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The NeXT played with everybody. By definition. The Apple plays with no one but itself.

Both boxes practiced hardware lockin but the NeXT still went out of its way to accommodate others whilst the Apple begrudgingly cooperates only with Windows computers. And consistently perceives all things as being only 'Windows' or 'not Windows'.

Mergers are always difficult and neither of the merging companies remains the same afterwards. The blend is a mixture of the philosophy and mindset of each company. To what extent either company prevails is something people go on speculating about forever.

The NeXT was a 'clean machine'. It didn't pull any punches and had no reason to compromise. There were no backward compatibilities to worry about. It simply took the best of the best in terms of both hardware and software and put it all together.

The Apple is the perennial 'outsider', its 'technologies' always 'offbeat' and regarded with a morbid curiosity by the rest of the IT industry. Their uneducated penchant for paraplegic tools like Pascal when the rest of the industry already moved on to C is a case in point: the I/O confusion of this Swiss language - author Wirth was later forced to admit he neither meant nor considered it suitable for professional use - together with the deliberately 'straight jacketed' syntax - lack of pointer arithmetic, call by reference, ad infinitum et ad nauseam - made it impossible to construct high grade robust software.

As evidenced by that spaghetti monster known as 'MacOS'.

Apple's move to the world of Unix - made out of not so much inspiration as pure desperation - is wrought with masterbation. Anomalies such as the HFS file systems, resource forks, 'Finder data' in volume control blocks, 'colours' for files - and the perennially enigmatic /.vol volfs 'file system' - demonstrate that the Apple is only 'social' when absolutely forced. And even then it will attempt to retreat into a corner and continue masterbating: the 'open source' kernel is today a sham.

Steve Jobs is a fanatic and the ultimate masterbater. He pushed his Lisa ideas on the Macintosh group and forced the product out the door amidst a gnashing of teeth. As time went on and the inheriters were forced to maintain and upgrade the beige box they got hit by the bad karma. But by then Steve Jobs was far out the door.

In Redwood City Steve Jobs did something different - something really intelligent. Some of this was by chance and some of it was hard work and some of it was foresight and some of it was genius. In the meantime the Mac faithful hardly noticed he was gone. The 'developers' who never once cast a glance towards Redwood City are a curious lot: were the NeXTs too expensive for them? Or built for a different demographic?

Had the beige box - with its simplistic interface, wobbly performance, and countless caveats and bugs - tricked them into thinking programming was easy?

Hysterical fans are today predicting Apple may grow 'bigger' than IBM. The next thing one can therefore expect is the Z-series IBM mainframes replaced by Macintosh computers; and defence systems and insurance companies and banks worldwide going over to running all their business operations on OS X instead - as if that's going to happen even in the dream of the wildest daring fanatic.

Which basically sums up just how much these people are out of tune with reality.

Apple (Steve Jobs) create some great gadgets. First they created a blue box; then they created a beige box; then Steve Jobs at least created a black box; then Steve came back to Cupertino and created a white box; and now they've created an iPhone. And if not all of these gadgets were brilliant at least their marketing was.

And perhaps the most stunning of all is the recently released iPhone.

But the iPhone doesn't play either. It's not a Nokia or an Ericsson. You can't just buy an iPhone and connect it to any network you want. No - you have to buy a 'plan' from AT&T of all companies for several thousand dollars. And connect it to their Neanderthal EDGE network. Which is slow even by US standards not to mention how ridiculous it looks to the rest of the world. Yet without this plan - essentially mortgaging your MP or MBP - you can't use your iPhone for anything.

Of course major bucks are involved. Of course they are. Apple are tossing major bucks AT&T's way and AT&T are playing friendly and kicking back. The iPhone might be a brilliant piece of technological achievement but the way it's being marketed can only be described as pure masterbation.

The people in Redmond play with others - yes even them. But they end up giving all their playmates the royal shaft. Which all things considered is probably more extroverted than what Apple do.

A look at the YouTube clip of Steve Jobs' return to Cupertino makes it all clear.

Thousands of Apple masterbaters down in the mouth, looking at their laps, sitting depressed, and waiting in vain for the Ultimate Masterbater to pull something magical out of his designer beard. And all he can say is 'we'll try'.

But he has no products, no immediate ideas, he's only recently screwed Amelio out of the CEO slot, he was far more productive in that other town, he was even making money - but the faithful didn't follow him there and he'd found a new market instead. Which he was now turning his back on. CEO of the company he founded - that's a hard one to turn down no matter how much good one's done elsewhere.

The operating system OS X remains locked to its hardware. The engineers, prodded on by Steve Jobs and the 'elders' who think they know better, are instructed to put limericks in the kernel to literally beg hackers to not corrupt the code and make it free. VMWare and Parallels both have been approached by Apple and have consented to put special code in their products so OS X cannot run on any hardware but Apple's own.

Meanwhile idiots like John Gruber insist it's a good thing Apple can't get more than a 2% market share - something undoubtedly encouraging to software developers and software houses everywhere. The myopia - the insanity - of these idiots seemingly knows no bounds.

The iPod is hermetically sealed. Initially Apple had no plan to replace the dying batteries. As the furore grew they reluctantly gave in. The iPhone's battery dies too. And this time Apple have preempted the furore by already announcing a battery replacement plan. But customers have to send their iPhones to Apple for the replacement, pay $86 including shipping and handling, and wait patiently until the devices return. All the while they of course continue to pay AT&T. Unless of course they want a temporary iPhone replacement for another $29.

Hackers are trying to crack the iPhone to turn it into an 'ordinary' smartphone device. The iPhone will never be ordinary but they want to use it like any other functionally comparable product on the market.

Nokia, Ericsson, all the rest: they play well with others. The iPhone is an Apple product and only begrudgingly plays with anyone. It much prefers to sit all alone and play with itself.

It's made in the image of the typical Apple consumer.

*The terms 'masterbater', 'masterbating', 'masterbation', and 'inheriters' are deliberately misspellt to cater to a specific Apple consumer demographic.

See Also
Alpine Dottie
Effective UID: 0
iPhone Ramdisk
iPhone and Security
iPhone and the Media
iPhone and Full Disclosure
iPhone OS X System Architecture
iPhone: A Bit of This, A Bit of That
iPhone Bootloader: Hackint0sh Progress Report

Thanks to Devon at Pixel Groovy for the excellent artwork.

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