Last weekend, one of my Mac-related dreams finally came true. Apple Inc. opened a Vancouver Apple Store in Pacific Centre mall. Someone (I won't say who) actually suggested going to the grand opening. Short of getting some sort of freebie gift (something I wouldn't dare expect of the tightfisted jackholes who run Apple's accounting department), I couldn't see any reason why I'd want to stand in line to be squashed into a crowd of uncomfortably hip, not-quite-youngsters smelling faintly of patchouli. So naturally I declined.
In any case, I did have some free time downtown on Monday afternoon, so I decided to wander down there to check out the store. Despite a couple days of breathing space since the opening, and being an awkward time of the afternoon (around 2PM), the store was nonetheless packed. There must have been at least a dozen (probably more) hip, not-quite-young Apple employees buzzing around being super friendly to everyone.
It's a nice place: all of Apple's product lineup all packed into one store and displayed immaculately. Though there wasn't anything really surprising. An attractive, hip, and not-quite-young lady asked me if I wanted a tour of the store, I told her with a smile that I was doing okay, thanks. Then I looked around myself, and all of sudden I was outside of my own context. All I could see were yuppies oogling Apple products that have already been out for months, and Mac-compatible products that you could easily get at other electronics stores for less. And that's when I came to an epiphany: I hate Apple fans.
Now that I've confessed my sins before you all, let me offer some additional clarifications. I'm not switching to Windows, and I will never switch to Windows because Windows is a gigantic pile of shit and Mac OS X is the best operating system ever conceived of. Nor am I switching to Linux, not only because I enjoy actually using my computer more than I enjoy tweaking my boot partition, but also because I refuse to live in a state of denial where I believe The GIMP is actually a great image editor that can hold its own against Photoshop, when the former is in fact a gigantic pile of shit.
God, that felt good.
In any case, while the shortcomings of other operating systems are omnipresent, the majority of problems surrounding Apple products come from people. Specifically, the people who use it, and the people who sell it. Let's begin, shall we?
5 Things I Hate About The Apple Crowd
Okay, I'm probably setting myself up for an intellectual ass-kicking here. I mean, the iPod is one of a small handful of factors which are solely responsible for Apple's incredible financial success in the 21st century. It is, in a lot of ways, a great device and immensely popular; which is exactly my problem with it. I have a powerful hate-on for the hordes of iPod users I see regularly on the bus, many of whom feel the need to subject me tinny, second-hand, not-quite-quiet-enough-to-ignore rap and hip-hop. Meanwhile I wonder to myself: "Do you need an iPod? Do you buy music from the iTunes store? Are you a Mac user? Have you ever used a Mac?"
Buying a unique device like the iPod touch I can understand, since there's nothing quite like it out there *nod @ Allen*. Personally, I'll probably get an iPhone at some point, because I believe in portable device aggregation (phone, PDA music player). But there also exist the droves of transit users who clutch their ridiculously expensive video iPods without even bothering to, I don't know, watch video on it? And to this latter group I pose the question: couldn't you have bought something cheaper? This conveniently brings me to my next point...
Overpriced Mac Accessories
As someone recently got fed up with my existing wireless router and decided to upgrade to the 802.11n-compatible Airport Extreme, I may qualify as guilty of this particular sin. I did this because 802.11n is a draft specification and not universally implemented in a consistent manner, so it's best to match devices from the same manufacturer. Genuine compatibility concerns aside, I can honestly tell you that 90% of the time you will not need "Mac branded" accessories. I'm referring not just to Apple products but also to third-party products that play on the uneducated mac-user's fear that nothing that isn't "Mac" branded will work on/with their Mac. I find this incredibly ironic because these items are often purchased by the same Mac users will talk out of the other side of their mouths about how universally compatible Macs are with the rest of the computing world. This would seem to suggest that the individuals in question either have a masochistic secret love of paying more for Mac-branded items or they simply have no idea what the frak they are talking about. Now then, speaking of things that are overpriced...
The MacBook Air
Regular readers of my blog have no illusions regarding my opinion of the MacBook Air. It comes down to the combination two main factors: overpriced and underfeatured. You pay an exorbitant amount ($1,900 CDN) for a low-end processor, no ports, and no optical drive. Additionally, if you're extra eager to part with your money, you can chip in an extra $1,300 CDN for a solid-state drive that's 16GB smaller than the conventional hard drive.
Eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) you start to realize that the main selling point of the Air is that it fits in a fucking manilla envelope, something I can do with my standard Macbook since it's already quite thin and light. Anyone who would pay more for less features simply so they can show off how easily their notebook fits in an envelope is the textbook definition of a yuppie. Furthermore, the Lenovo X300 is almost as thin and light, has more ports, an optical drive, and costs significantly less if you're comparing the SSD versions. Compared to the rest of the sub-notebook market, the Air is nothing remarkable. This brings me to the next point...
Old Technology is Suddenly Brand New Just Because Apple Has Announced an Implementation of it
Admittedly, Apple is way better at coming up with names for technologies than the rest of the industry. "802.11" versus "AirPort". "IEEE 1394" versus "Firewire". Certainly, no contest. Furthermore, Apple is generally quite good at keeping on top of new technologies and implementing them into Apple products in that friendly Mac-esque way that keeps me firmly in the Apple camp. However, I can't stand it when Apple is notably late to the party and the Mac community acts like Steve Jobs has just reinvented fire. Such unvinnovations include the wildly successful iPod (aforementioned), the MacBook Air (also aforementioned), cameras on laptop screens, Widgets, and renting videos online. While this bugs me it's probably the weakest of my complaints. After all, Microsoft just churns out second-rate ripoff technology or buys smaller competitors. Speaking of Microsoft...
"I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC"
HA HA HA HA. SHUT UP.
Okay, I will admit that these commercials were briefly funny when they first appeared TWO YEARS AGO. But the funny has long since worn out. As time has rolled on, these advertisements have come to epitomize everything I hate about the Mac-user community. First, they delight in generalizing and rounding over the facts; a practice which, while simplifying the arguments for novice computer users, tends to perpetuate falsehoods. Then there's the passive-aggressive Mac guy (played by hipster-doofus stereotype no. 26) who seems to silently revel in the misfortunes of PC guy (played by middle-aged business-nerd stereotype no. 48). The whole relationship reeks of the smugness with which we Mac users regard the Windows-using world, despite certain problems with our own platform. And while this may be a generally harmless personal practice, it seems to me that smugness might not be a great marketing strategy. I quiver every time someone mentions: "Ha! Those Mac ads sure are funny!" Which once again segues me nicely into my final point:
Being Personally Mistaken to be Affiliated With Any of the Above
The thing I ultimately hate the most about Mac people is that they set up an unpleasant stereotype that people immediately associate me with when they learn that Mac OS X is my "platform of choice". I am a smug, contrarian, hipster-doofus fanboy who doesn't know the first thing about computers (that last one is what really gets my goat). Despite what many video gaming console owners will tell you, preferring a particular technology platform does not necessitate blind and feverish loyalty bordering on cultish fanaticism. Mac OS X and a smattering of related Apple software and hardware are my preferred platform, but not to the exclusion of anything else. I use Windows XP and Linux in the workplace, and for that part I don't have a problem with them. I just wouldn't take them home with me.
At the end of the day, Apple is just another technology company, and OS X is just another operating system. If you have the good sense to use it, then please to do without being smug about it.
That is all.
Posted on May 29, 2008 10:13 AM
Man, as I was reading this I was thinking that I must be suffering from split personality disorder, and expected to mysteriously find my name signed at the end of it. In truth I didn't find any name signed at the end of it but I am still pretty sure it isn't mine, which leads me to the conclusion that there are other people out there who understand this situation. Hats off to you sir! Everything in this article is correct and well said.
I'd only like to add that the biggest problem with the "Hi, I'm a Mac" commercials is that they demonstrate the blatant "You can be cool like me!" mentality that ropes in the Mac idiots who think they're above everybody else, while people who are actually intelligent can see right through it. Some are still pretty funny, though.Posted on May 30, 2008 05:17 PM