Skip to comments.I lost my passion for Apple
Posted on 08/27/2011 1:05:29 PM PDT by TomServo
Earlier this month I sold my 11.6-inch MacBook Air (using Samsung Series 5 Chromebook now) and iPhone 4 (switched back to Google Nexus S). I don't miss either Apple product. Not the least bit. In reflecting, I realize that the spell is broken. Without Apple Chairman Steve Jobs driving innovation or inspiring passion -- the oft-called "reality distortion field" -- my Apple enthusiasm is gone. Perhaps it's return to sanity.
I should have connected the dots sooner, but often people don't easily apply even basic math to emotional matters, because the nuances move swiftly on the surface with many slower currents and fast-churning eddies below. The ocean is an excellent analogy. Yesterday, in viewing Nate Mook's slideshow of 20 products introduced by Jobs, and resurfacing emotions about the different launches, I had an epiphany. I could see how much Jobs' passion infected mine -- his ability to inspire about what Apple products offered. I used to joke about the Steve Jobs spell: During one of the product launch speeches, if he was having an off day, people left feeling like: If I buy this thing my life will be better for it. If Jobs was in the zone giving the preso, people left feeling if they didn't buy the new thing their lives would be worse.
Jobs' cast a big spell, but it was more than the pitch -- there are aspirational qualities built into Apple products. Jobs is the rarest of business leaders: He has good taste and the ability to inspire people working with him to put it into high-tech stuff. Related: Design priorities put features that are most useful at the top, packaged such that there is balance among them -- none takes away from overall functionality. Additionally: Simplicity is a defining Apple design characteristic, or was.
As I explained here at BetaNews in February 2005 post "iPod Shuffle: Apple understated": "The company has turned a knack for the understated into a marketing machine that touches virtually every Mac product, including iPod Shuffle...Understated often means uncomplicated. And sometimes that means cutting back consumer choices, as Apple did with iPod Shuffle. Less really can be more...Competitors really need to study what Apple is doing right and how to incorporate a similar approach into their product designs and marketing".
But on reflection, I now see how much simplicity, one of Apple products' best attributes, is giving way to complication creep. Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and iTunes 9 and 10 are glaring examples of increased complexity, as are iOS 4 (and soon v5), Safari 5.1, iLife `11 and most other Apple software.
Even Apple Store. I wrote in 2005: "Apple retail stores are remarkably understated. The only bright colors are found on marketing material placed throughout the store. Otherwise, the tasteful stores are quite stark, so that the shoppers' eyes are drawn either to the colorful marketing posters and signs or to the products on sale". The stores are no longer as tasteful, and the new iPad product information displays create clutter and complexity.
Still, where Steve Jobs' influence still touched so did simplicity remain, which iPad 2, MacBook Air and Mac App Store imbue. But other recent attempts at simplicity have failed, with Final Cut Pro X example of increased complexity coming from an attempt to make video production simpler. Many of Apple's elite customers complained about the product, and there was even a petition to bring back the old version! Could such a thing really have happened with Steve Jobs hands-on at Apple?
When Passion Fades
Steve Jobs unexpectedly resigned as Apple CEO two days ago, and the Board of Directors immediately chose Tim Cook, then chief operating officer, as replacement. Much of the punditry about the transition is similar: Apple will remain the same Apple under Cook. This is misguided, wishful thinking.
Apple will change under Cook's leadership. Actually Apple already has changed. For about three years now, Jobs' influence on product development and marketing is less than it once was. The Apple faithful will slam me in comments or elsewhere for speaking such blasphemy. But, c`mon. The man is terribly ill -- clearly fighting for his life throughout much of 2009 and 2011.
As I more seriously review the 2.8 years since Jobs' January 2009 medical leave started, it's clear the aforementioned qualities are missing and other less-desirable ones present in Apple products. This reflects the limits of Jobs' involvement in the process -- at least the way he was able to be when in more robust health. There is a vitality gone from Apple's cofounder that many recent Apple products reflect, even as the company reaches its highest pinnacle of success ever. It's a cruel circumstance that a man who has had so much positive influence should be ravaged from the effects of cancer while still in his prime.
Kirk and Spock
Jobs and Cook couldn't be more different leaders. They're complimentary: The inspired visionary looking to bring good taste and understated design to otherwise complex products and the man responsible for getting them to market. Like James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock from "Star Trek". Kirk is the leader, the charismatic one. Spock is the empowering sidekick but not as effective leader. That's how I see Jobs and Cook.
Cook will competently lead Apple, as he has done for the better part of two years. He's honed Apple's supply chain to a science. Apple is a self-propelling machine now. But like Spock, Cook won't have the passion of Kirk. This will affect his ability to hold onto the team core to Jobs, such as product design genius Jony Ive.
Apple won't find feature compromises -- the kind good for keeping them in balance -- as easy in the post-Jobs-CEO world, either. Response to Final Cut Pro X is one example of that. Jobs had a knack for making people believe in his company's products, for clearly calling on real-world passion while making anyone and everyone willing to listen to feel good about Apple stuff. Apple products evoke emotional response, like few others in techdom. They are imbued by Jobs' passion and his ability to inspire others to design greatness or to give someone like Jony Ive freedom to bring true design genius to market.
Apple feels quite different to me now in 2011 than it did in 2008. It's all corporate now. Just dollars and cents on a ledger. What Jobs imbued already is gone, at least for me. I predict it will fade for many technophiles. But not anytime soon for the mass market of buyers, who are more influenced by what their friends and family use than by the aura of Steve Jobs.
His legendary "one more thing" was one last thing long ago.
“Made in China”.
Ever notice that the anti-Mac crowd is a lot more vocal, than the pro-Mac crowd?
To quote Tom Clancy “Never ask a man what kind of computer another man uses. If he uses a Mac, he’ll tell you. If he doesn’t mention it, why make him feel bad”.
It simply works ...
What phone is made in the USA?
Sum it up in 3 words:
Cult Of Personality
so this guy has gone from macmad to googlehappy ?
Another Apple v. Whatever thread? Sigh. I liken these arguments to Ford v. Chevy v. Dodge. What does it matter? Get what you like ... something that works for you ... and forget the rest. No need to argue.
They are ALL made in China.
As for Apple... I made the change two years ago and it is the best thing I have ever done so far as productivity and ease of work is concerned. I am and independent engineer, I make a living working with a computer not working on one.
Knock on wood, two years and never a crash. The only problems I have ever had are Microsoft and I think those are intentional bugs by MS.
I now got an iPhone after trying to make the Blackberry Storm and curve and Casio Commando with Android (a really nice phone) work with my system... they don’t. When you start the purchase with patch this and that and this... forget it.
I had so much trouble with PCs that I put everything on portable hard drives in anticipation of the day I threw the thing out in the yard... I did throw it out in the yard one day... with extreme prejudice. Boy, that felt good!!!
Now, when forced to do windows crap I do it with Parallels, not perfect but it works OK. Works best when you turn all the Mac stuff off, probably a memory thing.
Apple is not about Steve Jobs, it is about an architecture and quality products. The keyboard, drive, case and all on my laptop endure being lugged around in a brief case almost every day. In and out of the bag, link to projectors in client offices and link to their networks pretty much just plug and play. Apple engineers did all this in the 2.8 years Jobs was gone and did it just fine.
Apple is like are recovery jobsless.
Now I have a new work laptop with Windows 7. I almost never touch the 7 environment because the software I need to use isn't compatible. I am running it all through a virtual XP instance because 7 is compatible with virtually nothing.
I love my Macbook Air, love my iMac, love the iPads and iPod touch. I have always found iTunes to be a bit more complicated than it had to be.
Except in theses arguments, one side is laughing at the other, and the other is screeching in indignation at being laughed at.
I agree. I’ve been dealing with MSFT for decades; my next PC will be a Mac.
Why? Because when I get the opportunity to use one; it’s like a cool breeze on a hot day. It just works, it works seamlessly, without patches, without work-arounds, without hangs. And what seems like the logical next step; almost always is. The more practical settings are set by default - I don’t need a PhD understanding of graphical interfaces to do basic editing.
I watched a presentation for iDVD; and I was infuriated. I was so mad I saw red - literally. Ever tried to make a home DVD using Windows software? iDVD and iMovie made this as simple as humanly possible. A 10 minute video, with music, credits, family shots - done in an Indiana Jones theme took me 15 minutes. 15 MINUTES!!
I spent 10+ hours fighting DVD Studio and Windows DVD maker; and would up with something that looked like Crap. What truly innovation has Windows made in the last 15 years? What does Office 11 have, that Office 95 didn’t have? (Aside from re-learning to use the ribbon?).
Not really. There are lots more pro-Apple threads here for instance than anti-Apple threads. But we see what we want to see as a defensive mechanism.
So much passion! So many anti-mac sentiments!
I’ve owned a 128, a 512, a II+, a Quadra, a G3, a Powerbook 1600c, I think two G4s, and a 150c. Also I think a “560c.” Awesome computers, all.
Now I drive high-power gaming towers on 7 getting all sorts of creative work done and I don’t really miss having to spend three times as much on a basic computer.
I don’t crash. Even Vista never crashed on me.
Macs are great and so is “Windows.” I think it has a lot to do with how you care for and optimize your equipment, and what sort of software you prefer.
Sorry, I meant anti-”PC.”
(I still like to use the word “Clone.”)
But, consider, how many Pro-Windows threads do you see? Not too many.
The Pro-Apple threads are people talking about the advances OS X has made (made even more stable by sitting on top of a Darwin Unix kernel), or an upcoming Apple hardware release. When the iPad was announced, the 'experts' derided it as a stupid concept, a product destined for the trash. I pre-ordered mine at 5:15am on the day it was first available. Some people do not understand something, until you smack them in the head a dozen times with the product. I saw it's potential the moment it was demonstrated - and had my cash in hand within 2 weeks from that day. I still use my iPad 1 every single day.
The anti-Mac threads; are not opposed to a breakthrough, or advance OSX - they are an attack against Apple users, or Jobs personally.
That's the difference.
And, every new version of something MS comes out with moves just about everything on the menu!!! I was once a whiz at Excel but not so much now since I don’t have to use it as much and most things have changed. More, they remove functionality. I once could 3D graph... not any more. Why? No answer from MS, somebody there decided to change it.
My iPhone... very few directions needed, just plug in and follow four simple steps to activate it. I can see I’m going to need a backpack battery though. I am grandfathered with unlimited band width and keep the thing on some kind of radio station or Pandora almost all day. It is the productivity tool I needed for ages. Apps are almost endless and cheap. Really don’t need to spend much though since many are free and useful. It is also going to need screen protectors and a case because I carry it all the time.
Every time I have to use a PC I’m reminded why I hate them.
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