Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Mark of Apple #iPad

Images adapted from http://goo.gl/jj7av and http://goo.gl/Ch3ps
David Thornburg, who long ago forsook the proprietary nature of Apple and Windows OS--I loved his story of how he went to sleep one night before a conference presentation replete with videos, waking up the next day to find that Microsoft Windows updates had changed the codecs, making him frantic to restore his presentation--writes a wonderful blog entry on the subject of textbooks a la Apple.
“With iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn.”  This quote is pure and utter garbage.  What is new about canned content from Pearson and the other companies drooling at the prospects of finding new ways to view children as bodies with wallets, and education as the memorization of mindless material that, most likely, can be found in better form in ten minutes with a well-crafted Google search?
He said the iPad is “rapidly being adopted by schools across the US and around the world” and 1.5 million iPads are already being used in educational institutions.  This should make us cry.  Apple has clearly lost its soul. (Source: David Thornburg)
This idea that American companies--like Apple, Pearson--have lost their soul could be explored a bit more, right?
Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States...“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House. (Source: New York Times)
The 2012 report says that more than half of workers at 93 of the audited facilities exceeded the 60-hour limit at least once during a 12-week sample period. . .The audits also found 67 facilities that used pay deductions as a disciplinary measure and 108 facilities that neglected laws regulating overtime pay...Apple reported that 72 facilities lacked management procedures for labeling hazardous waste, 74 facilities lacked procedures for disposing of hazardous waste and 125 facilities lacked procedures for the handling, movement or storage of hazardous chemicals. (Source: Mashable on Apple's Labor Conditions Report)
Yes, Apple makes great stuff...but at what cost to the world, and to American taxpayers? Of course, it would be easy to challenge: If you can't criticize the quality of their products, go after how they made them and how much they charge for them.


David, great piece! I agree that closed proprietary technology like the Apple iPad hurts schools in the long run, siphoning precious taxpayer funding away from where the real investment should be--people. As wonderful as free, open source software solutions are, they lack the appeal that Apple's products have for school administrators, school boards and the news media. 

One can only imagine if Apple's genius for tablet design enabled open educational resources--their creation, collaborative sharing and updating, disintermediating textbook publishers. Alas, let's recognize that imagining for what it is--a glorious vision of utopia, never to be realized in our time. Apple, like Pearson, is about making money. Within the dystopia Apple has created--where to do some simple things, you have to pay for the privilege--many are content to abide in gleeful, willful ignorance (a.k.a. stupid) of what the free road has to offer. 

When I started using Linux so many years ago, I had no idea that it would open up a world of fantastic, community-based creativity spanning the globe. Perhaps, wide open spaces are for the brave...and the cavernous cacophany of closed-ness the rightful place of those who bear the mark of Apple on their devices.

The seductive lure of Apple's products may very well entice us to embrace them. But, let's not forget the blood, sweat, and tears that those who must bear the Mark have put to make these devices so attractive.



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1 comment:

Tim Holt said...

Miguel:

http://tinyurl.com/75rtjq3

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure