I have a love/hate relationship with Apple. They do maddening things to their customers and clearly send the message that if you want to use their products, it’s their way or the highway. But they are brilliant engineers. No other major brand can touch the quality of their products, especially not for the money.
I make my living with technology and used Linux back when it came in a series of raw files you had to burn to diskettes to install. I develop for and provide architectural guidance for customers on Linux, Windows, and (for only a while longer) Solaris at work. I am a huge proponent of open source software and hardware. I came late to the Mac party but last year bought a Macbook and an iMac. I now have two iPod Touches for myself and my family.
Nothing can touch the Macbook and iMac for just working. I use them for development, web surfing, and lots of other stuff. My wife is not a computer person and they just work for her. No other system is close to being as elegant to use. Windows 7 is the best Windows yet and Ubuntu and Mint Linux are excellent as well, but if you just want things to work, you can’t beat Apple.
Nothing in its niche can touch the iPhone/iPod Touch for playing, surfing, using as a PDA, etc. Sure it’s irritating that Apple didn’t put a larger battery in the Touch or iPhone and that there’s no expansion capability, etc. But my sister in law with Down Syndrome can pick one up and play with it. It’s great to see Android becoming a serious threat to Apple’s mobile device dominance. It forces both parties to innovate further.
If nothing else, Apple serves as a goal for others, motivating them to provide great systems/products without all the restrictions Apple places on theirs.