Apple Tablet

NSMike wrote:
As a matter of fact, I'm certain closing it makes more work for Apple than any QA and development cycle for such an option ever could have.

But how much CS time does it save them after the fact??

mudbunny wrote:
NSMike wrote:
As a matter of fact, I'm certain closing it makes more work for Apple than any QA and development cycle for such an option ever could have.

But how much CS time does it save them after the fact??

That's based on the user and not really quantifiable. It's also a bed that Apple made for themselves. How many people call Microsoft when they have trouble with Windows?

NSMike wrote:
Explain jailbreaking to me then? As far as I have used it on my iPod Touch, jailbreaking is simply a non-Apple-approved flag that does the same thing, except the non-trivial part was getting around Apple's blocks against such a thing... Which makes me wonder just how much time they spent engineering it to stop that, which could've otherwise been given over to exactly the kind of option that Legion is talking about.

I think his point is that, in making it a feature of the product, they would feel compelled to give it the kind of thorough testing that the jailbreakers aren't bound to do.

However, as I said, I think he overstates the case significantly. This isn't someone saying, "the device should have X" where X is a separate application that would require significant additional design and development.

In this case, X is the ability for the application installer to skip the signed-code check, and continue installing the application bundle as normal.

Again, Android OS does exactly this. It's not the most difficult thing in the world to engineer, particularly if it's something you plan to do from the start. It's not a whole separate application.

Also, your point about the amount of engineering time spent trying to defeat running unsigned code being time that could be spent providing the feature is a good one.

mudbunny wrote:
NSMike wrote:
As a matter of fact, I'm certain closing it makes more work for Apple than any QA and development cycle for such an option ever could have.

But how much CS time does it save them after the fact??

That's a fair point. But if it's implemented similar to the checkbox in Android, I would have a hard time imagining that the people most likely to spam customer support with dumb phone calls would ever find it in the first place - let alone find it, realize what it is, enable it, attempt to go download and run unsigned code, and then find a reason to call support to try and get help.

That said, I am never one to argue against the "world builds a better idiot" principle. I won't try and say that the customer support impact would be absolutely zero.

All I'm saying is that the tech world is littered with the corpses of companies that could not deliver a quality product on a reasonable schedule, so I am quite suspicious of any argument along the lines of "It would be easy to do this thing other thing that is not actually part of the core value proposition of the product."

I respect and acknowledge the argument "I need feature X, they didn't provide feature X, therefore I don't want the product." But I automatically assume that the argument "I need feature X, feature X isn't in the core use case for the product, but they should have spent engineering time on it anyway because it would have been so easy" is wrong.

*Legion* wrote:
So let's quit with the mental gymnastics that are trying to dance around that point.

What is the point anyway? That you are mad at Apple for producing exactly what one would expect? They have the amazingly successful iPhone software and they used it on a bigger piece of hardware. This makes you mad. As far as I can tell that is the point, am I missing something.

edited to avoid flame war

peterb wrote:
All I'm saying is that the tech world is littered with the corpses of companies that could not deliver a quality product on a reasonable schedule, so I am quite suspicious of any argument along the lines of "It would be easy to do this thing other thing that is not actually part of the core value proposition of the product."

I respect and acknowledge the argument "I need feature X, they didn't provide feature X, therefore I don't want the product." But I automatically assume that the argument "I need feature X, feature X isn't in the core use case for the product, but they should have spent engineering time on it anyway because it would have been so easy" is wrong.

Normally, I would be highly sympathetic to this view. I think, though, in this case, "feature X" really isn't a feature, rather, it's a bypass of "feature Y" (signed code check). I do recognize that there's a little more to it than that, and that things like adding to the UI and putting it through QA should not be completely trivialized. But I think this is a whole lot smaller of a request than the normal "feature X" arguments that your reaction is geared towards.

Even that, though, is ancillary to my initial point to Rabbit, which was simply that the feature most certainly could exist without sacrificing the benefits of the "closed" system on a tablet for Mom. Mama Rabbit would never notice the difference between "closed by default" versus "closed, no matter what". And I think "closed by default" is a hell of a lot more preferable.

The discussion of the development time that would go into making it the former rather than the latter is a separate discussion, but I think we see each other's points on that one now.

farley3k wrote:
*Legion* wrote:
So let's quit with the mental gymnastics that are trying to dance around that point.

What is the point anyway? That you are mad at Apple for producing exactly what one would expect? They have the amazingly successful iPhone software and they used it on a bigger piece of hardware. This makes you mad. As far as I can tell that is the point, am I missing something.

The point is discussion on the topic. They're two different approaches to software development, and a thread about this product has derailed to talk about the issues around open platforms vs. walled gardens. The discussion is orbiting around "This is bad for these reasons, but good for these," at the moment. It's just where the topic has ended up. I'm not a software developer personally, but I'm of the opinion that the closed system is nice for herding consumers into a nice spot where they can't screw too much up, but is bad overall for both developers and customers in the long run. The difference between those two groups is that the customers either don't know or don't care and will figure it out eventually, but developers are well aware of the issues. The trade-off is one that comes with more freedom in general: allowing people to do anything usually results in more problems.

farley3k wrote:
What is the point anyway? That you are mad at Apple for producing exactly what one would expect?

You're not reading what I write if you think I'm mad. At least, you're not reading with the intent on understanding the words that are there.

There are an awful lot of assumptions about what people think that are being dragged into this discussion.

Go back, read what I actually wrote, and try again. Hint: I didn't start into this discussion until one page ago.

They have the amazingly successful iPhone software and they used it on a bigger piece of hardware. This makes you mad. As far as I can tell that is the point, am I missing something.

There's no point in discussing with you if you pull things out of your ass and then ascribe them to me.

NSMike wrote:

The point is discussion on the topic. They're two different approaches to software development, and a thread about this product has derailed to talk about the issues around open platforms vs. walled gardens. The discussion is orbiting around "This is bad for these reasons, but good for these," at the moment. It's just where the topic has ended up. I'm not a software developer personally, but I'm of the opinion that the closed system is nice for herding consumers into a nice spot where they can't screw too much up, but is bad overall for both developers and customers in the long run. The difference between those two groups is that the customers either don't know or don't care and will figure it out eventually, but developers are well aware of the issues. The trade-off is one that comes with more freedom in general: allowing people to do anything usually results in more problems.

Thank you. That makes much more sense to me for some reason.

NSMike wrote:
The point is discussion on the topic. They're two different approaches to software development, and a thread about this product has derailed to talk about the issues around open platforms vs. walled gardens. The discussion is orbiting around "This is bad for these reasons, but good for these," at the moment. It's just where the topic has ended up. I'm not a software developer personally, but I'm of the opinion that the closed system is nice for herding consumers into a nice spot where they can't screw too much up, but is bad overall for both developers and customers in the long run. The difference between those two groups is that the customers either don't know or don't care and will figure it out eventually, but developers are well aware of the issues. The trade-off is one that comes with more freedom in general: allowing people to do anything usually results in more problems.

Good summary. I'm a big advocate of the Android approach* because I think the reason walled gardens exist are that they have value, and aren't necessarily something to be discarded completely.

There is a huge gap between "closed by default" versus "closed, no matter what". The garden doesn't have to be torn down, but a nondescript back gate that only the advanced gardeners ever go through would be awfully nice.

(*: I say Android approach to refer to the setting to enable installing non-Market applications. Of course, unlike on the Apple platforms, the Android market is open for anyone to post applications, and is driven by community rating versus a formal approval process. But even if that were not true, the setting to enable installing non-Market applications would keep the platform open for anyone who cares about having that capability)

peterb wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

There is zero reason that the iPad couldn't have a similar advanced user option to allow installing and executing unsigned code, and it would not compromise the walled garden experience for people like your mother one iota.

This is like reading a design for a perpetual motion machine that says "First, assume there is no friction or gravity."

There may be zero technical reason (although I can actually think of a few), but in the real world of actually shipping a product, adding options - even 'hidden' options - takes design, engineering, and QA cycles, often iterative cycles. It's really easy to say "doing [thing x] would be trivial" when you're not the one responsible for meeting the schedule.

Put another way: every engineer man-hour Apple (or anyone else) puts into an "advanced optional feature" in the iPad (or any other product) is an engineer man-hour not spent on making the things that are actually important to the core use cases work great. That, to me, is the definition of taking on a risk of compromising the experience.

That feature is already in the operating system. They have to devote enormous resources to keeping it closed. All that design time that they're investing to lock that system down, so that you can't buy software from anyone but Apple, is time and money they can't put into the operating system itself and the applications it runs.

The lockdown on the iPad hurts you both directly, in that you're chained to Apple's whims whether you like it or not, and indirectly, because the money they spent to chain you is money they couldn't spend to make it actually work better for you. There are problems you have that it doesn't solve, because they invested in solving Apple's problems first... the primary one being that they're not able to extract enough money from your wallet.

The DRM misfeature, in other words, is more expensive than just being open would be. MORE expensive, not less. But Apple invested that money because they plan to extract it back, plus lots more.

You are paying for your own chains.

Malor wrote:
peterb wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

There is zero reason that the iPad couldn't have a similar advanced user option to allow installing and executing unsigned code, and it would not compromise the walled garden experience for people like your mother one iota.

This is like reading a design for a perpetual motion machine that says "First, assume there is no friction or gravity."

There may be zero technical reason (although I can actually think of a few), but in the real world of actually shipping a product, adding options - even 'hidden' options - takes design, engineering, and QA cycles, often iterative cycles. It's really easy to say "doing [thing x] would be trivial" when you're not the one responsible for meeting the schedule.

Put another way: every engineer man-hour Apple (or anyone else) puts into an "advanced optional feature" in the iPad (or any other product) is an engineer man-hour not spent on making the things that are actually important to the core use cases work great. That, to me, is the definition of taking on a risk of compromising the experience.

Dude, you're just high. That feature is already in the operating system. They have to devote enormous resources to keeping it closed. All that design time that they're investing to lock that system down, so that you can't buy software from anyone but Apple, is time and money they can't put into the operating system itself and the applications it runs.

The lockdown on the iPad hurts you both directly, in that you're chained to Apple's whims whether you like it or not, and indirectly, because the money they spent to chain you is money they couldn't spend to make it actually work better for you. There are problems you have that it doesn't solve, because they invested in solving Apple's problems first... the primary one being that they're not able to extract enough money from your wallet.

The DRM misfeature, in other words, is more expensive than just being open would be. MORE expensive, not less. But Apple invested that money because they plan to extract that money back, plus lots more.

You are paying for your own chains.

While I agree with your sentiments, you have to admit that this all based on speculation. We have no idea how many resources were spent in locking down the Apple Store, fighting jailbreaking, and running their approval process. Without any insider knowledge, I don't think we can truly say that Apple is losing money or making a sound investment. All we do know is that they're making a killing on the apps, and for all we know that could be a significant ROI on their DRM.

We've kind of entered name calling territory, and veered off on a huge tangent. Especially for an unreleased device that no one knows will be difficult or easy to "jailbreak". Not that your perspectives aren't enlightening to a non-programmer/designer such as myself.

It's working, but that doesn't mean it's to your benefit. You paid for your own chains, and continue to pay for them.

Don't.

Malor, what you call "locking the system down" I call "ensuring a consistent user experience". I understand that this is of no value to you, but I think the market demonstrates -- in the most stark and vivid terms imaginable -- that most users disagree.

Malor wrote:
It's working, but that doesn't mean it's to your benefit. You paid for your own chains, and continue to pay for them.

Don't.

Your hyperbole in this thread will be studied for generations to come.

To sum up: We who are interested in the iPad are idiot slaves who are getting cornholed with brooms by our masters because we are going to buy a product that you dislike, and by doing this we are taking steps down the road to enslaving you, the clear-eyed prophet of the true path of consumer electronics morality.

I'm going to step away now. I look forward to having a real conversation once the iPad comes out and I've been able to use one and decided whether it's going to work for me.

They can do that without the lockdown. The "lock" part is completely unnecessary, expensive, and not for your benefit.

They could give you the exact same thing while still allowing you to run whatever you want. You just can choose not to leave the garden.

The whole thing is particularly immoral because Apple is so dependent on software that was developed by freedom and sharing; their entire software stack is built around BSD code. Using BSD-based code to lock you out of your own hardware is disgusting.

Just when the conversation was becoming productive and interesting again, it had to be dragged right back down to the silliness of hyperbole and paranoia.

Yeah, I think I will leave the thread too. I have to get back to paying for my chains.

Malor wrote:
They can do that without the lockdown. The "lock" part is completely unnecessary, expensive, and not for your benefit.

They could give you the exact same thing while still allowing you do use the computer to run whatever you want.

I take it that this will be the Android approach, and those that appreciate that should shop for those products. I think the vast majority of the iPhone/iPad users don't give a rat's ass if they're operating in a walled garden, they want their beer mug, lighter saber, auto-tone, and bejeweled apps and they don't care how it gets there. And they want to buy it off a sleek Apple Store with no fuss. They don't care about all the possible apps that are being denied to them, only about what's there now and how much it costs. If a person doesn't know, care, or care to know, then so be it and let them have the product they want.

I agree whole-heartedly with what you're saying Malor, and yes that's how things should be in a perfect world, but I've grown to accept that this is how Apple operates and nothing will change that. I think it'd be best for everyone if we just accept that as how things are for the purposes of this thread and just discuss the product based on what it is.

Malor wrote:
The whole thing is particularly immoral because Apple is so dependent on software that was developed by freedom and sharing; their entire software stack is built around BSD code. Using BSD-based code to lock you out of your own hardware is disgusting.

I am not trying to convince you, since I think it's clear that on this particular issue you are not amenable to reason, but I have to address this point, lest you mislead someone who isn't familiar with the license. Using BSD-based code for a proprietary purpose is not, in fact, "disgusting", it is exactly what was intended by developers who choose to use the BSD license. To describe that as "immoral" betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of why people (and institutions) write code under the BSD license.

I love how everyone conveniently avoided trying to figure out how to "enable" this wonderful world of unsigned do as you wish applications on the iPad and still keep all those pesky content holders happy.

Hint. It involves being in the real world where real decisions are made by people that run huge companies and answer to all sorts of C.E.O.'s

Apple likes making money.. so do Content Holders.. Consumers like products that work well.. as long as enough people are happy that's all that matters.

They could give you the exact same thing while still allowing you to run whatever you want. You just can choose not to leave the garden.

And this is where you are just so utterly and completely wrong. The fact that you can't see this simple reality is exactly why you keep going around in a circle with your argument.

You can make completely open and hackable systems to your hearts content.. they just won't sell Millions of Units and enjoy the type of Content that most consumers embrace (and thus buy in millions)

Go get a Pandora or something like that... you have options... just don't expect to bend unrealistic expectations to real products... or you can jailbreak your iPad and do everything you want.. just don't expect to enjoy the benefits of a walled in system.

... or you can jailbreak your iPad and do everything you want.. just don't expect to enjoy the benefits of a walled in system.

Wait, how does jailbreaking something like this cut you off from the benefits of the walled garden? The only difference is that I have the key to the gate, now. My jailbroken iPod Touch is not even close to significantly different than a non-jailbroken one.

NSMike wrote:
Wait, how does jailbreaking something like this cut you off from the benefits of the walled garden? The only difference is that I have the key to the gate, now. My jailbroken iPod Touch is not even close to significantly different than a non-jailbroken one.

if I am not mistaken, haven't the only iPhone viruses in the wild been on jailbroken iPhones? If so, seems like "security" might be one sacrifice.

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/...

But, for the sake of argument, let's say you don't lose anything at all. Doesn't that just make the extremity of Malor's position that much more ridiculous? The thing he's got the torches and pitchforks out for isn't even that using the iPhone in a given way is impossible -- its that Apple isn't making it convenient enough for him. He wants Chevy to provide an SDK for his fuel injector's CPU.

But, y'know, as we've already established earlier in this thread, all software development is completely free.

Of course, all this is assuming that the iPad won't be jailbroken.

It is Apple's right to make the iPad closed off for development.
It is the right of the consumer to look at that and decide whether or not it is worth it.

As I said previously, I am willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of people who will buy the iPad really don't give a rat's butt whether or not it is open to development or not. All they care is whether or not the app that does what they need is available.

Malor wrote:
It's working, but that doesn't mean it's to your benefit. You paid for your own chains, and continue to pay for them.

Don't.

*sigh*

We don't exactly have a philosophical difference on this point, but taking that kind of tone murders open discussion.

TheGameguru wrote:
I love how everyone conveniently avoided trying to figure out how to "enable" this wonderful world of unsigned do as you wish applications on the iPad and still keep all those pesky content holders happy.

Hint. It involves being in the real world where real decisions are made by people that run huge companies and answer to all sorts of C.E.O.'s

And how does the fact that many of these publishers already allow their content onto non-locked-down PCs (Kindle for PC, and Mac version coming soon!) affect your statement?

Amazon can get publishers to go along with the idea, but Apple can't? Hard to believe, when Apple's already done it with the music industry, and then even got them to drop DRM.

Seeing as how we've entered the usual repeated points and boring, circular arguments that always come up when Apple announces some new product, I'm locking this thread. Create a new one when there's actually product on the shelves.