Why the iPad is Bad for Innovation but Good for Business

Eis aí mais um dos recentes comentários sobre o IPad, que saiu no blog http://blogs.bnet.com!

Why the iPad is Bad for Innovation but Good for Business

By Ben Popper

April 5th, 2010 @ 11:30 am

Apple (APPL) has been catching a lot of flack from tech types, who say the iPad stifles innovation. They’re absolutely right, but they’re also missing the point. The iPad is designed to encourage consumption, not creation, and on that front it succeeds with flying colors.

Apple has gone out if its  way to make the iPad difficult to use for anything but consumption. You can’t take a picture or a video. There is no USB connection to upload your own data. As my BNET colleague Damon Brown points out, you can’t multitask, so creating rich documents becomes a hassle. Hell, without buying the awkward keyboard dock, you can barely type on this thing.

What you can do is pay to consume beautiful content. Apple may have missed analysts’ inflated expectations of 600,000 units in the first day, but new iPad users downloaded over 1 million applications and bought 250,000 ebooks. And unlike the iPhone, where many apps are free, a whopping 80% of apps on the iPad are paid.

These figures are sure to make content creators smile ear to ear, and these firms are returning the favor, rushing to create apps for the iPad. This device is chock full of gorgeous, easy to use apps for consuming content. By contrast, Google’s (GOOG) more open Android system is still without proprietary apps from heavyweights like the New York Times (NYT) and Netflix (NFLX). Business see the value in Apple’s model, and they are devoting their development resources accordingly.

Open source evangelists say that Apple’s draconian policies will stifle developers, and they certainly have a point. The contract developers sign when creating an application for the iPhone or iPad prevents them from selling their app to any other device, even if Apple rejects it! Yet developers are still lining up for a chance to be included on the iPad, because the opportunity to reach paying consumers is so rich.

Since the beginning of the 21st century, businesses that sold content seemed to have lost their model. It’s too soon to tell if the iPad, or tablet computers in general, will catch on with the mainstream. But for those who see the Internet inexorably moving the price of all information to zero, the iPad is a big step in the opposite direction.

Image from Flickr user Curiouslee

Ben Popper writes at the intersection of culture and technology. His work has been published in the NY Times, Washington Post, Fast Company, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and many others. He lives at http://www.benpopper.com

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