Monthly Archives: April 2010

The iPad, and Why the Original Mac Didn’t Have Arrow Keys

Bruce Tognazzini, one of the main user interface guys on the Mac recently blogged about parallels between Steve Jobs’s approach to creating the Macintosh, and the iPad.

It’s all interesting, but I wanted to call particular attention to this passage:

Few will remember, but, when the Mac debuted in 1984, there were no arrow keys on the keyboard. That was a big deal. Almost every application then in existence depended on the arrow keys (then called cursor keys) for navigation. With that one stroke, Steve reduced the number of apps that could be easily ported to the Mac from tens of thousands to zero, ensuring that this new computer would have a long and painful childhood.

Steve’s button mania, which grew from his earlier parts-count mania, was already in full flower, and many have ascribed this crippling omission to some sort of self-destructive obsession. It was not. It was one of several strategies specifically designed to ensure that existing software would not run on this new machine because existing software, in Steve’s eyes, sucked (an opinion I share). The absence of those four keys ensured that any developer who wanted to have software appear on the Mac was going to have to start over and write software that conformed to the Mac interface, not the keyboard-oriented precursors to MS-DOS.

via Mac & the iPad.

He goes on to compare this to Jobs’s stance on Adobe Flash on the iPad.  It also goes to one of the key points I made in an earlier post about why people who thought the iPad should run standard Macintosh apps were “crazy”:

There are no apps for the Mac designed for the type of [multitouch] interaction the iPad supports.

I Told You So (or meant to): Netflix on the iPad

Not long ago, it seemed like worthless tech bloggers and journalists were all chattering about how Apple was keeping Adobe Flash off the iPhone and iPad so that they could monopolize digital content distribution and shut out anyone who tried to compete with the iTunes store.  I meant to make another installment in my series on puncturing anti-iPad hype on why there was ample evidence that this line of argument was just plane wrong, but sue me, I’m lazy sometimes.

So, it comes as absolutely no surprise to me to learn that new of a Netflix streaming app for the iPad isn’t yet another annoying April Fools joke.  Yes as TechCrunch has noticed, it’s the real deal, you can check for yourself in the App Store.

For those of you who weren’t following at home, various dumbasses were trying to convince us that that only option for rich media on the iPad was Flash, or nothing.  For this to be true, you have to ignore all those apps in the iTunes store, including apps from companies that would seem to compete with Apple in the digital media distribution business, like Amazon Kindle and Stanza app for eBooks; Pandora, LastFM, and more for music, Joost,, and others for video.

Well, now we have another example.  Netflix, which competes with Apple’s iTunes movie rental business by offering unlimited streaming for less than $10/month, whereas Apple’s rentals are something like $4/play.