Sunday, May 22, 2011

My thoughts on Apple

Oh boy. This is bound to cause some controversy. Usually I avoid this topic like the plague, mainly because I know where I stand and I don't really care about discussing it to or convincing anyone else otherwise. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. What you prefer and what works best for you is something that you yourself know and no-one else should be able to tell for you. Unless you are incredibly naive.

I should probably also mention that this article does not relate to anyone who would read this or that I would call a friend. While many of my friends use Apple products, they are but the tip of the iceberg in terms of what I am bringing up here. In short terms, anyone who is actually reading this need not be concerned. I am not talking about you.

My problem with the discourse concerning the Apple brand is when my opinion is brought into question about it, usually by the overly energetic, hip, young 'creative' professionals I seem to encounter on a daily basis. You may categorize some of these characters as 'Apple fanboys'. I prefer to call them deluded. While I have nothing against people's opinions, I am against people thinking that their own opinion about things needs to be heard constantly, as well as the fact that their own opinion is superior (i.e. more vocal). This supposed superiority of opinion also somehow makes opposition less credible, for whatever reason, and therefore owners of opposing opinions are somehow regarded with peculiarity. While this is general human nature, to disregard someone else's opinions and beliefs and brand them as heretics, it is also rather stupid, particularly concerning technology in this day and age.

So what has brought about my slight frustration about this Apple topic, especially now? Well, mainly this. I currently sit in a cubicle with four chaps of roughly the same age. They all (all) use Apple products extensively. I believe I am the only one among them that doesn't own and has never owned an Apple product. I probably would be seen as the outcast if I wasn't the most progressed among us. Nevertheless, this does cause some problems to arise daily, especially concerning topics of software compatibility, discussion of technology and their general uses. Because of this, I find the issue being brought up far too frequently and although I attempt to stay out of it as much as I can (I have work to do afterall), there are moments where I am forced to directly and unwillingly contribute. I am really quite an antisocial bastard aren't I?

So, my justification behind my choices usually starts like this. First of all, I am not one for social looks and trends. It is actually my strongest argument against Apple products, strangely enough. They are admittedly shiny. People like new, fancy and especially shiny things. Look at me now as I use my new, fancy shiny thing in this public place. Look at how awesome I am with my casual clothes and terrible haircut. I am so hip and cool and using this shiny, overpriced gadget that is catered towards my generation of hip, cool youngsters personifies my existence and speaks volumes of my worth as a human being. I am unemployed but have 7 university degrees and am trying to get into editing movies which I can only do with a Mac. Look at me! LOOK AT ME!!! Me me ME!!! I, I, I! Iphone, iTouch, iPod, iPad! How bout ... iDon'tcare? Yes I know this is a massive over-exaggeration and that many users of Apple products don't think this way at all (or just pretend not to) but there are enough around for it to be a problem. In this increasingly materialistic, egocentric and narcissistic society of facebook, tweeting, constant social interaction and over-opinionated perspectives on 'living', characterizing with and worshipping the shiny, arguably underdog brand that is Apple is not something that should be viewed with respect or awe. If anything, it should be viewed as an evaluation of how spoilt you are, or even how much you are spoiling yourself.

That really is my driving argument. We all do it to an extent. Hell, I know I splurge all over certain types of technology at times. My personal computer is an excellent example. The difference is I don't carry that around with me all the time as I lock the contents of it up in a big, black, steel case where no-one can see it. It is also a conglomeration of many parts from all different brands and models ... so maybe I am not really talking about the same thing here. Put it this way: I once caved into the social pressure of buying a new fancy phone. After minor research I bought a Samsung Galaxy S. It was and still is alright. It has an array of useful features which can be handy at times. Do I actually need these features? No. Can I live happily without them? Yes. Would a cheaper phone from an even less respectable brand been fine. Most definitely. So why did I buy it? The social trends I mentioned previously. Sometimes I am embarrassed to even use it, just for that reason.

The thing is, Apple is apparently different. They appear to be a company that is attempting to cater for your every technological need. From computers, to laptops, media players, phones, tablets etc. Why would you want to buy any other brand besides Apple? Well, this is essentially my second reason, and it isn't the stereotypical corporate domination response you would expect. It is the most basic one. Their damn price. It has vexed me for years how people can fork out that much money for products that do the same thing as others, sometimes even worse. This argument branches into all corners of their platform, from the (in my experience) crap involved using iTunes to their non-generic connection interfaces with other technologies. Alright, sure, sometimes the Apple experience may innately be easier and more user friendly than other interfaces. Is it really worth spending a few hundred more dollars to save yourself a few seconds? Not to mention with a different interface you might understand what is actually going on. Ignorance is sometimes not bliss, and if you take into account how much Apple is actually charging you for their products (compared to others) you may realise just how much they are ripping you off.

My last and weakest argument is that of user control. You have all heard the horror stories of companies like Apple and Sony going tits up when people try to tinker with their products. The court cases, the threats, the lies etc. To me, the idea of having a product I can't modify to my own desire is just bullshit. When that money comes out of my hand, that product and everything about it should be mine to do with as I want. I am not buying it so you can lock me out of certain features depending on my location/tampering, nor should the product become unusable if you do tamper with it. 'Jailbreaking' shouldn't be necessary at all and punishing people for doing so should not even be possible by the owning company. However, never having actually owned an Apple product and having no intent on ever buying one I can say, for the moment, that this issue doesn't really bother me in the slightest. My PS3 on the other hand ...

So, the next time you or someone else asks me why I don't own a Macbook, why I have never owned an iPhone and why I use an assortment of alternative products to fill the apparent 'gap' that is my technological and social life that is so very important ... I will just link you this post. I think it will still be relevant at the time. Generally speaking though, I don't really care. You can use whatever you want. Just let me do the same.

Note: Yes, I am aware that a lot of the pictorial and video based content is outdated. It is more there for entertainment value.

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