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

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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.
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.