This is simply, and provably, untrue. I had an eMusic account several years before iTunes existed. It has always distributed DRM-free MP3s.
2) Before the iTunes video store, you could buy a few DRM encumbered videos from Amazon (pretty sure they were the only game in town at that time).
I don't know about this, as I'm not a big movie/TV watcher. I'll leave it for someone else to debunk.
3) Before the iPhone App store, the only way you could get an application was through a carrier approved store.
Demonstrably untrue. There was a thriving and open application market for Palm devices, Windows mobile devices, and others, long before the App Store. The Sidekick had a similar marketplace model to the App Store and a similar approval process, and it was in place for many years before the iPhone. Pretty much all smart phones allowed installation of applications from third parties before the iPhone and App Store. The success of the App Store, for Apple's bottom line, was the primary motivation for several other vendors introducing similar markets.
But, I wasn't talking about iTunes (though there are probably things to say about iTunes, I don't really know enough about it; as I mentioned, I've been an eMusic user for many years, and have never wanted anything iTunes had to offer; besides that iTunes doesn't run under Linux, so I can't use it). I'm talking about specific negative things Apple has done for openness and creativity in the technology world with the iPhone and the iPad, which is the subject of all of these rants.
The iPhone and iPad are the most tightly controlled ecosystems in their respective niches (if we count netbooks and other tablets as in the iPad niche, which I kinda think we have to, for now). This is a bad thing.
And, I was saying that the kind of apologia you're using is enabling Apple to do these bad things. One shouldn't apologize for bad things Apple has done by presenting the good or neutral things Apple has done. We know that the closed nature of the iPhone/iPad and the App Store ecosystem is bad for developers and bad for tinkerers and would-be hackers. We should call them on that bad behavior.
Praise them all you want for other behaviors, but don't use it as an excuse for the bad things they do.
But, I'm not really talking about iTunes. I'm talking about the hacker culture and the chilling effects of the closed iPad/iPhone ecosystem. I just couldn't let an utterly untrue statement go uncorrected. But it's not really the point of my rant.
The original statement simply wasn't "utterly untrue". Sorry. I hear where you're coming from.