Basically, Doctorow talks about Apple’s “absolute dominion” over the iPad. Of course, a first reaction would be, duh, Apple makes the iPad, but Doctorow’s complaint is that Apple prevents competition. Again, your reaction might be, duh, Apple wants you to buy their eReader, not someone else’s. Before anymore “duhs,” let’s look at what Doctorow says is Apple’s attempt to shackle its readers to the iPad.
The iPad uses a DRM system called “code-signing” to limit which apps it can run. If the code that you load on your device isn't “signed,” that is, approved by Apple, the iPad will not run it. … DRM enjoys an extraordinary legal privilege previously unseen in copyright law: the simple act of breaking DRM is illegal, even if you're not violating anyone's copyright. In other words, if you jailbreak your iPad for the purpose of running a perfectly legal app from someone other than Apple, you're still breaking the law. … That means that no one can truly compete with Apple to offer better iStores, or apps, with better terms that are more publisher- and reader-friendly.Isn’t this pretty much what the Kindle does?
Doctorow says he’s taking a stand against Apple’s practices by not selling his “e-books in any store that locks my users into a vendor's platform.” He’s including the iPad and the Kindle in his stand against “lockdown shenanigans.”
I’ve said here before that I wish there was one platform for e-books that would work on any eReader. That would make it easier for readers to purchase e-books and, I would think, easier for publishers to make the books available to all eReaders. Seems to me, it would be more effective to start a movement to demand this, rather than demonizing any one reading appliance.