As a 20 year Microsoft developer you might expect me to be anti-Apple but far from it. Apple kit has always been well designed, but back in the early days of the PC apple had a really big chance to define the PC and it blew it. While Bill Gates made probably the best deal in business history with MS-DOS and the design of the PC evolved into an open platform. Apple blew it by closing off development with the Mac. and the rest as they say is History.
Apple have not learnt.
This last week saw the release of the new iPad. And what a sexy good looking bit of kit it is. To be perfectly honest the tech geek in me was drooling. This a bit of kit I could see me using and wow would my app look good on it. Then reality raised it’s boring head.
Apple control things so that you have to get ‘approval’, only certain apps are allowed and one of the biggest ones missing is Flash. OK my final site will not run on Flash – but a large chunk of the web does. That means I’m going to go around with great lumps taken out of a page because not only do you not have Flash you can’t install it if you wanted to.
If I want to develop software for my Blackberry RIM make it really easy – I can go to the Blackberry site and download a library that works with Visual Studio for the some total of absolute nothing – as I already have a PC, and I already have Visual Studio I can be developing Blackberry Apps in a few minutes and an outlay of absolute nothing.
For the Apple, nope – OK they launched an SDK but I can’t see a way of installing it on my PC. So that means an Apple Mac – don’t get me wrong – all things being equal I would much rather the MacBook Air on my desk than the boring PC Laptop – but businesses use PC’s so I do.
My outlay then is going to be at least £1000 before I can’t start developing for the iPad – and that is before I have bought the iPad!
Which means for this development I will wait before developing a version of the iPad no matter how sexy it looks. Vodaphone, who I use for my mobile phone will be providing the iPhone soon so when my current contract runs out I will no doubt get one; but development will have to wait until the application starts making money. Now how many other developers are going to make the same economic decision. The closed eco-system of Apple strikes again. Apple if you really want to make inroads into Microsoft – open things up a little.
The closed environment of the Apple strikes again