Apple devices give you freedom to not care about your device.
And your distinction between freedom and empowerment is a false one in the real world. Freedom is generally about empowerment. Apple devices give you the power to exercise your freedom -- except along this narrow axis that you and Stallman seem to care so much about.
So why can't they give you freedom to root your own device or sideload your own apps. The 'safe garden' is still there for those who want it, and those who want more could do that of their own accord as well. Apple are unnecessarily restrictive.