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Follow the Money (part 3 of 3): Apple and the Company (app) Store


The day has come, and the sound of cash register bells still ring in your ears. Or, the bells would ring if the cashier's computer had sound effects. But it doesn't matter, for you are riding the surging thrill of attaining the hailed product of the latest media bliss.

You have bought the computer all the tech blogs and computer gurus are talking about. After shelling out a minimum of $499 dollars, US, you open the box, and there it lays in pristine shiny plastic with a black emblem - your new iPad. So light, so thin. Weighing in at 1.5 pounds and half an inch thin, the infamous Princess of pea fame would barely register it slipped between her mattresses.

Don't feel alone in the mounting excitement. Your iPad is only one of a potential 5.5 million units that will sell internationally this year, not to mention next year. The tablet in your hand is one of a large family of computers all awaiting human command to surf the net in search of information, games, music, and fun.

So you boot up your newly charged computer and go to one of your favorite web pages- Problem! The video you want to watch will not play. What's going on? You have cutting edge equipment. You waited and slaved to save the money for this grand moment. Taking a breath, you type in a new location in the address bar, but same deal.

It is not you and it is not the Internet, though the Internet will likely be blamed by many people as being broken or screwy. Sadly, it is the mint condition iPad. Despite the fact that 75% of all video on the Internet is Flash based, Apple has boycotted Flash. You will have to buy another computer if you want to watch Hulu. Okay, you can live without Hulu, but then you run into non-video websites that you used to use and now do not work. Same answer- Flash. Any site that uses Flash for web design, app functionality, or video is now lost to you. You will either have to limit what you do online or wait until Flash is replaced with HTML5, but do not hold your breath. No one is about to redesign the majority of websites overnight. Better listen to some music while you wait. That is what Steve Jobs is holding out for, HTML5, to redefine web interactivity, and he is assuming you will keep him company.

While you are waiting for the HTML5 revolution to take hold, you decide to browse the Apple app store for applications to buy. Some of the apps you looked at before buying the iPad seem to have disappeared. Odd. Are you going crazy? No. Apple is cleaning up shop. Apple is making executive decisions right and left these days about what type of Internet use you can have; Flash is out, and many types of apps you can use on your computer are too.

While Google has decided to let users' own sense of style and creativity take over the unfettered and clean search page for a more warm and fuzzy user experience with uploaded photos, Apple is taking the other route. Apple has decided any app, no matter how popular or useful, is to be axed if the user interface gives the feel of a traditional desktop application. Apple is going for a certain look and feel to the new iPad. The old desktop is out and the new Apple company store is your only option.

Apple has money. They think they can call the shots. Unlike the traditional company store though, you do not have to buy the iPad. But the latest gadget always sells, and the iPad is no exception. At stake, however, is who leads innovation. With Apple stamping down on apps they don't like and visual functionality that is against their wants, the Internet could be remade in the Apple image. Will you like the look?

Want to read more on the open marketplace on the Internet, check out these books from the library:


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