Apple passed Microsoft last week in market capitalization. This is big news, something that would be absolutely unthinkable even a few years ago pre-iPhone.
Apple was a niche product. It was for designers and the Starbucks crowd and that was it. Now, if I go to a Ruby meeting - everyone is running on a Macbook. It's ubiquitous. Everyone has an iPhone.
The question is, do we welcome our new sleek, futuristic-dancing-silhouetted overlords with open arms or do we need to be a little careful lest we lose something as Apple becomes the market leader?
Well, I think the name Apple is incredibly fitting if we reverse the myth of the Garden of Eden (Heck, the Apple Logo even has a bite out of it) We are being tempted to take a bite of their succulent technology, but the danger is not that we are going to be thrown out of paradise, rather that we'll be let back in. Back in to a walled garden where we no longer have the free will to use bad technology (Flash) but also will have a gatekeeper that controls what gets let in and what doesn't.
I believe Linux users and users of free software should be afraid (Yes, I'm liberally sowing FUD right now, but I think a little caution is in order) I never liked liked Microsoft, but I was never scared they would be dominant to a point where they would be able to affect my personal freedom. Why? Because people used Microsoft products, but they were never really happy about it. Even the MS Fanboys were pretty tame, sort of like they accepted their position as evangelizers of the platform, but secretly plugged black headphones into their iPods so no one would know.
Apple users are different. They believe.
To use a Firefly reference, who scares you more:
On the left you have a sociopathic killer who will electrocute and flay you upside down if a job goes wrong
On the right you have the idealistic operative who wholly believes they are guiding you to a better world
I'd take the sociopath every time over the idealist who is willing to destroy every right you have along the way just to get you to a better world. [ This is a just a metaphor, I don't really think either company has killed anyone - Chen's still alive, isn't he? ]
Steve Jobs thinks he's building a better world. They are refusing political satire Apps into the app store to protect the children. They are wiping years of developer hours off the face of the earth because they don't want apps that create "Desktops" in the app store (See MyFrame story). But he wholly believes: "We always saw ourselves as building the best computers we could build for people"
Do you think Steve would think twice about enabling objective-c scripting in the iPad browser because of Web standards if he thought it would be better for iPad users or Apple? I don't think so. A future of the Web that has a gatekeeper scares the hell out of me (I'm a web-developer, so clearly I have a selfish vested interest). Update: See this great example of how Apple treats the "open" web.
Now don't get me wrong, I love apple products. In fact after I poured wine over my Macbook and got angry that they wouldn't fix it for me at any price (once a unit is water damaged they won't touch it - even though everything works on the machine except the backlight), I'm going back with my tail between my legs today to get another Macbook. It's the best laptop out there.
But I'm holding off on the iPad as long as I possibly can because I don't want to fade away into the walled paradise just yet.