If there's one thing that I know Jobs would like to have back, it's an Apple computing platform with tightly controlled access for developers. As the Wall Street Journal apparently reports (via AppleInsider): "Jobs has kept 'tight control and directors have rarely challenged him.'" His preferred dev environment is no different. Right now, on the Macintosh, anyone can code up an app and release it without so much as Googling (Binging?) the Apple Human (once User) Interface Guidelines. Heck, even I've released apps for the Mac into the wild. Oh noes!!!

Oh wait, Jobs has gotten that closed development environment, hasn't he? It's the iPod, iPhone, and, increasingly overlapping with the Mac, the iPad:

In February, it was rumored that Hulu, an online streaming video destination for multiple networks, plans to make its videos available without Flash for the iPad platform. Reports then alleged that the Web site could be prepared by the time the iPad launches April 3, though it was said the service would likely be subscription only.

If the iPad only does HTML5/H.264 jive, the fact that this protocol isn't the most popular on the net gives it a leg up on open browsers. That is, if Hulu makes HTML5 pay to play only, thanks to the iPad's effectively closed platform, Hulu has a ready-made, similarly closed/captive market.

* If the iPad did Flash, not only would there be a closed system involved that Apple doesn't control, but there'd be no easy way to differentiate folks using the iPad platform. Goodbye Hulu revenue stream.

*With no Flash, Hulu has a reason to partner/get in bed with/come to the defense of Apple's iPad and to temper its support of Adobe's Flash

Captive markets are exactly what Jobs likes to have (see the iPhone developer program and the rules for distributing software, where Apple can even, 1984-style, rip programs off of your iPhone retroactively!), at least until he gets to the point that market dominance (digital music) makes it so that captivity works against Apple selling hardware. So once the iPod and the iTunes Music Store dominate digital music, Jobs makes DRM leave the stage precisely to ensure there are no competitors to the gorilla.

But, again, the interesting point here is how Apple is reinventing the Mac. As the iPod stretches out and begins to swallow the Macintosh via the iPhone and now iPad, it's essential to pay attention to the compromises these [at least relatively] closed platforms are making. The iPad will do 50% of what I use my MacBook for and essentially 90% of what I use my iPod touch for (the balance being "fitting my pocket"). But I can't run my Java apps on my iPad, and probably never will, and certainly won't without Jobs' permission.

(Yes, I realize Apple develops and maintains the standard Mac JVM, but there are others that work on OS X. Don't split hairs, please. ;^D)

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