The Mighty AppleI feel sorry for those people who still blindly follow Apple like some religious saviour, I really do. Yes they are a big company that produce decent products, but what makes the so special? Is it more than just the name? Not really, no…

In years past, Apple were perceived as a blessed haven away from the Microsoft-infected world of the PC. And everyone hates Microsoft, right? Well, me too, so why don’t I worship at the temple of Steve Jobs’s Mecca that is the mighty Apple? Well, because now Apple are just as bad as their rival. Apple sue fansites (Think Secret) who promote their products. Apple produce products that require you to use their proprietary software that locks other products out (specifically iTunes which provides decidedly mediocre jukebox functionality and doesn’t support non-Apple devices: it’s good, but not great). Why on earth would people want to invest money in such a company? By supporting it, customer’s are forcing themselves to buy Apple products in the future too, losing the ability to choose differently. If people stop, Apple will be forced to open up and play nicely with others.

The iPod was a phenomenal success, there’s no question there. But why? It wasn’t actually a terribly innovative product, aside from the superb scrollwheel (not actually an Apple invention, incidentally: it was outsourced to a company that design touchpads for laptops). Indeed, Creative have been producing comparable harddisk jukebox players for years, but the less techno-savvy probably don’t recognise their name outside of PC audio and video cards. Apple’s iPod is good, but not great. The cleverest thing they did was create those horrendously tacky white earphones that turned it into a status symbol, since an iPod owner became instantly recognisable. It’s the name that sells, and the name that inflates the pricetag disproportionately too. The same goes for the “groundbreaking” iPod Shuffle. Flash players were where the whole thing started and Apple will muscle in based on name, not innovation. JetAudio (Cowon in the UK) have released their phenomenally good U2 1GB flash player which is a similar size with a full screen, more features (including radio and voice recording). I’ll be picking one up as soon as I have the cash. If I’m splashing out, I want something more than a white box for my money.

Apple are pretty. Just look at OS X. Oh, but wait, I’ve got a dock here too…and see these icons that look more real than “aqua” and then there’s the clock, picture slideshow, calendar and weather all integrated into my desktop along with a CPU meter and email checker? This is called a PC. Now that people can take the visual style of their machine into their own hands, Apple’s painful failure to support vast swathes of software and especially games that consumers want becomes more and more apparent.

There’s no denying Apple are good. They’re just not that great.