I gave it a day, but that's as good as I can do. I preface this with: I have nothing personally against Steve Jobs. As a person, he may have had plenty of positive qualities. The link I shared for his death is actually a great article that I agree with, those are his legacies, and they are at the core of what is wrong. As a businessman who had a profound impact of the world market, Steve Jobs has done humanity a great disservice.
To begin with, I do agree that sweeping generalizations do not work very well. The company, Apple, has not been entirely bad, or had no good products. In fact, Apple performs one great service to the market, which is providing products that are simple and relatively easy to use. The iPhones are sleek. An iPad looks like a lot of fun to play with. I even own an iPod, and my parents own an iMac.
I look to Apple when I am tired, when I am being lazy, or when I simply know my limits. I pressured my parents into buying an iMac before I left for Mongolia. Why? Because I couldn't be there to help them troubleshoot. The glossy characteristic of the operating system, and even the hardware itself, was a beautiful, enamel coating protecting the computer from my parents. Other computers do not give so little trust to their users, but Macs, they know that their users cannot be trusted. So Mac-users get big icons, simple docks, and even mice with only one button just so nothing gets too complicated. That is a wonderful thing! For users that have no urge to inform themselves better.
The same goes for my iPod. I wanted portable music, and I wanted it without having to do research. I admit it, and I picked up a device that I knew I could throw music on with nothing more than iTunes, and could put in a pocket while I exercised. Was the Zune better? Maybe not, maybe Creative Labs came out with something mind-blowing. I will never know because I admitted my limits, and admitted that I didn't want the best thing on the market, but the simplest.
The problem begins with people not admitting that. Whatever the reason, whether it's because everyone else has them, or they look cool, people begin to assume that these Apple products are the best things on the market and that they need them. Who actually needs an iPad? I believe there is someone at there that has found an iPad to be the best solution to some problem they've had, but for the majority, it's a novelty, a cool gadget. And that's great, I love gadgets, but the popularity of iPads does not make Steve Jobs an innovator, it makes him brilliant at marketing, and that's all.
Apple's obvious corporate strategy is consolidation and monopoly. Under the guise of making life easier, it consolidates your mp3 player with your mp3 store. It consolidates your phone with your music player. It consolidates your internet browser with your operating system. When Microsoft does this, it's a bad thing, and they get dismantled. Why can't we see that it can also lead to a bad situation when Apple does it too?
When iTunes came out, WinAmp, Sonique, Realplayer, and Windows Media Player all existed for music. Did iTunes, originally, do anything better than the competition? No, but it won out because of its integration with Apple products. I am not crying foul here, this is not a bad thing, it's simply the market working. However, it's not a good thing, either. We are now stuck with mp3 as the audio format of choice, instead of a lossless format, not necessarily because of any technical details, but because iTunes did not support flac and aac files.
It's the lack of personal research, encouraged by Apple, that is so problematic. Apple tells the consumer that it wants Apple products, and we as consumers have started to get confused and actually turn that message around and believe that we need Apple products. What we need is better understanding, more research, and more competition! As consumers, it is our duty to be informed, to push the market to create better and better products. When an iPhone comes out that boasts dual processors, say, "Nice job catching up, Apple," because my Photon has been performing well thanks to its two processors for months now. When you hear about using your iPad or iPhone as a credit card, feel free to sound snobby and inform them that the technology is called Near Field Communications and has been around for a while now. Do not feel guilty, because there are plenty of half-informed Apple users out there ready for you to be as uninformed as they are and take that tone with you.
Allow yourself guilty pleasures, I have my iPod with Ke$ha on it, I admit. But do not spend your whole life lounging on the sidelines, letting companies tell you what you want. That is Steve Jobs' real legacy, and it's a poor one indeed.