Every morning as I drive past the Apple store on the way to work, I’m amazed at the little throngs of people awaiting their new iPad 2. Creative people lean heavily toward Apple as well, with a whopping 62% saying Apple will be the winner of the future of mobile. In our recent survey, many respondents highlighted Apple’s superior style, design, and marketing, coupled with a visionary approach.
As a long-time Apple fan, I get it. But I wonder, is Apple’s closed approach to app development the right thing? CNNMoney’s Laurie Segall posed this question to Josh Topolsky, editor-at-large of Engadget, and Lance Ulanoff, editor-in-chief of PCmag.com, during our recent Webby Debate.
It turns out, it’s really not an all or nothing proposition. Neither platform is entirely open or closed, and neither is likely to crush the other; there’s room for both. Although there are strong proponents on both sides of the open vs. closed platform argument, there are clear benefits to both approaches. Case in point: Developers complain about restrictions from Apple, whereas some users worry about getting malware on more open devices like Android.
As Topolsky points out, the tablet space is where you see this closed ecosystem winning. “Apple is crushing the competition with tablets. It’s a new frontier, so it’s easier for people to accept that certain things aren’t available on it…[Plus] you create great experiences, it can be very valuable to control the experience. And they are masters of the great experience.
While Ulanoff sees value in the Android’s “open” model, he also sees Google taking a page from Apple in the tablet world. “Google is working right now to give you a more holistic experience, and is being more controlling about how the next version of Android tablets look and feel…They understand at some level that when you’re dealing with consumers, you have to deliver a certain level of feature/functionality experience.