14. Media control freakery

Have you noticed how critical reviews of Apple kit always come out long after launch, and yet nice reviews are available immediately or even prior to launch? Funny, isn't it? It's almost as if the whole thing was managed somehow!

15. Ridiculously OTT product placement in US TV shows and movies

It's not quite Hugh Laurie bellowing "Let me diagnose that USING MY MACBOOK PRO!" while shoving iPods into weeping sores, but it's not far off it.

16. Safari's sneaky installer

On Windows, Safari 3.1 was pushed to iTunes users via Apple's software update tool, which is a rather underhand way of promoting your software - even if the move worked.

17. Schoolboy behaviour towards Adobe

Not wanting Flash on your products is fair enough, but timing the announcement of new terms and conditions so it overshadows Adobe's CS5 launch is schoolboy stuff.

18. Secret USB support that might not be around for long

The iPad's camera connection kit enables you to connect some USB devices, such as headsets, and they work just fine - for now. Unfortunately all such devices are unsupported, so Apple may well kill them in the next OS update.

Camera connector

UNSUPPRTED: You can use the Apple Camera Connector to connect USB devices to your iPad - but future OS updates may disable them [image credit: Apple]

19. Taking the mickey out of early adopters

Remember the 4GB iPhone and the initial price tag that Apple quickly dropped? Early adopters are still being stung. Does anybody honestly think the next iPad won't have the cameras we expected in the first version?

20. Total pricing control

We can't think of any other firm whose products sell in so many places without any difference in price. There are ways to cut the cost of Apple ownership, but the price you pay is generally the price Apple says you'll pay.

Apple store

NO DEAL: You don't expect a discount in an Apple Store, but with Apple you shouldn't expect a discount anywhere [image credit: Apple]

21. Unboxing videos

Apple's largely responsible for this baffling facet of tech culture.

22. Unreplaceable parts

Seamless products without user-replaceable parts may look good, but they also mean that simple repairs - replacing the hard disk in an iMac, for example - become expensive undertakings.

23. Using child labour

Apple isn't the only firm doing it, but it's one of the most profitable ones. Apple's margins are massive, and it can afford to insist on better conditions in its subcontractors' factories.

24. Vertical integration

Apple's returned to an age-old business model: vertical integration. iPods don't work with any software but iTunes; iTunes doesn't work with phones or MP3 players Apple doesn't make. The integration has reached a peak with the iPad, an Apple computer based on an Apple processor running Apple's operating system, whose applications must come via Apple's App Store, and whose paid-for content will largely come via iTunes. It's the ultimate lock-in: if you decide in the future to buy a rival's product, you'll be starting again from scratch.

25. Withholding features

Whether it's the iPhone's original lack of cut and paste or the iPad's lack of a genuine HD connector (it does 720p but the component AV cable only does 576p), Apple has a tendency of shipping products with key features absent until it's time for a brand new bit of hardware - at which point the missing features are billed as major new features.

And last but definitely not least:

26. The reality distortion field

The underdog so many people rush to defend is one of the world's richest corporations with a bulging and fiercely defended patent portfolio, a fearsome legal team and what - to some, at least - appears to be a pet police force. Apple often appears more bully than bullied.

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Liked this? Then read What if Steve Jobs ran Microsoft?

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