I have asked myself many times over why there is such a dislike (hatred might be a bit too strong for this) for products made by Apple. They are typically labelled as hugely overpriced, feature light, underpowered and so on.
Admittedly, it is a small percentage – albeit very vocal – of people who hold these views and the majority of the population covet Apple products. I have no empirical data to support my latter claim but I dare say I was spot on.
These people go even further and openly deride people who buy and love Apple products as being stupid slaves of technology trendiness.
Why do these people dislike Apple products so much, and why do they pour so much derision (and sometimes even vitriol) on those people who do? It is almost rabid. I remember very clearly having a heated conversation 2 years ago with an acquaintance who claimed Windows phone 6.5 was better BY FAR than the iPhone. Where do you start the discussion with people like that? Very intelligent and highly educated people to boot. I almost feel as though we have all been hoodwinked by the success of Microsoft from years ago into believing that vertically integrated markets were doomed to failure, and that ‘leveraging’ was the only way to succeed in the technology world.
I blame the business schools for this as well. Educational programs that depend on case studies for teaching MBA students give very little room for creativity and ‘thinking outside the box’.
The huge success that is Apple today has befuddled analysts the world over. They do not understand why the company has been so successful nor do they understand why people love their products so much. This confusion extends to most technology pundits as well as their very intelligent audience. And yet, for those people who have followed Apple very closely for decades, it is not so much of a surprise. I, for one, am not surprised.
There is only so far ‘features’ can take you, only so much more memory and CPU that you can throw at your hardware… Many years ago, I used to help University lecturers buy their computers. I still remember very clearly how frustrated they got by not being able to understand the difference between Intel and AMD or between Centrino and Celerons, between Pentium III and Pentium IV, nor why they needed to know these things. An yet we techie people got it and were exasperated that we couldn’t get others to understand. We concluded that these people were just ‘thick’ and we treated them accordingly.
But Apple got these people the way the rest of the technology world didn’t. That is all they needed to do. That is the major difference between Apple and Microsoft or between Apple and HP, Dell (put any other commodity hardware supplier here). Apple believes more in the ‘experience’ of using technology and this shows in the ease of use they are constantly being applauded for. They will not shy from removing features or components that they believe are not integral to the functionality and experience they wish to provide their users. They will also remove components that are not absolutely required in order to save on manufacturing costs and therefore the final price of their products. This is another gripe of the Apple naysayers.
With this realisation, going back to the question of why there is so much derision towards Apple products makes me realise that there is another question to be asked: “what is the demographic of these people who hate Apple products so much?” apart from those who were told in their Churches that Steve Jobs was a bad man whom I am not even going to talk about here, most of the naysayers are techie people.
I think it is safe to say that there might be resentment towards Apple’s ‘dumbification’ of technology. And that might be at the root of the problem here. Apple gets those people who we concluded (and labelled) as thick and is able to communicate with them in a language they understand. Therefore effectively sidelining us.
That must really hurt.
But what if these people are right. What if Apple’s products were really a swindle? What if these people – like in the story of the Emperor’s new clothes – are the ones who truly get that Apple is fooling us all into buying their products? A compelling proposition, admittedly but contestable by a billboard I used to see of the French biro maker Bic when I was much younger :
“17 million customers cannot be wrong…”
There are a LOT of customers that claim Apple products are great to use. Apple consistently comes out on top in customer satisfaction surveys year after year, winning product design awards in the process. Surely this cannot be a case of mass hypnotism… Surely. Or is it?
Apple is now flirting with the position of being the most capitalised company in the world. And that is a scary prospect considering their iPad has not even really caught on yet. The post-PC world is just dawning and HP and IBM have bailed out. Microsoft is still in denial about what this portends and the other commodity hardware suppliers (OEM manufacturers) are quavering in their boots at the lack of direction from Redmond.
- It’s not magic: How Apple achieves greatness (macworld.com)
- HP single-handedly destroys non-iPad tablet market (zdnet.com)
- HP Decides to spin off the PC Division what next for Microsoft. (techwag.com)