Article confuses GNOME 3 with GNOME Shell (Linux Mint and Ubuntu both use GNOME 3 the framework). Both the UI and the framework went through a huge transition, both arguably hurt the developers and the users.
Nokia's abandonement of GNOME has nothing to do with GNOME 3. SUSE was a KDE distro from the very start, years ago. Ubuntu not shipping with GNOME 3 the UI by default is less to do with GNOME Shell and more to do with Ubuntu pushing their own thing (valid strategy, but not a response to GNOME 3 mess). The only major distro to react to GNOME 3 disruption is Linux Mint - which had to do so because both Unity and Shell weren't there yet.
Back to Apple envy and "poisonous touch" - whoever paid attention to what's going on with GNOME development knows there was (is?) much more Web "envy" (or rather panic: "it's going to render the desktop obsolete!"). In fact, I'd say Apple in this case served as an example of an ecosystem that successfully pushed against the web and obsolesence of desktop (or rather "native") apps.