4G + cloud = the death of the PC

John C. Tanner
03 May 2010
For all the hype about Apple’s status as an icon creator and wireless-internet game-changer, one of its more controversial decisions regarding has been its refusal to support Adobe’s Flash multimedia for the iPhone or the iPad.
Many web users argue Flash is a minimum requirement for any device claiming to support access to the “real” Web.
Last week, Steve Jobs wrote a lengthy open letter explaining the reasoning behind the Flash decision. Many of his objections were technical, but his main gripe was that Flash is proprietary (as opposed to HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and H.264, which Apple supports instead) and, more to the point, creates “a third-party layer of software between the platform and the developer that ultimately leads to substandard apps.
Not unexpectedly, Adobe chief Shantanu Narayen disagrees with Jobs’ claims and flat-out denies some of them (not least that Adobe is not an open technology, as its Creative Suite software is designed to support multiple platforms).
Whoever’s right or wrong, there may be another possibility underscoring Jobs’ reasoning, suggests science-fiction writer and software programmer Charles Stross: the likelihood that the PC industry that Apple helped co-found over 25 years ago is dying.
The basic thesis ties together a number of separate events – Apple’s borderline-obsessive control policies over apps development for its devices, HP’s recent buyout of Palm and its WebOS platform that it could develop into a tablet to take on the iPad at the expense of Windows 7, and the reported death of Microsoft’s Courier tablet project – with upcoming developments for wireless broadband and cloud computing.


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