Bad Business

Security

Since there are no big headlines declaring the first hack for the iPad. Does that mean a big victory for Apple? Is it so hard to crack no one has even figured it out yet? Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The iPad has the same vulnerabilities as the iPhone or the iPod Touch. A famed Mac hacker Charlie Miller recently noted, “I have one. [an iPad] I’m not currently actively trying to break it,” he said. “Mostly this is because, from a security perspective, it’s just an iPod Touch.”

Charlie Miller is the leader in Mac/Apple hacking. And recently, he publicly released 20 vulnerabilities in Apples new software. Each of which, allow the hacker to acquire complete control of the device. For years Apple has declared “out of the box” security, this claim has been falsified numerous times.

The vulnerability in the iPhone/iTouch (the same for the iPad) Miller says, is that it doesn’t randomize its memory. The Mac platforms do, a feature known as address space layout randomization (ASLR). Which is supposed to make it more difficult for a hacker to access the memory. This is what the iPad lacks.

Forbes magazine explains, “All Apple products use Data Execution Prevention, or DEP, a feature that prevents malicious code from running its own commands. Instead, an attacker has to hijack existing commands in applications, which becomes tougher when those commands are randomly placed in every different machine’s memory. So the lack of ASLR vastly weakens DEP as a safeguard.”

Some argue that security breeches in Macs don’t really matter because they are only 8% of the market. The problem is, if there is information that a Cyberspy wants, and the information is on a Mac, it’s just all the more vulnerable to hacking. Its market share is no longer in the equation.

E-Books

The iPad is supposed to have this uber-cool book store and reader. And is expected to be a major selling point for the iPad. But, Amazon may end up as the book provider for this gadget.

Here’s the catch: Apple’s iBooks application will not come pre-installed. And Amazon has already made an application for the Kindle. So you can have the Kindle on your iPad.

The Wall Street Journal explains,

Amazon has tussled with publishers in recent weeks over e-book prices, but a new pricing model that is emerging could improve Amazon’s profit margin on e-books for any devices. Publishers will set prices for many e-books, with retailers such as Amazon and Apple taking 30% of the revenue. This guarantees a profit on every sale. Amazon’s previous policy of discounting new e-book best sellers at $9.99 typically resulted in losses, since it paid more than $9.99 for those books.

What’s more, Amazon is years ahead of Apple in building relations with the publishing industry, being one of the biggest print-book retailers in the nation. Amazon now offers more than 450,000 e-books, and has access to more than 1.8 million free out-of-copyright titles. Apple has said it will start with 60,000 titles from five of the largest publishing houses.” The Wall Street Journal April 2, 2010

On top of that, people are more likely to get the Kindle app. Analysts (quoted in the WSJ article) say that chances are that 90% of iPad buyers have Amazon accounts. And Amazon already has your email, knows what you like, etc. The conclusion drawn is that iPad buyers will most likely buy the Kindle app rather than iBooks.

Sales

Apple iPad sales were well below analysts predictions (300,000). This matches the prediction I made two months ago. That people will not buy something they do not need. It is an oversized iPhone that doesn’t do as much. If you have a laptop and/or a smartphone, chances are, at this time in the economy, you aren’t going to buy something you don’t need.

The iPad is bad business. It is trying to recreate a technological hype that is three years old. And it simply will not work.

-Ben

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