Tuesday, February 2, 2010 [Tweets] [Favorites]

My Worst iPad Fears

Victoria Wang:

At this time, I suspect the closed nature of the App Store is not as worrying as it should be because it only concerns our smart phones. We can still develop anything we want for Macs, the “real” machines. However, what if the iPad starts to replace the Mac to such a degree that it no longer becomes profitable to write apps for the Mac? It seems that to be a Cocoa developer will eventually mean to have one’s business chained to the App Store. To be chained to the App Store means Apple makes the final decision on whether your apps can be sold the way you like them, or at all.

5 Comments

"However, what if the iPad starts to replace the Mac to such a degree that it no longer becomes profitable to write apps for the Mac?"

I think this is the wrong worry. (At least in the viewable future, say 5 to 10 years.)

The correct worry is that of Apple starts locking down the keyboard/mouse OS by requiring apps to go through the App Store. This could come to pass through one of two avenues:

1) They EOL Mac OS X, and start shipping keyboard/mouse machines with iPhone OS.

2) They start validating the App Store on Mac OS X app launches.

If it's just a matter of exploding iPad device sales, Mac OS X developers will still be fine. Everybody will still be "hubbing" their iPad devices to a Mac OS X device that will still require software. In other words, the OS X market will thrive even while iPad devices explode.

But if Apple decides to force keyboard/mouse software through their App store through either of those two avenues, that's when fears would come true. Neither seem likely at the moment, but Steve's potential whims are tail risk.

(Postscript: Q: Why is John Gruber a hack? A: Because he doesn't think wilshipley-gate even mentions a short entertaining blog post.)

Chucky: It seems entirely possible that future iPhone OS products will update directly from Apple’s servers, backup directly to Time Capsules, and not require a computer as a digital hub.

What’s wilshipley-gate? I follow him on Twitter and don’t know what you’re referring to.

"What’s wilshipley-gate? I follow him on Twitter and don’t know what you’re referring to."

The iBooks kerfuffle. Seems worthy of a brief note to me.

I like John's blog, but I'd like it better if it were balanced 80/20 "Go Team Apple!" instead of the current balance of 98/2.

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"Chucky: It seems entirely possible that future iPhone OS products will update directly from Apple’s servers, backup directly to Time Capsules, and not require a computer as a digital hub."

No doubt. One can definitely imagine Apple moving away from complete reliance on the hub concept in the near to mid-term future.

But the issue for the developer remains the base of Mac OS X devices. Apple in the future could have a lot of customers who have "unhubbed" iPads while also having more Mac OS X customers than they do today.

As long as Apple doesn't lock down or EOL the current form of Mac OS X in the ways mentioned above, there should still be a healthy open market there reasonably far beyond the horizon.

@Chucky: Are you referring to iBooks' shelf looking like Delicious Library's shelf? Are people really calling that "shipley-gate"?

I mean, iBooks "rips" from Classics as much as DL, if you want to pick nits. Maybe Gruber thinks is a non-issue... that's his right.

foresmac: Delicious Library predates Classics by quite a long time.

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