I got my first Apple product - a MacBook - in December. The only way to connect it to an external monitor turned out to be purchasing an additional Mini DisplayPort adapter for something like $45 - from Apple, of course, since no one else was selling it.
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.
I don't think that's Apple being evil, that's Apple being ahead of the curve. They've always done that and I've thought it was generally admirable, although sometimes it puts you as a customer further out on the bleeding edge than you'd like. (E.g., I was very much unready to give up PCI when Apple decided to ditch PCI-X for PCI Express. However, it was clearly where the world was headed.)
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.
They did the "lead don't follow" thing before Jobs came back too when it came to hardware (indeed all the way from the beginning of the company to the present, from mice and "plug-and-play" ADB connectors to 3.5" disks to the first real consumer laptops (remember the Duo Dock anyone?) to really embracing SCSI, laser printers, and then in the recent Jobs age, USB and firewire and ethernet and DVD writers etc. etc.), it’s just that their software stagnated for quite a few years and none of the next-gen software research projects they dumped loads of cash into in the early-to-mid 90s really panned out.
They ditched floppy drives years before anyone in the PC world too, and it did us a lot of good. There were far more useful replacements at the time (Zip drive, CD-R etc.) and the floppy really was something that needed to be abandoned.
(Mini) DisplayPort is probably going to be the standard for video interfaces, so I don't think Apple is being evil here. The standard is royalty-free, after all, so anyone can make a Mini DisplayPort cable. Right now, there's just no market; being an early adopter sucks.
(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.)
Right now, there's just no market; being an early adopter sucks.
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.
Mini DisplayPort isn't widely used yet, but it is quite impressive technology--a tiny cable that can drive a 2560x1600 display. Apple has always charged fairly exorbitant amounts for accessories, but a simple search on monoprice  shows an adaptor (to HDMI) with great reviews for $10.
Thanks for that link - I think part of it was simply unfortunate timing. Mini DisplayPort was introduced in November and I got my laptop in December, I don't think there were third party adaptors on the market yet.