For one thing, I have an iPhone, and I have a car with Microsoft Sync. Every time I plug the iPhone into the car's USB port, it pops up "this accessory is not made to work with iPhone". And then it works anyway (except for the part where something is a little overzealous about reindexing the music on the phone, and I'm not yet sure which side that one's on).
For another, the DRM point may be more important than the author makes it out to be: there are plenty of systems where using the "wrong" cable will still work, but with significantly degraded access (I still remember the first time I had to buy an adapter box to use a DVD player with my TV). I'm not sure that "sorry, you can't do that" is any better or worse than "you can do that, it just won't be useful in any way".
It may be called "degraded usability" for some...
The white ones always had Firewire 400 too (http://www.apple.com/macbook/specs.html). There was a brief period when the 15 inch Macbook (later renamed Pro) had no Firewire.
The Air, predictably, doesn't have Firewire. It barely has USB...
The ONLY product in the entire world at the time that used the Mini DisplayPort, as far as I could tell, was the MacBook. (well, maybe some of Apple's new displays). Of course the adapter wasn't included with the MacBook, and it's expensive as hell.
Not quite as bad as the linked article, but that was my first experience with Apple as a company - left a bit of a bitter taste.
They've done the "lead, don't follow" thing consistently since Jobs came back. Ditching ADB and serial for USB; ditching SCSI for FireWire---I groaned at each one of those calls, but they turned out to generally be the right ones, just a year or two in some cases before the market was quite ready.
However, all that is quite different from the bullshit with the iPod video cable discussed in the article. That's just outright consumer-hostile behavior, and it's not traditional Apple ... it seems to be something new, which has only started to happen in the last few years, and mostly in the markets where they are dominant.
I still like a lot of Apple's products (I'm writing this on a 15" MacBook), but it's as much evidence as I need to not want to ever have Apple dominate the PC market. They're a wonderful company when they're the underdog, but a harsh mistress when they're in charge.
(It seems that Lenovo and Dell put regular DisplayPorts on their laptops. So you are paying the Apple tax -- a more beautiful outline, but the cable costs $30 more.)
Sure. I'm just annoyed that, out of the box, the silver MacBook delivered less functionality than the slightly cheaper white MacBook. (what, exactly, was I expected to plug into that port, if at the time 99.9999% of the world's displays didn't use it?) I certainly don't feel that Apple had an obligation to include an adapter, but it didn't make a first good impression.
The point is, as much as I like Apple's attention to detail, its outstanding industrial design, I can't justify buying a product that's not really mine. Call me spoiled, but using stuff like Linux made me feel I am really in control. The netbook is mine, and nobody will make my computer do something I don't approve. If it ceases to work, it will be my fault.
This is exactly why I switched from XP to Linux rather than to OSX. I'd rather tinker with my own system than be passively impressed with the feature set of Apple's system.
This should be enshrined as a sacred principle of programming, not unlike the medical profession's Hippocratic Oath: "I will not build user-betraying systems." It is not enough for us to swear not to buy them: the sheeple will. And they have the most dollars/votes. We, the programmers, must refuse to participate in their creation.
"Ethics for Programmers: Primum non Nocere"
"The "you don't own your computer" paradigm is not merely wrong. It is violently, disastrously wrong, and the consequences of this error are likely to be felt for generations to come, unless steps are taken to prevent it."
Quite. Analog or not, cables carry a lot of technology these days.
To attribute this to some DRM effort is quite a large assumption. I wouldn't recommend writing off a company like Apple based on an assumption like that, considering it is almost certainly not true.
Granted, Apple does not usually go out of their way to make sure 3rd party accessories are supported on future devices. They can be a bit reckless about modifying interfaces, which tends to accidentally break 3rd party products (which Apple doesn't even always know exist). Heck, they frequently break compatibility with their own older products.
I think there is a tradeoff here, though. MicroSoft is actually darn good at backwards compatibility, and Apple is good at innovation. Striking the balance is tough.
Its like asking for microsoft to support their new bluetooth mice on windows 95. If I had windows 95 I would like them to, but it is not their obligation. I really wish they would support their freaking ABNT2 keyboards on macosx (which they don't, although the box says so).
There is no guarantee that something that worked before a soft/hard upgrade will continue to work, specially between major versions. Linux for christ sake dropped support for a lot of things between 2.4 - 2.6 and no one was whining about it. I mean, there is always someone whining on a linux forum...
Actually, it's like Microsoft checking whether the mouse is made by Microsoft and then refusing to work with it despite the fact it would work perfectly.
This is all basic troubleshooting that we would normally perform (or insist on being performed) before passing judgement. And yet for some reason, if it's an Apple product and you're new to the brand, you're somehow expecting to be screwed. So you blame any and every error on Apple and their evilness.
As for the faulty cable, unless the fault is really small, there is no reason to believe there is one. The cable works flawlessly with other iPods that have the 1.x software. I could not find any other cables from the same manufacturer and, since it's just a cable, I threw out the box it came in without much thought of that.
I contacted Apple support, but since the cable is not made by Apple and the iPod's warranty is expired, they said I am pretty much on my own.
As for being new to the brand, I own (and have used then extensively in the 80s) a couple Apple IIs and a somewhat large collection of Macintoshes. Sadly I don't have a Lisa or a NeXT cube (working on that and gladly accepting donations), but, if that's not enough to make me a non-Apple-newbie, I certainly don't know what would.
Did you even read the article? It's all written in the first paragraph...
Also, for what it's worth, I'm comfortable labeling any new iPod/iPhone user who's most recent Apple hardware hails from over a decade ago as "new to the brand".
As for your points:
Another identical cable: I don't have two cables
Another iPod: worked other 1.x
Protected/uprotected: they were unprotected podcasts
Users with the same problem: didn't look for them. Assume my cable is "weird"
The cable ceased to work on the nigth the device was updated. Worked the night before. It would be incredibly weird if the cable broke by itself while hooked up to the TV the same time the iPod was updated, wouldn't it?
And while I didn't mention any hardware that is not part of my rather extensive collection of interesting Computers (not limited to Apples, of course), there is a rather new Macbook at home and a couple Macs at the office. Why would you suppose my newest Mac is a museum item?
I like things that make me better off - therefore it is perfectly reasonable to like companies - esp ones that make important/complex things that I derive a lot of benefit from.
It's not only that: capitalism is also built extensively on explicit or implied social norms that cultivate customer loyalty to a company that makes and keeps ethical as well as contractual promises.
Market norms and values are what they are, but people live in social and ethical worlds, and most people expect their business transactions to be ethically as well as economically acceptable.