Don't get me wrong, I love my iPod. My iPods, in fact, because now I have two: a 20GB 4G iPod and a pink 2G nano. I love them both, although possibly I love the nano better, in the way that your parents always loved your younger brother/sister better, even though they said they didn't. I take it almost everywhere, I dress it up in fancy cases, I clutch it close on crowded trains. We're very happy together.
Apple, on the other hand, I just can't get on with -- especially today. This morning I was supposed to be at the Apple Store on Regent Street at 9:15am, for a press preview of the. In fact I was there at 9:05am, thinking it would be polite to be early, imagining that Apple might want to start on time and clear the untidy journalists out of its pristine store before the grand opening at 10:00am.
Politeness isn't on anyone else's agenda, though. The bouncer isn't speaking to anyone he doesn't recognise, and when I get the attention of a redshirt (Apple Store employee), he doesn't know what's going on. Meanwhile I'm standing on the street, and people are asking me when the store is going to open, and because I'm a polite person, I'm explaining that Apple has a special event on this morning, so probably 10am, why don't you get a coffee and come back later?
Apple could do its own customer service, of course. Apple could employ someone to stand in the street and make nice with the people who've shown up early, or it could put a sign on the door, explaining that the store opens at 10:00am, but it doesn't, because it isn't the Apple way. Pristine minimalism is Apple's modus operandi, and customers who haven't had the foresight to check the opening hours on the Web get shown a pristine glass door. It's all very lovely, but it isn't helpful.