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Steve Jobs Wants Your Child to be Stupid

April 21, 2010

He may not admit it out loud, but his actions prove it.  Steve Jobs had a WONDERFUL opportunity to promote learning on it’s iPad – and it instead chose to take the low road and repress your child’s curiosity and development.

Apple had an app called Scratch on their iPad app store.  it allowed users to display content developed in the Scratch platform.  The Scratch platform teaches children the fundamentals of programming in an easy to use manner and with results that are fun to watch and interact with. 

Wired Magazine has more specifics:

About 40 years ago, tech legend Alan Kay invented the idea of a lightweight tablet computer that children could use to learn programming.

Apple’s iPad delivers on the tablet part of that vision — but the company has blocked a kid-friendly programming language based on Kay’s work from getting onto the iPad.

Though the Scratch app wasn’t made by Kay (pictured at right), he wasn’t pleased about the news when contacted by

“Both children and the internet are bigger than Apple, and things that are good for children of the world need to be able to run everywhere,” Kay e-mailed

Jobs this month personally mailed an iPad to Kay, who praised Apple’s tablet as “fantastically good” for drawing, painting and typing. But Kay declined to give his full evaluation of the iPad to until his question of whether Scratch or Etoys — another educational programming language Kay developed for kids — would be usable on the device.

With the removal of Scratch from the App Store, for now the answer to Kay’s question would appear to be “No.”

I’m also unimpressed with excuses that apple apologists have come up with for this behaviour:

Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber, who first reported the removal of Scratch, explained that Apple’s intention with the “no interpreters” rule is to block meta-platforms such as Adobe Flash.

“Imagine a hypothetical arbitrary ‘Flash Player’ app from Adobe, that allowed you to download SWF files — such an app would stand as an alternative to the App Store,” he wrote. “What’s frustrating about Apple blocking Scratch is that Scratch doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that one could use to build software that’s even vaguely of the caliber of native iPhone apps. It’s really rudimentary stuff, focused on ease-of-programming. But what’s Apple to do? Change the rule to ‘no high-quality interpreters’?”

Apparently having a reasonably open policy – or even simply making an exception – are not valid alternatives. 


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