Pundits On The iPad’s Closed System: It’s Doom For PCs, No It’s Great

Pundits On The iPad’s Closed System: It’s Doom For PCs, No It’s Great

The iPad's closed system is great for computers or it's doom, depending on who you talk to. CC-licensed iPad picture by Glenn Fleishman.

Here are two interesting but conflicting opinions on the iPad, pro and con.

Con: Tech author Rafe Colburn says the iPad is a scary harbringer of the closed future of consumer computing.

“General purpose computing is too complicated for most people anyway, and the iPad’s descendants along with similar competing products from other companies will offer an enticing alternative. So I see the death of the traditional, open personal computer as a likely occurrence.”

Pro: But Facebook iPhone developer Joe Hewitt is extremely positively about the iPad’s closed system. To his mind it’s a major asset:

“The one thing that makes an iPhone/iPad app “closed” is that it lives in a sandbox, which means it can’t just read and write willy-nilly to the file system, access hardware, or interfere with other apps. In my mind, this is one of the best features of the OS. It makes native apps more like web apps, which are similarly sandboxed, and therefore much more secure. On Macs and PCs, you have to re-install the OS every couple years or so just to undo the damage done by apps, but iPhone OS is completely immune to this.”

I’m with Hewitt. The IPad is a cloud computer par excellence, and we will likely be able to run almost any software we want on it, but it’ll be on a server somewhere and not on the iPad. Colburn notes this too, but thinks it’s a bad thing.

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  • onpon4

    You’re kidding, right?

    How restricted the USER is in accessing the device has NOTHING TO DO with how restricted PROGRAMS are in accessing the device. Of course, restriction of access from programs is a good thing. That’s why Linux has that! But restricting the user, preventing the user from using the device how he/she wants, has NO BENEFIT WHATSOEVER, except to Apple by raking in more money for them.

    As a side note, I have NEVER had to re-install an OS to fix any problems, on Linux or even Windows. Heck, I’ve never even had a program do any sort of damage to the OS, nor would I expect to, unless it’s some kind of malware. And in my experience and the experience of others, malware doesn’t tend to severely affect either Mac OS X, Linux, or any other UNIX-like OS, if it affects them at all.

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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Posted in Apple, Apple Tablet, iPad, News, Opinions |