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As of yesterday night, I have taken the first steps to break out of Apple’s “Crystal Prison.” Instead of upgrading from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5S, I decided to instead upgrade to a Samsung Note 3. I have an iMac. I have an iPad. My last name is McIntosh.

Why would I not get an iPhone 5S? There are really three main reasons.

Lack of Innovation

There is really nothing new about the Apple iPhone 5S. Yes, the icons are now a different color. Yes, it now comes in gold. But, looking at the specs, the 5S is really a repackaged iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5S reminds me of The Onion description of their fictitious Grandito as “Taco Bell’s Five Ingredients Combined In Totally New Way.”

Sadly, since the early and sad death of Steve Jobs, I think that Apple has really lost its creative spirit. It is pumping out the same products — a little bigger, a little smaller, a different color — but there is no real innovation.

The Crystal Prison

One of the cool things about the Apple II, the TRS-80, the Osborne 1 (the first computer that I owned) and even the IBM PC, was that they all came with BASIC. For the first time, ordinary people without access to a mainframe computer could learn to write computer programs. When they hit the limit with BASIC, they could turn to C or even assembly language. It was a heady time. People could write programs and share them with their friends. Useful and popular programs could actually generate income. The word shareware was born.

iPhone-meme-6But, now, Apple, which helped foster this new world, has moved in the opposite direction. The iPhone and iPad are restricted platforms. To share a program, one must buy a developer’s license from Apple and have their program approved by Apple, Inc. Apple blocks more than simply programs they think may be harmful; they also block programs based upon content with which they disagree as a corporation. They block competing products. There is no shareware, instead only programs which are either free or have fixed prices — and Apple takes 30% of each dollar earned by the programmer.

With the release of the “Mountain Lion” version of the Macintosh operating system, OSX, Apple, by default, now prevents people from installing any program on a Macintosh not purchased from the Apple App Store (from which Apple gets its 30% cut). This option can be turned off now, but who knows what Apple will do in the upcoming “Mavericks” version of OSX?

Tax Avoidance

Taxes are an obligation of belonging to a society. It is how we pay for common projects, such as roads, police, firefighting, schools, courts and so forth. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said: “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”

And, yet, for years, Apple has accumulated billions of dollars in Ireland to avoid paying U.S. taxes on these profits. Secondly, surprisingly or not, Apple collects its U.S. profits not at its headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, Calif., but instead in Reno, Nevada. Why? Because the California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84%, and Nevada’s is zero.

These strategies may be legal, but I don’t have to support them with my purchase. Apple can be greedy and save as many of their billions for their investors as they possibly can, but I can also choose to not support their money-grubbing tactics.

So, for these reasons, I have broken out of the prison and am a new owner of a Samsung Note. Oh, and plus, the Note has a much larger screen.


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