning environment for kids and perfect for the iPad. No one is going to build a competing app store in Scratch. But it's gone. Boo.
posted by GuyZero at 2:04 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


What is Scratch? is it a hypercard for kids kind of thing? if so that's a great shame.
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on April 16, 2010


weston wrote: "wierdo: have you done any N900 development? Not asking for purposes in the ongoing do-Apple's-terms-suck argument, I'm just wondering if you find it at all amenable. I've heard if you can write GTK apps in C or Java targeting their mini JVM, it should all seem familiar..."

If you're familiar with GTK or Qt on a desktop, it's pretty similar. You have to use the hildon widgets, but it works reasonably well. I usually end up writing things in python these days, which also works pretty well on the N900. It's not at all like using Avkon on S60, which is just completely wackjob, since it was designed before C++ got all the stuff that makes it modern.

GuyZero wrote: "Profimail serious should the email size in kilobytes on the main screen? You need some better examples indeed. Profimail is a textbook example of how a mobile mail client should not be written, that is, to try to look exactly like a teeny-tiny version of Outlook."

You ought not knock it until you've actually used it (it is free for 30 days on all platforms it supports, AFAIK). It's rather efficient on screen space and is very functional. And yes, bonaldi, it is better than the built-in iPhone client, which sucks balls for actually doing anything. It does look somewhat nicer, though.

As far as Gravity goes, it does a lot more than just Twitter. Again, you ought not knock it until you've tried it. Tweetie doesn't compare, IMO. (I don't own an iPhone, but I've used my friends' and clients' enough to get a good feel for it) Screenshots are useless for any real comparison, although I prefer the look of Gravity to the i* weirdness. That's personal preference, though.

As far as other tablets go, you've got Archos, if you want something the size of an iPad, the Nokia N8xx (and the much smaller N900), and several others I can't force my brain to recall at the moment. N800/810 are getting long in the tooth by now, though. OMAP 2420 is slow. :(
posted by wierdo at 3:06 PM on April 16, 2010


I should have mentioned that my point wasn't to argue that one platform's applications are better than another's, only that it's categorically untrue that every platform other than the iPhone has only shit for apps as was claimed by GuyZero. Whether a person prefers Tweetie or whatever to Gravity isn't really relevant, only that high quality apps such as Gravity and Profimail exist on other platforms.
posted by wierdo at 3:08 PM on April 16, 2010


it's categorically untrue that every platform other than the iPhone has only shit for apps as was claimed by GuyZero

I'm so happy you're targeting someone else with your nonsense, who would probably otherwise be amenable to a reasoned discussion with you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:26 PM on April 16, 2010


I think it's possible to have a legitimate difference of opinion over whether Gravity and Profimail constitute "high quality" apps or not.
posted by GuyZero at 3:26 PM on April 16, 2010


GuyZero wrote: "I think it's possible to have a legitimate difference of opinion over whether Gravity and Profimail constitute "high quality" apps or not."

I'm just saying that this is an unjustified blanket statement:
That's because software on all other tablets and smartphones sucks balls.
posted by wierdo at 4:21 PM on April 16, 2010


If you're familiar with GTK or Qt on a desktop, it's pretty similar. You have to use the hildon widgets, but it works reasonably well. I usually end up writing things in python these days, which also works pretty well on the N900.

Nice to know Python's an option as well as C. Are other scripting languages available?

What is Scratch? is it a hypercard for kids kind of thing?

It's like a cross between paint, hypercard, and virtual legos. It's pretty great: the kids I've shown it to always find something to do with it.

I'm sure a lot of people won't care, and I know this is totally subjective, but banning Scratch is big for me from a symbolic standpoint, probably as big as my other gripe about banning upstream tools. I think I'm beginning to get at least one aspect of the argument about Apple's devices not having a self-hosted toolchain. It's not that I care personally at this point in my life whether I have to use another machine to target a given device. But I do wonder what my experience with computers might have been like if the first machines I had experiences with as a kid didn't have something BASIC like on them. Scratch is very much in that spirit, and a platform that doesn't have room for it or something very much like it is missing some of the soul of magic at heart of computing.
posted by weston at 4:23 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, that is a bummer then.

Kind of underlines the "it's not a PC it's an appliance/giant media player" thing.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on April 16, 2010


Kind of underlines the "it's not a PC it's an appliance/giant media player" thing.

Jobs himself said the iPad wasn't a netbook.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:27 PM on April 16, 2010


I think he sort of implied and/or said that it was better than a netbook.
posted by GuyZero at 5:29 PM on April 16, 2010


It *is* better than a netbook, if you want a media consumption device and some casual websurfing.
posted by Artw at 5:40 PM on April 16, 2010


Oh noes. Now Android is being called most evil. "Android is the best example of how a company can use open source to build up interest and community participation, while running a very tight commercial model."
posted by five fresh fish at 6:05 PM on April 16, 2010




Now Android is being called most evil.

That guy is an idiot. I don't think he's ever worked on a large open source project. Google does not make it easy for manufacturers to make their handsets without working with google. That doesn't mean that they can't, and that doesn't mean that Google doesn't allow anybody to install anything they want on their own phones.

I don't know what he thinks google should do, other than stop developing Android themselves.

1. Private branches. There are multiple, private codelines available to selected partners (typically the OEM working on an Android project) on a need-to-know basis only. The private codelines are an estimated 6+ months ahead of the public SDK and therefore essential for an OEM to stay competitive. The main motivation for the public SDK is to introduce the latest features (those stemming from private branches) into third party apps.

So what? The source that is available is open source and you can do what you want with it.

2. Closed review process. All code reviewers work for Google, meaning that Google is the only authority that can accept or reject a code submission from the community. There is also a rampant NIH (not invented here) culture inside Google that assumes code written by Googlers is second to none. Ask anyone who’s tried to contribute a patch to Android and you hear the same story: very few contributions get in and often no reason is offered on rejection.

How easy is it to get code committed to the linux kernal?

3. Speed of evolution. Google innovates the Android platform at a speed that’s unprecedented for the mobile industry, releasing 4 major updates (1.6 to 2.1) in 18 months. OEMs wanting to build on Android have no choice but to stay close to Google so as not to lose on new features/bug fixes released. The Nexus One, Motorola Droid, HTC G1 and other Experience handsets serve the purpose of innovation testbeds for Google.

This is bad?

4. Incomplete software. The public SDK is by no means sufficient to build a handset. Key building blocks missing are radio integration, international language packs, operator packs – and of course Google’s closed source apps like Market, Gmail and GTalk. There are a few custom ROM builders with a full Android stack like the Cyanogen distribution, but these include binaries that are not licensed for distribution in commercial handsets.

Okay, write your own and replace it. No one is stopping you.

5. Gated developer community. Android Market is the exclusive distribution and discovery channel for the 40,000+ apps created by developers; and is available to phone manufacturers on separate agreement. This is one of the strongest control points as no OEM would dare produce a handset that doesn’t tap into the Android Market (perhaps with the exception of DECT phones, picture frames, in-car terminals or other exotic uses of Android). However, one should acknowledge that Android’s acceptance process for Market apps is liberal as it gets – and the complete antithesis of the Apple vetting process for apps.

It's not gated. You don't even need to use the android app store to distribute your app.

and so on. Every one of his concerns is bullshit, and moreover, iphone is worse in every case. Good luck downloading the source to the iPhone OS.
posted by empath at 7:01 PM on April 16, 2010


What the hell, Mono? Executables an order of magnitude larger than the equivalent done using the now-mandated Apple toolchain?

No wonder Apple laid down the law. Their devices are very low memory. Loading a Mono app kicks out a ton of other apps. Degraded user experience for the benefit of the developer.

Or so goes my wild-ass guess as to why a Mono toolchain would annoy Apple.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:14 PM on April 16, 2010


I think he sort of implied and/or said that it was better than a netbook

He said the iPad is not a netbook, categorically, and mentioned some of the things he argued were better on an iPad.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:22 PM on April 16, 2010


I pretty much agree with this guy. Apple isn't a monopoly by a looooong shot. There are scads of devices coming to market — the Dell tablet I saw on Engadget today made me drool. If it gives a smoooooove user experience, like the iPad apparently does, then that's gonna be a lust-worthy bit of gadget.

A golden cage, where there are developers making a million a month. Nice work if you can get it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:40 PM on April 16, 2010


"The problem is netbooks aren't better at anything. They … they're slow, they have low quality displays, and they run clunky old PC software. So, they're not better than a laptop at anything—they're just cheaper. "
posted by Artw at 9:42 PM on April 16, 2010


Oh, for a delete button. I only read to here (foolish fish!):
I) A nearly-total monopoly on computer (and pocket computer) systems designed with good taste.
II) A total monopoly on the Microsoft-free, hassle-free personal computer.
Which I agree with. He then kicks into rant mode, and essentially goes off the rails.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:43 PM on April 16, 2010


Good luck downloading the source to the iPhone OS.

I'm pretty sure it's built upon the Darwin kernel, the source for which Apple makes available. Some other components are also available.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:52 PM on April 16, 2010


Here's Darwin, if you're interested. I don't know if it's ready to build for ARM or not, but I'd be curious to know if people are doing it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:13 PM on April 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, they're not better than a laptop at anything—they're just cheaper.

"Let them eat cake" and all that. The difference between $250 and $500 is the difference between buying or not for lots of people I know (including me). Price points are really important at the low end. Though I shouldn't be surprised that a multi-billionaire doesn't think $250 is a big deal.
posted by bonehead at 5:49 AM on April 17, 2010


Darwin isn't even close to either osx or the iphone OS.
posted by empath at 5:56 AM on April 17, 2010


Darwin isn't even close to either osx or the iphone OS.

That would be like saying Linux isn't even close to Ubuntu or RHL, which isn't true of course. But I get that some people need to disagree with me no matter what I say, so whatever.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:36 PM on April 17, 2010


Uh, no, it's like saying that you can't run iphone or osx software on darwin at all. Darwin is just the kermal, it's not an operating system.
posted by empath at 4:42 PM on April 17, 2010


Incorrect: Darwin is an operating system built around various bits and pieces, and there is a kernel that shares the same name. You can boot up a machine with Darwin. Among a few other things it is missing the Quartz windowing system that gives you all the GUI sugar, but otherwise you can do a fair amount with it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:57 PM on April 17, 2010


The important thing you can't do with it is run OSX or iPhone software.

Whereas you can install and run android software with android's open source right now. The open source stuff is missing some hardware support, but if you have the right phone, you can build it and install it right now and start running regular android software on it. You can't do that with darwin.

Sure you can run BSD software with darwin, but that is kind of beside the point.
posted by empath at 5:02 PM on April 17, 2010


Played with an iPad again in Best Buy. Ed, the Apple rep, said they were completely sold out of every model, nothing new until Tues or Wed. Otherwise, the four display units have been occupied non stop except for about 2 times this past week. When I pressed him for more sales info, he paused, looked at me a bit more closely and just said "We're very, very happy with how they've been moving."

Funny note, my wife was with me and started to try it out until the onscreen keyboard came and she said "Oh, fuck no, that kills it for me right there." I'm totally tempted to buy one now, since it sounds like I wouldn't have to share.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:36 PM on April 17, 2010






8 Tablets That Aren’t Made by Apple?

Darwin isn't even close to either osx or the iphone OS.

That would be like saying Linux isn't even close to Ubuntu or RHL, which isn't true of course.


It depends on what you mean by the latter statement. If you mean that your basic unix kernel + system + userland isn't close to the complete package including higher layers which give you the desktop and applications generally associated with a distribution like Ubuntu these days, then that seems pretty true.

In other words, saying "Darwin is just the kernel" may be technically incorrect, for precise definitions of "kernel," but it's quite true that Darwin on its own is missing enough from the OS X / iPhone OS stack that saying it "isn't even close to either osx or the iphone OS" is pretty accurate.
posted by weston at 6:20 PM on April 17, 2010


Norway PM runs country by iPad.

There's an app for that?

/obligatory
posted by weston at 6:21 PM on April 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


8 Tablets That Aren’t Made by Apple

Notice how much vaporware and crap it took to round that list of tablets out to 8. And once again, a tablet PC running Windows 7, which is apparently what HP's "iPad killer" is going to be, is not doing what the iPad does. There's no reshifting of the user experience in that — it's just a frustrating laptop without a keyboard.
posted by argybarg at 8:29 AM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


For me, I suspect the iPad is a frustrating laptop without a keyboard, but I'm going to have to go to the store and play with it for a while to see.

On another note, as someone who uses a computer 10 hours a day, I live in fear of RSI injuries, and I wonder if the risk is higher with touch screen devices?
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:52 AM on April 18, 2010


Notice how much vaporware and crap it took to round that list of tablets out to 8

Boy, do I. As cranky as I am about the license terms and other walls around the garden, it seems to me nobody else is really making a competing device yet. I might even be able to live with the usual oh-hai-we-just-brought-the-standard-desktop-ui-over-why-would-that-be-a-problem kind of mistakes, but not with battery life that's in the neighborhood of my full-sized laptop and stuff that's just flat-out buggy. And maybe it turn out that the Notion Ink or the final form of Google's vaporware are great, but in the meanwhile, Apple's going to sell a million of these things and define the market, because whatever other failings they may have, the Apple of today seems to be one of the few companies that can look into the future a bit and execute.

For me, I suspect the iPad is a frustrating laptop without a keyboard

I spent some time in a local Apple store Friday before last. I tried touch typing (and touch typing with some marginal look-cheating) with the iPad at an incline. It's basically serviceable -- naturally faster than hunt-and-peck on an iphone -- but awkward enough that it's probably not sustainable for any volume of text. I had one of the sales guys bring out a bluetooth keyboard and we paired it with one of the iPads. Worked great, that was a setup I could probably type on for a long time. The one complaint... I feel like selecting text to replace/rework using the touchscreen was a little awkward. Not sure if that's just something I'd get used to or not, but I'd guess that anybody doing serious typing would want to have a key-driven editor.
posted by weston at 12:28 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Today's my birthday, and my wonderful spouse bought me an iPad, and my terrific teens gifted me with apps for it, and I am having a ball exploring everything it can do!

So far, it's just a delightfully large iPhone, with all my games and apps and photos, but I've also downloaded the free ebook player and plan to try out a little typing on it to see how that goes.
posted by misha at 6:01 PM on April 18, 2010


Happy birthday Misha!

Can I use it now?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:50 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Adobe slips mobile Flash Player 10.1 to second half of 2010

After mounting an intense attack on Apple for not supporting Flash on its iPhone OS mobile devices, Adobe has admitted that it will not be able to ship its promised Flash Player 10.1 for mobile platforms until the second half of the year.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:00 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Adobe's inability to ship Flash Player 10.1 on schedule means that the company's current 0% share of the mobile market will continue through the second half of the year.

okay, i did laugh at this.
posted by empath at 9:12 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


You've got to be kidding me. They just shipped CS5, updating 14 products and there's still no Flash Mobile 10.1? Adobe doesn't have leg to stand on here and Apple has to be saying "Thank God" for unhitching their wagon from that bloated and slow horse.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:10 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clearly they should have redirected the team working on targeting Apple's runtime to getting their own out the door.

Also: "I think it's safe to say that MacOS is more source-code-compatible with NextStep than the iPhone is with MacOS."
posted by weston at 9:07 AM on April 19, 2010


I'd figure that would be expected, as the Mac and Next computers were both computers, whereas the iPhone is a phone.

Good point in the comments on that jwz post about the OpenGL complaints not really being valid, either.

I understand his frustration because everyone wants their code to just work on other platforms without rewriting, but was this promise ever made?
posted by ignignokt at 10:23 AM on April 19, 2010


Part of the problem with being spoiled for choice is nowhere is there documentation -- that I would have dearly loved to find when I was just starting to learn this stuff -- that says things like, "look, you really don't want to use anything beginning with NS, just use the CG ones, that's the maximally-compatible way." It's damned near impossible to even find statements like, "CG-based stuff will work on 10.3-present, and CG is officially not-yet-deprecated so you've got a least a few more releases before you'll be expected to rewrite it all."

Dude, look at the header files, for cryin' out loud:
/* Return the alpha component associated with `color'. */

CG_EXTERN CGFloat CGColorGetAlpha(CGColorRef color)
  CG_AVAILABLE_STARTING(__MAC_10_3, __IPHONE_2_0);
Come on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:39 AM on April 19, 2010




Yeah, AT&T sucks. Verizon is just as bad, still selling phones with old OS versions and charging for Android OS patches.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:59 PM on April 19, 2010


Well, in fairness to Verizon the OS update issue is the fault of the handset manufacturers. When given an OS update, like for the Droid, they tend to release it reasonably quickly. The issue of handsets stuck on Cupcake or Donut is not the fault of the carrier.
posted by GuyZero at 2:03 PM on April 19, 2010


That's not magical and revolutionary.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:05 PM on April 19, 2010


Also, that linked article doesn't jibe with my knowledge of the situation - I don't have any idea what what they're charging cupcake users $10 a month for. You can upgrade Google Maps on Donut to get turn-by-turn, maybe it works with cupcake too, but there's no charge for that. I think that element of the article is really wrong.
posted by GuyZero at 2:07 PM on April 19, 2010


Android actively courting developers
posted by Artw at 4:51 PM on April 19, 2010


SproutCore debuts new HTML5 web development tools

(It's written in Applese so you'll have to forgive all the bitter sniping at Flash)
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on April 19, 2010


Flash Player 10.1 and Adobe AIR Betas for Android - Look! Flash! On a phone! And it;s not exploding or melting or anything!
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on April 19, 2010


It doesn't make me magical inside.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:53 PM on April 19, 2010


Adobe is a day late and a dollar short. Flash is dead code walking.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:06 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flash is dead code walking.

That sort of confident statement is so strange to me. I'm a Flash developer, but I'm not here to argue "You're wrong! Flash rules!" Flash may very well die. On the other hand, there's so much Flash development work happening these days, there are not enough developers to fill all the jobs. Flash developers can basically name their price.

Right now, my job feels extremely secure. Still, even though I am well paid and I see, every day, desperate people trying to hire Flash developers, STILL I am not going to argue with your statement -- except with the confidence with which you make it.

I do know that there are some forces that may, eventually kill Flash. (I'm not particularly worried about that happening. If it does, I'll become and HTML5 developer or a whatever developer.) I also know that Adobe is aggressively developing Flash. So who knows?

Or is this that game people play where you debate some technology and everyone pretends they can see into the future. I totally don't get that game.
posted by grumblebee at 6:21 PM on April 19, 2010


I don't think Flash is dead, the technology is too useful, but it's days as the defacto standard on the web are possibly, possibly numbered. Which is fine by me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:40 PM on April 19, 2010


I can't see it avoiding being replaced by JS, SVG, HTML5, etc. There are too many very big interests that no longer want to be bound by others' code.

BTW, folks, be careful about Craigslist iPads. lolish, nsfwish.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:49 PM on April 19, 2010


Regardless of the shape the future will take, it's inarguable fact that a large portion of the web relies on Flash now. Any putative web device that doesn't support it is simply crippled. Google and RIM and such are no more innocent than Apple in this regard, but at least they're taking efforts to un-cripple their phones.
posted by kafziel at 7:05 PM on April 19, 2010


I can't see it avoiding being replaced by JS, SVG, HTML5, etc.

Despite my job, I would love to see this happen. But I suspect it's not going to be an easy road. We have the sticky issue of cross-browser support. Yes, I know things are getting much better in that regard. Still, most of my clients what to know that things will DEFINITELY be the same in all browsers. Of course, there are no definites, but Flash gets you closer to that goal right now. And I'm not convinced that we're just a year away from the time when conservative corporations will trust HTML-app browser compatibility.

As long as each browser is made by a different company, there's always the risk of forks in the (DOM or whatever) road. Flash sucks in many ways, but it has the advantage of being made by one company (which is also its disadvantage), so it bypasses that problem.

Hopefully, we'll get to a idyllic state where you can really develop for all browsers -- and get the exact same results -- using open-source technologies. But the longer it takes to get to that nirvana, the longer Adobe has to strategize. What they've done in the past (quite successfully, even as they've gloriously failed at other things) is to watch what's happening with HTML, listen to people complain about what it can't do that they want it to do, and quickly implement it in the Flash Player. (Hint: take a look at CS5's text-rendering engine. I don't want to switch to HTML5 until HTML5 can do what Flash text can do.)

If Adobe does something outside of the box, like give developers access to the system microphone, then clients start expecting that. So we need HTML5 to be able to do all the wacky stuff that Flash does. If it doesn't, there will at least be some room in the playground for Flash.

I do think HTML5 (etc.) is a significant force, so I definitely wouldn't bet the Farm on Flash. But I wouldn't count it out, either. The next few years should be an interesting (and often frustrating) ride.

What's most horrifying now is that JUST when we were getting to a semi-unified place -- where pretty much everyone had the Flash Player and most browsers were converging on standards for HTML, CSS, etc., we are right back where we used to be. Companies are now asking developers to make multiple versions of everything: one for the iPhone, one for the browser, etc.

My prediction is that this mess will wax and wane in a cyclical pattern. When there are fractured standards, consumers and developers will get pissed off, and so companies will gradually agree to adhere to a unified API. But then one or two of those companies will get antsy waiting for the rest to move forward, and so they'll implement some non-standard features. That will lead to competition, with everyone trying to out-feature each other, until consumers and developers get pissed off again and the companies, once again, agree to standards. Rinse and repeat.
posted by grumblebee at 7:07 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Define crippled. I get along just fine without Flash on my iTouch. Most of the time, I'm happy to not see it on the web, but love it for movie sites, they usually do a good job of using it well.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 PM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Define crippled. I get along just fine without Flash on my iTouch. Most of the time, I'm happy to not see it on the web, but love it for movie sites, they usually do a good job of using it well."

Crippled(adj): forced to develop thousands of standalone applications to compensate for what's freely available in massive quantities on the web.
posted by mullingitover at 7:29 PM on April 19, 2010


What percentage of cell phones and other mobile devices support Flash? Don't mobile devices count for the majority of web use yet?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:37 PM on April 19, 2010


fff: "Don't mobile devices count for the majority of web use yet?"

Not even close. Mobile web traffic is barely cracking 1%.

Apple's market share is in decline, and with Android phones getting Flash they're really going to be feeling the heat. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if next year's iPhone supports Flash too.
posted by mullingitover at 7:57 PM on April 19, 2010


weston wrote: "Are other scripting languages available? "

Yes and no. You can use whatever scripting language you like. There are a lot of them out there with Qt and Gtk bindings (perl, ruby, etc.), but they're not supported. You'd have to do the work to hildonize (or mobilize, in the case of Qt) the bindings for your particular language.

One reason I like working with the N900 so much is that it uses almost entirely off-the-shelf technologies. (X, DBus, and so on) You can compile just about anything for it and make it work to some degree or another.

Blazecock Pileon wrote: "That would be like saying Linux isn't even close to Ubuntu or RHL"

From the end user's experience, running the Linux kernel and a few of the GNU userspace tools without X is not even close to running Ubuntu.

empath wrote: "Adobe's inability to ship Flash Player 10.1 on schedule means that the company's current 0% share of the mobile market will continue through the second half of the year.

okay, i did laugh at this.
"

I did, too. It's like the Apple sites just can't grasp the fact that there are literally more Flash-supporting smartphones on planet earth than all the Apple mobile devices put together. Whether that support is shitty or not shitty isn't really important, only that it is there and certain people refuse to admit it even though it's easily verifiable.
posted by wierdo at 7:59 PM on April 19, 2010


BTW, folks, be careful about Craigslist iPads. lolish, nsfwish.

Okay, that was hilarious.

Crippled(adj): forced to develop thousands of standalone applications to compensate for what's freely available in massive quantities on the web.

What, like Flash ads that bump up the CPU usage to 90%? I can do without that kind of crippling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:33 PM on April 19, 2010


Tthe sticky issue of cross-browser support.

I don't get a striong impression that it's much of a priority for many of the HTML5 boosters out there... many of them seem to be actively in favour of Browser Wars 2.0 - soemthing taht as a Web Developer whose waded through more than my fair share f the fallout from that sort of thing depresses me a little.
posted by Artw at 9:38 PM on April 19, 2010


What, like Flash ads that bump up the CPU usage to 90%? I can do without that kind of crippling.

The funny thing about non-Apple hardware running non-Apple OSes is that Flash ads don't do that. Wonder why that is.
posted by kafziel at 10:50 PM on April 19, 2010


"What, like Flash ads that bump up the CPU usage to 90%? I can do without that kind of crippling."

Me too. Even regular image banners suck. Why not install AdBlock and get rid of ads entirely? (checks app store) Hm looks like Apple decided we can't have it.
posted by mullingitover at 10:55 PM on April 19, 2010


The funny thing about non-Apple hardware running non-Apple OSes is that Flash ads don't do that. Wonder why that is.

It is because Adobe can't write any software well for any platform except for Windows. If they want to make low-quality software, that's fine and their choice, but I don't think the rest of us should be forced to use it just to preserve their bottom line.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 PM on April 19, 2010


Crippled(adj): forced to develop thousands of standalone applications to compensate for what's freely available in massive quantities on the web.

No one is forced to make any sort of App, most choose to with the idea of making money, so you definition really doesn't work. As "massive quantities on the web", that's nice but there's still no Doodle Jump or Glyder...holy shit, there's a Glyder 2! Gotta go!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:36 AM on April 20, 2010


Ars Technica reviews iWork on the iPad.

My takeaways---from a "getting-shit-done" perspective, as opposed reader-watcher-listener perspective: The whole file transfer thing looks pretty blecherous; not being able to turn around PPT or XLS formats in mail makes no sense; the accessory keyboard doesn't have arrow keys which makes editing a pain; presentations are limited in display size; spreadsheets turn out to be hard to control with a touchscreen, but they've made some really interesting choces with the input controls. Most of these look like typical first-system weirdnesses (like the DHCP problems); I expect many will be fixed for iPad 2.0.

The only concern that looks like a structural design flaw is document management. iTunes isn't a great tool for manipulating collecections of non-media. As they say in the review, it's not a great choice as a Finder replacement. Apple is going to have to address this in the long term, I think. The whole storage model on the iPad needs to be thought out better.
posted by bonehead at 7:20 AM on April 20, 2010


Steve Jobs making comments about Android and Porn again - is he usually this much of a dick? It seems like just recently a week doesn't go buy without him daying something douchey about developers or other companies.
posted by Artw at 7:25 AM on April 20, 2010


Steve Jobs making comments about Android and Porn again

Is this supposed to make people less likely to buy an Android?
posted by empath at 8:53 AM on April 20, 2010


It is because Adobe can't write any software well for any platform except for Windows.

And Linux. And Android phones. And Blackberries. Really, any platform except Apple's.

See, this is what we're talking about. The blinders you wear, that cannot allow you to see Apple in any kind of negative light. Flash works fine on every product except Apple's products, and your interpretation of that fact is that Adobe just must not be good enough for Apple. Not that maybe, just maybe, the problem here lies with Apple.

If I eat garlic with every meal, I'm not going to think I've suddenly gotten allergic to garlic if some garlic shrimp make me sick. It's irrational. More likely than not, the shrimp were no good.
posted by kafziel at 9:12 AM on April 20, 2010


And that, bonehead, is why one doesn't buy the first-gen product!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:57 AM on April 20, 2010


Flash for Linux sucks — my work browser crashes often when it hits Flash content. A recent demo of Mobile Flash on Android was slow and chopped the battery life in half.

Not that maybe, just maybe, the problem here lies with Apple.

Adobe has had several years to fix these long-standing issues with its product. Apple even made it easy by moving to Intel chipsets. It's not just Flash, either. It was at least two generations of CS suites before Adobe migrated its core apps to Intel for Mac.

It's not Apple's fault that Adobe doesn't want to compete.

It would be awesome if Apple haters stop making excuses and start putting the blame where it belongs: on Adobe, for putting out garbage and expecting people to shut up and use it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:57 AM on April 20, 2010


Keep in mind that these are the same people who use Windows. They're quite accustomed to using garbage without feeling put upon.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 AM on April 20, 2010


Flash works fine on every product except Apple's products, and your interpretation of that fact is that Adobe just must not be good enough for Apple. Not that maybe, just maybe, the problem here lies with Apple.

Nah, it's more like Adobe finally got around to doing something about the problem, though they're vague as who's fault, theirs or Apple's, it is. But considering Adobe's sometimes erratic support of the Mac with i's Creative Suite (no Mac OS X version of Framemaker, no Mac version of Livecyle Designer, porting Windows GUI elements to the Mac CS4 version etc), I'm inclined to think it's Adobe looking squarely at its bottom line and deciding to do as least as possible for the Mac, cause it has lower market share. I can dig it, see how it makes sense from their perspective, but conversely, don't come crying to me, a Mac owner, when you've let your product give shitty performance and I'm quit willing to buy hardware (iPhones, etc) that doesn't run said product and in fact, kind of count it as a plus.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:51 AM on April 20, 2010


!Apple <> Windows. Sheesh.

(Also, for what it's worth, Adobe says no delays to Flash 10.1, CEO was just talking hardware.)
posted by kmz at 10:56 AM on April 20, 2010


So, de-railing but still in the "What you need to know about the iPad" vein, the Scrabble app is awesome and I'm enjoying it as a photo viewer so far. Also, for some reason it is wicked fast updating my mail compared to the iphone, and I have the latest iphone, so I'm surprised.

I'd like to check out some movies on it, but I'm worried that the image will just be "stretched" since the ones in the App store aren't made specifically for the iPad. Is this foolish of me or a valid concern?
posted by misha at 11:13 AM on April 20, 2010


Mac & the iPad, History Repeats Itself
The first iteration of any new Apple product brought to market by Steve tends to look, at the onset, somewhat primitive. The iPhone, for example, was lacking such basics as cut-and-paste, the ability to search for a contact, and sported only a tiny handful of apps with none others available. The original Mac, likewise, shipped with a memo maker, a drawing program, and a painting program. Few others existed at launch.
--- Bruce Tognazzini (original interface designer for the Mac)
posted by bonehead at 12:54 PM on April 20, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "Flash for Linux sucks — my work browser crashes often when it hits Flash content"

I can see somebody is using 32 bit Flash with 64 bit Firefox. Well, let me take that back. Since Flash 9, I have never had Flash crash my browser on Linux. It would sometimes not work, with only inky blackness where flash content should be, or no audio, or any number of other issues, but it never crashed my browser.

Once I went back to only running 32 bit flash on a 32 bit system (or 64 bit flash on the 64 bit system), it has worked much better. In this case, the problem is the wrapper that allows you to use the wrong Flash for your system. I guess it was better than no 64 bit Flash at all, but now that 64 bit Flash is available, using the plugin wrapper is just looking for trouble.

And since I just ran into this issue today, and it relates to the iPhone OS: What kind of idiot designed a phone that can't be fully backed up? Apple, you really think it's acceptable to only back up mail settings and not the email itself?
posted by wierdo at 1:01 PM on April 20, 2010


Oh, and BP, good show. You did an excellent job of redirecting the discussion from Apple's unconscionable developer agreement to the completely irrelevant merits of Flash. There are politicians that would pay you a mint to go work for them.
posted by wierdo at 1:04 PM on April 20, 2010


You did an excellent job of redirecting the discussion from Apple's unconscionable developer agreement to the completely irrelevant merits of Flash.

One of the main, oft-unspoken reasons there is this agreement in the first place is because major developers like Adobe have proved themselves functionally incapable of delivering quality product for anything but Windows. Everything else they deliver is vaporware or excuses. Enough already.

There are politicians that would pay you a mint to go work for them.

I noticed you totally sidestepped my mention of the recent Mobile Flash demo on Android, as well as my points on CS suite behind a few versions behind for the Mac desktop. As tightly controlled as the new terms are, I don't blame Apple at all for dealing with this serious problem in a serious, no-nonsense way.

Apple is declaring in no uncertain terms that, if you want to write for the iPhone and iPad, make quality, first-class product or go peddle your shit to the suckers using something else. As both a user and developer I can totally get behind that philosophy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:13 PM on April 20, 2010


Apple is declaring in no uncertain terms that, if you want to write for the iPhone and iPad, make quality, first-class product or go peddle your shit to the suckers using something else.

Actually, I think Apple is saying "If you want to write software for the iPhone great, we'll cut you a sweet deal. But don't even think of creating something that'll potentially fuck with our time table, leave us hanging in the wind or tries to copy our shit. If you're not ok with that, go download some porn on an Android or just fuck off."

It's an interesting strategy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:22 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


make quality, first-class product or go peddle your shit to the suckers using something else

So Google Voice is shit peddled to suckers? Scratch?

No, their policy is that they make the trains run on time so STFU.
posted by GuyZero at 1:23 PM on April 20, 2010


Also, this Android porn thing is ridiculous. It's not like there aren't dozens of iPhone-optimized porn web sites out there. These Android pron apps are for people with a straw man fetish I think.
posted by GuyZero at 1:24 PM on April 20, 2010


Also, this Android porn thing is ridiculous.

Not if you're trying to sell to soccer moms!

Oh, Misha you should be fine, but that's just a guess on my part.. Download a music video if you're really worried, they're only $1.50, see how it plays.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:33 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think Tog's article above gets to the heart of the issue. Jobs (not Apple, Jobs himself) has very strong opinions on what the iPad expereince should be and Flash isn't part of it.

Jobs doesn’t like flash. It has a slow, clumsy, weird interface, and he’s elected to “cripple” his mobile devices to rid the industry of its dependence on it. --- Tog

Write programs Jobs' way, or they don't exist at all. Flash, Unity, toolkits, lisp, Python, Perl, Lua. This is first, last and always about control to produce a device that does what Jobs thinks it should do. The same deal as the Mac, but more so. It will be interesting to see if Apple can sustain this model, even with the early mover lead it now has. Things were not so sucessful last time.

I think the problem, as was with the original Mac, is that most people will find that they want to do stuff that Apple hasn't thought of and doesn't allow for with their (current) restrictions (eg share photos between a few different apps, say a presentation program and am image editor; move files onto the iPad from a flash drive/photo card, etc...). Considerations like this drove 90% of the market to Windows last time (early to mid 90s). Is Jobs doing it again?
posted by bonehead at 1:42 PM on April 20, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "Apple is declaring in no uncertain terms that, if you want to write for the iPhone and iPad, make quality, first-class product or go peddle your shit to the suckers using something else. "

I think the contents of the App Store are a pretty good rebuttal of your point.

Blazecock Pileon wrote: "I noticed you totally sidestepped my mention of the recent Mobile Flash demo on Android, as well as my points on CS suite behind a few versions behind for the Mac desktop."

Further obfuscation does not serve the discussion.

Blazecock Pileon wrote: "One of the main, oft-unspoken reasons there is this agreement in the first place is because major developers like Adobe have proved themselves functionally incapable of delivering quality product for anything but Windows."

Unfortunately for your argument, tools that help a developer develop applications are not end user products, so restricting what tools developers use is completely unrelated to the issue of developers writing crappy products for end users. Sort of like attacking Iraq in an attempt to find Osama bin Laden.
posted by wierdo at 2:31 PM on April 20, 2010


I think the contents of the App Store are a pretty good rebuttal of your point.

Really? You're really sure about that statement? The App Store is the major selling point of an iPhone, at least based on Apple's television commercials and the print ads in AT&T's storefront windows. People keep buying millions and millions of iPhones and buy more and more apps through the App Store. You sure you're not just disagreeing with me for the sake of disagreement?

Further obfuscation does not serve the discussion.

Further avoidance of several relevant, pertinent points does not serve the discussion, either.

restricting what tools developers use is completely unrelated to the issue of developers writing crappy products for end users

You must have completely missed the strangled blogging about the subject these last couple of weeks, from various Apple haters across the blogosphere.

The contention at the heart of this is, in fact, all about the quality of the products being made. Apple is saying that it wants developers to make their iPad/iPhone software offerings first-class, not watered down for every mobile device, and that developers need to use Apple tools to do this. Developers are saying they want to use their own tools so that they can sell their products everywhere, regardless of quality, because they know better than Apple about its own product.

Anyway, I'm repeating myself to someone who just wants to disagree with me for its own sake, which I'm just not bothered to continue. If you have an interesting and coherent argument to make about this stuff, please make it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:54 PM on April 20, 2010


The iPad will have only first class fart apps coded in objective C! All other fart apps are inferior!
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on April 20, 2010


"Fart app" trolling is boring, Artw. Find a better way to troll.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:04 PM on April 20, 2010


Make your bloody mind up on the party line you're selling us mate, are low quality apps a problem or are they not?
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on April 20, 2010




Anyone else getting the impression that Wired is decidedly less inclined to shill for them these days?
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on April 20, 2010


The App Store is the major selling point of an iPhone, at least based on Apple's television commercials and the print ads in AT&T's storefront windows.

The question is not whether there are good apps in the App Store—I don't think there's any question at all there, there are many very good apps (some of which built using middleware frameworks which are apparently now problematic because they're the sort of things that lead to...bad apps? It is a bit of a weird trick, that one). I don't think there's really disagreement on this point.

As I see it the pertinent question there is whether all the apps in the store are good. Or, really, because that should be an obvious "no", just based on the law of large numbers (185,000+ apps as of early April?) even without taking a look, and a concrete "no" with a little cursory nosing around, let's say instead the question is "what proportion of the apps in the store are good". Because the remainder is, in fact, people peddling shit to Apple's customers with Apple's signoff.

Which shouldn't be surprising or even upsetting: not every app is going to be great. Not every app is even going to be good. If the App Store claims otherwise, the App Store is selling a lien of bullshit and no savvy user let alone developer should be buying it. But so it goes: a lot of crap is going to get through.

So what's troubling about assertions that the license move is to keep crap off the platform is that, well, it won't work. It hasn't worked. The problem with software being crap isn't going to be solved by banning classes of development middleware.

I'm willing to nod at (even if I'm inclined in part to disagree with) more nuanced arguments that as a numbers game making proscriptions against certain kinds of development workflows will mitigate in some proportion the flow of bad software into the App Store to a degree that justifies the damage it will do to the erstwhile flow of good software from the same now-proscribed workflows, but that's a far cry from anything as satisfyingly simple as "[Apple] declaring in no uncertain terms that, if you want to write for the iPhone and iPad, make quality, first-class product or go peddle your shit to the suckers using something else."
posted by cortex at 3:18 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Find a better way to troll.

Please either stop objecting to having this word thrown at you or stop throwing it at other people.
posted by cortex at 3:19 PM on April 20, 2010


Please either stop objecting to having this word thrown at you or stop throwing it at other people.

I don't know, it seems to be okay for others to use pretty freely. It sounds like it's now okay to use.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:26 PM on April 20, 2010


Seriously, if you want to talk about this go ahead an email me or something, otherwise cut it the hell out.
posted by cortex at 3:30 PM on April 20, 2010


Okay, I sent you an email explaining my comment.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:41 PM on April 20, 2010


The problem with software being crap isn't going to be solved by banning classes of development middleware.

Until some time passes, it's not clear whether or not this will be true. I understand the argument, but it is speculation until we can see actual results.

And there's nothing about any of this precluding Apple from further tightening of restrictions on categories of applications, going back to culling so-called "fart apps" that a few people obsess over.

One long-standing and valid complaint from developers is how "flat" the App Store is, and how easy it is for one's product to get lost. So culling or giving less prominence to old and less useful commercial apps would probably be something most commercial developers would look forward to, on the whole.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:50 PM on April 20, 2010


A lot of the apps are apparently are prepackaged information in some programmatic wrapper. Something like 30,000+ "apps" are books (both commercial and Gutenberg-sourced) packaged with a reader. For a while apparently the highest volume contributors for "apps" were doing the eHow thing: tracking search queries then pastiching together the top few page from Google searches. Apple, to their credit dumped all the apps of one of these guys, over 4500 at the time, but apparently there are several "entrepreneurs" doing it.
posted by bonehead at 4:02 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Quarterly results were pretty impressive today.

Sure wish I'd bought Apple stock... well, pretty much any time.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:08 PM on April 20, 2010


Apple, to their credit dumped all the apps of one of these guys, over 4500 at the time, but apparently there are several "entrepreneurs" doing it.

I agree that this is a problem. Maybe when iBooks comes out for all the other devices (perhaps later this summer with the v4 firmware), there will be even fewer of these nuisance apps. But there's already Kindle, which allows access to free eBooks.

On the whole, there are a number of options for savvy users. I'm not sure how opening up the platform even more for developers would inherently solve this problem, without some kind of top-down editorial guidance from Apple that would get criticized for being heavy-handed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:10 PM on April 20, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "You sure you're not just disagreeing with me for the sake of disagreement?"

Yeah, I'm pretty sure. The App Store is full to the brim with substandard applications. There are some gems, also. It goes to show that the tools used to make the application have little bearing on the quality in the end.
posted by wierdo at 4:18 PM on April 20, 2010


iFart Mobile, Atomic Fart FREE, iFart - Atomic Fart, Fart Sounds, Fart Piano...
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on April 20, 2010


And what salient points regarding the Apple mobile devices have I ignored? You seem to think this is somehow about Adobe, which it is not. In the interest of correcting misinformation I have rebutted some of the factually inaccurate statements you made, because I'm pedantic like that.

What Adobe has or has not done on the Mac is completely irrelevant to the discussion. The complaint is that developers can't develop with whatever tools they like, not that Adobe can or can't write good applications. That you continue in your attempts to make the discussion about them only shows the weakness of any real argument you have. Surely if you had one, you'd use it instead.
posted by wierdo at 4:23 PM on April 20, 2010


Until some time passes, it's not clear whether or not this will be true. I understand the argument, but it is speculation until we can see actual results.

Agreed, but it's speculation both ways; there is zero guarantee that this is going to turn out to be a net win for anyone other than the folks at Apple who want to keep specific groups of devs out. That's what I find a little jarring about the argument, basically: it's a guess, backed up by incentives that don't seem to be clearly in my favor as either a user (capable of navigating around shitty apps on my own should they find their way into the store) or an aspiring developer (who may believe I can build a better app using some now-proscribed toolset than I can with just native tools). So it feels very muddled from where I'm standing, and I'm a pretty happy user of the hardware and software in general so it's not some kind of haterade thing. A lot of people who aren't anti-Apple zealots have concerns about this stuff.

One long-standing and valid complaint from developers is how "flat" the App Store is, and how easy it is for one's product to get lost. So culling or giving less prominence to old and less useful commercial apps would probably be something most commercial developers would look forward to, on the whole.

Culling crap qua crappiness seems like a good idea, and making the store more navigable is an excellent idea regardless, yeah. Again, though, that's not something that requires proscriptions about middleware, and neither proscribing middleware-built good apps (part of the result of the new policy) nor allowing crappy native-built apps (part of the result of the existing and continuing policy) is a direct approach to that problem.

...without some kind of top-down editorial guidance from Apple that would get criticized for being heavy-handed.

They already get criticized for the delays and arbitrarium of the existing app approval process, though, as far as I can tell. The shift to a clearer editorial stance may be received critically but not as much as it would be from one of the more open platforms. I suspect Apple could find a way to sell it pretty successfully; that's one of the things they often do well.

iFart Mobile, Atomic Fart FREE, iFart - Atomic Fart, Fart Sounds, Fart Piano...

Yes, there are a lot of fart apps. That's not even the crappiness I have in mind; if the fart app is soundly constructed, does what it says on the tin, and doesn't crash or leak memory or otherwise behave badly, merrily may it fart along.
posted by cortex at 4:31 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


and even Fart Piano has it’s fans…

FARTIN AWESOME!
***** by nutty Mario on Jun 8, 2009
This is a new version of the piano!!!! Choose from three different types of farts!! Wet, dry and sampler!!!!! Try to play Mozarts 5th with this piano !!!! Fool any sophisticated dork with this hilarious app!!!!!!!! BIG TIME LOL FOR ANY ONE!! Yes its crude, but it is my favorite app!


You hear that, sophisticated dorks?
posted by Artw at 4:33 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


My biggest complaint with Fart Piano is that they didn't bother with multisampling at all. One fart does not do that well across a whole octave. Make an effort, guys.

More seriously, though, as an enthusiastic user one of the things I worry about with the new terms is that they may get in the way of small music app/toy development from the sorts of people I really want to see playing with the platform developmentally: music people. If some middleware tool helps as an expedient for a really clever musician who is not a seasoned developer, I want that to happen. I want brilliant little musical tools to keep flowing in, and it's a legitimate bummer in my eyes—and a direct loss to me as a user—if that kind of niche development gets discouraged by this situation.

I realize that's hardly a priority for Apple, but it's an example of something that is a priority for me as a customer that may suffer because of their approach.
posted by cortex at 4:43 PM on April 20, 2010


From my experience of the various “Marketplace” like things out there, such as Steam, the App Store, various MS “Gadget” stores, the problem of shovelware and crap is omnipresent as soon as you open one up, and any ratings systems will be comprehensively gamed to the extent possible.

Steam is the only store that avoids this, but it’s heavily curated to a degree not possible for the App store. Likewise it uses Metacritic rather than trusting the users.

Other than that it’s pretty much endemic, and I don’t have any real answers, but technical restrictions and category restrictions are pretty much irrelevant to this – you ban Fart apps and you’ll just get Barf apps, you ban Flash Barf apps and you’ll just get Obj-C Barf apps.
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on April 20, 2010


...small music app/toy development...

Just curious, what kind of applications (as opposed to Apps) does this niche make (like auto tune or audio effects?) and what tools do they use to make them?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2010


You know, I'd be less concerned about the app store rules if Apple just came out and said: "We will never allow an adobe product on the iphone or anything made using an adobe product" instead of coming up with arbitrary rules that hit 'innocent bystanders'.
posted by empath at 5:34 PM on April 20, 2010


Just curious, what kind of applications (as opposed to Apps) does this niche make (like auto tune or audio effects?) and what tools do they use to make them?

Max/MSP off the top of my head.
posted by empath at 5:40 PM on April 20, 2010


Just curious, what kind of applications (as opposed to Apps) does this niche make (like auto tune or audio effects?) and what tools do they use to make them?

I can't define it per se; I'm explicitly interested in surprising little experiments. Simple alternative musical interface ideas, looping/patterning tools, musical oddities. The sort of stuff where having some relatively slick toolset for managing e.g. the creation of interface elements or high-level sound-management stuff could help someone with an idea but not a lot of down-to-the-metal know-how get their idea in play and make it available to nerds like me.

I'm worrying from the position of someone who is not actively in the thick of that stuff himself, so I don't know what the specific state of either those toolsets or the perceived damage to them from the new policy is. But there's definitely room for unhappiness. Hopefully its minimal, I don't really know how to know.
posted by cortex at 5:55 PM on April 20, 2010


I'm not sure these devices are powerful enough for the kind of sophisticated digital sound synthesis we see on laptops. Maybe in a year or two they'll have the chops for more than a few channels of basic synthesis. But there are definitely tools for new types of control interfaces. TouchOSC is a favorite of mine that lends itself to multiple widget types, pattern sequencing, etc. to users who know a little bit about OSC and how to map it to MIDI. I'd love to see a TouchMax or the like.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:32 PM on April 20, 2010


BEHOLD!
posted by Artw at 9:41 PM on April 20, 2010


Mike Chambers of Adobe: On Adobe Flash CS5 and iPhone Applications

some pretty scathing stuff there. Interesting responses to comments too.
posted by Artw at 6:16 AM on April 21, 2010


It's Adobe's "we're just a victim" tone that is most oft putting. It's childish and manipulative. Them wanting to put Flash on the iPhone is understandable and certainly in their interests, but if they're going to do an end run around Apple's "No Flash" policy, what did they expect would happen? It sounds like they were specifically saying fuck you to Apple and thought they'd get away with it, just by leveraging the power of Flash. They may not have realized just how deeply Apple cares about the issue.

That said, more power to'em for working with Android, should provide some excellent competition for the iPhone OS.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:58 AM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did Apple ever actually have a No Flash policy? I beleive what they actually had was a number of No Flash in Browser excuses.
posted by Artw at 7:06 AM on April 21, 2010


I think "We're not putting Flash on the iPhone" for the past three years is pretty much a policy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on April 21, 2010


And it should be noted that Adobe and Apple get along well in terms of putting publications on the iPad. Indesign CS5 can export in the ePub format, which works in iBooks.

On the other hand, they're quite content to paint Apple as unAmerican because the company doesn't follow the Open Government Memo, while of course Adobe does.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 AM on April 21, 2010


Apple’s iPad delivers on the tablet part of that vision — but the company has blocked a kid-friendly programming language based on Kay’s work from getting onto the iPad.

AAAAAAAAARGH! (previously...)

Quoted for truth, from the article that Artw cites: “Both children and the internet are bigger than Apple, and things that are good for children of the world need to be able to run everywhere,” Kay e-mailed Wired.com.

That we're so close to the legendary Dynabook, and yet held back for the worst of reasons---it's like the future has come at last, and finally, finally, your fully functional jetpack arrives in the mail, and you open the box and find out that you are only allowed to use the damn thing to toast marshmallows!
posted by tss at 8:50 AM on April 21, 2010


your fully functional jetpack arrives in the mail, and you open the box and find out that you are only allowed to use the damn thing to toast marshmallows!

Quoted for truth. And comperable alternatives won't be here for 6 to 12 months.
posted by bonehead at 9:24 AM on April 21, 2010


they're quite content to paint Apple as unAmerican

Adobe is definitely running an Internet campaign to smear Apple. It's pretty childish and dishonest, something that is not based much in fact, so much as based on their own business interests. I really wish more people would call Adobe out for it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:38 AM on April 21, 2010


Ah, the mirror...
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on April 21, 2010


...pointed right back at ya.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:56 AM on April 21, 2010


Sure, mate. Sure.
posted by Artw at 9:59 AM on April 21, 2010


BP, where do you get the energy to care about this topic so much?

That's a rhetorical question. I don't need an answer.
posted by GuyZero at 10:00 AM on April 21, 2010


I just sort of assumed that Steve Jobs beamed it down to him via some kind of satellite, along iwth all the relevant talking points.
posted by Artw at 10:02 AM on April 21, 2010


I probably get the energy to care about it from the same place we all do, our interest in the subject. Nothing rhetorical about it. *shrug*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 AM on April 21, 2010


What's interesting if the striking difference in "voice" between Adobe and Apple. Adobe's voice seems to be everywhere on this subject, as it allows and encourages employees to blog products and issues. So it feels like a thousand little voices arguing the same points, but it's some times messy and doesn't reflect well on the company, IMO, particularly when an employee tells Apple to fuck off.

Apple's voice can seem remote, arrogant and distant as it refuses to publicly say much, but it at least it doesn't sound like a thousand screeching children throwing a fit, so...yay?

The sucky part about all this is the energy expended, which should be going to designing and doing cool things with technology.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:19 AM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


And comperable alternatives won't be here for 6 to 12 months.

I'm concerned that no matter what comes in 6 to 12 months, a much longer lasting norm for handheld computers will still be set by Apple. For the next few years, things like Scratch will simply be the kind of thing one does not expect to do on a tablet.
posted by tss at 10:21 AM on April 21, 2010


I'm actually rather hopeful that this won't be the case, presuming that some Google slate gets out the door with a reasonable implementation (a large if to be sure). They may be Big Brother, but at least they're tinkerer-friendly. I do expect MS, however, to follow the Apple norm. Compare the Zune model to the iPad one. They're very similar, even to proscibed languages for development, though MS is historically knows to treat their developers as partners rather than as competitors, as Apple seems wont to.
posted by bonehead at 10:34 AM on April 21, 2010


Tss, I don't see that happening, as I expect Google to cheerfully reach out to anyone rejected from App store. It's almost a no brainer move, hell I'd be surprised if Google hadn't already contacted Scratch developers.

I'm guessing Android and iPhone will continue to duke it out, with developers preferring the former, general population going for the latter. Verizon will probably start selling iPhones this year or next, Android will increase its market share and Apple will continue to make a shitload of money and command a lot of attention despite its lower market share in the overall market.

I don't think either will "win" in any real sense, they'll just be doing different things and people will still be arguing about which is better for years to come.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:37 AM on April 21, 2010


Apple is saying that it wants developers to make their iPad/iPhone software offerings first-class, not watered down for every mobile device, and that developers need to use Apple tools to do this. Developers are saying they want to use their own tools so that they can sell their products everywhere, regardless of quality, because they know better than Apple about its own product.

If that's Apple's justification, they certainly have the data from the App store to back it up right? Sales figures and ratings on middleware apps vs native?

I find it far more likely that this is the rationalization for Steve Jobs informed prejudice. While I respect the hell out of his product development skills, I'm not sure he's not going to permanently lock himself out of a lot of market share in the long term with his tendency towards prescriptiveness. I feel like Apple is repeating some past mistakes here.

This is emotional for me, I hate Windows, but I'll always be stuck on it, because there's always an application I have to use at work that wont run on an Apple machine. Always. I feel like part of this is Apple's failure to cultivate good relationships with developers over the long term, and I think they are repeating the cycle.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:46 AM on April 21, 2010


We'll see. If there is a Google iPad that retails for $150 less than the Apple article without sacrificing any slickness, then perhaps I could see it working. All that would need to happen then is for the non-Apple machine to have a killer app that Apple can't initially stomach. My fingers are crossed...
posted by tss at 10:51 AM on April 21, 2010


Since the iPad costs $250 each to manufacture, that doesn't seem like a hard target to meet.
posted by kafziel at 10:57 AM on April 21, 2010


If that's Apple's justification, they certainly have the data from the App store to back it up right? Sales figures and ratings on middleware apps vs native?

I don't think anyone knows the answer unless they work for Apple? Maybe someone could ask?

I feel like Apple is repeating some past mistakes here.

Perhaps, but on the other end of the spectrum, I get the feeling, sometimes, that any decision Apple makes would garner criticism, unless that decision would involve making the device fully tinkerable, adding a user-replaceable battery, giving away devices and phone service for free, fully opening up all the source code, etc. etc. In other words, not doing all the things that a computer business does to stay profitable.

The reality is that this is not the late 1970s and there is no money and cultural influence in the hobbyist computing market. Those days are over and Apple does not want to be there any longer.

As much as Metafilter hates him, the simple truth is that Apple only exists and thrives today because of Steve Jobs. Whatever mistakes he made in the 1980s have been erased many times over by the decisions he made since 1997 to bring the company back from the brink of death. That he is the reason that Apple is profitable and powerful today is a simple, undeniable fact, whatever one thinks about him personally.

Desktop Linux seems content to remain a second-class citizen, a hodgepodge of various Windows and OS X design features, running on hardware that was designed for interfacing with Windows. Google Chrome OS options seem years away. The only reason there is a real, stable and high-quality consumer software-and-hardware alternative to Windows today, here and now, is because Apple exists. The only reason touchscreen devices are popular enough for Google and Microsoft to justify imitating is because Apple invented high-quality devices and people responded.

If Apple is going to repeat past mistakes, I think it has clawed and scraped and earned the right to do things its own way. Developers who weren't serious about the iPhone and iPad can and will go their own way. Users can still use what they want, regardless, once the other companies come out with their own devices in a year or two.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:15 AM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]




Developers who weren't serious about the iPhone and iPad can and will go their own way.

Well I'm not saying that Apple should be giving out junkets and goodie bags, but Apple does need to not actively discourage developers. Only having evangelists work on your platform is a strategy I suppose, but not one I'd be happy about if I were an Apple user.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:57 AM on April 21, 2010


Of course, Androids more open approach does open it up for some criticism.
posted by Artw at 11:58 AM on April 21, 2010


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "In other words, not doing all the things that a computer business does to stay profitable. "

Making it possible to tinker with the device and having user-replaceable batteries would impact Apple's profitability approximately zero, since it actually takes work to make it impossible to tinker with the device, the lack of which would easily offset the five cents it costs to put the battery in a case.
posted by wierdo at 12:05 PM on April 21, 2010


Oh and metafilter does not hate Steve Jobs. For Christ's sake dude, get over your persecution complex already.
posted by aspo at 12:11 PM on April 21, 2010


Making it possible to tinker with the device and having user-replaceable batteries would impact Apple's profitability approximately zero...

It seems to be that Apple is getting rid of user-replaceable batteries and increasing battery life in exchange. You may not like that decision but it seems like a good in terms of making long lasting devices.

As to tinkering, the company just had it's best quarter ever. The general populace doesn't care about tinkering.

Oh and metafilter does not hate Steve Jobs.

Just a few comments ago, Artw was calling Jobs a dick, while others have lambasted Jobs personally over the change in developer license. Metafilter may not hate Steve Jobs, but they have no problem calling him names.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:22 PM on April 21, 2010


It's no fun insulting a clause in a license. Anyway, it's a crappy license.
posted by GuyZero at 2:24 PM on April 21, 2010


Gruber notes an Apple reply to Adobe's Mike Chambers. It's Adobe's kvetching prompts Apple to actually speak on occasion, I could almost forgive them. Almost.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:33 PM on April 21, 2010


Artw was calling Jobs a dick

Technically asked if he was always such a dick in in response to specific dickish behaviour. Such does not a hate make, unless you're all Blazecock-like and have your Overton-window of operating systems skewed so far over that failure to agree with absolutely everything Jobs says makes you a hater.

But anyone half smart will have figured out that Blazecock is like that by now, so whatevs.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on April 21, 2010


Technically asked if he was always such a dick in in response to specific dickish behaviour.

Very true. I realized you had done that and was just trying to make point about Metafilter's general feelings towards Jobs, but you're right, I should have been clearer.

...unless you're all Blazecock-like and have your Overton-window of operating systems skewed so far over that failure to agree with absolutely everything Jobs says makes you a hater.

I've made a lot of comments in this thread, you and anyone else have ample evidence of how I think on these matters, so I leave it to you to figure out.

Slagging BP, and in my view misconstruing his views, really doesn't help raise the level of discussion.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:52 PM on April 21, 2010


If we want to talk about whether Steve Jobs is a dick, his petty sniping about Android is far from the best example anyway. His handling of stock distribution during Apple's IPO and his general treatment of Steve Wozniak over the years are a lot more telling.
posted by kafziel at 3:02 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Brandon Blatcher wrote: "It seems to be that Apple is getting rid of user-replaceable batteries and increasing battery life in exchange. You may not like that decision but it seems like a good in terms of making long lasting devices.
...
As to tinkering, the company just had it's best quarter ever. The general populace doesn't care about tinkering.
"

User replaceable batteries and battery life have exactly zero to do with each other. Since one must secure the cells within the device's case regardless of whether it is replaceable or not, the user replaceable battery does not take up extra space, or if it does, the extra space is insignificant, so saying that there is an "exchange" there is incorrect. Apple is making their devices more expensive for the end user to maintain. They are also making the size of their batteries larger. (and/or have more aggressive underclocking on newer devices)

With regard to tinkering, I was responding to a comment about how restricting tinkering somehow works to improve Apple's bottom line. I pointed out that there was no extra cost involved in not locking the thing down tighter than my daughter's chastity belt*. Apple's profit margin is orthogonal to the point.

* I do not now, and never have had a daughter. I only have a turn of phrase.
posted by wierdo at 3:25 PM on April 21, 2010


Artw was calling Jobs a dick, while others have lambasted Jobs personally over the change in developer license. Metafilter may not hate Steve Jobs, but they have no problem calling him names.

It doesn't stop there. This thread, meant to be a lighthearted thread about Wozniak doing a magic trick, got derailed into a debate over whether Jobs was an inventor of software and hardware technology that went into the iPad. It's fair to say that the negative response to Steve Jobs here is fairly polarized and unbalanced.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:29 PM on April 21, 2010


Brandon Blatcher wrote: "Gruber notes an Apple reply to Adobe's Mike Chambers. It's Adobe's kvetching prompts Apple to actually speak on occasion, I could almost forgive them. Almost."

I should have read the link before my last post, but I didn't so here goes: Flash is not very closed, for a closed thing. There are third party flash viewers (of varying quality). H.264 is patent-encumbered, so I don't really see how that qualifies as "open."

I never knew of Gruber before this thread, but everything I've seen that he's written makes him look like an utter tool. It wouldn't be so awful if he didn't make so many factual misstatements.
posted by wierdo at 3:42 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple does need to not actively discourage developers.

It might not be an easy problem to solve.

Does Apple encourage developers and more app releases on the store, at the expense of users who end up having to wade through more dreck to get to the good stuff? Does the company further tighten editorial control at the app acceptance stage, somehow coming up with even more consistent and coherent policies for a subjective evaluation, when it already runs into trouble being consistent right now (e.g. the Fiore app)? Does it choose to discourage developers who will use write-once, deploy-anywhere middleware, over which Apple has no quality control?

I mentioned this before, but I wonder if the App Store is the bottleneck, having to go through iTunes (or a similar interface on the phone) to search for and download apps. That storefront is essentially what sells the devices, and the limitations of its design may end up choking the iPhone and iPad markets somewhat. There's consistency in the information that each app presents when displayed in the store, but not much character or feel for any one app. The review system has been broken for a long time now, issuing average calculations from iffy numbers, and the current system encourages users to downvote an app when deleting it from the phone (although this aspect will likely be fixed in the next OS upgrade). It's hard to get a sense for the look and feel of an app from the storefront, unless the developer releases a trial version, which is not always a given.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:54 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never knew of Gruber before this thread, but everything I've seen that he's written makes him look like an utter tool. It wouldn't be so awful if he didn't make so many factual misstatements.

He's occasionally interesting, but yeah, massively Apple partisan and not afraid to be utterly disingenuous with it.

The Apple reply is cute, but completely irrelevant to Apps.
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on April 21, 2010


Also one can’t help this creeping feeling that when it comes to HTML 5 what Apple is really interested in is bits they added, like CANVAS. It’s nice that it’s now becoming part of the W3C standard, but I don’t really know what it says for standards support in the future.
posted by Artw at 4:13 PM on April 21, 2010


Could you expand on that thought Art? Are you wondering if Apple is going to true to subvert the open standard or what?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:53 PM on April 21, 2010


I never knew of Gruber before this thread, but everything I've seen that he's written makes him look like an utter tool.M

Nah, he's called out Apple plenty of times for some of their stupid crap, mostly recently I think it was over the political satire App not being approved. While he clearly likes Apple and itss products, I find he tends to give a more nuanced view as opposed to Apple sucks or Apple rules.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:58 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well I read Gruber as someone who loves Apple but has enough intellectual honesty to admit they're not saints and occasionally make mistakes. But he's a super-fan. Given any ambiguity he's for Apple.
posted by GuyZero at 5:20 PM on April 21, 2010


Apple hates bunnies boobies.
posted by homunculus at 5:49 PM on April 21, 2010


"“Someone has it backwards — it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe’s Flash is closed and proprietary,” said spokeswoman Trudy Miller in a statement.

I wish I had an audience as big as Gruber's to respond to. And I wish I Trudy Muller's email address to ask her if that statement represents a commitment to continued support of offline HTML5 apps on Apple's mobile platform.

Because leaving aside that, as I said above, Flash is actually pretty open (arguably as open as H.264), and leaving aside that Adobe also makes tools to target HTML, CSS, and Javascript and has been in that game longer than Apple has — though both these points would be more than enough to show Muller's quote and Gruber's cheering to be facile — I have a question.

To understand it, let's talk about offline HTML on the iPhone for a moment. This seems to be widely overlooked or even forgotten, but there's a way to get apps onto an unjailbroken iPhone without going through Apple's gateway. When you're browsing with Mobile Safari, when you go to bookmark a page, you can choose "Add to Home Screen" and your bookmark goes there. If you've written your HTML according to certain more-or-less HTML5 specs and send the right HTTP headers, it'll cache as an offline app.

You may recall this was the original blessed iPhone SDK, though it's clearly fallen by the wayside in comparison to the App Store. The question is: what if someone took advantage of this to essentially create their own catalog of offline HTML5 apps? Say, someone with a large presence in the software industry? Someone with enough clout to do some marketing? Someone who made content-creation tools... including those that target HTML5?

Let's say this app store becomes more than marginally successful -- it becomes popular enough that while it certainly could never displace Apple's store, most Apple mobile device users end up visiting it and selecting a few apps.

Would Apple's commitment to HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript include keeping "Add to Home Screen?" Or would that commitment retreat to Mobile Safari?

And let's say that as an additional step, the player behind this new catalog decides to release a tool for packaging the HTML5 output of its own creative tools with the Phone Gap libraries into an XCode project that'll build to a fully native app. What would Apple's commitment to HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript look like then?

I'd love to see the industry ask these questions in real life. But I'd settle for hearing what Apple's PR line is.
posted by weston at 5:57 PM on April 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "write-once, deploy-anywhere middleware, over which Apple has no quality control? "

Just to be pedantic, Apple has an equal amount of quality control over applications built on third party middleware or using third party tools as they do over any other application submitted to the App Store.

weston, your question is a very interesting one. I think a solid answer is pretty much out of the question, though. Apple has shown several times now that they're perfectly happy to change the App Store rules mid-stream whenever it suits them.
posted by wierdo at 8:03 PM on April 21, 2010


Has any company with excelling sales—the $3000/day class—been screwed? Has Apple ever hurt those who succeeded in publishing a great app?

There's a shitload of money being made off App sales. Apple must be doing *some* things right.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:40 PM on April 21, 2010


Could you expand on that thought Art? Are you wondering if Apple is going to true to subvert the open standard or what?

If you're talking about using "HTML 5" to replace flash you are basically talking about one of two things - using the VIDEO tag to remove the need for Flahs as a wrapper for video content or the CANVAS tag to replace the vector animation capabilities of flash.

CANVAS was originally created by Apple for making dashboard widgets with, then found it's way into Safari where it was copied by Opera and Firefox. Then, having become a de facto standard of sorts it was adopted by the W3C as a proposal for HTML 5. So Apple don't really have to subvert an open standard there, they already wrote it. The question is, once it stops being theirs and starts being the W3Cs will they abide by it, or will they feel free to just come up with new stuff?

Incidentally, has anyone got an idea what the frame rates for CANVAS and SVG animation are on the iPad? So far the examples I've tried on my phone (a 3G) have had terrible framerates.
posted by Artw at 9:41 PM on April 21, 2010


Gimme a link and I'll tell you what a newish Touch does.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 PM on April 21, 2010


I managed to get someone to run the CANVAS benchmark from here on iPad - apparently it ran at 6 FPS, dropping to 4 fps in portrait mode. On my 3G iPhone it runs at around 1.2 FPS, not changing appreiciably.

The SVG example just performed horribly - between 2 and 3 FPS on iPad. SVG really isn't for this sort of thing I guess.

There's some video of the test on an android here - it actually does a lot better than the iPhone (an example of which can be seen later on) but not beating flash - so notonly is CANVAS not a flash beater, Apples products are actually particular slow at running it as well.
posted by Artw at 10:19 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


My G1 says 2.7-2.95 FPS on the CANVAS script, but it's not actually displaying any particles, so take that for whatever that's worth.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:38 PM on April 21, 2010


Gimme a link and I'll tell you what a newish Touch does.

If it can run a JavaScript/Canvas NES emulator, that'd be impressive.

You probably won't be able to play it, but you should be able to pick a ROM and have an intro/demo screen kick in.
posted by weston at 10:38 PM on April 21, 2010


Apple has shown several times now that they're perfectly happy to change the App Store rules mid-stream whenever it suits them.

There's no doubt at this point that they'll move the goalposts around for App Store qualification. The big question, though, is if they're perfectly happy to go beyond this: Would they actually remove the "Add to Home Screen" option from Mobile Safari (or, more likely, cripple its capacity to be used for offline apps) if a genuine alternative ecosystem dominated by a non-Apple player grew up around it? That isn't just a developer thing; that would actually be removing a feature consumers can see, and in my hypothetical situation, it'd be one consumers would be familiar with. To avoid blowback, they'd have to get rid of it before it became popular...
posted by weston at 10:50 PM on April 21, 2010


If it can run a JavaScript/Canvas NES emulator, that'd be impressive.

I started by trying out the breakout game in this tutorial on the iPhone. Considerably less going on than the balls example but it still crawled - I think the chances of it running your NES emulator in any useful way are pretty slim.

Basically for adding some visual flurishes to a HTML based app it's going to work fine, but anything with much movement or complexity CANVAS is not going to cut it, and you're in the territory of Apps and plugins.
posted by Artw at 10:51 PM on April 21, 2010


Android running on iPhone
posted by Artw at 11:01 PM on April 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Canvas gave me 5fps; svg was 3.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:10 PM on April 21, 2010


What would an open Flash look like?

If Flash became open and was still a relevant technology, I can picture a day when Flash is no longer a browser plug-in, but something that is actually part of the HTML spec. I could easily see the canvas tag being used as a Flash context, much in the same way canvas is being used to display WebGL and SVG. You could even have plain-text ActionScript sitting in script tags. Now I'm not proposing that we expose the IP of the world, SWF files will always have to be supported. I'm just trying to paint a picture where Flash can be lightweight inside the browser, because if it's not Flash it'll be something else.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:50 PM on April 21, 2010


I would love to switch from being a Flash developer to being an HTML5 (JS, etc.) developer. But those people who are touting HTML5 as an alternative to Flash seem to be focusing almost exclusively on video. I am not an expert on HTML5, but my clients won't let me switch over from Flash until the alternative supports the following IN THE SAME WAY ACROSS ALL BROWSERS. How close is HTML5 to implementing these things -- e.g. how many years will I have to wait before I can safely assume the majority of people on the web can experience these things?

- microphone support
- sound spectrum analysis
- video from streaming services
- an advanced text-rendering engine with support for ligatures, flow from one text-box to another, and languages that use vertical type?
- embedded assets (sometimes necessary because when massively popular apps make multiple calls for icons and such, it's too much traffic).
- a frame-rate of at least 24 fps
- 3D capabilities (I know this is a matter of math, so JS should be able to do it, but I'm concerned about render speed)
posted by grumblebee at 8:26 AM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am pretty disgusted with both Apple and Adobe right now. I am reading statements from Adobe, claiming that Apple is "closed," which, in many ways they are, but it's the pot calling the kettle black. Flash is NOT open-source. There are aspects of it that are open, but the Actioncript language and the bytecode interpreter are completely closed. You can make your own bytecode interpreter, but you can't give it capabilities that depart from Adobe's dictatorial control over Actionscript. If I write some amazing code that optimizes some part of the Actionscript interpreter, there is no process by which I can lobby to get it accepted as a part of Flash.

I don't think there's anything wrong with Adobe keeping their technology proprietary. That's their choice. What I DO think is wrong is making bullshit statements -- that they KNOW are bullshit and that they know everyone else knows is bullshit -- that make it sound like they are "open" and Apple is "closed."

And now Apple is saying "We? Closed? We're not the ones using proprietary technology! We're using open-source languages like Javascript and HTML5."

COME ON!

First of all, both companies can make the same claim, as Adobe has tools for building apps and pages with HTML.

The major language for Apple's platform is Objective-C, and you have to use their tools to write it, use their store to sell whatever you write, and you have to play a FEE to sell stuff in that store -- and they they take a cut of your profits on top of that!

Again, that's their choice. But it sickens me to hear these corporate lies, in which they pretend to be something they are not and paint themselves as being way nobler than those other wicked companies that are just looking out for number one.

I guess I'm just supposed to accept this bullshit rhetoric as everyday corporate spin. I don't. It's lies, and the people who tell them should be ashamed of themselves.
posted by grumblebee at 8:50 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


How do you deal with the different screen sizes, grumblebee? Serve a wholly different flash file for each resolution?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:06 AM on April 22, 2010


What screens are you talking about?

Dealing with different screen sizes is a bit complex and it's not always perfect, but Flash does have a number of different tools that allow you to "go full screen," or to make adjustments based on percent-of-screen-dimensions.

I've never heard of any developer making multiple Flash apps for different screen resolutions. Mostly, we read the size of the screen (Actionscript gives you that info) and make our apps adjust themselves accordingly.
posted by grumblebee at 9:26 AM on April 22, 2010


It would be awesome if Abobe realized they can't lock the web to Flash forever, but still can keep control over their developer market and supported compiling Flash projects to HTML 5, resulting in stuff like Akihabara but much more robust.

It wouldn't be Flash on the iPhone, but it would be stuff built with Flash on Mobile Safari, which is part of what they wanted just a year ago.
posted by ignignokt at 9:32 AM on April 22, 2010


What do you mean, "what screens are you talking about"? What other screens could I be talking about other than the ones that display Flash? My 2048x1152 monitor, my 1024x768 laptop, my tiny cell phone screen, etcetera. Their resolution varies by an order of magnitude. What do you do to ensure your Flash content is viewable and usable on all these devices?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 AM on April 22, 2010


Not quite sure what you’re saying there – Flash movies are a resolution independent technology, though obviously theres the same optimization issues for different sizes that you’d face for, say, a webpage (or HTML “App”).
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on April 22, 2010


- embedded assets (sometimes necessary because when massively popular apps make multiple calls for icons and such, it's too much traffic).

Well, there's data URIs... but they probably wouldn't work for everything you have in mind.

As for the rest of your points, particularly

Flash is NOT open-source. There are aspects of it that are open, but the Actioncript language and the bytecode interpreter are completely closed.

Are you sure "not open-source" is what you mean? It sounds to me like you're addressing the fact that the Actionscript and SWF specs are dictated by Adobe rather than being under the control of a standards body, which is true, but seems to me to be a distinct issue from whether or not they're published, re-implementable, and freely targetable.
posted by weston at 9:57 AM on April 22, 2010


Easy, easy! I wasn't sure whether you were talking about mobile screens or what. Now I know.

All I can tell you is that Flash can read the size of a screen and give the dimensions to the programmers. Programmers can then do what they want to with those numbers. The Flex library (a popular set of Actionscript Classes) has some built-in layout features that help Flash apps adjust on-the-fly. You can use those or roll your own.

If you're seeing messed up displays on your various screens, that's most-likely due to poor programming and lack of testing.

I guess I'm confused as to what you're asking me this? Are you under the impression that I came here to defend Flash? If so, what gave you that idea? If you have a problem with Flash apps not gracefully resizing itself, maybe, as I suggested, it's because the programmers of those apps made mistakes. Or maybe it's due to some crappy aspects of Flash itself. Flash is crappy in plenty of ways.

Or are you a Flash developer, looking for advice?

I assume you're not trying to get me to concede to that old point that HTML (text-based) pages are better than resizing than Flash apps. Presumably, you wouldn't try to convince someone of that unless they came into this thread to sing Flash's praises. I didn't do that. I said that I would prefer to code in HTML, but that Flash has some features my clients demand. I will gladly switch to HTML when it has those features.
posted by grumblebee at 9:59 AM on April 22, 2010


There are certainly open source flash creation tools out there... and a distinct lack of Adobe going out of it's way to crush them or insult their developers.
posted by Artw at 9:59 AM on April 22, 2010


Are you sure "not open-source" is what you mean?

I was sloppy with my wording. My point is that both Apple and Adobe keep tight control over major parts of their systems. So it's pretty hypocritical for either company to hurl accusations of "not open" at the other one. It disgusts me when people act talk like that. (Which is why I could never work as a company spokesperson. They seem to be expected to bullshit, spin and have no ethics.)
posted by grumblebee at 10:02 AM on April 22, 2010


There are certainly open source flash creation tools out there... and a distinct lack of Adobe going out of it's way to crush them or insult their developers.

If I had to broadly characterize the two companies, I would say that Adobe's primary interest is in catering to the average developer. They seem less interested in catering to the average client (web surfer).

Apple seems to have the reverse philosophy. They are very focused on user experience. They are less interested in making life easy for developers.

There are various exceptions to these rules. I am just making broad sketches. But if there's any truth to what I'm saying, then both companies are stupid. End-user experience and developer experience are tightly linked.

Apple should not be making light sucky for developers.
The Flash player should not be crashing people's browsers.
posted by grumblebee at 10:07 AM on April 22, 2010


It would be awesome if Abobe realized they can't lock the web to Flash forever, but still can keep control over their developer market and supported compiling Flash projects to HTML 5, resulting in stuff like Akihabara but much more robust.

The low frame rate for CANVAS animation on iPhone/iPad probably means you wouldn't get much out of it, TBH. And in fact if you look at the Akihabara demos on a 3G phone they pretty much crawl to a halt as soon as anything much is going on.

Of course, if it was made with an Adobe product you could always blame Adobe for it, so that might be more satisfying for some folks.
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on April 22, 2010


- 3D capabilities (I know this is a matter of math, so JS should be able to do it, but I'm concerned about render speed)

For that there’s WebGL, which is an attempt
to bring OpenGL to the canvas tag.

Looks kind of interesting, but it’s still kind of far of and experimental. And it’s unlikely that a device that crawls when animating the CANVAS in 2D is going to have better luck with it unless they do some kind of special magic to bypass the browser entirely.

And of course it being OpenGL based is going to make it extremely unattractive to Microsoft, who are already not keen on Apples CANVAS.

Still, this video of Quake ported to it pretty impressive.
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on April 22, 2010


Looks kind of interesting, but it’s still kind of far of and experimental.

Yeah, see. That won't work for when, say, Coke hires you to make a 3D, rotatable bottle that works in all browsers. And they want it next week. April, 2010.

People are so fucking emotional about this stuff (why?) that it's hard to have a reasonable conversion. I DON'T CARE IF I USE FLASH OR NOT. I just need to get my work done. I will use whatever tool gets it done best and fastest.

I have people screaming at me these days, saying things like, "You're a Flash developer? Oh my God! Flash is the root of all evil! Use HTML, motherfucker!" Fine. Can I make a rotatable Coke bottle with HTML? Can I get microphone support?

I'm not asking these questions so I can say, "Ah ha! See! Gotcha! Flash IS SO all that!" I'm not interested in acting like a five-year-old. Presumably those people who are championing HTML5 are prepping it to do all those things -- things which clients now expect in web apps. Great. When will they be stable and ready for me to safely use?

I am not a Flash zealot, but if the answer is "two years from now," then I'm going to have to keep using Flash for the next two years. Whether or not Flash sucks or not is a non-issue in my day-to-day work like. Clients expect certain thing from me. I have to deliver those things.
posted by grumblebee at 10:38 AM on April 22, 2010


You are correct - line that you can just use HTML5 is exactly that - a line. Most of the people telling you that don't even know what they mean by HTML5. It's the new Web 2.0 in terms of people talking total bollocks.
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on April 22, 2010


The impression I often get -- but I don't want to assume it's necessarily true -- is that the people who shout "Don't use Flash! Use HTML5" are not in the trenches, doing the sorts of jobs people hire Flash developers to do.

But, again, I don't want to get stuck in a rut of thinking that way, because I don't want to miss out on valuable, alternative technologies that might solve some of the problems inherent to Flash. But Jesus Christ it's hard to have a rational conversation about this stuff.
posted by grumblebee at 11:09 AM on April 22, 2010


The iPad DJ: @ranajune

"Apparently she didn’t get the memo that the iPad is not a creative tool, and is just for consumption. Very cool."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:13 AM on April 22, 2010


I am not an expert on HTML5, but my clients won't let me switch over from Flash until the alternative supports the following IN THE SAME WAY ACROSS ALL BROWSERS.

This is what had me wondering about resolution independence. Sounds like it's essentially a non-starter for Flash.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:14 AM on April 22, 2010


I'm not entirely sure what you're saying Flash can't do and as opposed to what. It's certainly not exempt from the design considerations that apply to everything else when it comes to multiple devices... but neither is HTML (5 or otherwise) or anything else.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on April 22, 2010


BP: "Apparently she didn’t get the memo that the iPad is not a creative tool, and is just for consumption. Very cool."

iPad Blue?
posted by mullingitover at 11:23 AM on April 22, 2010


2 media outsized players used as media players! News at 11!
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on April 22, 2010


This is what had me wondering about resolution independence. Sounds like it's essentially a non-starter for Flash.

One nice thing about Flash is that since its inception, it has supported vector graphics. So if you limit yourselves to them, you can make art that scales well. I realize there's a lot more to solving resolution problem than that.

I'm excited that, presumably, CANVAS also allows vectors -- or it allows you to draw raster graphics on the fly, so that they can be scaled in real time to any screen. That is definitely forward movement.
posted by grumblebee at 11:28 AM on April 22, 2010


If you like electronic music, check it out at around 15:00-ish, after her demo finishes. She gets a little bit of Looptastic going.

What I found interesting is how much less expensive this rig costs, compared with a couple CD or Final Scratch + turntable decks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:29 AM on April 22, 2010


Nah, this guy is truely creative.
posted by Artw at 11:33 AM on April 22, 2010


Can I make a rotatable Coke bottle with HTML?

Maybe a Coke Can?

I DON'T CARE IF I USE FLASH OR NOT. I just need to get my work done. I will use whatever tool gets it done best and fastest.

This.

I don't know Flash very well, and if I did, I probably wouldn't use it when there's a web standards option. But I wish I knew it better, because as much mileage as you can stretch out of HTML/CSS/JavaScript (and boy, have I done some stretching) there's just times when I come to the end their capabilities, and at that point, it's nice to be able to do something else, which in the context of the browser is either Flash or Java applets.
posted by weston at 11:34 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe a Coke Can?

/Views source.

What in the fuck?
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on April 22, 2010


I'm not sure if all the xn id'd divs are really necessary to make the effect work at all (at its heart, it's essentially a shaded png which gives the illusion of 3d over a label image), but something like them might be necessary to make it work w/o JavaScript.
posted by weston at 12:21 PM on April 22, 2010




The big problem with CANVAS is its lack of accessibility -- and the unwillingness of WHAT WG to attempt to solve those problems, instead just kicking those issues down the line instead of putting in the hooks needed to make it accessible (or for the accessibility community to solve it).

Of course, that was the history of Flash accessibility in a nutshell. Even with accessible Flash now there's still bugs and issues with getting the accessibility features activated with Flash. CANVAS having baked-in accessibility hooks would put it in a perfect position to topple Flash, as would putting a CAPTION tag or attribute with VIDEO to topple Flash video.
posted by dw at 1:11 PM on April 22, 2010


having baked-in accessibility hooks would put it in a perfect position to topple Flash

Can you explain this? I almost never hear my clients even mention accessibility. Maybe they should mention it, but they don't. They don't ask for it. I realize that some agencies (e.g. government ones) are mandated to make their sites accessible, but I don't see corporate clients, who presumably are the ones who are going to topple Flash (or not), caring that much.
posted by grumblebee at 1:18 PM on April 22, 2010


CANVAS isn't really a great candidate for that... in fact it's pretty dumb all round - it's just a rectangle on the screen that you use the api to draw shapes on, and if you want to animate you basically clear it and redraw all of the shapes. It's like coding GDI back in the 90s. SVG on the other hand has all kinds of accesibilty options, but can be slower on animation (see the benchmarks above).
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on April 22, 2010


Flash is very similar that way. I suspect it's a limitation of vector vs. raster, but I'm not an expert. If you paint and repaint in Flash, it's very fast, but it's just pixels in a rectangle. There's no additional information. If you want to attach data to an object -- e.g. accessibility data -- then that object needs to be an object (not just an arbitrary grouping of pixels). So generally Flash's accessibility features work better with its vector engine than its raster engine. But, as with CANVAS vs SVG, the Flash vector is slower than Flash raster.
posted by grumblebee at 1:40 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, and I could be wrong on this, CANVAS does not appear to be particularly resolution independent - the values you pass in to the various drawing commands are all pixel values. Of course, you could calculate pixel values to get around that, but it begins looking like a pain in the ass.
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on April 22, 2010


I don't think that's a negative of HTML5. That's just the way raster graphics work. They are never resolution independent. From what I can tell, both technologies are on par in this case. Both Flash and HTML5 support raster and vector graphics, with pretty much the same tradeoffs between the two graphic types.
posted by grumblebee at 2:29 PM on April 22, 2010


...and in practice really when using it I'd want to have strict control over everything in pixels. But still, it feels sort of un-HTMLy.
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on April 22, 2010


The low frame rate for CANVAS animation on iPhone/iPad probably means you wouldn't get much out of it, TBH. And in fact if you look at the Akihabara demos on a 3G phone they pretty much crawl to a halt as soon as anything much is going on.

I just played through a Legend of Sadness quest on a 3GS. Killed some octoroks, got some bouncing coins. It was perfectly playable. And if Adobe decided to have Flash generate this stuff, it'd probably be even snappier.
posted by ignignokt at 3:04 PM on April 22, 2010


Also, and I could be wrong on this, CANVAS does not appear to be particularly resolution independent - the values you pass in to the various drawing commands are all pixel values. Of course, you could calculate pixel values to get around that, but it begins looking like a pain in the ass.
posted by Artw at 5:12 PM on April 22 [+] [!]

I don't think that's a negative of HTML5. That's just the way raster graphics work. They are never resolution independent. From what I can tell, both technologies are on par in this case. Both Flash and HTML5 support raster and vector graphics, with pretty much the same tradeoffs between the two graphic types.
posted by grumblebee at 5:29 PM on April 22 [+] [!]


Incidentally, FlashPunk provides a easy on-the-fly raster graphics scaling. Flixel and other Flash game frameworks probably do, too.
posted by ignignokt at 3:15 PM on April 22, 2010


Apple Offering to Buy ARM?

Did they just not get what they wanted from the FreeScale purchase, or is there something else going on here?
posted by weston at 4:02 PM on April 22, 2010


weston wrote: "Apple Offering to Buy ARM?

Did they just not get what they wanted from the FreeScale purchase, or is there something else going on here?
"

It's probably one of those rumors with zero basis in fact, but if it comes to pass, it will be rather unfortunate. I'm not really interested in having what is pretty much the best line of chips for mobile devices under the control of any particular competitor in the mobile space.

If it does come to pass, I think it'll be more about Apple wanting a big stick with which to fend off competitors. In that scenario, Apple would have to be concerned about the quality of competing devices. Otherwise they'd have no need to own ARM.
posted by wierdo at 4:23 PM on April 22, 2010


I think it's more that Apple doesn't want to rely on any sole suppliers. They want full control of their design and implementation, from the circuit board up.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:35 PM on April 22, 2010


Apple always seemed to have trouble getting Motorola or IBM to deliver faster chips in quantity. If Intel and ARM might ever hold them back, on the software side, moving developers towards Xcode would make it easier to get code recompiled and ready for new hardware. On the hardware side, being their own processor foundry might make easier to ensure a ready supply of product. Perhaps there's another processor switch coming in the near future.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:50 PM on April 22, 2010


Can you explain this? I almost never hear my clients even mention accessibility.

Government and higher education. If a CANVAS site could easily be made accessible, you'd see uptake in .gov and .edu institutions. There's a desire to do Flash applications, but Flash use in higher ed is limited by its accessibility issues.

And there are a few companies still a little skittish about the Target lawsuit, even though that seems to have faded for most.

In the private sector, obviously, accessibility doesn't matter to anyone.
posted by dw at 7:49 PM on April 22, 2010




I think Apple is undoubtedly gunning for "fast enough and no faster" combined with "more. battery. life." If XCode actually makes the processing instruction set irrelevant to developers, that will give them the ultimate freedom. Customize hell out of that CPU with the end-product design fully in mind and reap in the profits.

I wish there were someone in the race with Apple. All the alternatives seem to be lacking "squee!" factor. The others will get there eventually, but they're giving Apple too big a lead.

Dell needs to make a device and Android needs to step it up a notch UI-wise. Or maybe Dell and RIM could team up to really kick ass. And if Microsoft doesn't come out with Courier soon, its going to be as irrelevant as Zune.

Humbug. They're all just giving it away to Apple on a gold platter.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:22 PM on April 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


In the private sector, obviously, accessibility doesn't matter to anyone.

Which is why I don't get how this could "topple" Flash.
posted by grumblebee at 8:23 PM on April 22, 2010


ARM isn't a supplier in that they license designs, they don't manufacture chips. Also, Apple and pretty much every other device maker has zero interest in large-scale vertical integration. Steve Jobs may be a dick, but he's definitely smart but I don't think he's so smart that he somehow knows something about vertical integration that no one else in the world knows. Why would he want to dilute those massive, fat iPhone margins?
posted by GuyZero at 8:35 PM on April 22, 2010


More content creation:

Pianist Lang Lang Plays iPad For Concert Encore

Piano master Lang Lang performed a surprising, offbeat encore at a concert in San Francisco: the pianist played Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" on the iPad.

Lang Lang used the iPad app Magic Piano, from Smule, to "play" his tablet.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:14 AM on April 23, 2010


Strictly Democratic Tools Build Boredom and Disinterest - On Flash "versus" HTML 5.
posted by Artw at 9:08 AM on April 23, 2010


Pianist Lang Lang Plays iPad For Concert Encore

Shoulda used Fart Piano.
posted by Artw at 9:09 AM on April 23, 2010


If your definition of "content creation" is stretched so far as to include playing on a piano app, then what ISN'T a content creation device? Ordinary house phones are content creation devices, because you can sing into them! My DS is a content creation device, because you can draw in the PictoChat!

We both know what content creation actually means in the context of computing. Tossing up that crap as though it proves something is disingenuous, and you know that.
posted by kafziel at 9:22 AM on April 23, 2010


It's not strictly content creation, but it does address the Doctorow idea that the iPad will lead to the death of creativity.
posted by ignignokt at 9:24 AM on April 23, 2010


To be honest I think this is a lot more interesting than the stunty stuff Blazecock is linking.
posted by Artw at 9:27 AM on April 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is pretty cool, no matter who made the damn thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:31 AM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The weighty issues of slates
posted by Artw at 10:33 AM on April 23, 2010


On a related note with the content creation angle, the 88 used an iPhone to record a single. It was an experiment, but the software exists to do it on the iPhone (and presumably the iPad) so that avenue for creative use is open.
posted by immlass at 10:41 AM on April 23, 2010


Yeah, there are some nice iPhone (and a growing number of iPad) recording tools. The one 88 used, FourTrack, is a pretty great little $10 app that I used to (intentionally carelessly) make a couple of really lofi covers recently.

The biggest problem with it is the lack of any sort of hardware gain control on the iPhone (and its generally very poor mic for this sort of thing); I'm gonna look into viable third-party mic or audio interface solutions, because as a super-portable four track the iPhone is actually kind of appealing. Aside from that, it's not heavily featured but you can make a nice little scratch demo pretty quickly and intuitively.

The big brother of that app for the iPad, StudioTrack, looks pretty good to me as a somewhat more featured alternative and is in theory actually really attractive to me as a portable first-step way to do recordings (use it to collect audio in my basement or other parts of the house, then bring all that in to a real DAW to do the serious mixing and effects work), but until I find some way to get better audio into the devices in the first place it's kind of a non-starter.
posted by cortex at 10:50 AM on April 23, 2010


stunty stuff

That's a bit much. At least these people are doing creative things, instead of consuming someone else's creativity. These demonstrations are a pretty good start for something that's only been out a few weeks, and they help dilute some of the assumptions about how people will be limited, assumptions mostly based on ignorance about the platform and sad disdain for other people's artistic capabilities.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 PM on April 23, 2010






I see Dell has released what appears to be a very skookum cell phone. I think it's a crying shame Dell hasn't teamed up with a leading physical product designer, a leading software UI designer, and perhaps one of the open source OSes to create competition for Apple.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:25 AM on April 24, 2010




To be honest I think this is a lot more interesting than the stunty stuff Blazecock is linking.

My 80-year-old father, who loves to write, is finding it more and more difficult to use a standard keyboard, because his fingers are arthritic and it's painful for him to press down keys. But he tried out the iPad's virtual keyboard and found he could type on it without pain. This is awesome. It means he'll be able to keep in touch with people that he would otherwise probably lose contact with.

As with many people his age, he's not facile with 21st-Century technology. My brother and I, who live hundreds of miles away from him, will have to give him tech support. The simplicity of the iPad will make this much easier than it's been in the past, when we've had to help him through the complexities of Macs and PCs.
posted by grumblebee at 11:33 AM on April 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's so cool grumblee, glad to hear your dad will be able to keep in touch with people, no matter makes the device that enables that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:52 AM on April 24, 2010


grumblebee wrote: "because his fingers are arthritic and it's painful for him to press down keys"

It's interesting how something that most people absolutely despise (a keyboard without tactile feedback) is absolutely essential to some people. I'm glad he's found something he can use.
posted by wierdo at 1:57 PM on April 24, 2010


My 80-year-old father, who loves to write, is finding it more and more difficult to use a standard keyboard, because his fingers are arthritic and it's painful for him to press down keys. But he tried out the iPad's virtual keyboard and found he could type on it without pain.

My sixtysomething co-worker is ditching her Blackberry for an iPhonem mainly because with her MS she's lost feeling in her thumb and can no longer operate the little ball effectively. I warned her about the "fat finger" problem with iPhones, but she said she found the screen keyboard to actually be easier to use than the little Blackberry buttons.

So it does make me wonder if the "tactile feedback" meme that wierdo alludes to is like people who complain that Kindles don't give them the smell/feel of paper. Maybe we're blowing one part of the user interface out of proportion because we can't see how it could be advantageous to someone not like us.

The iPad is still imperfect when it comes to accessibility, but I can see that with just a few improvements it could be an outstanding Internet device for people with disabilities.
posted by dw at 2:52 PM on April 24, 2010


dw wrote: "So it does make me wonder if the "tactile feedback" meme that wierdo alludes to is like people who complain that Kindles don't give them the smell/feel of paper."

It would be more akin to complaining that the Kindle doesn't look like paper or has worse properties for reading than paper.

Not everyone is served by keys with good tactile feedback, but it's been shown that a good keyboard improves touch typing speed and accuracy. That's why so many manufacturers include some sort of haptic feedback when you touch the screen. It's a poor imitation of a real keyboard, but it provides some of the benefit of typing on something other than an unresponsive sheet of glass.
posted by wierdo at 5:11 PM on April 24, 2010


Yeah, as a counter anecdote my brother has avoided switching to an iPhone or droid because some nerve damage in his hand makes touch interfaces frustrating for him compared to physical buttons. I suspect that, all else aside, there's always going to be a strong element of personal preference and comfort driving these choices.
posted by cortex at 5:18 PM on April 24, 2010


Grumblebee, I think it might be more accurate to say your dad can't use late 20th century technology, and that 21st technology is where it's at.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:51 PM on April 24, 2010


How do you get around the need top plug it into a computer every so often? Actually, once you've initially set it up, and assuming you don't want to sync anything and don;t care so much about upgrades how much of a need is that?
posted by Artw at 9:01 PM on April 24, 2010




So it does make me wonder if the "tactile feedback" meme that wierdo alludes to is like people who complain that Kindles don't give them the smell/feel of paper. Maybe we're blowing one part of the user interface out of proportion because we can't see how it could be advantageous to someone not like us.

It's more akin to the people who complain that the inability to physically feel where keys are on touchscreen keyboards, particularly iPhone OS keyboards that arbitrarily resize and reposition the location of the keys, makes it impossible to build the necessary muscle memory to touch-type with them. In as much as it is exactly that. I drop from typing 90wpm to 30wpm using my G1's physical keyboard already; trying to use the touchscreen keyboard takes it unreasonably low.
posted by kafziel at 1:40 AM on April 25, 2010


Yeah, I'm not a particularly fast typer (~45wpm), so I'm atrociously slow on the iPhone. Twittering is OK, responding to a blog post I should really wait to get back to my laptop.

I'm more wondering if there's a gap between individual perception and reality, though. I don't think my co-worker is an edge case with the Blackberry. But then, she probably sees the iPhone and Blackberry not as replacements but satisficers. So much of accessibility is about satisficing, anyway.
posted by dw at 2:47 PM on April 25, 2010








Information wants to be priced accordingly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:38 AM on April 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's also a kind of challenge to the Internet itself—or at least to the conventional wisdom of what the Internet is supposed to be all about.

Print journalist comes out in favour of people paying for written content, film at 11.
posted by GuyZero at 10:52 AM on April 26, 2010




Something odd about that article: On both sets of screenshots the processor is identified as an Intel i5, not an i7.
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on April 26, 2010


Apple sells worthless cable

(Engadget still gives it 2 stars though)
posted by Artw at 3:15 PM on April 26, 2010


Putting the touch into touchscreens - As well as producing weird tactile illusions, haptics have practical uses. For example, tactile feedback can make touchscreen devices more intuitive to use, says Vincent Hayward, head of haptics at the Institute of Intelligent Systems and Robotics at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France.
posted by Artw at 4:23 PM on April 26, 2010


Haptics research says haptics best thing since sliced bread, film at 11.

The VGA cable is hilarious though. It's a cable that doesn't do anything unless explicitly permitted to do so by the app. And no apps enable it.

I suppose from that perspective the iPad is a developer's dream because you can be sure as heck that no one is doing something you don't want them to. Steve Jobs, Il Duce.
posted by GuyZero at 5:00 PM on April 26, 2010


The bread is actually virtual.
posted by Artw at 5:07 PM on April 26, 2010




The VGA output works for at least a handful of apps, but if it won't do Keynote, that a.) sucks big time and b.) blows my mind. Why even bother having Keynote if you can't use it to actually deliver a presentation?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:31 PM on April 26, 2010


I'm a mac, and expensive, proprietary, barely-functioning dongles was my idea.
posted by mullingitover at 7:02 PM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]






It's a cable that doesn't do anything unless explicitly permitted to do so by the app.

Not much different from specialized controllers for game consoles. Not many complain about steering wheels for specific racing games not working with Gears of War, etc. Nor should they. Developers whose apps can make use of the interface will encourage users to buy it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:31 AM on April 27, 2010


Not much different from specialized controllers for game consoles.

On the other hand, significantly different from the video-out dongle Apple shipped with my laptop, that does video mirroring. I'm not sure why anyone would expect a video-out dongle for the iPad to more closely resemble a steering wheel peripheral than a video-out dongle.

Certainly Apple can choose to ship whatever they please, but people can pretty reasonable choose to respond with "ah, that's a bit crap and not doing me any good, thanks."
posted by cortex at 6:52 AM on April 27, 2010


AFAIK, we all like a good laugh at Doctorow's expense, so 99 yr old iPad user berated.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:29 AM on April 27, 2010


AFAIK, we all like a good laugh at Doctorow's expense, so 99 yr old iPad user berated.

I want to believe!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:41 AM on April 27, 2010


Not much different from specialized controllers for game consoles.

Blazecock, you undermine your legitimate points with ones like this. I mean, REALLY. It's a screen-format-adapter. Every app has a display. It seems, on the surface, that this dongle puts the display in place #2 instead of place #1. But no. It only does that SOMETIMES.

If you want to defend the USB dongle not supporting every possible USB peripheral then you have a fine analogy. But every app outputs to the display.
posted by GuyZero at 9:32 AM on April 27, 2010


On the other hand, significantly different from the video-out dongle Apple shipped with my laptop, that does video mirroring.

The iPad isn't a laptop or a netbook. A lot of people call it a content consumption device, not a real computer. So it's reasonable to say that this dongle was never promising anything that anyone should have been expecting, anyway, even if it looks like the "proper" video dongle that came with your laptop.

Certainly Apple can choose to ship whatever they please, but people can pretty reasonable choose to respond with "ah, that's a bit crap and not doing me any good, thanks."

I'm not suggesting people have to like it or buy it. If it does specific things that don't meet expectations, it's not the end of the world that it's being made out to be, and if the iPad isn't a real computer, anyway, then expecting the connectors to be analogous is going to be an unreasonable, if not inconsistent expectation, fraught with disappointment.

As far as VGA output not working with Pages or Keynote, that's surprising, maybe, but perhaps not too unexpected for a v1.0 product. If people have a need for giving presentations delivered through an iPad's video adapter, either Apple will add support to their apps, which is probable, or someone else will write an app to do something similar.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 PM on April 27, 2010




Here's (Gizmodo) a decent articulation of what the iPad could have been. It's targeted as "the perfect Android device", but in comparison the the iPad.

To summarize:
- Independence: it really should be a first-class device, not an add-on or an accessory (like an iPod)
- Good Synching and file management: cloud-based preferred.
- Accessories: should not suck. The world works on USB and SD cards now, that's what ports it needs.
- Decent media support: mostly more than one codec support

The iPad with those features would be unbeatable for years. As it is, Apple has left several features for Android (or other) devices. I expect those to be about a year away, but Apple may take several years to catch up, if the iPhone experience is any guide.
posted by bonehead at 12:30 PM on April 27, 2010


Full Flash support in Android 2.2 - "sometimes being open means not being militant about the things consumers are actually enjoying."
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on April 27, 2010


Rubin not so subtly working in a mention of North Korea after a discussion about Apple

Adobe for the Godwin.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:34 PM on April 27, 2010


Google for the Godwin, to fix that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 PM on April 27, 2010


Accessories: should not suck. The world works on USB and SD cards now, that's what ports it needs.

Bluetooth or WiFi connected peripherals would be fine, considering the portability emphasis of the device, but that's not the focus, this is a device to cater to the needs of piracy wary content providers as much or more as it is to users. Good luck with that model.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:59 PM on April 27, 2010


The iPad isn't a laptop or a netbook.

It is also not Gran Turismo 4. It much more strongly resembles a laptop or a netbook than it does GT4, though.

I don't think we really disagree about whether or not Apple should have to anticipate or respond helpfully to folks' desire for a video dongle that does what their usual video dongles do. They don't have to. They clearly aren't, really, in this case. Maybe they will in the future; I'd certainly like it if they would, as an iPad owner. Barring that, I can hope that every app I'd hope to see on a secondary display will get rewritten accordingly; we'll see how that goes.

It sounds mostly like we disagree over whether it makes sense for customers accustomed to Apple providing that sort of thing historically to be annoyed or disappointed that they're not providing it in this case. I don't think it's at all unreasonable of a complaint. That's about as far as it goes. I don't think it's the end of the world, nor seemingly do most of the folks I've heard complain about it, I just think it's a little surprising and annoying. There's a lot of room between thinking the adapter they're selling is keen and declaring jihad against them for failing to provide video mirror, and there's reasonable, annoyed existing customers in that middle ground.
posted by cortex at 2:39 PM on April 27, 2010


swf replacement using javascript and svg. Smooth as freakin' silk on Opera 10.5 on a Mac Mini. Gonna have to try that on the iPod next.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:58 PM on April 27, 2010 [4 favorites]


It is also not Gran Turismo 4. It much more strongly resembles a laptop or a netbook than it does GT4, though.

As far as the video output goes, maybe a game console analogy might be a bit stronger than it looks. If I remember correctly, the Xbox and PS3 downsample video output through the analog (RCA and component) connectors to 480p or lower.

From Ars Technica's link, it looks like the iPad can do the same downsampling for apps that support the connector. Not saying it's not disappointing, but perhaps it's not any more unexpected than Sony and Microsoft doing the same with their own entertainment devices.

From user reports it seems like Apple is giving control away to developers to decide what quality of video output to allow (if any), which seems a bit of a change from the tight control Apple would otherwise be exerting.

Because connector support depends on the app, the user experience is inconsistent. Maybe the video connector was an afterthought on Apple's part. In a lot of ways, it seems like a pretty rare departure from how they usually do things. This is a first-gen product, so maybe the specifics will change in future releases.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:08 PM on April 27, 2010


Pretty sure the Zune HD outputs HD. That's why it's called the Zune HD.
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on April 27, 2010


Pretty sure the Zune HD outputs HD

I think it outputs 720p through a copy-protection-enabled HDMI cable. 720p is HD to me, but may or may not be HD to others, depending on their definition of HD. VGA has no copy protection, which is why all these companies downsample analog outputs, if they offer them at all. It would be great if the next iPad offered an HDMI output.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:27 PM on April 27, 2010


VGA doesn't have secured endpoints but honestly given that there are so many other insecure video distribution channels (DVDs, Blu-Ray discs) it seems like a waste of time and extra annoyance to try to protect it as a channel. It's like locking your windows while leaving the doors open. Practically speaking, no one is going to copy anything by digitizing VGA output and all it does is annoy Keynote users. It's simply a bad decision on Apple's part.
posted by GuyZero at 3:53 PM on April 27, 2010


I largely agree with you about digitizing VGA output being a non-issue. I just don't think the end result is too surprising, given what everyone else does.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:55 PM on April 27, 2010


The XBox 360 outputs up to 1080p on VGA and unprotected composite output. The PS3 outputs 1080p over unprotected composite although I don't own one so I dunno if it blocks BluRay playback that way.
posted by GuyZero at 5:09 PM on April 27, 2010


If you use Netflix streaming on an Xbox 360, I think you'll need a digital video connection for the HDCP copy protection. I suspect the same might be true with the PS3, though I haven't tried this for myself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:05 PM on April 27, 2010


It sucked on the iPod Touch 3G, BTW. Safari was slow and VirtualBrowser crashed.

There are CPUs built for Forth and Java. I wonder if it's practical to create a Javascript-optimized CPU (Assistant PU? Web PU?) for touch devices.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:36 PM on April 27, 2010


JavaScript is an insane interpreted language whose underlying instruction set would be documented on sheets of gold found in a temple under Antarctic mountains. A JavaScript processor would open a window into a dimension of madness.
posted by GuyZero at 9:29 PM on April 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Intrinsity buy went through.
posted by ignignokt at 7:01 AM on April 28, 2010


HTC is paying Microsoft for the privilege of using Google's Android. Hurray for the patent system.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:16 AM on April 28, 2010


HP buys Palm?

Well now. What's that do for this?
posted by bonehead at 1:24 PM on April 28, 2010


Not sure... the slate is still basically a Tablet PC, so it probably doesn't change things at all. Probably has some implications if they go into the emerging whatever-the-iPad-is market, or they might just want to make phones.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on April 28, 2010


Tablet PCs are often used in corporate environments where someone needs the mobility and features of a tablet while still having the locked-down networking features of Windows. They're usually more expensive than a comparable laptop and not really at all in the same market as an iPad.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:47 PM on April 28, 2010


Well that's the billion dollar question, isn't it? Is this a scaled-up phone-OS device category or a scaled-down desktop-OS category? I suspect Window 7, a great OS for the desktop, will suck hard on a touch-only tablet, while the iPone-OS will prove ultimately too limiting in ways that have been hashed to death in this thread to be long-lerm sucessful.

Reactions to the HP slate have been pretty poor so far, both because the ID of the slate isn't great and because Win7 isn't great on a tablet either. Palm, with a strong design group and the WebOS could solve both problems for HP in this new device space.
posted by bonehead at 1:52 PM on April 28, 2010


Hmm...

The word is that Palm's existing hardware roadmap is basically untouched at this point by this acquisition, but the good news on the HP end of things is that the company sees webOS as a "prized asset," and they intend to "scale it across multiple connected devices." That sounds like tablets to us, and HP didn't beat back that assumption.
posted by Artw at 2:06 PM on April 28, 2010


Apple acquires virtual assistant search app maker Siri - Essentially a smart search, there's plenty of speculation of course as to what this means about the direction that Apple might be taking... and that direction seems to lead towards Google-y territory.

(Screenshot makes it look like ultra-Clippy)
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on April 28, 2010


WRT to "HTML 5" losing it's meaning and becoming the new "Web 2.0" there's a bunch of weird stories out there about how Facebook is or isn't supporting HTML 5... like this:

UPDATE: According to Facebook, the company is not testing HTML5. Facebook told us in an email that, "All new videos are encoded in h264 format, so we're playing videos natively in the iPad since it supports h264-encoded videos. It will load them full-screen, similar to what it does for YouTube videos." Facebook rolled this out last week.

Which is a bit weird. because that's exactly how the iPhone (and i assume the iPad) handles the Video tag, are they saying that it has to be inline or it doesn't count? Or is this not the video tag and just some link?
posted by Artw at 5:34 PM on April 28, 2010


Here's Why We Don't Allow Flash On The iPhone And iPad -- Steve Jobs.
posted by mazola at 7:02 AM on April 29, 2010


Steve Jobs weighs in on the Flash debate.

Money quote:
...Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true.
posted by mullingitover at 7:05 AM on April 29, 2010


On non-preview, what mazola said.

I found this interesting:
We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.
If developers are targeting the platform with html5, wouldn't they run into exactly this problem? They couldn't take advantage of Apple's platform enhancements without perverting the standard with proprietary extensions. So to be consistent Apple would need to discourage developers from targeting their devices with html5, or extend html5 to take advantage of their proprietary platform. Embrace and extend...where have I heard that before?
posted by mullingitover at 7:22 AM on April 29, 2010


As far as VGA output not working with Pages or Keynote, that's surprising, maybe, but perhaps not too unexpected for a v1.0 product. If people have a need for giving presentations delivered through an iPad's video adapter, either Apple will add support to their apps, which is probable, or someone else will write an app to do something similar.

But it still doesn't make a lick of sense. For that matter, Keynote's setup on iPad doesn't make any sense.

What I'd love is to be able to transfer a Keynote slidedeck to an iPad, then run my presentation from that. But Apple won't let me either of those things. And let's be honest, if they're waving Keynote around as a BIG NEW FEATURE, why the hell are they locking out the ability to output it to VGA?

It's like something Microsoft would do.
posted by dw at 9:01 AM on April 29, 2010


Jobs' view of HTML5 is so misguided. There are some massive security holes in the current draft of the HTML5 DOM, ones that could make us look fondly at the days of XSS.

sessionStorage and globalStorage worry me most greatly, but there are other spots they're trying to do the New And The Cool and the We'll Show Them XML/XHTML Jerks! but leaving it up to the browser makers to figure out what the hell they're trying to say.
posted by dw at 9:08 AM on April 29, 2010


It's all about video and canvas, no-one looks at the rest.
posted by Artw at 9:18 AM on April 29, 2010


Ewwg. This thing just looks like some kind of horrible, worst of both worlds experience.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on April 29, 2010


Ewwg. This thing just looks like some kind of horrible, worst of both worlds experience.

Well, at least you don't have to hold it up constantly or prop it against something.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2010


Heh. I've started seeing those guys in coffee shops. Fork out the forty for a case already, cheapskates!
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on April 29, 2010


"I'd like a double tall mocha and an extra cup of ice water to prop up my iPad, please."
posted by Burhanistan at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Micorsoft cancels courier... which TBH was always kind of seemed like vague vapourware to me.
posted by Artw at 1:32 PM on April 29, 2010


I don't think courier was ever acknowledged externally as anything but blue-sky prototype work.
posted by GuyZero at 1:54 PM on April 29, 2010


Always looked that way to me. Some people really went on and on about it though.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on April 29, 2010


Some people really went on and on about it though.

I WANT TO BELIEVE
posted by GuyZero at 2:02 PM on April 29, 2010


Micorsoft cancels courier...

This is my surprised face.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:04 PM on April 29, 2010


Courier was a solid and smart idea. But I don't think they could have pulled it off. Hell, I don't think Apple could have pulled it off.
posted by dw at 3:50 PM on April 29, 2010


That's a shame. Since 2003 I've been using TabletPCs as my portable computer/sketchbook/notepad and the Courier looked like it could have been a nice replacement.
posted by Tenuki at 4:46 PM on April 29, 2010


Basically it was one of those concept cars that only ever exists as a mock up.
posted by Artw at 4:51 PM on April 29, 2010


To piggyback on this thread, I'm currently looking for a portable bluetooth keyboard that I can use with my iPad, if anyone has any suggestions, btw, that won't run me the $70 Apple wants for theirs (which isn't that portable). I already decided on the Groovy stand.
posted by misha at 4:54 PM on April 29, 2010


Damn, I was hoping Microsoft would get their shit together.

Does HP make anything worth having any more? Last HP laptops I've had experience with were all craptastic. Can't even say I'm particularly thrilled with their printers any more. And for that matter, have they invented anything over the past five years or so?

It might be a shame that they got Palm. I was thinking RIM might have been a good match. Palm UI, QNX kernel, RIM electronics.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:09 PM on April 29, 2010


five fresh fish wrote: Does HP make anything worth having any more? Last HP laptops I've had experience with were all craptastic.

The work-issued laptop my SO got a few weeks back seems pretty decent. About 8000x better than the previous one, even if it does have Windows Vista on it. Neither are as good as the Thinkpad she had at her old job, but it'll be interesting to see how it holds up over the next 3ish years.
posted by wierdo at 8:11 PM on April 29, 2010


Jon Stewart had a great rant about Apple.

It occurs to me Google could become a telecom supplier; it has a ton of fiber and a network of swtches. Give away minicells for the final mile, do a cell cloud. Datamine the hell out of the traffic.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 PM on April 29, 2010


To piggyback on this thread, I'm currently looking for a portable bluetooth keyboard that I can use with my iPad, if anyone has any suggestions, btw, that won't run me the $70 Apple wants for theirs (which isn't that portable).

Not that portable? How do you mean? It's not a roll up mat or one of those god-awful folding keyboards, but it's light as a feather and takes up less space in a bag than half a legal pad. $70 is pretty steep, but it's a sweet keyboard. Keep your eyes on Craigslist. I scored a factory sealed one for half the price, but I see em' routinely go for $50 or so.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:43 PM on April 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does HP make anything worth having any more?

I'm not at all impressed with their low-end printers and never have been (5p, 6L anyone?).

Their 4000 and 4200 business laserjets though, I'll cut you if you touch them. We've got probably three dozen of the beasts at work and we change them out every twelve years or so. We just got rid of out last LJ3 a few years ago and I've still got a couple of LJ4s kicking about. Each of them still does a few thousand pages a year. Good HP printers are still, by far and away, the most piece of kit we have. Everything else breaks before the LJs do.
posted by bonehead at 5:45 AM on April 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


« Older A Devo, Inc. Initiative   |   To the barricades! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post