I wrote a whole rant about how anti-competitive Apple’s App Store model is, and I was all set to post it here. But when I was fact-checking myself I found out that actually Apple approved Opera Mini for iPhone on April 12. So Apple is in fact willing to approve apps that compete with their built-in functionality.

That weakens the argument I was going to make. Hmmm. I’ll have to think about how much this changes my position. Just because Apple decided to allow competition this time doesn’t change the fact that they have the power to block any competition they don’t want. I suppose it comes down to a question of whether you think Apple is an “enlightened despot” or just a despot.

Congrats to Opera, though!

Apparently Windows Phone 7 will not have copy-and-paste. Huh. What do you know?

It sounds like Microsoft is depending on the software to be smart enough to recognize data types to get selected content to the right application without the need for the user to manually copy and paste. This is pretty interesting to me since it’s similar to the idea of nountype recognition that we were exploring in Ubiquity. I haven’t used Windows Phone 7 (obviously), but my gut reaction says it’s hard to make data type recognition work reliably, so a manual override – copy-and-paste – is still needed for the cases where automatic recognition fails. And what if I want to do something weird that Windows didn’t expect?

The capability to do things that the authors never expected: this is the definition of flexibility in computer systems, and their flexibility is their power.

I applaud simplifying systems by removing unnecessary complexity. But there’s unnecessary complexity and then there’s necessary complexity. Remove too much, and you may cross the line between simplifying a system and crippling it.

For example, what about this non-multitasking OS that Apple wants you to use? Single-tasking seems like a huge step backwards to me, and I wonder if the simplicity is worth the loss of capability.

Not every device that accesses the Internet needs to be a full-featured computer; there are obviously a lot of people who want some features of the Internet without the complexity of a computer.

But there’s so much that you can’t do with a device that only runs one program at a time, or that has no copy-and-paste. Single-tasking may be OK for a device meant only for consuming information, but it’s crippling if you want to use the device to create anything.

(When I first heard Apple was making a tablet, I envisioned something with a stylus I could use for drawing. I might buy one of those. The iPad, sadly, is not that device. It’s optimized for consumption, not creation.)

I hope the trend towards simpler gadgets doesn’t result in a loss of the ability to go outside the bounds of what the inventor envisioned, the ability to create. Creating stuff is pretty important to me.

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