"If VHS home recording is made legal then our industry is ruined."
"If CD quality music is allowed to be sold then our industry is ruined."
"If DAT is made legal then our industry is ruined."
"If the Rio PMP3000 is allowed to be sold then our industry is ruined."
"If file sharing is permitted then our industry is ruined."
The tactic is as old as the hills and used by some pretty dishonest people in the last few years to combat technology they feared would upset the nice apple cart they'd set up. If X happens, then 100% of Y will happen.
Because we are early adopters and because we live at the edge of emerging tech we laugh at the ridiculous arguments lawyers have managed to get in front of judges to uphold, until reason and consumer demand ran over those judgements.
That's why when I read posts about the iPad as this great creativity doom machine I feel a little bothered. Yes, if everyone is required to purchase an iPad tomorrow and not permitted to seek out other computing devices then, yes, it's true: we're fucked. But also nobody will be able to make iPad apps and uh, hmmm.
John Philip Sousa in 1906 (in)famously pointed out that recording devices were a danger to creativity. The quote is laughed at by many because it is similar to the statements at the top of this post. Not only does he predict creativity will be stifled: "These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country." Sousa also makes the claim it will be total: "When I was a boy...in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left. The vocal cord will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape."
OBVIOUSLY the "vocal cord" in that quote is placeholder for musical creativity. Which of course, he was wrong about. But I think he was right to raise the flag about what recording devices meant and the industry they would give birth to. The stifling did actually happen. It was so accepted that we as consumers growing up in last half of the century didn't know a time when "remix and burn" was a normal and legal thing to do.
However, his argument about total annihilation of creativity was bogus, and I think to do it now is even more ridiculous given the century-long conversation that has occurred. Be wary of closed systems: yes. Accept that future generations will only have gray paint and DRM'd pencils to choose from? Come on. You and I grew up (probably) punching Hayes AT codes into modems when others were out running around on the playground. And generations before us were soldering capacitors and breathing lead infused smoke. And generations before that were relaying bawdy jokes by tapping magnets that would send an electrical charge across town.
Anyway, to get back to the title of this post, I will be buying an iPad this weekend because I enjoy using thoughtful, well engineered products. I have tried many times to use non-Apple computers, to use the open and "free" choice and you know what? They are terrible. Really bad! Worse than bad, they're almost creatively stifling.
I think more of those who bang the "freedom of computing" gong should spend a little less time proclaiming the end of creativity at the hands of others and instead start using these products. These are good products! They are built on top of Unix! Why not use them to build even better ones? Under the hood are bash prompts and frameworks that maybe even have lines of code they themselves wrote.
I would buy and use something as free and open as Ubuntu if I actually thought it worked very well. I am completely receptive to its story but absolutely repulsed each time I try to get anything done that isn't in a shell.
Basically I am saying:
If someone builds a better iPad/OS then 100% of my money will go to them.
That is the only true thing I can predict.