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stcredzero 1538 days ago | link | parent

There's no reason why Apple can't sell "sandbox" versions of this kit. The hardware would be 99% the same. The markup and the resulting margins would be very tasty to Apple.

EDIT: They'd still be selling the "Theme Park" version to the other 95% of us.



gabrielroth 1538 days ago | link

Costs: developing and supporting a new version of the OS, introducing confusion into their famously stripped-down product lines, complicating the product's reputation as an easy-to-use consumer-oriented device.

Benefits: sales to the tiny minority of people who won't buy an iPad now, but would if they were more 'sandboxy.'

Doesn't sound 'very tasty' to me.

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eru 1538 days ago | link

They could just make it easy to hack open, to achieve nearly the same effect without having to support it officially.

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ghshephard 1538 days ago | link

Don't they already do this with the iPhone. :-)

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pyre 1537 days ago | link

Not really. A lot of the hacks that are used to jailbreak the phone are actually security holes. So they can and do get patched, leaving you 'out in the cold.'

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Retric 1537 days ago | link

With a developer licence you can install software outside the normal "sandbox".

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coliveira 1538 days ago | link

I think the reason is user experience. Future computers will be "theme parks", because non-geeks don't understand the proper limitations of hardware.

For example, 99% of annoyances of computer users is that they install too much software for the resources of the machine they have. Then the computer starts suddenly working slower and slower -- and they don't know why. This happens with Macs and Windows.

In a machine like the iPad Apple can control what software will run and make sure that it is adequate to the resources of the machine. Also, from what I see, they limit the possibility of concurrent running programs to interfere with the user experience.

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roc 1538 days ago | link

While I generally agree, I think it's a mistake to blame users for the fact that any PC software they want to even try is given rights to fully hijack their machine and muck things up. (Yes, it's a lesser issue on the Macs, but as you note: it's still an issue)

That was, and is, a serious design failure.

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stcredzero 1538 days ago | link

Agreed. The OLPC had a sandboxing feature to prevent this.

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pyre 1537 days ago | link

Did it use UnionFS?

On a tangent, why aren't more Linux installs (outside of 'live' distros) making use of UnionFS? That makes it easy to 'lock down' the base install because all of the writing goes to a separate partition that could be completely removed to restore the original state. Are their performance issues with UnionFS (performance in a desktop-sense, not in a server-sense)?

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stcredzero 1538 days ago | link

I think the reason is user experience. Future computers will be "theme parks", because non-geeks don't understand the proper limitations of hardware.

Yes, but there is no reason why you couldn't sell the unlocked version of the same kit. If a non-geek has a bad experience, then let them downgrade the thing. Heck, a company other than Apple might charge them another fee for that.

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coliveira 1538 days ago | link

This doesn't work. The moment you support an unlocked version, everyone will develop for that version, because it is just easier (like creating crappy software for Windows). Very soon non-geek users will have to use software created for the unlocked version and the same problems will crop up.

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chaostheory 1538 days ago | link

What's the point of officially supporting a jailbroken product, given all the new problems it will bring? To me it's like asking Apple to support Hackintoshes.

Apple has been doing this for decades and it's nothing new. If you want freedom and flexibility, you should look elsewhere.

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pyre 1537 days ago | link

Who says it has to be officially supported? Look at the Linksys WRT54GL. It is basically made to be hacked even though it will function correctly without loading a different firmware to it.

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stcredzero 1538 days ago | link

Well, if Apple did it, it wouldn't be "jailbroken," would it? The point would be the same as Apple selling the Aluminum towers. If you want freedom and flexibility coupled with world-class design, then you do buy an Apple -- with top dollar, meaning high margins for them.

Apple's been doing that gig for years.

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chaostheory 1538 days ago | link

"Well, if Apple did it, it wouldn't be "jailbroken," would it?"

It's still a jail, and if Apple officially removed it - you can still say 'jailbroken' but that's a minor point.

"If you want freedom and flexibility coupled with world-class design, then you do buy an Apple -- with top dollar, meaning high margins for them."

Not true. I can't officially run OS X on non-official Apple hardware with official Apple suppport. Not to mention if I didn't buy Apple hardware then it would most likely kill their margins ;) iPad will eventually have the same 'freedom' as OS X and iPhone.

What most of us don't see right away is that there are financial costs for supporting freedom and flexibility. These costs are in marketing, support (reliability and usability), and security. Given the right target techie segment, these costs don't matter for freedom. Unfortunately if you're targeting the masses of non-techies, that's a completely different story.

(FYI I am an OS X user)

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stcredzero 1538 days ago | link

FYI, I am also an OS X user. (MacBook, iMac, iPhone) The fact that you felt you had to mention this and a few other things make me think you didn't completely comprehend my idea.

It's still a jail, and if Apple officially removed it - you can still say 'jailbroken' but that's a minor point.

I never said about removing the jail. Just building a cozy luxe visitors center just outside the wall.

Not true. I can't officially run OS X on non-official Apple hardware with official Apple suppport.

In my idea, people would be running non-official Apple software without Apple support.

iPad will eventually have the same 'freedom' as OS X and iPhone. Nothing less, and nothing more; and certainly nothing new.

You're dead wrong. If the iPad is to become as pervasive as they would like it to, Apple is going to have to open it up enough so that it can operate as a general purpose computer for the small segment of the populace that wants it.

The key is in the italics. There is no technical reason why Apple can't have their "walled garden" and still let a few people do dangerous things if they want. Will it be what the FSF calls "free?" No way.

Actually, they are already doing some of this. It's called the "iPhone SDK."

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chaostheory 1538 days ago | link

"I never said about removing the jail. Just building a cozy luxe visitors center just outside the wall."

It essentially has the same problem as a jailbroken iPad/iPhone/Hackintosh. There are costs with supporting issues that arise from this if it's official.

"In my idea, people would be running non-official Apple software without Apple support."

Well then why complain when in all likelihood a 3rd party will give you what you want for Apple products - ala unsupported jailbreak?

"You're dead wrong. If the iPad is to become as pervasive as they would like it to, Apple is going to have to open it up enough so that it can operate as a general purpose computer for the small segment of the populace that wants it."

Given the history with iPod, iTunes, & iPhone I'm going to disagree. All of them are closed systems with the same critics. Yet all of these products have been wildly successful despite that. I'm not saying that this would work with any company, but it works with Apple; it's the part of their company DNA that has proven time and again to work. As I've said in previous posts, there was a time when Apple was more 'open'; and it was a total failure that almost took down the entire company.

"There is no technical reason why Apple can't have their "walled garden" and still let a few people do dangerous things if they want."

I agree but there are a myriad of other reasons as to why they shouldn't such as extra costs, making their content partners (movies, music, and books) happy (I suspect this is a really big reason), and so on. It's not perfect for everyone; but it's worked for non-techies, Apple stock holders, and Apple's partners.

"Actually, they are already doing some of this. It's called the "iPhone SDK.""

Then why complain? Just pay the $99 and be happy.

I suggest moving on and helping either the Chrome OS or Linux hardware movement if you really want officially blessed freedom. You're not going to get that from a mainstream console maker; we are a niche audience.

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ynniv 1538 days ago | link

They do: it's called the Developer Program.

(Expansion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1084640)

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pyre 1537 days ago | link

> Whats truly amazing is that this is always how desktop development has always been done, except on Linux and Mac OS X. Pay your money, get your compiler, write your software, run your software. The Linux and Mac OS X crowd is up in arms because they have had GCC for at least 9 years, and $99 seems like a lot compared to free.

This how it's always been done? Really?

GCC: Initial release May 23, 1987 Commodore64: Release date August 1982

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ZachPruckowski 1538 days ago | link

You can spend $99/yearly and become an iPhone developer. Then you can put whatever you want on your iPhone (I assume iPad development will be similar). Ad-hoc distribution allows for like 500 "testers", and you could always just share source files with other developers and recompile them.

EDIT: thanks for the correction on yearly vs. one-time.

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plinkplonk 1538 days ago | link

" It could be $99/yearly."

It is.

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hrabago 1538 days ago | link

Only if the SDK supports it. I can't, for instance, put widgets on the lock screen to see how many unread emails I have. Or have the locked device light up due to an event that my background process detected.

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cpr 1538 days ago | link

You probably can, if it's just for yourself.

The jailbreaking world has reverse engineered a lot of these internals, like replacing SpringBoard, etc.

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chaostheory 1538 days ago | link

That's what Chrome OS and Android are for; we'll get what we want in a few months or maybe even weeks.

Selling an official hacker version will only serve to confuse the other 95% of customers. (Apple's philosophy of simplicity goes beyond just their UI design.) I don't think this makes a lot of sense either when members of the 5% will eventually jailbreak it anyway.

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stcredzero 1538 days ago | link

I'm not positive that the jailbreaks will come as fast as they used to.

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philh 1538 days ago | link

I suspect what would happen is hardly anyone would buy the theme park. "Less powerful, but easier to use" is a hard sell. Then they wouldn't maintain their reputation for ease of use.

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stcredzero 1538 days ago | link

I suspect what would happen is hardly anyone would buy the theme park.

That's why you a) wait until the other environment is well established first and b) charge a $250 markup.

"Less powerful, but easier to use" is a hard sell. But "Does the same stuff, is safer, and $250 cheaper" is an easy one.

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DougBTX 1538 days ago | link

I can see that button being part of an iPad Enterprise SDK, but there is no need for a separate hardware offering, it. Is all in the software.

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glhaynes 1536 days ago | link

Can you imagine how much bitching the $250 charge would bring?

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run4yourlives 1538 days ago | link

>There's no reason why Apple can't sell "sandbox" versions of this kit. The hardware would be 99% the same.

Why would you do that? To compete with every other sandbox vendor that can simply copy all the expensive work that you put into UI and design and sell knock-offs at half the price?

Put yourself in the company's shoes. Your narrow interests are not in theirs.

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crocowhile 1538 days ago | link

This urge of control has to do with apple philosophy; I own a macbookpro myself with a wonderful huge buttonless touchpad: if it were for OSX I would even be able to configure middle click with it (which I don't care because I run linux anyway but it says a lot about their point of view IMO).

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qubit 1538 days ago | link

Are you able to configure the touchpad to support right-clicks under Linux? I'm curious because that's one thing that's been a pain for me when running Linux on an Apple laptops in the past.

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crocowhile 1538 days ago | link

yes. one finger tap is single click, two fingers is middle click and three fingers is right click. All via synaptics.

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lallysingh 1538 days ago | link

We'll probably see some of the same tech make its way into the macbook/pro lines.

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