Every new product changes
what will follow
o now we’ve seen the most hyped and
anticipated product of the new year.
There, finally, was Steve Jobs, showing
off the new Apple iPad amid claims that
the future of computing would never be the same.
Web standard—and one that Safari’s underlying
WebKit engine has strongly supported—it works
on the iPhone, despite the fact that Apple had
killed the old Google Voice app for the device.
I’m not quite sure just how revolutionary the
iPad will be. I am of two minds when it comes to
the new Apple device.
On the one hand, I kind of get where the people
who call it just a big iPod Touch are coming from.
And I have to admit that if I’m going to carry a
new device that’s basically just for browsing the
Web, reading books and consuming media, than
I’d rather it be small then big.
This is, of course, just the first chink in the wall
that Apple has put around the applications available for its devices. As HTML 5 grows in capability
I expect to see more and more Web applications
based on it. This puts Apple in a bind.
Does it continue to support HTML 5 fully, and
lose control of its application ecosystem? Or does
it cripple HTML 5 on its devices, making them
second-class Web citizens?
But it is certainly cool. I
think it blows single-pur-pose devices like the Amazon Kindle right out of the
water. And, best of all, for
a very complex device, I’m
pretty sure I could hand it to
a computing novice and he or
she would be able to work it
without too much trouble.
‘APPLE CONTROLS ITS
ECOSYSTEM WITH AN
That said, it was a little
disconcerting during the iPad demo when Steve
Jobs was Web browsing and we all saw those big
blank areas in Web pages where Flash videos and
applications were supposed to be. It definitely
looks as if, like the iPhone, the iPad will not be
able to play Flash applications.
Whatever Apple does, it will be interesting to
watch. And, best of all, both
of these developments—
Google’s use of HTML 5 and
the Apple iPad— show what is
best about technology: Every-
one, from giant companies to
small open-source developers,
is constantly working to inno-
vate and improve the future of
technology and everyone.
Looked at that way, even if
the iPad is a flop, it will have changed the future of technology—because every new product and technological
innovation changes what will follow in the future.
Of course we’re all used to this now. Apple controls its interface and application ecosystem with an
iron fist, and anything that doesn’t fit with the Apple
vision—no matter how widespread and necessary to
regular Web and Internet use—is strictly forbidden.
And the future is something that has been on my
mind a lot lately. That’s because this is my final column
here at e WEEK. After 16 years of covering everything
from the beginning of the Web to Twitter to the first
Palm Pilot to the OLPC XO, I’ll be stepping away from
my keyboard to find out what the future holds.
But at about the same time as the iPad announcement there was another new technology development
that pointed a way around these restrictions and may
even prove to be more significant than the iPad.
I’ve learned a lot in this time—from vendors and
developers, from IT administrators, and from my
colleagues here. And I’ve learned from readers,
especially those of you who e-mail me and comment on my stories. Thanks for everything.
The announcement was of Google’s development of an HTML 5-enabled version of its Google
Voice application. Since this version of Google
Voice is based on the most important upcoming
And as a noted space explorer once said, “To
infinity, and beyond!” ´
Chief Technology Analyst Jim Rapoza can be reached