For clarity: I live in the Bay Area. I am an Apple shareholder. (Hey, a couple shares counts!) I do not own any Apple products. (They're freakin' expensive!) I use Lucid on a GIGABYTE GA-880GMA-UD2H, AMD Phenom-II X6 1055T, 4GB of OCZ Gold DDR3-1600 memory for ~$400. I'm a sysadmin. I work at Ames.
I've taken apart many Apple products. I've also seen them in pretty bad shape. (Ever seen a powerbook run over by an SUV? It *still* booted. Ethernet & External monitor, 100% data recovery on it's own power.)
Their engineering is without a doubt, top notch. They take control of *ALL* aspects of their product, better than *ANY* company I've ever seen. They have some tremendously gifted software and hardware engineers working for them. They have willingly, and with total forethought, built themselves a walled garden; and are aggressively defending their marked territory. It's theirs. They built it on practically giving people the finger and telling them, do it our way or get out. Right upfront and straightforward-like. Total honesty. You know _exactly_ where you stand with them.
They've engineered a extremely impressive and powerful unix based system that works in total harmony with their ecosystem of products. While you are in their walled garden, you are agreeing to have them act on your behalf in ways other companies simply do not have the cojones to even attempt. Bust up your ipad, or macbook pro? Applecare's got you covered, with some of the friendliest tech-help you can pay for. And man, is it ever expensive.
But if you're amenable to their terms, they offer a much stabler ecosystem than their market competitor, Microsoft. When Apple says their product does something, IT DOES IT. WITH STYLE. THE FIRST TIME. AND EVERY TIME. And easy enough for pretty much anybody to use. With Microsoft? Welll.... It's sort of a crapshoot. Will it work? Will it bluescreen? Is this driver signed? What's this executable in my tempfolder?
"AntiVirus 2010"? Sounds promising.
And yet, Apple are incredibly generous with what they develop; giving us massive amounts of very very well-tested and ingeniously designed software, with more open source license terms than ours. "Hey, do whatever, man, just don't take our name off. No strings."
Boot Camp has it's own ToS that basically lets Apple off the hook when they're not in control of the system. This is a very neon-sign obvious, and very intentional 'backdoor' right down to the hardware, unlocked and fully open. But you're own your own if you go that route, and they make this abundantly clear. Abundantly clear as in "Secret Hideouts" in children's cartoons. The ones with the giant neon signs stating that in fact, the building below it is indeed either a Secret Hideout of some nefarious character or the Secret Hideout of the heroic character.
The iPhone and it's larger cousin, the iPad, are appliances. They are not computers. Apple has *EVERY* aspect of them covered in-house but the applications, where they only *want* to go so far, making sure people make good use of what was engineered for them to be 'accepted' into the App Store.
This is their way.
We have our own way; and the viral nature of the GPL can be both a blessing and a curse. We stand for things other than they do; we believe in total openness and freedom, and stamped that freedom down in stone as well. We stick to our guns just as they stick to theirs. We have just as much right to do it our way as they have to do it their way. It's not a competition, we don't have to 'recruit' people, it's simply a choice. Allowing someone to make a choice by bringing Open software in front of them and letting them weigh the benefits for themselves without coercion.
That is freedom. Making choices for yourself.
We don't choose to be better than everyone else.
We simply aim to do the best we can for ourselves and manage to overachieve for others.
But hey, it works for us. It's our itch -- We tend not to cater to people that aren't computer users like ourselves; Apple does. They're good at that. And better yet, they're successful at it.
I can put it like this.
You can hand someone an iPad and tell them "touch this" and they will be fully engrossed in exploring it for hours because of it's fluidity and distinct lack of 'computer pain'.
You can hand the same person practically any other modern touch based device, and it's impossible to shut them up about every little flaw in it.
Except maybe a Nintendo. But if you peer into their history, they paved the way for the same type of successes Apple is seeing now. A focus on fluidity and immersion is a core part of the Nintendo experience, and it always has been. Their quality and attention to detail keeps people both old and young coming back to their products. Apple's trying to give people the same timeless appliance quality as the venerable Super Nintendo.
And going about it in much the same way ;)
Golden Nintendo seal of quality, anyone?