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Alan Kay Says iPad Betrays Xerox PARC Vision 387

Posted by timothy
from the and-so-it-goes dept.
harrymcc writes "Over at TIME.com, we've published David Greelish's interview with Alan Kay, the famously quotable visionary whose Dynabook proposal has provided much of the inspiration for advances in mobile computing for over 40 years now. Kay talks about his work, laments that the computer has failed to live up to its potential as an educational tool, and says that the iPad betrays the vision that he and others created at Xerox PARC and elsewhere in the 1970s."
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Alan Kay Says iPad Betrays Xerox PARC Vision

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  • Re:Fanboy attack (Score:5, Informative)

    by _xeno_ (155264) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @09:48AM (#43337145) Homepage Journal

    Even this is disingenuous because Apple doesn't in any way prevent a people from creating a good app uploading it to the store for free and let people download it for free.

    You either have a different definition of "for free" than I do, or you're purposely using misleading language.

    In order for me to start "uploading it to the store for free" I have to pay at least something like $1100 for specialized hardware and the developer account in addition to the tablet. And, yes, I'm counting the cost of a bottom-end, cheapest, entirely unsuitable for development work MacBook in this, because the PARC vision allows you to do development on just the tablet itself.

    So, no, I can't just create a good app and upload it for free. I can upload it for $1000+$100/year, and allow other people to download it without cost to them, but if I want to create an app, I have an upfront cost of at least $1100 on top of the cost of the original tablet.

    And that all assumes Apple doesn't simply reject the app for no particular reason.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @09:55AM (#43337253) Homepage Journal

    Basic users who have zero need for the features of a PC.

    A PC offers more room to grow. Eventually a basic user is likely to become no longer a basic user and will need to spend a significant chunk of change to upgrade from only a tablet to a tablet and a PC. If this no-longer-basic user is a child under legal working age who has been using a tablet that he had received as a gift, it becomes even more difficult to find the money to buy even a used PC. Owning only an iPad is more likely to convince the user that the limits of only an iPad are reasonable, just as a lot of American kids who owned only a game console and not a PC during the third, fourth, and fifth console generations never got the chance to try their hand at learning what makes a game tick by coding a simple game themselves.

  • Re:Bing! (Score:2, Informative)

    by cyber-vandal (148830) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @09:58AM (#43337297) Homepage

    I'm typing this on a Linux Mint netbook with a Galaxy Note 2 next to me whilst watching a TV show on my PS3 and I have an iMac upstairs. Fanboy I am not.

  • Re:Fanboy attack (Score:3, Informative)

    by Americano (920576) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @09:58AM (#43337301)

    It's strange, typing on a tablet is identical to typing on a laptop or a desktop for me... don't they have bluetooth keyboards where you live?

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @10:15AM (#43337531) Homepage Journal

    HTML 5 and Javascript apps aren't restricted in a manner inconsistent with their programming paradigm

    Yes they are. Apple intentionally refuses to let HTML5 applications use WebGL; iAds can use it but not anything else. Apple refuses to allow the user upload any object stored on the device other than pictures and video through <input type="file">, and even that didn't work for the first five years of iOS. Nor does Safari implement getUserMedia or any similar API to use the device's microphone and camera. This appears odd especially in relation to the fact that when introducing iOS 1 on the original iPhone, Apple intended to make web applications the only kind of application that one would need. How would a barcode scanner work without support from Safari?

  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @10:17AM (#43337551)
    People used to be able to make actual useable software on their own as Hypercards stacks which they could then share freely (or for cost) with others. There was no restriction on how to share or requirement for approval and okey-dokeys and blessings from the Mother-ship in order to be allowed to do so. You could install software from whatever sources you wanted. It's that type of freedom to tinker that I believe Mr Kay is talking about and not seeing in the way the iPad money-sucking and "closed up" walled garden which is specifically designed by Apple.
  • Re:Provisioning (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @10:22AM (#43337623)

    Your friend with a Mac and an iOS developer license can provision several dozen testing devices on his developer account, including yours.

    Sure, for the low low price of $99 per year. Every year. For the right to load software onto the device you own.

  • Re:Fanboy attack (Score:3, Informative)

    by Specter (11099) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @10:25AM (#43337663) Journal

    I think what keeps being over looked here is what Apple brought to the scene with the iPad; an actual tablet computer. Prior to the iPad tablets were laptops without keyboards: heavy, buggy, hot, slow, clumsy, kludges that kept trying to force a desktop UI into a pseudo-touch/stylus interface.

    Apple broke away from that and their success in being the first to understand what a tablet needed to be and _finally_ getting the rest of the world to understand what tablet computing _should be_ can be seen not only in their sales but also in their imitators. Every other single tablet on the market now is merely a variation on Apple's success without any additional innovation in the concept.

  • Re:Fanboy attack (Score:5, Informative)

    by dimeglio (456244) on Tuesday April 02, 2013 @11:58AM (#43338993)

    People make it sound like administrating unix is hard. You should try to administer Windows Server from a tablet. That's a real challenge - although less so with the new GUI-less options.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack

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