I found this very balanced commentary on Apple and the iPhone hullaboo recently. Think it succinctly sums up the whole controversy.

Re-posting it here for convenience:

Over the years, the thing that’s bothered me most about the way Apple pitches its products is the idea, behind everything they say, that there is something exceptional about them and their products.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

This used to be something said about the United States, we were theexception. The sole superpower. The good guys. The Yanks. Whatever. If we ever were, we’re not that now, and neither is Apple.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Here’s a list of things to take as given: Permanent link to this item in the archive.

1. The Mac is just a computer. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

2. The iPod is just an MP3 player. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

3. The iPad is just a tablet.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

4. The iPhone is just a phone. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

5. Apple is just a company. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

Until Friday, Apple would have been consistent, over the years, in denying all five of those things. They’ve made all kinds of escalating claims for themselves and their products. The Mac is the computer For the Rest of Us. Think different. For the crazy ones. Culminating in the ultimate hubris, repeatedly saying the iPad is “magical.” It’s nice, I use mine all the time — but magical! Come on. (What’s next — Immaculate? Sacred?) Permanent link to this item in the archive.

On Friday, Apple asked us to believe that the iPhone is just a phone. It’s just like the phones that Nokia and RIM make, or Samsung or Motorola. Nothing special about it. That may be the single most important thing they said, and I’m not even sure they know they said it. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

They want this to be over, they want to put it behind them. They want to, presumably, return to Apple as The Exceptional Company. But that’s not going to happen. They’re a big successful American company (who does all their manufacturing in China, btw), and they blow smoke up everyone’s asses like all American companies do.  Permanent link to this item in the archive.

They are not exceptional. Their products are premium products, luxuries like BMWs or Cuisinarts. I buy Macs because I like premium products. I’m not planning on returning my iPhone 4. But I know they’re a shit company like American or United Airlines (and yes, BMW too). You have to count your change, and don’t expect them to do the right thing, unless you twist their arm real hard, and usually it isn’t worth the trouble (which is why most of us don’t call you Steve). Permanent link to this item in the archive.

PS: Thanks to Farhad Manjoo, whose story in Slate last night helped me piece this together. Permanent link to this item in the archive.

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