Spots on the Apple…

As you may know from previous posts, I’m not really a Mac zealot. In fact I’ve never owned an Apple computer myself. I have used them at work, and I’ve always liked having them around just for the sake of competition. It actually was an Apple IIc that got me ‘into’ computers. When I was eleven, a friend of mine’s dad had one and we taught ourselfs Basic just so we could write little games and apps to play with. Fond memories indeed.

Asides from the obviously superior design of some Macs, I just feel there’s little to lure me there. OSX annoys me at least as much as Vista does (which is not much btw), and since the innards are identical nowadays I see no reason for me to switch. Especially not when Apple itself, the company I mean, is bugging the hell out of me.

App Store controversy

It was one thing to stereotype PCs in those terribly unfair “Hi, I’m a PC” commercials, but its the way they’re managing the iPhone’s App Store that’s really making my neck hairs stand on end. Ryan Block of Engadget has written a brilliant post about the many ways in which Apple is screwing (potential) iPhone application developers. Basically, they can kill your app at any time, and without a proper reason. And there’s an NDA keeping you from talking about it if that happens. Ouch. Required reading for every Apple user imho.

Uh oh, a keynote speech

Apple also has a tendency to screw loyal customers by selling them a product one day and then, without warning, introducing its vastly superior successor the very next day. I know at least two people who bought a dual G5 rig that cost more than my car weeks before Apple announced the switch to Intel processors. Remember how they tried to convince us those were slow in the ‘snail’ commercials? Funny thing how the Intel Macs were touted as being twice as fast…

Gotte love ‘em. right?

I guess that ‘gotta’ part is the most important thing keeping me from switching to Mac. Everybody keeps telling me I should. Fanatically an frequently. With more passion than a mere tool should invoke imho. And I don’t like being told what to do. I like to think differently. I like openness. I like to make up my own mind. I guess I’ll be getting that Android phone to go with my Windows PC. Call me a rebel…

15 Comments

  1. Hahahahaha… a programmer calling himself a rebel for using a Windows PC… It would be Steve Jobs’ wet dream if that were indeed rebellious.

    But I do agree with most of your points about Apple. They do screw both their customers and developers.

    For example, there are no third party calendar or mail apps in the App Store because that would be too much competition for iCal and Mail wouldn’t it?

    It’s a shame Apple doesn’t feel secure enough about their own applications to allow for some healthy competition. What do they care if the customer has already paid for the iPhone and decides to use a third party app instead of the free built in one?

    I bought an iPod Touch because I wanted to experience the sleek interface, but had a feeling the iPhone wouldn’t be up to the standards I expect from a phone (namely good call quality and reception).

    Basically, that’s Apple’s main selling point on all their products: drool! Drooling over beautifully designed hardware and interfaces for both the OS and most applications. It’s like buying a designer bookcase rather than the standard IKEA BILLY.

    Comment by suzero — September 26, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  2. Oh.. so I should really add that the idea of an Android phone is also keeping me from getting an iPhone… does that make me an Apple rebel too? ;-) A phone simply has to work properly.

    Comment by suzero — September 26, 2008 @ 9:48 am

  3. For a developer, using Windows isn’t rebellious at all, but they’re more likely to switch to Linux anyway. As a designer (which I still consider myself to be, primarily) I must say I’ve discovered a real sense of pride in not using a Mac.

    Oh and as for the book cases. Billy would allow you to buy more books, lets you place the shelves at the intervals that match your books (or taste) and you can put any book into it that you like, even a competing book case maker’s catalogue…

    Comment by Roy — September 26, 2008 @ 9:59 am

  4. I don’t get the stereotyping complaint: most people in the MS Windows business (like all those working for multi-national IT companies) look exactly like the guy in the PC ad. Been there, done that! Yes, I’m even a certified Microsoft something…

    Comment by YaWie — September 26, 2008 @ 10:05 am

  5. I don’t look like that guy, nor do the Windows users I work with. Some of the most inspirational people I know use PCs. But that’s not the point. I wouldn’t be a better designer if I used a PC, nor would you be any less brilliant if you used a PC.

    Comment by Roy — September 26, 2008 @ 10:15 am

  6. Hmm, you don’t know for sure :-)

    If I was a customer, I would probably have more confidence in a designer who reflects his/her love for design by the way they dress (so no horrible Peek&Cloppenburg-suit), the way they decorate their house and also the sleek designer equipment they work with.

    Comment by YaWie — September 26, 2008 @ 10:35 am

    • so a well designed computer that looks the same as the other ones from that company gives you the feeling, that the person working with it puts more love in it than one that is chosen or even custom built to fit ones needs perfectly?

      Comment by JennyS — January 6, 2012 @ 11:46 pm

  7. Again, I don’t own a single suit, and I don’t recall ever visiting the store you mentioned. As for surrounding yourself with beautiful things, wouldn’t a nice Sony Vaio cover that? Some Dells look pretty slick nowadays too. Not every PC is ugly, not every mac looks good (take the Mac Pro for example).

    But as beautifully designed as a MBP may be, it’s still an Apple product. The problem with the book case analogy is that I don’t dislike Ikea. Unlike with Apple, it makes sense to buy Ikea stuff. They don’t screw you over, and they don’t restrict the way you use their products.

    Comment by Roy — September 26, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  8. Okay, so you don’t own a suit. But MOST – not all – people who work for the big computer businesses do wear suits. I’m talking about the companies who earn millions, billions on system-administration and development. Creative work, in a way, very sensible too, but not very fancy.

    And what’s wrong with the design of a Mac Pro? I love it! Very sensible too: the easy way it opens up and lets you put in new hardware :-)

    The thing is: I do understand your complaints about Apple Iphone Apps store from a developers point of view. On the other hand Apple makes it very easy for Iphone users to download new and nifty apps with one touch of a finger. Now you can develop some nice app for your symbian or windows phone, but a lot of not so nerdy people will never get to download it, let alone install it on their phones.

    Comment by YaWie — September 26, 2008 @ 11:39 am

  9. I cancelled my cable TV service because of those Mac ads. They’re just inflammatory and polarizing and they make me angry at how snooty the tone is. In truth, I’d ALWAYS wanted a Mac until I saw those ads. Now I despise the company.

    Things like DRM on iTunes and shady terms and elitist selective publishing policies on the App Store make me even more wary of Apple. I’m not a Google or Microsoft evangelist but I love Windows and will probably use Android for the same reason – they’re the platforms with the best and most numerous free software.

    Comment by Brian — September 26, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  10. @YaWie: If I were to develop the kind of application I would be interested in developing for the iPhone (something involving email/podcasts/calendars), chances are nobody would be able to download it. Not a single soul, just because Steve says so. What’s the point to a good app store if it arbitrarily does not sell certain types of apps?

    And let’s not forget the main reason for the App Store, Apple’s 30% cut.

    Comment by Roy — September 26, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  11. This polarizing argument is very intriguing. What most people don’t get is that Apple is doing a GREAT job of packaging the power of computing for the masses. All the issues that most ‘PC’ people have with Apple products is the fact that you can’t do what ever it is you want. Ok, fine. You are the power users. You have the brain matter to build and create your environment and you want total control over the horizontal and the vertical. GREAT! Don’t get a Mac. Move on, nothing to see here.

    But for the rest of the world, the casual users, the people who do other things in life and look at a computer as a toaster, this is and always has been Apple’s core audience.

    The iPhone is riding on the coat-tails of success brought on by the match up of iTunes+iPod. How successful was the open model of ‘you make the hardware and someone else makes the software’? Not very. What does that tell you? People want toasters. The same goes for the iPhone. People want a phone that works. 99% don’t care about maximizing configurations or swapping out the mail app with another. They need a simple solution that has a low learning curve and gets the job done better then anyone else. And THAT is the key to success of the iPhone and why all others are languishing behind.

    All this whining about Apple having to much control over the app store is just way funny. Why shouldn’t Apple get a cut of the profits? They created the platform. They created and are maintaing revisions of the hardware. They invented the OS. If you are lucky enough to sell 250,000 copies of some app and strike it rich, what did you do besides make that app? Nothing. 70% is pretty good in my book.

    Oh, and as for the statement about Apple selling a product and coming out with a brand new version the very next day, ri-i-i-i-i-i-i-ight, no one else in the world does that. Evil Apple, you should close all your stores before you release a new product. Come on, really? Toyota just slashes those car prices on the 08s when the 09s are right around the corner. Dell would never sell an older version of a laptop when they know that will be releasing a new one that same day.

    At least with Apple, they do stop sending hardware to their stores when a new one is on the horizon.

    The world is a huge place and there are a lot of different kinds of people out there. If you don’t want a mac, don’t get one. Simple. What makes me laugh is that the PC users in the world are the majority, but they are so bothered by us few Mac users. If you are so proud of being an individual and a PC user, why even have an area of your site dedicated to this topic? I am a HUGE mac supporter, but on my site there is no place where I PC bash. I don’t feel the need to. You are who you are and I am who I am. Simple. Get over yourself. Really.

    Comment by Dale Sande — September 26, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

  12. My wife just bought a new laptop last week. She’s a ‘toaster type’ user and is very happy with her new Vista-based computer. All major PC manufacturers offers a ‘toaster level experience’ nowadays. But that’s not at all what my post is about. Making technology easy to use is one thing, limiting the user’s freedom is something else entirely.

    The problem with Apple’s control over the App Store is not the 30% at all (I just mentioned that because at 30% it had better work well as YaWie said it did). The issue is that Apple is being very unfair to developers, and in some extent to customers. Banning apps that do similar things to Apple apps is simply unfair, but not being clear about it is even worse.

    PC manufacturers will generally introduce new models alongside older ones, and new models are generally available for pre-order while the older ones are marked down. I see the elegance in Apple’s very limited product catalogue, and how it will make choosing the right product easier. With big, fundamental changes however, like the Intel move, the introduction of OSX and the move to PowerPC before that, Apple could have given advanced warning to customers who were about to buy new stuff.

    I guess that why I felt compelled to write my post is because the reality with Apple isn’t all it’s made out to be by their fans. I knew it would spark some fierce debate because Apple users tend to be (overly?) sensitive to criticism. Even when the critic is right, such as with Ryan’s post. They take the time to write long blog comments to defend ‘their’ brand against posts that weren’t actually meant to be an attack. Just to be a little reality check :).

    I eat apples with spots, jut not when there’s a fresh one in the basket.

    Comment by Roy — September 26, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

  13. I agree with your point about Apple selling their outdated products at full price right up until hours before they release the new one. It happened to me!

    It was 2001 and I bought my first ever Mac – G4 Desktop – 400mhz. I had just finished studying and I took a $10,000 loan out to start my own web design business. The first thing I bought was my G4. It cost $4,000 and I was so happy for about 8 days when…

    Apple released the new 800mhz option with better everything (Faster DVD, More RAM, ect) and all for THE SAME PRICE!

    It stung me so much I have brought this story up with EVERY person I have ever spoken to since who talks to me about buying a Mac.

    I still love a lot of things about Macs but guess what? Today I’m a PC user :)

    I actually made the switch about 3 years ago because I wanted to work with a number of 3D apps such as 3DS MAX and SoftImage and neither run on Mac. I also wanted something with a lot of grunt and enjoyed assembling my 2xDual Opteron (Quad CPU) on a Tyan motherboard supporting up to 16GB RAM (God that sounds geeky) It was pretty damn hot at the time.

    I’m still pretty happy with my PC.

    Comment by Big Bear — November 1, 2008 @ 7:48 am

  14. @Roy Tanck -> Your articles are some of the best I’ve read online. I believe a hungry mob of zombies would be less terrifying than the standard Mac fanatic these days trying to hunt down PC users today (they never stop!). While your blog does put Apple products in their rightful place, your advocacy of PC’s really should extend to telling people to apply themselves to assemble their own computers. Assembling a computer is dead easy and it also solves the ‘crapware’ issue you discussed on another of your other posts. Just think about it, with a few articles, you could be helping a whole bunch of people escape the madness that are these computer selling giants ! The way I see it, true freedom comes from choosing your own components !

    [Just a thought, everyone is entitled to their point of view.]

    Comment by Jyotishka Misra — September 7, 2011 @ 9:03 pm