Picture the scene – you’re at your favorite bar or pub, everyone’s cheery and the drinks they serve are superb. Last orders has been called and you don’t want the night to end: along comes the manager and guess what – he’s declaring a lock-in, fantastic!
But then consider this rather different scenario – you’re in a dingy back-street hovel of a hostelry, the beer they serve is stale. The night was looking alright when a lovely looking member of your preferred sex shows up and flashes you a smile. But they’ve gone home early, and you’ve no reason to stay – you just want to be tucked up at home and watch your favorite DVD to cheer you up. Unfortunately for you: along comes the manager and guess what – he’s declaring a lock-in, oh dear!
When I heard that Apple were not supporting Flash on the iPad I was somewhat dismayed, I was even more surprised to learn that they don’t support it for the iPhone either. It’s not that I care hugely about having Flash support, what is concerning is not having the choice and being subject to a technology lock-in. It’s a sad state that the health of a technology is not determined by its technical brilliance or its popularity, but by whether it is supported by the big players in the market. Personally I think if there is one overriding thing that rational people want out of a computer it as much freedom as is completely possible. Everyone knows what bad software and hardware look like, because they’ve all experienced ‘an unexpected error’ occurring, and we should have the right to say – no thanks I’ll use an equivalent product because its more stable (or offers more features or just because it looks pretty!). What’s the solution? Well if you like freedom, do shop around because your purchase is more than just a shiny product [which is re-branded old technology that doesn't come with a proper keyboard] – its an investment in the producers ideology.
As a caveat to this post – I’m not saying Apple is a bad company, or that their products are bad. I wouldn’t want to put those words in people’s mouths, I’m just advocating considering the overall philosophy of the company you are buying from and whether it matches your needs.