With all due respect, that's a pretty subjective opinion. After we acknowledge that their isn't an equivalent product on the market today that sells for less (please spare me the "But you could just build your own linux tablet/netbook!" slashpartyline), we can admit that while, yes, Apple does make margins on iPads, so do educational text book publishers - and have you seen what those cost? The profit margin on a secondary school hard-bound biology book is probably orders of magnitudes higher than Apple's take on an iPad.
Tablets offer us new and rich mediums for teaching. Of course there will be downsides to a digital shift, but anyone who takes a stand firmly against the proliferation of tablets in schools does so in the face of overwhelming and obvious evidence that they can serve an unprecedented function - sitting around and saying "a laptop is better and cheaper!" totally misses the point - tablets and laptops can and should work in harmony in the future, they're not mutually exclusive in task or function, but each certainly can have it's place - and different schools are free to choose (here's wishing they all had the means to make whatever choice they wanted) different devices from different manufactures for different platforms. That's how schools have made decisions about technology for years, and despite lack of funding, it seems to have worked just fine.
How many reporters do you know? I happen to know one or two writers for the NYT that make a pittance of a salary. Yes, they get reasonable expense accounts. Most journalists in this country would be lucky to have *that*.
And why do they get expense accounts? Why does anyone in any industry get an expense account? For one thing, it enables (in principle) the worker to perform their job better than they otherwise might. For a journalist, it's the opportunity to meet people over drinks and lunch, make connections, learn about things. You may consider this superfluous, but there are plenty of people who are willing to pay for journalism that realize it isn't.
Second, the accounts are a perk, yes. And why shouldn't they be? News and journalism works in free-markets like everything else. In every sector, you have people who do mediocre work, bad work, good work, and amazing work. Companies and markets strive to compensate them accordingly. So if you're a top tier journalist, who's to say a company shouldn't offer you an expense account to do your job? You can argue again that it's a waste, but you'd better toe the same line when it comes to every other business sector under the sun.
Journalists, editors, publishers, all are individuals who do potentially rough work (not in every case, but in some) that serves broader society in a way that is both practically relevant and creatively compelling. They deserve to be compensated, compensated well in some some cases, and not just by someone looking to make a buck off an ad placement on a blog.
I appreciate your comments and I'm sure you know a lot more about underlying security mechanisms than I do. That said, the proof is in the pudding - I've never seen a Mac hijacked by malware, and almost every PC I've seen at some point or another has been.
The market share argument is total bullocks. For a security expert you seem somewhat ignorant of the "not-a-zero-sum-game" principle, by which there is (throughout broader society) no demonstrated correlation between the preponderance (market share) of targets and the quantity of attempts to attack them. Hence, despite the fact that the wealthy only represent a small fraction of human society (I dunno, like 5%? Smaller than Apple's computer share, to be sure), they are still targeted *more* often by thieves than the huddled masses, etc: Why? Because even though there are far more average people (with or without in-home-security) to attack, the wealthy present a compelling opportunity. Why only try to steal from one when you could steal from both? You can apply this argument almost anything; go wild. Remember also that malware has been written and circulated for nuclear plant controller system software (I forget the details, but I think the total install base for this particular package is like 5 or 6 units - but still represented a "compelling opportunity" for someone).
Further, by virtue of the fact that Mac's aren't loaded with 3rd party security software, that their users don't expect malware, that there is NOTHING else in Mac malware space, and that the demographic of Mac users is financially "elite" - if I were a hacker, I can tell you which niche platform I'd have my eye on. It's pretty obvious. Not worth the effort? Really? Says you.
This is a good point, and also speaks to the fact that Apple is really quite unique in many ways.
Personally, I think Apple is currently valued properly. I think Jobs is remarkable, and I'll be very sorry to see him leave Apple (and here's hoping that it's on his own terms, years from now) because it will have a huge impact on the character of the company. As far as the stock goes, it will take a hit, probably not more than a few percentage points, but it will also be poised to resume rapid growth as long as the company continues to produce, certainly for the forseeable future.
I also think Apple's market opportunities in the next few years are literally unprecedented in business terms. There will be competition, but Apple products are undenyling uniquely compelling to a lot of people, it's very possible that in five years the majority of people on this earth could be carrying around iPhones in their pockets, all funneled by Apple's content offerings, locked into their content models. Many look at this cynically, personally I don't, but no company has achieved that kind of placement to date. They have an eco-system, and people go wild for it. Exxon is currently the largest publicly held company; I don't know what margins are on barrels of oil, but consider your relationship to your smart phone versus that to your local Mobil station. Sure, we use lots of oil, but it very people fall in love with the "magic" of a brown viscous sludge
Apple is huge already, and eventually they'll loose it - but it could be 5 years, 10, years, it could be 20. In tech companies have so far risen and fallen very quickly, but as the market matures, things will stabilize a bit, the landscape will change. If Apple is already almost as big as Exxon in 2011, consider the implications of having invested in Exxon (Standard Oil) company at the onset of the industrial age - and having held that stock through today. Apple is poised for massive growth.
Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson