To contune with my rants about Apple, I submit to you the following TV commercial for Apple, debueted during the ‘Big Game’ (can’t say the superb*** word anymore without paying royalties) in 1984:

Well, how times have changed. Here is a company that was poking fun at PC users for basically being assimilated by the Borg known at the time as IBM. Don’t conform; break the chains; ‘Think Different’; Blah Blah Blah. All the dirty, smelly, free living hippie type reality altering hallucination talk you expect. Well, fast forward to 2008:
(wait for it. I cannot view the iPhone SDK User Agreement until I register with ‘The Man’, providing personal information before I can view a file to decide if I wish to proceed or not)
“3.3.3 Without Apple’s prior written approval, an Application may not provide, unlock or enable additional features or functionality through distribution mechanisms other than the iTunes Store”
“May not have Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) functionality.”
This is just part of the User Agreement. If you dig deeper, you see all sorts of ‘thou shall conform’ type constraints.

Now, you also have to pay Apple to write apps for their iPhone and iPod:
“Standard Program $99
The Standard Program is for developers who are creating free and commercial applications for iPhone and iPod touch.

Enterprise Program $299
The Enterprise Program is for developers who are creating proprietary, in-house applications for iPhone and iPod touch.”

OK, you can distribute your app through iTunes and make some money. But what if you want to write some apps for your personal use? It’ll cost you $99. What if you want to write apps to give away for free? It’ll cost you $99. What if you want to write something and apple doesn’t like it, or it isn’t pretty enough or is otherwise deemed that there are already too many apps of this type? It’ll cost you $99 to be shot down. Now in all fairness, it is not $99 per app, but if you want to write some crummy app and use it, it’ll cost you.

Let’s look back a bit. OSX runs only on Apple hardware (or rather, not without some hacking and violating the license agreement). OS upgrades come out rather frequently and will cost you. The Apple developer community didn’t learn a thing from the old trialware and shareware days and tries to soak every penny from Mac users. I forgot: Here are our new models for this year! Same old specs, but NEW COLORS!!!! Did they attend the same class that Nintendo Gameboy marketers did?

I could go on and on, but if you look at the bigger picture, the PC, which started life under the thumb of IBM, eventually cut the apron strings from mommy-Blue. Apple keeps tightening those strings. One can only hope that their circulation gets cut. That is when you will truely see innovative products for the Apple empire.