Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Apple Hater Converted? I want an iPad!

I've tweeted several times about my misgivings on the Apple iPad.
  • Still not getting an iPad (I'm a h8r), but Gruber's got a point against my main beef (the closed platform) http://bit.ly/a0vO6j
    Apr 02 2010
  • No scripting/coding on the iPhone was pad enough. But the iPad could have been great 4 kids to learn 2 code. Too bad. http://bit.ly/ayKHYM
    Jan 31st
  • if I had an iPad rather than a real computer as a kid, I’d never be a programmer today -- Alex Payne http://al3x.net/2010/01/28/ipad.html
    Jan 29th
I'd prefer an open platform. I think the changes to section 3.2.2 of the developer agreement are a small step in the right direction, and  I'd like to see more openness. From Boy Genius:
Apple has again tweaked section 3.2.2 of the agreement, adding in a loophole which will allow them to approve certain interpretive code tools. The old section 3.2.2 read like this: 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).
While the updated version looks like this: Unless otherwise approved by Apple in writing, 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). Notwithstanding the foregoing, with Apple’s prior written consent, an Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application.
And I particularly hope that Squeak and Scratch and other great programming environments for kids and otherwise make it onto the iPad or similar devices.

But, the iPad is just too good for me to not want one. Stefan Miller let me try his iPad a couple of times and I'm sold.

The main reason is that I want a great PDF reader. The iPad is significantly better than the Kindle or even the Kindle DX for reading PDFs. I also want to annotate, and that capability is available as well.

I read a lot of books on programming. These books tend to be heavy and expensive. The PDF versions can often be had for less than half the cost. But, that means carrying a laptop. (I've been known to hold my HP EliteBook sideways with the screen orientation on portrait.

Hopefully innovative programming environments like the Lively Kernel will make it possible to write some code on the device and do some programming with kids. Quoting an interview with Dan Ingalls:
The fact that the Lively Kernel is just a web page and you click on it and you're running this system, it's a system that can do graphics editing, can produce images, can do simple programs, like Squeak that you can save a page from, means that basically anywhere you have a network computer, you can have authoring.
That's one ingredient. Another is I noticed that there is a certain challenge you have before you can become a developer for say the iPhone and yet the iPhone has Safari in it and it runs Lively Kernel applications just fine. It seems to me there is an opportunity here for something much more open than the App Store in which everybody can contribute and produce and share active content.
And, I hold out hope that eToys, Squeak and Scratch will someday be approved as well.

But, for now, I am looking forward to compromising my principles! The iPad is on my birthday list! As are a number of apps, gift cards will be welcomed!

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