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"the odd thing seems to me is they don't realize these devices do very different things and fulfill very different needs."

They realize it - remember Jobs' "truck vs. car" analogy - and they're betting that 90% of the population's needs are better met with a car rather than a truck.

And here's the crux. I don't get the vibe as much that they cater to a specific usergroup, but rather steers/controls them in one direction, with the limitations of their systems.

With PC/Linux(/Windows) you can get either the practically grandma safe Ubuntu or Mint installation with everything working, or you can go for Gentoo or Arch or even just a customized Ubuntu or Mint when needing more freedom.

There's a thin line between recognizing user needs and deciding user needs.

With so many of my fundamental apps being cross platform and/or web-based, I don't see why too many users would feel "controlled".

In any case, I think we underestimate the market and normal people in these conversations. Any iPad user can freely access the internet and quickly find out that their device is basically unusable for programming or a lot of forms of content creation and even gaming. As software eats the world, the cachet for programming has never been higher, especially among the kids/teens we "worry" about, and the tools have never been cheaper or more accessible.

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