I agree that the Apple products are somewhat "closed", but that is a good thing in some ways.
First: Not everyone is technically astute with hardware and software where they can open up the "box" and make improvements. So, Apple standardized their design and put their hardware and software under a tight Configuration Management system so that customer support (to the masses that are users, not technicians) could be made easier for both Apple and the user.
Second: Like you, I have a technical background and once designed and built my personal computers, regardless of the Operating System. I've worked with UNIX, LINUX, Windows (ALL versions) and the MAC OS X. Over the years I've observed that the "geeks and techies" are the ones that comment the most on CLOSED and OPEN systems. Most of the condecending comments toward any OS come from the G's and T's that have the most experience with one OS and try to down-play any others. I use all four OS versions and enjoy the pro's and con's of each. I try not to do things with one that only the other might perform...but, I'm not the average USER. [This comment is not aimed at you.]
I'm many years older now, and find that I enjoy just being a USER and not a G or T as I once was. I enjoy reading about the pro's and con's of various OS's and Applications, but try to keep somewhat neutral. Sometimes I open mouth and insert foot.
So, I'm not at odds with the closed system that Apple has developed nor am I at odds with the open system that Microsoft has created with Windows. Both have their strong suits. I do appreciate, because of my military background, the standardization that Apple has created so that when you purchase a MAC, you know exactly what you have and that it has been designed and tested in a very standard manner. The hardware is, in my opinion, excellent quality, top notch.
Third: The Apple store is another somewhat fine idea, in that the software you get from the store has been examined by Apple and found to be compatible with their products. It may or may not be "perfect" and it may have a price associated with it. Personally, I don't mind paying for an application that has gone through some degree of quality control. And, by the way, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of "freeware" applications 'out there' for the MAC that will satisfy just about anyone's curiousity.
It's a great computing world we live in with many, many options. And, BTW, I just upgraded my 2009 MacBookPro 15" with a 512GB SSD. Wow!, what a jump in performance. And, based on what I've read lately, I'm going to up the RAM to 8GB, even though Apple says it will only work with 4GB. Time will tell.
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