Cory Doctorow isn’t buying an iPad, and thinks you shouldn’t either

Cory just posted an opinion piece over on BoingBoing. I'm going to summarize his points and discuss them one by one, because I think he's wrong on most of them. His single biggest mistake is that he's confusing what is being said about the iPad with the iPad's attributes and abilities. He's caught up by the hype, and he's missed the fact that the hype has little relevance to whether anyone should buy an iPad.

"it really feels like the second coming of the CD-ROM revolution"

Here Cory has confused the marketing hyperbole surrounding the iPad with actual facts. Yes, there's a lot of hype, but it has nothing to do with the iPad's abilities. If you're thinking about getting an iPad, look at the facts, not hype. I would have thought that someone as smart as Cory would know better than this.

Incumbents made bad revolutionaries

His main point here is that Marvel "improves" comics in their iPad app by taking away customer's rights. He's absolutely correct in the details, but his point is irrelevant. The fact that digital content is locked down is only relevant to the decision to buy the digital content, not the hardware. Let's extend his argument one step. "You shouldn't buy a PC because Ebooks are DRMed." Does that make any sense?

Infantalizing hardware

He objects to how the iPad has been turned into an appliance, not a general purpose device. The end user can't hack it or program it directly. So tell me, Cory, do you program your cellphone? What about your television? What about your kitchen appliances?

Wal-Martization of the software channel

He objects to how tightly Apple controls iTunes and the App Store. I agree completely.

Journalism is looking for a daddy figure

So what? This has nothing to do with the consumer.

Gadgets come and gadgets go

He touches on the battery issue, which I agree with. The fact that the hardware is locked down should affect whether you buy the iPad.

About Nate Hoffelder (11594 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

1 Comment on Cory Doctorow isn’t buying an iPad, and thinks you shouldn’t either

  1. I think you mean Marvel. Marvell-with-2-Ls is the semiconductor company promoting that $99 Moby tablet.

    (That didn’t stop Marvell from hosting Stan Lee at its booth at E3, of course.)

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