The iPad seems to be all over the tech news, lots of excitement. While I can’t say I’m down on the hardware or interface, I’m extremely frustrated by the closed nature of these devices. And it’s not just that everyone seems to want an iPhone/iPad, it’s that every hardware company seems to want to be Apple these days. If computing follows this vector it will not be long until we find ourselves locked in the gaming console model where in order to develop on hardware that we own we must plead for permission and enter into some contract to do so. If the devices being produced by Apple are step forward, the cultural baggage that comes with them is 5 steps back. It’s a shame that this concern is so difficult to get across to a non-developer, as it’s likely to have lasting implications on the future of innovation in computing. The equity gained in the past 10 years of open source culture is far more tenuous than I imagined only a few years ago.
Peter Kirn makes a far more persuasive argument here, http://createdigitalmusic.com/2010/01/27/how-a-great-product-can-be-bad-news-apple-ipad-and-the-closed-mac/