There have been a couple of articles in the last few weeks which reflect the same genuine bemusement that I have around Apple – one by Dave Penberthy and one by Charlie Booker. Both reflect the same sort of thoughts that I have had, for a very long time, but culminating more recently in the arrival of the iPad and the hysteria around the next generation of iPhone. Sure, we all love a gadget, and I totally love my little Acer netbook which I can take anywhere, but what is it about the deep brand identification with Apple that makes people who rarely defend corporations, defend Apple and its knick knacks so passionately?
Let me just say, I’m not opposed to Apple any more than I am opposed to other corporations. I love my iPod, I’m not going to argue that they are evil and I certainly wouldn’t bother to boycott them or so forth as I have other corporations which I think are particularly evil. Mostly I feel relatively indifferent. But I am fascinated by the fact that lots of people feel differently and it is interesting to try and understand why.
I wouldn’t in any way say that Apple are worse than any other mega corporation, it is just that they are not particularly better. And what is it about the worship of Steve Jobs? Is it the turtlenecks? I mean, Bill Gates goes off and donates all his income and time to charity, and he still can’t come close to the adulation and worship. And the products, they are good, but it isn’t like they are life-changing. Despite whatever I keep being told about how brilliant the iPhone is, whenever I try to use my partner’s I end up wanting to throw it against a wall. Which may say something about me, but nonetheless.
What I particularly wonder is why many (but not all) Apple users seem to take it so personally when one questions the brand or product or the absolute need to have the newest of its products immediately. Or bristle and get defensive when one suggests that the iPod-iTunes nexus is not much better, and possibly worse, than some of the monopolistic practices engages in by Microsoft. I mean can you buy iPad apps elsewhere?
I wonder whether it is that the way that Apple has been marketed is so much about identity. And coolness. And having a cool identity. I know that many people use Apple products because they find them useable and convenient – but I wouldn’t go to the mat to defend something because it is useful and convenient. Perhaps it is that Apple has made us think that owning their products really does make us a little cooler or better or something.They certainly make aesthetically pleasing products – even the packaging is carefully beautiful. One person told me should had bought a Mac as a home computer for the aesthetics alone.
Like the whole Ford-Holden identity battle in Australia, there definitely seems to be an identity-position in being a Mac person. Perhaps if I had had one of those really ugly boxy things that were about in the early 1990s I would have been captured then, before aesthetics and market domination became the overriding features of Apple. But in the end, I am with Charlie Booker – I want two buttons on a mouse damn it!
Update: Because this is so funny, and demonstrates some of the one-eyedness assosciated with Apple, I just have to share. Not entirely safe for work due to language however.