Maybe because the devices his company produces do what most people want, and do those things really well.
I'm not going to argue with your main point but there are a couple of statements you make that I do disagree with.
Disclosure: I just got over a 36 hour iPhone binge, where I thought my old phone had broken and it turned out that the iPhone was the cheapest smartphone I could actually get given my upgrade status, so I tried one. I returned it the next day.
I also own an iPod, and I do love that.
Given my experience with the iPhone (and the iPod), I don't believe these devices do anything particularly well. What I think is that they don't do anything badly. That's a different thing. Apple is really good at not fucking things up for most people, and at not allowing most people to fuck things up for themselves. They are not very good at doing anything that's particularly amazing, or inspiring, or whatever you want to call it.
Just one example. Turn on the iPhone and what do you see? (I mean after you "slide to unlock", which you're forced to do every time you turn the screen on.) Yep, a sea of basically random tiny icons. This is the "revolutionary" interface some people talk about - random tiny icons. The home screen on the iPhone is almost totally useless. Without the tiny little message indicator above the email icon and the date on the calendar icon, there would be no reason to even look at it.
Most people buying iPhones have never used another smartphone, or at least not another good one, so they don't know what they're missing. I'm not sure they're going to be as forgiving of the same interface on the iPad.
It is an appliance for me, and I am happy that it just does the job I want it to do.
That's fine, and my wife loves her iPhone too and I'm happy that she's happy with it.
But what's wrong with giving people options? That was one of the reasons I returned my iPhone. I am completely fine with people getting a device and then just not even bothering to touch it except for making calls and sending emails using all the default stuff that it comes with. My wife got hers because it supports Japanese natively (which Windows Mobile doesn't and I don't think Android does either), and she can easily write emails in either language using the virtual keyboard. She never even bothered with the app store until literally six months after she got it. That's okay, her priority is just to have a phone with Japanese support that works out of the box and she loves it for that.
But what's wrong with giving the rest of us the option to do more? Why limit it? I mean seriously, why? It is borderline sadistic on the part of Jobs, to basically say "our phone is really powerful but WE WILL NOT LET YOU tap that power, and you therefore must deal with the experience created for the lowest common denominator even though this device is capable of doing anything you might want it to do."
I mean, you can't even disable "slide to unlock". You can't alter the home screen. You can't replace the weaksauce email app that doesn't even seem to have a "mark all as read" function that I could find. Why not? How does it hurt anybody to put in the option to do those basic things? What, they're afraid of support calls? So you make a function that's buried in some hidden menu that says "geek mode" and you put a little checkbox next to it. And you bury the instructions on how to find that menu on some members-only web site, and then it gets distributed through sites like Slashdot that only geeks read anyway. The geeks are happy, the normals are happy, what's the problem?
My first computer was an Apple II, and I loved it precisely because it was so open. This is a different Apple these days, and it's unlikely that I'll buy another multi-purpose device from them again. I do like my iPod, but it is intended to do one thing: play media. Just not screwing up a device's intended function is enough on a single-purpose device, especially because so many other manufacturers do. But I need more than that on a device that's intended to be "smart", which to me means it's not supposed to be limited to the functionality it has when it arrives in the box.