Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Peculiar Apple Culture

Briefly, to be sure, I was a part of it. My first computer was an Apple II, I was a member of an Apple User Group, and wrote a column, titled “Daisywheeling,” in its publication. Then, later, I also bought an Apple IIe, and at least two Macintoshes. But that came after my realization that the Apple Culture was not for me. Those few Apple purchases following the II were in support of commercial ventures—and in the course of those, which went way beyond the Apple, we’ve purchased like scores of Intel machines.

I shied from Apple because, it seemed to me, it was cultivating loyalty as such and, in the course of it, exploited its followers by continuously and radically altering its product so that one couldn’t just get on with working, using Apple-provided tools, but had to engage in what amounted to sacrificial purchasing of ever-changing technology. By contrast, my first IBM PC continued to work for many years until, eventually, it sort of turned to grey dust.

The latest update of Apple’s iPhone software, reported this morning, shows that the old ways are still with us. The Apple Cult is still a reality. In the WSJ’s article I find this sentence:

Apple executives came out swinging against those who question whether the company which hasn’t released a major new product since last year, has lost its cool.
The phrase that caught my eye was “major new product since last year.” Every time Apple introduces a “major new product” it obsoletes a whole category—and its cultish followers are then required to sacrifice more megabucks to stay true to the thin god who introduces it in appropriate uniform (no tie in sight) looking like an escapee from the concentration camp and uttering oracular statements, in a darkened room, using an electronic pointer.

What the world needs now is a cylindrical Mac. For the vast armies of non-believers, that may sound like a joke. But the cylindrical Mac is on its way—obsolescing anything rectangular.

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