iPad Is CD-ROM All Over Again

Apple's tablet is a throwback to the days of top-down content control
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2010 11:02 AM CDT
In this Jan. 27, 2010 file photo, the Apple iPad is examined after its unveiling at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, file)

(Newser) – The iPad may seem like the next big thing, but “it feels like the second coming of the CD-ROM” to Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing. Content makers thought they could repackage their product in a more expensive form and remake media. But incumbents make bad revolutionaries, Doctorow argues. The iPad is designed to reinstate top-down media control. DRM is everywhere, you can’t load your own software—let alone write it—and you surely can’t override a command from “the mothership.”

Getting your kids a computer used to encourage them to remake, reprogram, and improve the world—hell, the old Apple II+ came with schematics . Get your kid an iPad and you’re saying “that even changing the batteries is something you have to leave to the professionals.” Bottom line: “Gadgets come and gadgets go. … The real issue isn’t the capabilities of the piece of plastic you unwrap today, but the technical and social infrastructure that accompanies it.”

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |