Let's just say it: Nobody has changed the way we interact with technology like Apple has over the last 10 years. Even if the iPad turns out to be the disaster that many are anticipating, Steve Jobs will still be seen as the hero who turns top-end technology into friendly little gadgets even your grandma can use.
But recently, a faint chorus has been growing--thousands of tech geeks suggesting that if you look under Apple's shiny white veneer, you'll find some practices that are less than user friendly. In fact, some of the things Jobs and Apple are being accused of are so over the top, Lex Luthor would have to take off his hat ... and then use it to cover the dark stain spreading across the front of his pants.
Apple Versus Their Customers
When you buy Apple products, you don't just buy computers or gadgets. Apple sells iPods and iPhones that play music purchased in their iTunes store. It's all part of Jobs's sales pitch to people who pride themselves on individuality. Even before there were ads featuring the kid from Die Hard 4 bickering with John Hodgeman in heaven, the message was been the same: PCs are for those people who follow the herd, but you choose Mac because you think differently.
The prototypical Mac user: Thought differently, didn't know how to use a computer.
And the message seemed to take. In the court of public opinion, Apple is the hip, young underdog challenging his competition. Who have fared... less well.
The "Hitler Test" is a widely accepted yardstick of public opinion.
But there's an unfortunate catch with Apple products. Even after you spend your hard earned money on fancy Jobsian wonder-toys, you still don't really own them. Turns out Jobs might have literally been speaking in the first person when he started slapping I's in front of everything he sold. As in, "I am Steve Jobs and I just sold you suckers a gadget that iDesigned, iControl and iBreak if you break my arbitrary rules."
Think we're exaggerating? Say you want to buy an iPhone. If your town isn't on one of the postcards Luke Wilson reads in the AT&T wireless commercials, you're going to have to "jailbreak" your new gadget. Don't worry; you won't need any digging spoons or defensive sodomy. Jailbreaking is just a term for modifying your iPhone in order to make it do what every other gadget on the market does: Whatever you tell it to. For instance, without jailbreaking you can't install unapproved third party applications, customize your user interface, or unlock your phone for use with another carrier.