This is such a warp of history and truth that, as one who lived through it, I just can"t restrain myself. First, Steve Wozniak"s original Apple (named I after the ][ was developed) was precisely an analog of the Raspberry Pi with its single, hand-laid-out printed circuit board integrating a state-of-the-art, lower-cost CPU, NTSC video, moderate amount of RAM, expandable via a bus port, built-in keyboard interface, and software provided including programming tools (monitor program and BASIC), promoted to geek hobbyists at the Homebrew Computer Club and later through the first computer retailer Byte Shops, but, minus the Raspberry Pi Foundation contributors, backing of an already-established, very large microprocessor manufacturer willing to sell near cost, a team of highly-experienced and talented hardware and software engineers, and an Internet promotion machine par excellence (yes, Liz is actually channeling the marketing genius of Steve Jobs - that"s high complement to her ). The Apple ][ continued the integrated microprocessor, RAM, upgraded high-resolution (for 1977) color NTSC video, monitor/assembly/BASIC, internal keyboard, added joystick port, expandable via openly-documented slots, cassette tape I/O, expanded computer store retail to the point of making it very lucrative, and promotion at the new computer hobbyist fair(e)s/shows and through many new computer magazines. The Mac (and Lisa, for corporate customers) was squarely aimed at a completely new market of technically unsophisticated users who neither needed nor cared to know about the innards of their computer, just as they didn"t care about their vehicle"s engine. Apple ][e models continued to be manufactured for nine _YEARS_ after the launch of the Mac - can you imagine _any_ product lasting in the market for a total of _16_ years today?
Microsoft"s first multi-million dollar making product wasn"t MS-BASIC, MS-DOS, or Windows, it was a now long-forgotten hardware/software product purchased from Seattle Computer Products, the Microsoft CP/M SoftCard for the Apple ][ ... yes, the Apple ][. It was a single-board Z-80 microprocessor-based system, complete with its own 80-column by 24 row B&W text-only NTSC video output, and 64 KB (yes, KILOBYTES) of RAM, and the board plugged into an Apple ][ slot for power and sharing keyboard and floppy disk access. It ran Digital Research"s CP/M OS which, at the time (1980) was the standard for running business application software such as Wordstar, dBase, Multiplan (predecessor to MS Excel), AutoCAD. and many Turbo Pascal and many other compilers and interpreters for popular programming languages such as BASIC and FORTRAN. It became the best-selling platform for CP/M, more than all of the large S-100 "boat anchor" boxes, selling over 10,000 units for $349 in several years until IBM PC sales started in late 1981 - Microsoft made its first multiple million dollars on the SoftCard.
Other than the SoftCard built for businesses, Microsoft hasn"t produced computer systems, so, there"s no parallel with Apple in that regard. In fact, Microsoft has historically been openly hostile to hobbyists and has only become involved with education where it"s been a means of selling Windows and applications licenses in conjunction with large vendor contracts, while Apple has been closely associated with education offering near-cost pricing since the early days of the Apple ][, through the Mac, and now the iPad with iBooks Textbooks (many free), and iTunes University free multimedia course materials. Much of the history of the hardware that has run Microsoft"s software has been pretty bland, commodity-oriented boxes meant to do mostly mundane tasks. At least there have been some great games developed for Microsoft platforms, but, that has largely migrated to proprietary game consoles where Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, etc., control everything (hmmm, why does that sound familiar?). Oddly enough, smart phones and tablets are now eclipsing many consoles in both variety and level of challenge and enjoyment.
When the general public, rather than self-perpetuating corporate IT and purchasing departments wined-and-dined by sales reps, has been able to decide for themselves what products and services best meet their needs, they"ve selected ones that require the least amount of fiddling around. It"s the same as in any other mature consumer-serving industry, such as appliances and vehicles, where people have more important things to do than screw around with endless menu items, dialogs, buttons, checkboxes, etc.
It has been nearly two generations since those heady days when books like Ted Nelson"s "Computer Lib" and "Dream Machines" were published, along with Stewart Brand"s "The Whole Earth Catalog", and wide-eyed computing pioneers were exploring the possibilities of nascent microprocessors barely capable of doing anything useful, but, people were fascinated by just the concept of having on a desk or table something that only a few years earlier required a dedicated room and a full-time team of professional hardware and software technicians to care and feed a multi-million dollar investment (albeit much more powerful). The trick in getting the Raspberry Pi to help kindle the same curiosity and sense of awe in kids that we experienced decades ago will require influential adults to exhibit the same level of excitement. While there will be kids who will dive right in and be able to absorb all of the technical details, the majority are going to need a lot of help easing into everything, and that goes double for most teachers and other adults who will need to help get things moving.
We all need to toss some spaghetti on the walls and see what sticks. That"s pretty much what the game system I"m trying to develop for the R-Pi is. Since both developers and players will be able to contribute worlds, object models, images, textures, play elements (think games-within-a-game), there will be plenty of wall space in the kitchen that can be strewn with pasta, sauce, and pretty much everything else in the pantry. I"m curious what others can come up with in the way of fun and educational things for kids to do with the R-Pi.
The best things in life aren't things ... but, a Pi comes pretty darned close!
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
In theory, theory & practice are the same - in practice, they aren't!!!