As you may know, I've been a fan of Apple's computers for many years now. They don't (often) break, they're secure and they don't need upgrading. They're also very easy to use. And they look good.
However, I'm not a member of the Cult of Mac, though people often assume I am. When I first got one (from a skip), Apple seemed to be on the verge of bankruptcy and closure. Apple users were die-hards, insisting that their machines were better. Back then, the technology was far superior, as was the OS: it wasn't a matter of style, as Macs weren't much better looking than anything else. Gradually though, the Cult grew, ignoring the evidence - underpowered machines with obsolete tech - until St. Steve returned, and transformed everything with his golden touch.
I knew differently. The products got better and better, and I doubt I'll ever stop using a Mac. But I always knew that beneath the punchy, chippy underdog was a grasping corporate capitalist monster dying to get out. So the reports of low pay and mistreatment at their contractors' factories in China didn't surprise me at all. Imagine: an American corporation outsourcing its social and environmental responsibilities along with its manufacturing! Heavens above, whatever next. My take is: find me a computer that isn't made in Chinese slave conditions and I'll buy it. Meanwhile, let's pressure everyone to work greener and fairer.
Apple's latest little trick is a beautiful example of corporate greed and contempt for its customers. Simply by changing the screws on your iPods and computers to a version widely unavailable, they're able to stop you getting into your machine yourself, or taking it to an independent repair shop. Apparently, if you take your existing gadget to them, they replace the old Philips screws with the new ones, guaranteeing that you'll depend on them for ever.
Despicable. But also very cunning.