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Jobs: Apple Haters Unpatriotic, Now Pick Up a Bumper and Stand a Post

Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with apps. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Gizmodo? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for less bars, and you curse the death grip. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That the iPhone 4's flaw, while real, doesn't really impact our lives. And Apple's existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, makes America stronger. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.

Now, I'm not a PR expert, but I feel like Steve Jobs came across today as a man who was pretty pissed that Apple was ostensibly being put on the stand. The company certainly did right by it's customers by offering free bumpers for the iPhone 4's antenna issue and reminding customers of the fact that you can return the device for a refund sans restocking fee. But Apple's colonel also went out of his way to demonstrate that other smart phones drop bars when held a certain way. Some may call that defensive, but I think it's contextually relevant.

However, on a few occasions Jobs crossed the line from being all about "loving our users" to seemingly being mad at the world--or at least the press--for even having to address this issue in the first place.
Check out these choice gems and tell me you're not reminded of Colonel Jessup seething in the courtroom. (Note that these statements are taken from live blogs and will be updated with accurate quotes.)

  • Would you rather we were a Korean company, instead of an American company? Would you rather we weren't innovating right here?
  • I assume you’re referring to the Bloomberg article? Yeah, it’s a crock. … what’s portrayed in that article never came across my consciousness, and I talked to Reuben and he agrees it’s total bullshit.
  • There is no Antennagate... there is a challenge for the entire smartphone industry to improve its antenna technology so there are no weak spots.
  • Haven't we earned the credibility and the trust of the press? I think we have that from our users. I didn't see it exhibited by some of the press as this was blown so far out of proportion.

Did Steve Jobs just call Apple's harshest critics unpatriotic for tearing the company down? Seems like it. I agree with Apple's leader that antennagate has been blown way out of proportion. I've been using the iPhone 4 for weeks and have experienced much fewer dropped calls than with the iPhone 3GS and more reliable data performance. We also stand behind our Editors' Choice award. It just feels like, in an effort to regain control of the conversation, Jobs lost control of what today was supposed to be about.

As Jobs said on stage, "We're human. We make mistakes, and we figure it out fast." And Jobs says that Apple has been working around the clock to investigate the issue, just as Colonel Jessup was charged with keeping an ever-vigilant eye on Cuba. Except in this case Jobs made certain members of the media out to be an enemy. At the conclusion of today's Q&A session, Apple's leader quipped, "I wish we could have done it sooner, but then you wouldn't have had anything to write about."

Well, now Jobs has now given us plenty more to write about.

Part of me thinks that he could have ended this spectacle another way. Something like this:

"I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a fanboy who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very innovation that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a bumper, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."

Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.