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No, I don’t think Steve Jobs is evil. Nor do I think the iPad OS and app store are going to result in a walled-off Internet. But if Apple wants to leverage its brilliantly-designed devices to wield more influence over web navigation and content, and make money from it, it’s going to have to loosen up and recognize some realities. Starting with the existence of satire.

This week, cartoonist and animator Mark Fiore won a Pulitzer Prize for the animated political cartoons he does for the San Francisco Chronicle’s website. Neiman Lab’s Laura McGann reports that Apple rejected cartoonist Mark Fiore’s proposed iPhone app last December – not the first time it’s kicked a political cartoonist to the curb. Here’s the relevant graphs from the letter he got: (more…)

NEW YORK - APRIL 03:  An early customer emerge...

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Everybody loves – loves! – the iPad. The downside is that Apple’s new device may also be an anti-democratic force. The app-based touchscreen interface allows the creation of elegant media-consumption experiences. But it also grants the big media producers a lot of control they don’t enjoy on the open web, and limits our ability to talk back and share. At least this is what Jeff Jarvis, Dave Winer, and several other sophisticated commentators believe.

Here’s Jarvis:

It’s meant for consumption, we’re told, not creation. We also hear, as in David Pogue’s review, that this is our grandma’s computer. That cant is inherently snobbish and insulting. It assumes grandma has nothing to say. But after 15 years of the web, we know she does. I’ve long said that the remote control, cable box, and VCR gave us control of the consumption of media; the internet gave us control of its creation. Pew says that a third of us create web content. But all of us comment on content, whether through email or across a Denny’s table. At one level or another, we all spread, react, remix, or create. Just not on the iPad.


It’s definitely not a writing tool. Out of the question. This concerns Jeff Jarvis, rightly so. This is something my mother observed when I demoed it to her on Saturday. Howard Weaver writes that not everyone is a writer. True enough, and not everyone is a voter, but we have an interest in making it easy for people to vote. And not everyone does jury duty, but easy or not, we require it. Writing is important, you never know where creative lightning will strike. And pragmatically, experience has shown that the winning computer platforms are the ones you can develop for on the computer itself, and the ones that require other, more expensive hardware and software, don’t become platforms. There are exceptions but it’s remarkable how often it works this way.

I don’t have an iPad – at least, not yet – but I identify with these concerns. (more…)


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