It's an old question among free software advocates: Would you buy a car with the hood welded shut -- a car that could be fixed only by the manufacturer, not by the mechanic down your street? If not, why do you accept those terms for software?
The point of having access to the internals of your car, or the source code of your software, is not necessarily that you personally can fix it if it goes wrong. The point is that you have access to numerous experts who can do so for a fee, or who can advise you for free.
So Microsoft sells you cars with the hood welded shut, and you are at their mercy when things go wrong, which is pretty often. But Apple takes it to the next level.
At least Microsoft allows you to install your own fittings. If you prefer your own car stereo, or upholstery, or radio, you may install them. You have freedom of service providers -- you can use what fuel you like, what oil you like, what roads you like.
Apple seals not only the hood, but the fittings. You are not allowed to install your own. If you install any third-party utility, or if you use an unapproved service provider, they come in and destroy your machine. You spent a few hundred dollars on a shiny new iPhone, and you are now left with a useless slab of metal and plastic, a "brick", because you had the temerity to install third-party applications on it or try to use it on a service provider other than AT&T. (Incidentally, in the case of the iPhone, the hood is literally welded shut -- you can't even replace the battery without shipping it to Apple, and renting a replacement phone at exorbitant rates while you wait.)
This story came out days ago. Some commentators argued that it must have been an honest mistake -- Apple pushed out an incompletely-tested update that "bricked" some unmodified phones as well as modified or unlocked ones. One could believe this, except that Apple themselves threatened their customers with bricked phones if they dared "unlock" them. Others said that maybe AT&T forced Apple to do this -- but every previous report about the iPhone had said it was Apple calling the shots over every aspect of the deal.
No matter. What sort of company goes around destroying its own customers' property? If it had been a genuine mistake, wouldn't you expect, at least a mea culpa, if not some sort of compensation? None has come -- Apple's spokespeople have recommended that customers buy a new iPhone. Which may happen in the fantasy-world that Apple seems to live in, but in the real world, not only are owners of bricked iPhones unlikely to touch Apple again, but interested spectators like me are likely to stay away too. (I was seriously considering a Mac for a new computer -- Unix under the hood, more stable than Windows, friendlier -- at least in some ways -- than Linux. But no longer.)
So, no mea culpa from Apple. Instead comes the expected lawsuit.