On Saturday, April 3rd, 2010 Apple will introduce it's latest computer gadget, the IPad. Starting at $499.00, this little device which is slightly larger than most cell phones will come ready to operate 150,000 applications! It has the potential to revolutionize the way we all use computer and information technology -again.
Buried in all the promotional excitement there was also another little announcement by Apple. One with much more sinister potential. With the introduction of this new technology, Apple will begin deciding what material and applications can be accessed on these Ipads. They are going to reserve the right to "censor material". They will not allow other software manufacturers to create applications. Users will not be "allowed" to choose to load just whatever information they want. Everything that goes through the new IPads will be "Apple Approved". This is the first time a mass market computer manufacturer has placed such draconian restrictions on the use of their products.
At first glance this seems a little extreme but no big deal. This is just an attempt to keep people using Apple products. But it isn't that simple. Apple is saying that they will determine what magazines and newspapers will be delivered electronically to their users. Apple will say what books will be digitally uploaded and what internet access will be available. Suppose for a moment that they do not like your local newspaper because it is too left wing or too right wing? Suppose they don't want you to read certain books or magazines because they deem them to be inappropriate or immoral?
If these little devices do everything they are supposed too, they will sell like fire-crackers and in a year or two they will be as common as laptop computers. What happens if Apple decides to start backing one political party and restrict the other?
When a person buys an IPad, or anything else, it becomes their property and at that point they are the only one who should ever determine what is or is not appropriate to load into it or what magazine or news articles to display on it. If Apple is allowed to get away with saying what the consumer can or can not do with the IPads, we will be inviting a form of tyranny -and once established it can spread. Suppose Samsung starts deciding what television programs can be played on the TV's they manufacture? Or General Electric starts saying what radio programs you can listen too on their radio's?
It can not be allowed and Apple should be ashamed of themselves for even trying it. Worse still, we should be ashamed of ourselves if we let them get away with it!