Who’s Tony Fadell? The guy who built the iPod.
What’s wrong with voting machines (just in case you really needed to ask)? Everything.
So let’s think about the criteria of a good voting machine, and put it in context to an iPod…
- Voting Machines must be secure. The iPod is a very secure device, it even satisfies the criteria to make the content industry (including the RIAA) happy. If those draconian organizations can sign-off on the device, I believe it’s safe to say Tony and crew can make a safe & secure voting machine.
- Voting Machines must be reliable. The current generation of iPods are able to play music, videos, and games, and are extensible to an external developer community. Granted there are third-party applications which can cause some issues on an iPod (touch/phone), but we are dealing with an extreme case. Considering there won’t be any plug-ins or apps for a voting machine, it seems like Tony knows how to build a reliable enough device to work perfectly for a single day of the year!
- Voting Machines must be easy to use. There are roughly 3 use-cases for a voting machine: (1) choose one of several options; (2) choose multiple of several options; (3) choose options in a ranked/cascading order. There are a few other minor features, such as entering personal/private data, confirming selection, etc. I think it’s pretty safe to say that an iPod (especially when you include iTunes) has many more features, many more complex features, and is a fairly easy to use device.
Per the link above, Tony Fadell left Apple to spend more family time, which I totally respect. With 2 years until the next election, and 4 years until the next presidential election, it seems like we have a pretty good runway to build something much better than our current system. Also, I have to assume that the US Government would probably be a lot less demanding than Mr Jobs, which should give Tony plenty of time with the kids!