The iPad is an interaction platform, it needs a recursive makers tool
The thing that bothers me most about the iPad is this: if I had an iPad rather than a real computer as a kid, I’d never be a programmer today.
— On the iPad by Alex Payne
What’s missing today is HyperCard, or an equivalent tool that can be used to create a new wave of applications for the iPad
— The iPad needs its HyperCard by Dale Dougherty
Somehow I don’t think young Mr. Kaplan sees the iPad as hurting his sense of wonder or entrepreneurism.
— The Kids Are All Right by John Gruber
I think that the iPad is a new interaction platform. The iPhone introduced the interaction paradigm, but the platform here will be the iPad because it’s a more universal device, while the iPhone is more “just mobile”.
I do think that there’s a huge and interesting discussion that’s lying beyond the minutiae on the iPad as a technology. I call that “minutiae” because we shouldn’t just be looking at the physical thing, but at the reason why that thing exist. The computer exists to do things better, faster and easier. They exist to improve our lives. Do I really need ‘files’ to do that? Do I really need ‘windows’ to do that? No, I don’t think so.
The discussion above, threading on the web isn’t about the thing, it’s about culture, education and innovation.
I think that Alex Payne and Mark Pilgrim are rightfully worried because the iPad isn’t at this time what I call a ‘recursive platform‘: you can’t build for the iPad on the iPad. It’s exactly like the Microsoft Xbox, the Sony Playstations, the Nintendo DS, the Wii, any mobile phone or smartphone, etc, but unlike the PC industry.
But do we need recursive development tools anymore? I think that John Gruber could be right: today we have a powerful sharing and communication channel and with the free web development tools and a downloadable SDK you can do anything for the iPad.
But all this is now: in the future Apple could do many things, from opening completely the store to making development tools for the iPad. There’s technically nothing blocking Apple to do so, just economic, political and strategic reasons.
And of course there’s also ground for a ‘Hypercard for iPad’. Maybe able to build apps in HTML5, who knows. ;)