Why don’t I like Apples?

I grew up a PC guy. Any time anyone mentions Mac or Apple I have a built in vomit response and a look of disgust. That didn’t go over well with my girlfriend when she got her shiny new Macbook. I began to try to figure out why I had all this inner hatred. After all, even though I don’t own anything made by apple, all my friends have iPods and they look pretty darn cool.� Even the aforementioned Macbook seemed pretty good. I even have a friend with an iPhone and that’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Maybe I had this Apple thing all wrong. Was it time for a new paradigm?

Wait a minute. I just read the letter posted to the apple website by CEO Steve Jobs. I’ve been bitten by the early adopter curse in the past as have many of the people who undoubtedly purchased an iPhone. That’s more or less par for the course, although, most people prefer if price drops happen more than 66 days after a product is released. What surprised me the most was the attitude in the letter. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like Apple just sent out a big “Tough Shit” letter to some of their most loyal customers. The best part is that the $100 they are giving everyone back is a store credit to the Apple store. Since most items there cost over $100 they are asking people to spend even more money at Apple.

Maybe I will stick to not owning any Apple products for a while longer. It hasn’t caused me any grief so far. In fact, I am probably stronger carrying my ancient brick MP3 player than I would be if I “carried” an iPod around.

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4 thoughts on “Why don’t I like Apples?”

  1. I’ve been wanting to post something on this myself. My gut reaction to Jobs letter was that it was rather condescending. I’ll add a couple good links:

    Robert Cringely on Jobs and the iPhone price
    Basically, he’s shows decent evidence (or at least solid deductive reasoning) that Jobs was not surprised by upset emails, the price drop was known at the time iPhone launched, and it was all about making another $50-80M in profit.

    Seth Godin on treating early adopters customers differently
    His take is that you’re always going to charge early adopters more, but that gift card doesn’t really make up for it. And there are better things than money to give to Apple enthusiasts.

    Apple is the new Microsoft
    Very nice piece on Apples extensive lock-in strategies. Lock-in is why I don’t bother with iPods. Or more precisely, they don’t support Rhapsody.

    My take on Apple is that they make the most beautiful consumer electronics products in the world, and are fantastic at UI. Making OS X Unix/BSD-based makes me want to get a Mac.

    But I can’t bring myself to pay Apple a premium to trade function for form. I imagine someday when I’m flush with cash it will seem like a good deal.

  2. When I first used a mac it wasn’t because I wanted to, it was because in our departmental computer lab they had just added 3 macs in a little section in the back of the room, and they were all that was available to do my homework. At the time, I was a master of the command line and quick keys, so moving to another operating system was not a casual decision, especially when I had invested years into learning all the ins and outs of the DOS operating system. Hell, the new machines didn’t even have users manuals, but oddly, you didn’t need them. Fortunately, they made it somewhat easier to swallow with the HUGE 17″ monitors, the weird little mouse thingy, and believe it or not, a great video game (a command and conquer type game). I quickly found that even though the quick-keys still worked, the mouse made it much easier to navigate around the enormous screen with all those extra cells on my spread sheets. I still jumped on the network terminals to use matlab, and when it started getting difficult to get on the macs I had no problem using the DOS based machines, but I sure did miss all that screen area and the mouse. Eventually, windows came out, and though it was a terrible hack job, the new PCs they got to run it had bigger monitors and mice. At that point, nobody really would even consider labeling themselves as a mac or pc person though, as both platforms were still such terrible jokes compared to the networked mainframes that we did real work on.

    After graduating, I got my first job, where I had a desk and everything. They asked me what kind of computer I needed to do my job, and with no limits on budget or horsepower, I picked a brand new mac, along with a pc laptop for doing field work. My choices where not limited by anything but my imagination, and I had no agenda or bias. The bottom line was that I was able to do my job faster, better, and with less support from the system administrators on a mac, so that is what I went with. This was well before people differentiated themselves as mac or pc users. As my job changed I eventually added an SGI to my desk to handle the stuff that my desktop computer didn’t have enough horsepower for, and as I got more proficient with emulation and programming, my laptop eventually was traded in for a mac. At some point, I just kind of became a mac guy. If I had to pay for it all myself, that probably wouldn’t have happened, as they were a bit more expensive for the same “CPU performance”.

    Still, I didn’t spend a bunch of time trying to convert people or make a big deal about which machines I used, until my mom decided she needed a computer. The thought of trying to explain to her how to do anything on a pc, over the phone, when I didn’t even own one myself, was daunting to say the least. I explained to her that it would be easier for me to help her if she was on a mac, and that I had lots of extra hardware I could give her to make her system easier to use (usb hubs, hard drives, etc.). She voiced her concern that they were more expensive, and more importantly to her, they didn’t have as much software. I offered to pay for it for a Mother’s day gift, and when I asked about what software she thought she needed, amazingly, all of it was available for the mac (Mom isn’t a big gamer). Seven years later, and she is on her 4th mac, including a macbook for travel.

    I still don’t care how many more people switch to macs. They work great for me and everyone who wants computer help from me. I can afford a few extra bucks to have something that makes me happy, runs like a champ, and looks great. I don’t care that I payed more for my iPhone back when they were released, but I will love the $100 store credit (lots of iTunes downloads there!). To me, it is all very amusing watching people say bad things about Apple, when they are using the unfathomably crappy OS options coming out of Redmond. It is very similar to the entertainment I get from democrats who constantly bash GW, yet their favored option last election was Kerry, and for the next election, they are leaning towards a bitchy old crone that would eat a baby on live TV if she thought it would get her elected. I am not saying that Apple makes the best computers for every person, but if you can afford them, they sure do make life easier for everyone I know that has one. And the iPhone, yeah, it rocks. By far the best phone I have ever had, hands down, without a doubt.

  3. I have never owned a Mac product either, and the last time I think I touched one was in middle school learning Turtle Graphics on an Apple II (oooh the sequel!) for absolutely no future value. It took a week of programming to draw something RESEMBLING a green house on a black background and yet we were so proud.
    Oregon Trail and Zork rocked though.
    And how does one convert to the original one-button mouse after using a multi-button one for so long? Or do they even still do that?
    And then there’s availability of product, both hardware and software.
    In my house (mostly thanks to hand-me-downs) we have 3 PCs. My kids’ computer get “upgraded” with my leftovers whenever I decide to overhaul my system. That’s a tough cycle to break.
    I can understand why people like a more user-friendly computer and I hear the music station capabilities are without equal, but why is it that the few Mac owners I have known are so fanatical about them? I swear if I were to diss Mac to their face there would be physical violence.
    I wouldn’t even defend my preference for boobs with that much vigor.
    and I REALLY like boobs.

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