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You're being, probably not deliberately, a bit disingenuous here. If this was any time after the 80s, the BASIC that the machine came with was /not/ the same thnig that was used to make professional programs. A C compiler or assembler would cost you more than $99 in today's money.

On the iPhone (or iPad), you can run web apps you write with no restriction - and today's Javascript is hardly less powerful in comparison to the machine than yesterday's BASIC.

You can download and use, if you have Mac, Xcode for free, only having to pay the $99 if you want to load your app onto the device. I'd say this compares pretty favorably to the dev tool pricing of old.

About the only /practical/ argument I see here is that you can't program an iPhone or iPad using the device itsself, but that's not even entirely true - there are web sites out there that let you code in web technologies from a browser (hrm, maybe that's a business idea - code iPad web apps from the iPad Safari...).




you say

"If this was any time after the 80s, the BASIC that the machine came with was /not/ the same thnig that was used to make professional programs. A C compiler or assembler would cost you more than $99 in today's money."

and

"only having to pay the $99 if you want to load your app onto the device. I'd say this compares pretty favorably to the dev tool pricing of old."

You have to pay 99$ per year. What dev tool pricing "of old" had an annual license fee of 20% of the device cost to load your program onto your device?

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You're correct - none. I could make the argument that many people would pay for the new upgrades to their compiler, text editor, etc at least yearly, but you're right that they didn't have to to continue using them. I'm not sure that matters though - even as a yearly fee, $99 just isn't that expensive compared to how thing were in this supposed Golden Age, even compared to the old one-off costs - especially inflation-adjusted.

To be clear, I'm not saying things wouldn't be better if this was all free of charge, or that Apple's tight grip on the platform is great for society (I think that's a different argument entirely). I'm just saying that the argument that everything was better and more accesible to new users in the old days is a bit of a 'rose tinted spectacles' one.

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