Sort of. It's all a matter of licensing. Technically, you might own the hardware, but you are licensing the OS running on it.
A better argument would be if you took your iOS device and wrote your own stack for it. In that case, I don't think Apple would have much claim to what you could/could not run on "your" hardware. But in the current scenario you're buying iron-wrapped software (or I guess plastic-and-glass-wrapped software). Apple is really controlling what happens with the software, not the hardware.
This is an importnat distinction, IMO, because I don't believe any of the "I paid for it so it's mine" arguments out there really pass muster until you also create your own (not jailbroken) software stack.
"Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset."
Microsoft definitely has their own crazy and draconian licensing and "ownership" issues, but I can't tell from your comment which one of the thousands of possible example cases you're referring to.
If you have a well-reasoned counterpoint, please post it. I'd honestly love to hear a different perspective.
If I understand correctly, you argue that users don't "own" the device because Apple sells it as a whole stack or because they write the iOS and license it to users. My point is that even with licensed OS users should be free to do whatever they want on the device. When I buy an iPhone, the iOS is already installed so I assume I have also bought the right to use it (like Mac OS?). It doesn't matter whether the OS that comes with the device is written by the hardware manufacturer or not; hence the Microsoft analogy and that's why i disagree with you.
Now when it comes to the subject of App Store, someone has pointed out correctly that App Store is a distribution channel and Windows or iOS is an operating system. It was not my comparison. Here I do agree that Apple has every right to charge developers for any amount they want, or the right to deny any app they don't see fit in the App Store. However Apple don't allow any other channels on their system. That is still in their right to do so, but it will raise some issues when the iPhone/iPod Touch reaches a certain market share.
A better example would be Google. What would happen if Google tried to own some of the dollars that flow through the organic search channel? /shudder
It is a pretty good comparison as long as App Store is the only way to install anything on iOS
It may strike you as obviously false, and it may well have been so two years ago, but when I got my new iPad after moving to another country I've spent about twice as much time getting iTunes to let me pay for apps in foreign App Store than I've spent researching jailbreak options and caveats and then actually pwning the device.
So no, App Store is far from the only way to distribute iOS software, even though it still is the default and sometimes the only apparent way.
From my experience, it turns older iPhones into a stuttering laggy mess and breaks visual voicemail, and makes you paranoid about every iTunes update.
can apple "license" the physical shape of the device and charge 30% on all sales of protective sleeves?
Hardware is different. Unless you specifically sign a contract like a lease that makes some arrangement other than the traditional you bought it, you own it scenario you can do whatever you want with a piece of purchased hardware. The have been cases in the past, for example DirecTV receivers where the hardware purchase price had a built in subsidy, requiring you to sign up for a subscription. When people started paying cash (instead of the usual credit card sale for a $300 item) and not activating the hardware (because they were easy to hack) DirecTV changed the way retailers were allowed to sell the hardware.
People keep getting the iOS software, and the related devices confused, thinking of them as a single entity. You own your hardware, but you don't own the underlying software. Among other things, the lawsuits targeted at the company that was selling OS X loaded on clone hardware (forget the name) also seemed to prove this out.