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Is Apple losing its polish?

A series of decidedly consumer-unfriendly moves has many on the Web openly questioning the value of Apple's once stellar brand.

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Has Apple seen better days?

That's the feeling you get while surfing the Web this week. The iPhone price-drop brouhaha was largely stopped in its tracks by Steve Jobs' $100 mea culpa, but a string of successive snafus have cropped up in Apple-land in the weeks thereafter. Digg users are asking, Is Apple giving up on its customers? According to The Consumerist, the answer may well be yes. Meanwhile, iPod enthusiast site iLounge highlights four of the recent sticks in the collective eye of iPod fans--the need to rebuy iPod games for new models, the breaking of backwards compatibility with iPod video accessories, bad iPod Touch screens, and the iPhone ringtone policy (repaying to use music you already own)--and asks, Is Apple going rotten? ZDNet's Jason D. O'Grady details how Apple may be "blacklisting" hacked iPhones (or is the company just enforcing the user agreement to the letter?). And Crave's own David Carnoy joins the Apple fray, suggesting that it's the wrong time to buy an iPod. It may well be time for Apple shogun Steve Jobs to issue another open letter to give his side of the story. Unfortunately, he's got some other pressing issues on his plate.

So, what do you think: Is Apple still the king of consumer electronics cool--or has it supplanted Microsoft as the new Evil Empire?