People have asked me, why do you hate them?
It was not always this way….
Let’s go back to 1986. It was the start of the computer age for me. I was 10 and I went to a relatively small primary school in Western Sydney. The school had 2 computers. They were both Apples. The Apple IIe was the educational computer of choice. To be honest I have no idea what the school used them for, but for me it was ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego’ and ‘Choplifter’. Now, if you were born in the 70’s, you would have definitely played ‘Carmen Sandiego’ . Surely it has to be educational to travel to Paris to find the clues as to where Carmen has gone next! There were days where Mum would be late to pick us up from school, so I would happily spend an extra hour after school trying to find Carmen, playing Choplifter or Lode Runner.
This was my first experience with an Apple, but as I moved into high school, I would start to use them more.
My high school had a room full of Apples, and this time it was the Macintosh Plus. Yes, those drab beige all in one rectangular boxes with, oh my god what is that?, a MOUSE!, turned out to be my weapon of choice for several years. Not to mention that the mouse was handy for playing ‘Shufflepuck Cafe’ or MacCricket, not to mention the classic, ‘Defender of the Crown’.
I spent a lot of time in that room of Apples, and although I had a Commodore 64 at home, I found that the mouse lent itself to a whole plethora of excitement I could not experience with my joystick. (pun intended)
There was another computer room at my school. It held the dreaded ‘IBM Compatibles’. (the school obviously couldn’t afford real IBM’s!). These monolithic PC’s were my first taste of a BIOS, DOS and the overly stimulating, very boring LOGO software. (Look! I drew a circle!).
Ultimately the ‘IBM’s’ were shunned and we played Apples to our hearts content for those few years.
This was all to change, however, as Apple started to slip.
Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I was an Apple fanboy at this stage, but, yeah, I liked them. They were easy to use as a kid. There was a ‘windows’ like operating system. Just point and click! They were fun, with quick to play games, and there was no boring programming. Win Win!
As I grew older, however, I discovered that there was more to computing than fancy gimmicks, icons and games. The power of the PC became more apparent. I could get more programs (and games) for them. I could make it do what I wanted it to do. I could write programs for them.
And most importantly, I could convince my parents to buy me one because it didn’t cost the earth.
So, my Commodore 64 started gathering dust as the family bought our first PC and I never looked back.
In the meantime, the Apple’s went from bad to worse. No-one can deny that the 90’s were mostly a bad decade for the Apple brand. Failed attempts at laptops, portable devices and operating systems.
It wasn’t until 1998 that Apple produced the coloured novelty-looking iMac and suddenly the game changed. Here was a PC that was ‘all-in-one’. No ugly box, plus monitor, plus keyboard, plus mouse. This all in one machine came in PINK and you didn’t have to plug in your own hard drive or work how to to attach this and that…etc..
Gimmicks, my friends, and it worked! PC’s have always been popular in the realm of the nerd because you can upgrade, customise and make it do what you want it to do. Apple realised that couldn’t compete in this space, so they brought out the simplified version of a PC. It worked for them and they started turning a profit and became a player again.
It was also at this time that Apple started giving me the shits. I liked to think I was pretty handy with a PC. I could fix problems with the family computer, as well as other requests that came from aunties, cousins and friends. I could pull it apart. I could put it back together. I could write script and code to do fancy things. I was a guru!
Then my sister got an Apple… “What the Fuck were you thinking?”. Her answer was that it’s what all the Graphic Designers use. This excuse is still used to this day and I’m yet to be proven that an Apple performs graphical tasks better than a PC.
All of a sudden I was a n00b again. I didn’t know my way around an Apple and it was like someone had redesigned a computer to be used by an 8 year old…which was good when I was 8, which was the way to solve a problem. Just think like an 8 year old and you could work out how to connect your iMac to a printer.
It was also around this stage that the iPod was released and this is the point where I have to confess, I own an iPod. I am loathe to admit it, but it comes down to my love of music. There is no other device that lets me store all of my music in one place (20,000 songs) and let’s be honest, the iPod interface is very good at what it does.
The problem is, Apple just won’t quit. They seem to think that they can overtake the world with their i products. The iPhone came out to make people think they could be cool and hip AND talk on the phone and then the ridiculously named and un-useful iPad came out.
Seriously, don’t get me started on that.
It’s the transition that Apple made in the 90’s from realising that it couldn’t be seen as a serious computer contender to becoming a ‘Computer for Dummies’ that pissed me off because people bought it.
Look, I understand that not everyone is a computer geek and most people don’t want to know how many Megabytes they are using, or the CPU speed, or the Operating System, but the fact is that you should. If you are using a computer, you should know what you are using. Computers are EVERYWHERE and they will always be everywhere. We can’t just blindly go out buying the flashy new and next big thing just because Joe next door has one. Especially when it is NO DIFFERENT TO THE OLD ONE. Apple is trying to cash in on novelty marketing. 1mm thinnner! 1 inch wider! (not the mention $200 dearer).
I haven’t even started to elaborate on Apple’s unethical marketing practices, prevention of free speech, secrecy, arrogance, no admission of guilt, inflated prices, design flaws, lack of compatibility with anything, Steve Jobs and iTunes hell. Need I go on?
Someone said recently that people like Apple because it makes them feel smart.
Why dont’ they just GET smarter?