Monday, June 16, 2008

I hate being an Apple hater

It's based on my long history with PC's. Back when it was Apple IIc versus TRS-80's. Back when I could hack around with my Tandy 1000 and add more memory. Back when I ran a BBS. It was all about PC's. They were more flexible, expandable, prevalent.

Apple was a curious sidenote...more expensive and less configurable. There was no reason for me to like it. As time marched on, it got worse for Apple. If you were into gaming at all (and I was...still am), then Apple was not the camp for you.

All this added up to a deep hatred for a cocky company that felt it was doing things better, yet I had no proof of it. If it was truly better, than I would have been able to get one at a reasonable price, open it up and add 3rd party parts to improve it, and play all the cool games i wanted to on it. But that was not the case. So in my mind, Apple = Crapple.

Fast forward to now. Apple is gaining market share like crazy, and they are being heralded as the best thing to happen to the industry since the Internet. Why is this? Here is what makes them the golden child right now:
  • Marketing: Brilliant ads that make it cool to like Apple, and nerdy to like Windows
  • Simplicity: A perception that Apple products are just easier to use
  • Functionality: Whiz-bang, flashy apps (cover flow, iPhone UI, etc)
  • Security: How many times do I have to hear "there are no viruses for the Mac"
  • Dependibility: Apple zealots are always telling me "it just works"

Some of these have merits. Others are hyped up. But in this day and age, it's really a user preference to go Apple vs. Microsoft. You can accomplish the same things with either, so pick your favorite.

Vista has been getting bad press (I actually like it better than XP, but whatever). So Microsoft's image to the unwashed masses is marred by good Apple marketing and bad general press (maybe because many writers have switched to Mac? hmmm...)

In any case, Steve Jobs is the new hero, Bill Gates is a nerdy geek, and Steve Ballmer is...well, a little out of his mind. All these things add up to Apple market share.

So do I still hate Apple? Yes. It's hard not to given my history. But do I like hating them? No, I really don't.

Apple has done some great things with user interfaces. The iPhone's multi-touch display is revolutionary (though NOT invented by Apple...but they definitely brought that technology to the public's consciousness). How they captured the MP3 player market with the iPod is historically significant.

I hate being an Apple hater because many of my friends and colleagues are fans of Apple (to varying degrees), and are always talking about this cool new feature, or that cool new device. I bring up that there are similar solutions outside of Apple, but they just look at me and and say things like "whatever, Apple hater!".

Am I missing out on the new direction in the industry? Should I swallow my pride and join the crowd? Well, I'm probably not to that point yet. The only Apple product I own is an iPod, and mostly because it's the industry standard. Try finding a Zune adapter for your car.

With this post I am trying to open up and become less of an Apple basher. This is hard for me. I hate the fanaticism that surrounds the company. I hate Steve Jobs' cult like status. I hate all the hype. I hate the smear campaigns. But I don't hate the technology. I don't hate the user interfaces. I don't hate what they are trying to do...reach out to the common man and bring technology to their reach. A noble cause no matter who is doing it.