I have already mentioned before what I love about Apple – their hardware design is phenomenal.
Now I would like to point out what I truly loathe about Apple.
I usually call it “look-it-has-wheels” syndrome.
This comes from my allegory that Apple acts like a car company advertising things like “Our cars have wheels!”.
The stereotypical computer-inept Mac disciple, will then misunderstand this and think that everyone elses cars have no wheels. Or that they do, but that Apple Cars innovated The Wheel.
Fortunately, the unix based Mac OS X have attracted a good deal of real computer nerds, diluting the stupid-pool a bit, but there are still more of them than I would care for (I would care for none at all). This is one of the reasons why I took the plunge and bought a PowerBook.
They spend 20 lines on their fucking shuffle function! 20 lines with utter crap like this (actual quotes from iPod product page):
Right there on the main menu â€” where itâ€™s very easy to find â€” youâ€™ll spot the Shuffle Songs option.
Come on! Other people have it as a hardware button, which is more user friendly.
Youâ€™ll never guess whatâ€™s coming up next, so youâ€™re always surprised by startling juxtapositions â€” like a melodic Coldplay song hot on the heels of a CaballÃ© aria.
This makes my blood boil. I want to hurt their marketing department with high voltage electric devices so very, very much.
The worst thing is this: The iPod has some really cool features like being able to control the playback speed of audiobooks or play guessing games with your music. Those are actual unique selling points. They have those with all their products, because they really do innovate cool things.
I hate that they make products worthy of praise, and then choose to alienate halfway intelligent people by trying to convince them that some completely standard feature is some kind of fantastic Apple Lifestyle Revolution that they are now starting.
They make it really, really difficult for me to like them. It’s a testament to their engineering and design departments that they can make products so cool that I actually face the gagging and retching feeling their marketing gives me.
They probably call their marketing department their lifestyle department or some similar unforgivably stupid name, and their whole “lifestyle” approach to marketing is what I have such a hard time coping with – they make it very difficult for me to buy their superior design and hardware without being affiliated with their inane lifestyle crap. Identified by others as an Apple Lifestyler. Which to me is like identifying me with someone with vastly inferior mental facilities.
The iPod is not a lifestyle accessory, it’s a fucking music player! It plays music and looks nice! It doesn’t change you to a hip urbanite. It doesn’t make you sexy. If you were a fat pimply loser before you bought the iPod, guess what? You are still a fat pimply loser, except now you are a fat pimply loser with an iPod.
The problem sounds like it should be a trivial one, since everyone tries to make products that supposedly are things that have to do with lifestyle, rather than just being what they are. But Apple has managed to create a huge bunch of people that buy into their bullshit, and I am pissed off that people think I am like them, just because I own a PowerBook or an iPod.
Hype usually doesn’t work like that; When Sony’s hype says that their next console will be a million, zillion times faster than the fastest computer, and it will enable it’s user to fly to the moon, owning one does not subsequently give people the impression that you own it because you were dumb enough to believe that bullshit. They know you probably bought it because it was a good gaming console, even if it doesn’t take you to the moon.
Their opinion will be something along the lines of “yeah, we all knew it was bullshit, but the hardware is still nice”.
With Mac, people might either see how furiously stupid Apples hype is and think I am dumb enough to fall for it, or they might be dumb enough to fall for it themselves and think I am like them. I don’t know which worries me more.
The bad thing about this is, that I am not alone. I know several people who would like a PowerBook but who are so repulsed by the signal of “Apple Lifestyle Acceptance” that it sends, that they would probably paint it matte black and call it a thinkpad if they finally caved.
Maybe someone should just make a sticker that says “but I run linux on it” that would fit on Apple PowerBooks.
Update 2008-05-14: Seeing this blog entry again, I realize how much Apple products have spread into the “regular” population – pretty much everyone I know wants an apple laptop, and “mac user” no longer carries connotations of “zealous idiot”, but rather “college student”.