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Apple's iPad: The End Of The Internet As We Know It?

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Apple's iPad: The End Of The Internet As We Know It?

Technology

Apple's iPad: The End Of The Internet As We Know It?

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

NPR's Laura Sydell reports on how the iPad limits some of the freedom associated with the Internet.

LAURA SYDELL: (Soundbite of Apple.com)

SYDELL: When you have a multi-touch display this large, you feel like you're actually holding the Web right in the palm of your hand.

SYDELL: But that's not how Paul Sweeting sees it.

M: With the iPad, you have the anti- Internet in your hands.

SYDELL: Sweeting is an analyst with GigaOM Network, who has concerns about the way Apple controls everything on its device.

M: It's not an open platform where you can create a lot of content, or other people can create a lot of applications and content that you can then access and use and incorporate into what you're doing.

SYDELL: Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard law professor, says with the iPhone, Apple has shown that it's willing to censor ideas it doesn't like. During the presidential election, Apple blocked a political app.

INSKEEP: Called Freedom Time - and it actually just simply counted down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until President Bush would be out of office, regardless of who his successor would be.

SYDELL: Analyst Sweeting thinks many of the major media companies would love to see computers discourage people from searching the open Web for content.

M: I think the media companies will leap at this, because what it offers them is the opportunity to essentially re-create the old business model, wherein they are pushing content to you on their terms, rather than you going out and finding content, or a search engine discovering content for you.

SYDELL: But people waiting in line this weekend to buy an iPad didn't seem bothered by Apple's restrictions. In fact, many, like Damen Brown, prefer it.

M: When you have the more open systems, there's more of a risk of there being less quality control and a lot of garbage apps.

SYDELL: Jennifer Childers likes Apple's gatekeeping.

M: It's not being controlled so much, because every idea's gotten through except for things that are like pornography, or some other things that I wouldn't be looking at anyway.

SYDELL: Analyst Sweeting says Apple's limitations make its products feel safer.

M: Apple is offering you a gated community, where there's a guard at the gate - and there's probably maid service, too.

SYDELL: Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco.

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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