I apologise for derailing this thread with my off-hand coment, I didn’t realise views were so strong.
I’d like to clarify my position on this…
It is without doubt that Apple’s products are excellent. They work as intended and are of superb build quality, with ergonomics and usability at the forefront of the design process. They are also among (or perhaps are) the most innovative of the large hardware/software giants.
My biggest beef with Apple is that I am deeply disappointed that they appear to have squandered a position from which they could have changed the protectionist model of (computing-orientated) big business. They have made great contributions such as OpenCL as pointed out by SilenceBe above, but they still maintain almost complete closure over their platform. I’ll admit that this closure is probably the source of their stability, but I’d like to take a small tangent here to discuss my views on Freedom.
I see two types of freedom. Freedom to, and freedom from. Freedom from viruses, freedom from the consequences of having no idea about computer security, freedom from the responsibility for your own actions. Freedom to use the hardware that you have paid for in the way you want to use it, freedom to modify software that doesn’t work the way you want it to, freedom to write small apps without having to jump through corporate hoops that target the philanthropic lone developer just as harshly as money-grabbing multinational corporations.
“Freedom to” inevitably leads to abuses of the freedom, but I feel that the necessity of protecting myself from those who abuse the freedom is far outweighed by the benefits that individuals and communities gain from this freedom.
“Freedom from” inevitably leads to over-control by centralised organisations.
I said in my first post that “My oppinion of Apple became somewhat jaded when I discovered they were taking a 30% cut in the appstore”, but my biggest bias against Apple comes from my disappointment in what I see as a missed opportunity for a leading tech-giant to make moves away from the protectionism of Microsoft’s early days. With the release of the Visual Studio Express versions and the free (beer) use of the .net framework, I’d argue that in recent years Microsoft have become more open than Apple. This is a disappointment because I have no love for Microsoft and I used to see Apple as being a shining light that might one day free home computing from the clutches of this behemoth.
I guess that I may have become an iHater, but tying hardware to other hardware and bricking phones that people have freed, along with other bully-boy tactics are responsible for my change of oppinion and not any media hype or marketing ploys on behalf of Apple’s competitors. I base my oppinions on what I find for myself and not what I am told by other biased individuals or organisations.
Case study: Holiday in a foreign country.
My brother’s (13yrs old at the time) iPod provided him with much enjoyment and diversion for a few days until he accidentally let it run out of power. Upon charging it up and turning it back on, he was asked to reconnect it to a host computer before accessing the music that he had paid for out of his pocket money. That home computer was about 4000 miles away and he had to spend the next week and a half without the music that he had made personal sacrifices to buy.
If this case isn’t an advert for generic MP3 players and piracy then I don’t know what is. Apple could do much better.