Apple Fanatics: You Have No Love For Tech.

Before I turn the tempreature up on this post from typical Australian barbeque to Tokamak burning plasma let me get this out of the way: this isn’t targetted at all fans of Apple or users of their products. There’s a good place to be had for the tech that they pump out and I’ve gladly recommended Apple products for people who desire functionality yet can’t/won’t deal with the nuances of other (possibly better) products available. More this is aimed at those who brandish themselves as tech savvy people who have devoted themselves to the church of Steve Jobs and all his wonderous gadgets. You people have no love for tech at all, and I’m going to tell you why.

Apple as a company prides itself on being an innovator and in some aspects that’s true. Their minimalistic design principals coupled with a dedication to user experience has produced some pretty innovative interfaces. OSX, whilst still being a relatively decent OS for those who, has contributed immensly to the world of open source (at it’s heart its a BSD variant) and is a good choice for the creative amongst us. From a technology point of view however Apple is far from an innovator and they are in fact scared to do anything that might sour their reputation for appearing to be revolutionary. Consequently their portfolio of work, whilst firmly rooted in good fundamentals, smacks of a company scared to be a real technological innovator.

To get my point you have to push past their big ticket items and look at the very few examples where Apple tried to innovate and failed. Take for instance their Apple Xserve line of products, which is squarely aimed at the enterprise. Now before you go off thinking I’ve just Googled some of their lesser known products to bad mouth I’ll have you know I administered a stack of their RAID arrays back when I was working for the National Archives of Australia. Apple got their foot in the door at a trade show that one of my colleagues attended and we bought 3 trays of disc. Unbeknowst to him they were really only good as large external hard drives since they had no intelligence in them whatsoever. To enable technology that was on par with the EMC array we had bought we would have to purchase at least 2 more Apple Xserves plus additional software. For a company that was supposed to be innovative they produced a solution that was kind to call a joke and we sent them on their way promptly.

That’s not the only product they’ve brought to fruition that they’ve decided to keep on the down low. Their Apple TV range, if you ask any of their executives, is still a hobby for Apple. As such you’d think they’d take risks in trying to develop new products for it but the Apple TV remains the same as it was 2 years ago. Even back then it was struggling to keep up with its competitors in terms of features only adding things in after they had been field tested by others. Any innovator would be the first to push a new feature to its users but Apple, even with its massive amount of resources, failed to provide even simple things for the AppleTV before its competitors.

I’d probably let this all slide if it weren’t for the latest round of diatribe that Jobs keeps spouting about the iPad and it being “magical“. Now I don’t feel so bad every time I refer to the Apple fanatics as a cult as really, who calls an overgrown iPod touch magical. It’s nothing of the sort and it’s just more indoctrination rhetoric from a man who is the physical manifestation of the term hipster(bloody hell even the wikipedia link is pretentious). It’s those kind of people who sit in extoll themselves as bastions of technological know how because they’ve chosen the superior device of Apple. I hate to break it to you kid but if you think anything from Apple is the be all and end all of technology you’ll be firmly stuck at least 5 years in the past whilst Apple tries to figure out how to implement something that came out 3 years ago (I mean seriously, how could you not put MMS in the iPhone until the middle of last year).

Now I’m not against you buying and enjoying Apple products, far from it. They have their place and I’ve gone on record saying they’ve made the best mobile phone I’ve had to date. However should you ever come and talk to me about how much you love tech and only ever cite Apple products I will promptly tear you a new one and burn your blue jeans and turtle neck in a bonfire topped with an effigey of the almight Jobs himself. Apple is not a technical innovator because if they were they would be taking massive risks with their brand and in all honesty, that’s the only thing they’ve got going for them. Apple without its marketing department would just be an over priced version of Dell.

Oh and if you’re looking for anyone to blame for this rant, check these idiots out. I think I vomited a little when I saw that site.

3 Comments

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  1. A love for tech doesn’t just mean a desire for the latest innovation. Lovers of cars don’t just love the latest factory model, lovers of art often hate whatever’s newest, etc. It’s an element, but not the only one.

    I’d say I’m a bit of a tech lover, but I couldn’t give a firetruck what’s under the hood of my gadgets most of the times. I care about what I can do with it, how it adds to my life and environment. I’d be just as happy if my PC ran on a piece of moldy bread and a desperately hungry hampster as on its current duel core processor 4200+, Radeon HD 4800 etc.

    For apple, their technology has an aesthetic and utilitarian benefit that outweighs their innovation. They make tech a seamless part of modernity, which is a very pro-tech identity.

    Indeed all major companies are going to be slower in innovation than their smaller competitors. Microsoft & Google are similar & have their own many flawed products. A small start up whose sole focus is the cutting edge in a field will always innovate quicker than the big guys, but the big guys have the ability to deliver it to the market in a way that people can appreciate.

    If innovation is your only criteria you might as well say only those who contribute to coding their own open source OS/products and live in sillicon valley are lovers of tech. Hell you just bought an iphone two years after its australian release. Is that a sign you don’t love tech?

  2. You’re forgetting that I’m aiming this post squarely at those people who decry that they’re aficionados of technology yet will only use Apple related products. These people are not lovers of technology because if they were they would’ve sought out the functionality that was spoon fed to them by Steve Jobs years ago. Instead they wait until Apple wraps it up in their flash design and marketing, never straying from the walled garden.

    It’s no secret that Apple makes what was once geek now chic and that’s innovation in itself. My point however still remains that those amongst us who would dare brandish a title like technology lover and never stray from a single brand (I guess I could’ve aimed this post at the wider fanboy audiences, but then it would get all kinds of strange) are the furthest thing from it. You could take the view that I’m just angry at those stereotypical hipsters with their Macbooks in cafes and you’d be right. Those people who think they’re technically inclined are not, and they give me the shits whenever I encounter them.

    The speed of innovation is loosely correlated to organisation size but it also depends on the organisation’s aims. To dominate a new market you have to be an innovator in that space. When you’re already dominating there’s little incentive to innovate, since it’s rather costly. That’s where the loose correlation between size and speed of innovation comes from, bigger companies typically have a much larger market share.

    I would say my purchase of an iPhone would identify me more as a lover of technology since I’ve had basically every other kind of phone (bar a Palm) over the past few years. Additionally I bought the iPhone primarily to develop applications on it. The purchasing of technology is not what qualifies you as an aficionado, it’s the understanding that one particular company is not the be all and end all. It’s those people I have an issue with and it pains me because their numbers seem to be growing.

    I’m suprised you didn’t mention my rabid Sony fanboyism, missed a good sore point to hit there 😛

  3. hah yeah, i was going to mention that Mr. Line-up-at-midnight 🙂

    I tend to disagree with this post though. Yes, there are fanbois out there that buy whatever apple makes, but they are a (very vocal) minority. I would consider myself to be an apple fan and a lover of tech.

    For me, good tech is closely tied to good design. I value tech that can achieve what it sets out to do without making me jump through hurdles. Like Andrew, what’s under the hood is of little significance to me. IMO, Apple is the best at creating a streamlined, seamless experience for the end user. You might disagree, but considering the iphone is the best phone you’ve ever had, i think you’ll at least be able to see what i mean.

    I should also add that unlike an apple fanboi, I am willing to acknowledge when apple makes a shit product. E.g. I bought the magic mouse only to find out it wasn’t very magic at all (cursor skips around, too small, too light). Aesthetically it’s one of the most impressive pieces of tech I’ve ever bought, but because it failed at its most basic functions, it now sits on my shelf and I’ve gone back to Logitech.

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