For the past two years I’ve struggled to find a silver lining to the current economic crisis. Last week I found it in the unlikeliest of places – my accountant’s office. My tax liabilities for 2009 were lower than predicted, because my income for the year was lower than predicted, so this year I’m getting a refund from the IRS. As with all ‘found money’ it’s burning a hole in my pocket and even after stashing half of it away in my savings account I’ve enough money left over to buy myself a couple of new toys.
Top of my wish list was an Apple iPad. I’ve had an iPod Touch for a number of years, and a scaled up version of the iPod Touch seems like a great addition to my collection of book-sized toys which currently includes an HP net-book and a Kindle. Given the amount of time I spend on the road I decided that rather than splurging for the Wi-fi version, which is available today, I’d wait for the 3G version, which will be available at the end of the month. But given my OCD tendencies and the ‘found money’ burning holes in my pockets, the end of the month seemed like a lifetime away. I already have a 3G air-card from my cell phone provider, which I can move between my mobile computers, so I decided that perhaps I wouldn’t have to take on another $30 a month subscription with AT&T for the iPad’s 3G capabilities and more importantly I could nip out to the local Apple Store at lunchtime to pick up a wi-fi version of the iPad today. I have to admit to being shocked to learn that the iPad doesn’t have any USB ports into which I could plug my air-card. As a gadget freak I have to say that I found it hard to believe that anyone could produce a device without USB connectivity. There are ways to rig up 3G connectivity for the wi-fi version of the iPad but they all involve an additional piece of technology and an additional subscription for a 3G service.
The early reports of over-heating and wi-fi problems were issues that I was willing to work through. The fact that the iPad doesn’t support Flash wasn’t something that I was overly concerned about because I figured that was something that would be resolved down the line. I was also willing to ignore the fact that it doesn’t run Linux because I suspect that the Linux Community will find a way of getting Linux on there sooner rather than later.
So, despite the fact that the iPad represents the antithesis of open source, I was still set on purchasing one after work this evening. That was until I received this tech flash from The New York Times. For Apple, a company that is renowned for innovation and inventing new markets, to tie the hands of application developers behind their backs like this is unconscionable and I for one am voting with my credit-card. I didn’t have immediate plans to build my own iPad apps, but the proprietary behavior displayed by Apple is so galling that not only am I not getting an iPad, I am also shelving plans to switch out my Blackberry for an iPhone. Instead of splurging nearly a grand on an iPad and accessories today I am now going to wait a couple of months and spend about half of that on a Linux iPad clone. I guess I better go line my pant pockets with asbestos!