Interesting perspectives from Cringely
So Steve slapped his customers around a bit and what happened? Apple got free publicity worth tens of millions and the iPhone, which was already the top-selling smartphone in the world, will now sell two million units by the end of the year, up from an estimated one million. And Steve, having deliberately alienated his best customers, now gets a chance to woo them back. He has finally placed millions of people in the role of every key Apple employee — being alternately seduced and tormented. In this case the torment is over and the seduction will come next month when Apple ships OS X 10.5 (Leopard) — the company’s last chance to position its products for Christmas. Look for 1-2 very un-Leopard surprises at that event — surprises intended to get us all dreamy-eyed over Steve Jobs again.
So Steve does things like this because he can. It reaffirms his iron grip over both Apple and Apple’s customers. It’s a lot about ego and a little about business, though with Steve Jobs they are hard to differentiate.