I have a Mac SE upstairs. It's the only apple product I have ever personally owned. I wrote my first computer virus on the Apple II. It was called "Justasecondplease" and it rewrote users' hello programs to say "Please wait, system is in configuration mode." Then it would save tiny randomly named files to their disc until it filled up and crashed.
I have always coveted Apple products but have never owned them (except for the SE, which I bought used so I'd finally have a mac).
Fundamentally, I've always been bothered by Apple's firm control over their hardware. It seemed to me that it was an untenable business model.
How have they gotten away with it? By having a product of huge quality.
But as products advance, people's expectations advance with them. The iPhone sure looked neat and when I saw it I said, "Wow, that's cool!" But then I read that the iPhone wouldn't allow third party extensions, would not integrate with Outlook, and would have other extensibility limitations.
The iPhone is therefore pointless. It looks nice and has created some hype, but why would one ever buy a phone with such obvious limitations out of the box?
So, Dave Winer went crazy today with the bandwagon jumping of bloggers - talking about how cool the iPhone looked or how great their other new products were.
I don't believe for a minute that Jobs's closed-box approach to cell phones is the right one. Growth is driven by choice. The Internet grew because, for the 80th time, it was the platform with no platform vendor. The Apple II won, the Mac won, the PC won, even Windows won, because you could install any software you wanted on them. The iPod is a wonderful product, but damn it's time we made one that could run our software, could run any software, so users have choice, and so you don't have to buy new hardware to get software features, and so the market can grow at the rate of innovation, not at the whim of one marketer.
I believe what you see from Dave here is recognition of great products coming from Apple, but their inherent platform limitations is frustrating.
I'll let Winer do the rant and just note that Apple won't be sustainable if they keep limiting their products.
Blogged at my house in Seattle with Live Writer