OFF THE GRID

Apple: Maybe We Should Be Afraid

Feb 24, 10 | 7:39 AM   byMichael Wolff
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Apple is a strange and dastardly company which, sooner rather than later, we’re going to regret pledging our allegiance to.

The latest bit of no-good business is its arbitrary censoring of iPhone apps. This may be piddling, but it’s obviously part of the major control-freakishness that has always lurked below the surface in Cupertino, but which has now become broad-based corporate policy.

The iPhone itself is a beautiful tool, locked up tight and full of draconian protocols—with a little AT&T sado-masochistic abuse thrown in for good measure.

Just weeks ago there was the iPad rollout and its transparent designs on controlling the woe-begotten world of printed material.

And need we forget, there’s the music business, fully occupied and colonized by Apple.

And Steve Jobs himself, the ever-weirder figure, living—unless he has, actually died—in some stratum apparently far above securities laws.

Why do we put up with this?

Is design so seductive that we will forgive all and embrace this truly screwy and arbitrary presence in our lives?

Microsoft has come to seem eerily benign. Indeed, Apple becomes the poster child for a really sinister corporation. There may not be any corporation as militantly determined to have its way as Apple.

It’s a branding conundrum. Most companies can only dream of building a brand as strong as Apple’s,  whereas Apple’s brand has reached a level where nothing it might do seems to hurt it. Apple has become the opposite of what it once was and somehow we don’t know it.

Steve Jobs may be the oddest fellow able to hold a full-time job in America and hardly anybody even makes fun of him. In fact, everybody’s afraid of him, not least of all because he is so strange and mercurial.

After all, why would Apple purge these adult-themed apps? What sense is there to that? And, apparently, it isn’t all sexy stuff. It’s just some sexy stuff, arbitrarily.

It’s not even consistent, it’s just weird, unnecessarily, and mean-minded.

I wish I were ready to turn in all my machines.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWolffNYC.
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