What they have done is alienated developers, and ultimately deprived users of software they want to see on the platform. My fear is these botched decisions are hurting Apple, but they aren’t feeling it. Pain is a gift: the signal that prevents a burned finger tip from becoming a body engulfed in flames. Apple is numb from success, and I hope the emerging competition from Google and others will re-sensitize them to the threat of failure.
I have a different fear (or, rather, belief): that Apple is doing enough things right that they will not have to alter their course, just as Microsoft never had to make an operating system that appealed to Mac users. Apple is ignoring some very low levels of pain because they have their eye on a prize. They don’t care about alienating developers, even top ones, so long as they’re selling lots of devices and apps. They can thrive without pleasing everyone.
Some Mac developers, myself included, see Apple as holding the iPhone platform back. There are lots of apps, but there could be more and better ones. The SDK and tools are good, but Apple is retarding innovation. The App Store is helping some developers make money, but Apple could be a business partner that we like and admire. It’s frustrating to see unmet potential.
But, as a user, the iPhone is good enough. I’m not tempted by Android in the least. I like the way my iPhone works, and I like that it syncs with my Mac software. That said, it can only be good for iPhone users if Google makes a great competing product.