[...] People who produce content do have some right to keep other people from stealing it. [...]
... aaand there you have the buy-in. Stating opinion as fact. The above statement may be a valid interpretation of the law in many cases and in many jurisdictions - but whether people who make public performances have an ethical right to all aspects of the performance is very much an open question. For me it's a question of living by the sword / dying by the sword. If you want your performance to be in any way protected, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't perform it in the open, unprotected public. And if you do, you will have to expect creative minds to take your idea and run with it.
Apple have this exact attitude [...]
... they won't only have to continue to teach users what the "any key" is, now they can teach generations of users how to put batteries in, all over again.
Remember, kids: it *always* a good thing if there's more than one way to do something; indeed, the more ways there is to do something, the better (*).
I always appreciate devices that treat me like an idiot, and attempt to do my thinking for me. I'm looking forward to my first device that is missing the [+] and [-] signs in the battery bay, because hey, it says there right on the box that I threw away half a year ago that the batteries can go in any which way. Duh.
(*) alert: sarcasm
Okay, this is probably going to come across a a little weird. I contend that the main thing that MS got wrong with the Kin is the name. You cannot call a device "Kin" without some kind of blowback. "Kin" is a basic anglo-saxon word that essentially has no etymology - it just is. The dreaded four-letter words fall into this category, as do many other very basic words such as water, earth, grass, fire, and so on. Except that "kin" does, as MS correctly identified, have a social connotation. "Kin" is people you're related to by blood or common interest - and by "common interest" I mean savages fighting for the same cause, and not people who like the same kind of literature as you do.
Now - call a device "Kin", and you are basically claiming the you can use it to identify who in "kin" to you. And that is plain too powerful. When I first came across this device the main part of my reaction was to be slightly upset at MS' attempt to co-opt this rather neat word. And that's why I say weird above: basically I'm saying they evoked a concept too powerful for this or any gadget.
So: They should have called it the "Microsoft Social Management Device" or something similarly inane. Then it would have been accepted more as "good first fling, looking forward where they're going to take this", rather than "this is what they want to sell us as the epitome of social interaction? You have *got* to be kidding me". Unfinished devices are fine; the first iPhone didn't have copy-paste, and that was OK.
Finally: I would have liked to like the device. A Blackberry keyboard on a social device? Cool. Perfect present for your 11-year-old niece. Welcome to the social; finally. Backed by a company that will maintain it for years to co... oop, where'd it go?
I think a -1 (fail) would be better than just a plain -1 (wrong). It's like, I dunno, claiming Poland has no coast or something similarly insane. But thank you for the heads-up.
Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson