In the media I think there’s a natural tendency to bash Apple, or at least insert ‘Apple’ in a headline to generate additional page views. Here are some of the common arguments you’ll see against Apple: They’re too successful; they’re too big; if you buy an Apple product you’re buying into an ecosystem of products that mean you’re locked in; and on and on. These kinds of comments and undertones are everywhere – in Australian mainstream media, on blog posts and from commentators on radio and TV. Sometimes the truth is just too boring.
I’ve been a strong advocate of Apple for many years, and I continue to be. My critics think I’m not open to other brands and products.
On occasion I’m labelled as ‘mis- informed’ but mostly I’m branded as a ‘Fanboy’ – someone who blindly loves anything and everything Apple makes, without a good understanding of the market.
The IT industry is awash with buzzwords, marketing glitz and hype. Traditional IT comparisons are done with feature grids and checklists. Common thinking is defined by this equation: The more checkboxes your product gets in a product comparison table, the better your product is. The ‘speeds and feeds’ way of measuring product performance is the de facto standard in the IT world.
That Android phone with a 4.5in screen must be better than the iPhone because the screen is bigger. And it’s got a quad-core processor, and it’s also 4G. But that misses the point. The big screen means the battery life sucks, the quad- core processor might be good for something but in reality scrolling is still jerky in Android, and 4G isn’t available where I live.
From the day the Apple IIe hit the market, Apple was fighting to redefine the role and the definition of a computer and technology in the world. Apple was the only company at the time (and arguably still today) that cared more about the product from an experience perspective. The whole product was greater than the sum of its parts.
Fast forward to today and the same is true. If you happened to listen to Tim Cook on the most recent quarterly conference call, you would have heard him repeat the mantra that building the best products in the world is what Apple is all about.
Consider iCloud. iCloud as a product is an enormous undertaking. Massive server infrastructure, massive investment and deep integration in all Apple products.
But Apple thinks about iCloud as a value add for customers, not as a single product that has profit responsibility. iCloud enhances the value of all other Apple products and doesn’t need to function on its own.
iCloud means different things but to me it means I never have to worry about backing up my phone again. That’s peace of mind.
Which other consumer-focused tech company that produces hardware can afford to invest billions of dollars in a product like iCloud without any immediate or short-term benefit?
If you’re against Apple that means you’re actively against buying into an ecosystem that just works. It means you have (or think you have) the knowledge or can afford to invest the time and resources to get all of your technology working seamlessly together; and if you don’t, then you’re comfortable chalking that down to the fact that it just probably can’t be done.
Years ago I used to get frustrated by people who were anti-Apple. I used to waste my breath trying to convince them they were wrong and they should choose the Apple product.
But over time I’ve realised that people who don’t choose Apple because they just don’t like Apple actually just don’t want life to be easier. The struggle with technology is what they’ve known, and if stuff actually just worked they’d have nothing to do with their time.