1984. Revisited.

1984 Plaset


1984. An Orwellian year. The year of my birth. It was also the year in which Apple Computer released the original Macintosh Computer, heralded by this now-legendary advert:

The computer too was momentous in the history of personal computing, for being the first computer ever to use a GUI instead of a CUI, (in English – Pictures instead of text).

Fast-forward 26 years. From the days when Apple was the upstart against Big Brother (then: IBM), the savior from “Information Purification”; to being the upstart against Big Brother (More recent then: Microsoft) and the maker of computers for ‘discerning consumers’; to the maker of the Ipod and Master of Itunes; and dare I say it; comptroller of the media-music-internet consumerist ecosystem.

Things have changed from 1984. Apple is now known for operating a vertical-locked monopoly of device, software, and internet portal for media and applications. They are known for hilarious, and certainly arbitrary, control over who and what are deemed worthy of of a place in their reality.

Now, Apple has gone on to tell artists how to behave on their new social-networking component of iTunes. Fast Company summarizes the hilarity of this idea well enough for our purposes.

So now that we’ve established Apple’s Big Brother-esque true colors, who is the Upstart?

Are you thinking Microsoft? We’ll come back to them.

If there is any company that can give Apple pause, it is probably Google. The android mobile platform, with its classical little-guy pitch of openness, and the army of phones that are running it, are actually managing to put pressure on the Mighty Iphone.

Apple. Dominant. The closed book and controller of right.

Google. The agressive upstart. Winner of some fights, but not The Fight. Not yet.

The big question, where does the Elder Big Brother stand in all this? What happened to Microsoft? While they’re around, nobody, least of Microsoft, seems to have a full idea where they stand on the entire battle.

Take, for instance, their strange idea of banning user ringtones on Windows Phone 7. Very Apple. Very Big Brother.

But there can be only one Big Brother. Microsoft does not control the ecosystem. They are not open-alternate-ecosystem-emablers a la Google. So what are they? Also-rans? I hope not?

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3 opinions I COMPLETELY agree with…

The internet is going the way of real life. Forget those old notions of freedom and anonymity. The new internet will be a place of narrow public areas which get from 1 piece of ‘private property’ to another, and no more. Its just more profitable, in the same way a skyscraper of leasable office is space is more profitable than a public park.

Analyst James Governor at Redmonk toots that horn in a much more sober fashion, even ending on a positive note. (linkage courtesy slashdot)

The 3-strikes law is literally like sentencing a person to house arrest for jaywalking.

Cory Doctorow has his own rant. Makes perfect sense,but not good corporate-bottom-line economic sense. (linkage, again, courtesy slashdot.)

I was annoyed when the Iphone came out. I still am. A little. The hype and hoopla was just that. A marketing blitz that suddenly put this maker-of-all-things-cute in a consumer device segment that even the dumbest of dumb blondes and meathead-iest of meatheads could use with ease. 0mgz0rz!! Apple’s making a phone. How cute will that be!!

Yeah, well, it does say PHONE. and the phone part of it sucked. It still does, but not so much. But full, deserved credit where it’s due, Apple made sure people knew that the Iphone was never about the phone. and that they never forget that. From the actual product to the nice walled garden that is the App Store to the genius of tying up with AT&T to take the heat on mobile issues (in batttle parlance, AT&T is what would be called a meat-shield), Apple pulled it off.

And now we come to the ISlate. It’s on its way. The hype on the net right now is eerily familiar. It’s the Iphone. bigger. with no phone part for even me to crib about. It has absolutely no competition. at all.

MG Siegler has a similiar view on TechCrunch. He also makes the good point that the cool-factor of being like the dudes in Avatar with the portable screens will play its part here.

A last point I’d like to make here is that the iSlate may have enough horsepower to run the graphic design, audio / video editing applications which have such a strong home in regular Apple PCs.  If Pro Tools, Final Cut and iMovie find a new home in iSlate, all I can say is: “Whoa”.