Skip to comments.7 anti-Apple cliches that need to die
Posted on 05/31/2010 8:14:20 PM PDT by RightOnTheLeftCoast
7 anti-Apple cliches that need to die
In online debates, there's an informal rule known as Godwin's Law, whereby if you invoke references or comparisons to Nazis or Hitler, you've automatically lost the debate. I say the items on this list have become so worn out they've reached automatic rhetorical failure status on their own. I know that every time I see one of these points appear, I immediately stop any serious consideration of any other arguments from the person who brought it up.
-- Cite the Blue Screen of Death (or BSOD, as he's known to his closest friends) as a point against Windows
-- Insert a dollar sign into Microsoft's name (Micro$oft, M$)
-- Use "clever" alternate spellings of Windows (Windoze and other less family-friendly revisions)
-- Call Internet Explorer "Internet Exploder"
you're employing a heavily-cliched, Godwin-esque talking point, too.
Read on for the seven deadly cliches of anti-Mac attacks.
Long ago this word actually meant something, as you can discover in this excellent article from Technologizer, but it's become so overused in the past few years that it's become meaningless. Once upon a time, "fanboy" as an insult meant someone had an overweening and maybe even creepy obsession with something or other. Maybe you had a Klingon-themed wedding, complete with uniforms, makeup, and vows in the Klingon language? That would have made you a Star Trek fanboy (we prefer the term "Trekker," good sir). If you spray-painted a big number "3" on the side of your Ford and had an entire set of Dale Earnhardt commemorative plates in your den, that meant you were a NASCAR fanboy.
But "fanboy" has been used so much in Apple vs. PC wars that it's lost its flavor. "You're just an Apple fanboy," is a dismissive debate tactic, used to imply that someone is so blinded by their love for all things Apple that they'd say or do anything to support the company and its products. I don't deny that there are Apple users like that out there, but "fanboy" has been spread so thin that almost anyone with a positive opinion of Apple's products is saddled with that label. It's even reached the mainstream press now, and as all internet veterans know, once something goes mainstream, it's played out.
"Fanboy" is so tired that I've started something new: if I see any anti-Apple argument longer than a couple sentences or so, I start scanning for that word first. If I see "fanboy" written anywhere, I don't even bother reading the rest. The worst thing about "fanboy" is it's really just the pot calling the kettle black. If you're willing to dismiss someone else's opinions because you think they have some kind of cult-like obsession, there's a good chance you've got one, too.
Speaking of cult-like obsessions, I've lost count of how many times I've been accused of "drinking the Apple Kool-Aid." This cliche got its start after nearly 1000 members of the Jonestown cult drank poison-laced Flavor-Aid back in 1978. It's meant to imply blind devotion, with the idea that Mac users are all members of some kind of crazy, wide-eyed commune with Steve Jobs as its inspirational but depraved leader.
I'll admit we don't help matters much ourselves: lots of Mac users turn into platform evangelists, sometimes to an irritating degree, and we've even adopted the term "Cult of Mac" to describe behaviors that really could be described as "fanboyism." But just like "fanboy," the "Kool-Aid" thing gets said at least 100,000 times a day on the internet, for the same reason as "fanboy" -- a means of dismissing the other side's points because you think they've been brainwashed.
Guys, "Kool-Aid" has lost its punch. Besides, I prefer the Apple Colt 45. It works every time.
3. No games
Ever heard this one? "Good luck playing games on your overpriced Fisher Price laptop, oh wait, there aren't any, hahaha." My copies of Civilization IV, Bioshock, and now Portal say otherwise. Macs do have far fewer games than Windows-running PCs, and even though Valve just launched Steam for the Mac, PCs will probably always have more games than Macs. That said, things have improved since the early- to mid-2000s -- the last time this argument had some merit. Fewer and fewer AAA titles are PC-only these days, and considering how successful Steam for the Mac has been so far, the days of the Mac as a neglected gaming platform are over.
Besides, show me how many PC or Mac gamers only game on their computers. I've got a PS3, Wii, DS, and iPhone, with a grand total of over 150 games between all of those platforms. Gaming on my Mac is kind of an afterthought; until Portal came out for the Mac in early May, I think the last time I did any serious gaming on my MacBook Pro was in December of last year.
My consoles are for games, my Mac is for work, and my iPhone falls somewhere in the middle. But that doesn't mean I never game on my Mac because there's "no games" for it -- there's now more games for the Mac than I even have time to demo, much less play.
4. One-button mouse
This one is older than dirt and only half as tasty. What's funniest about the "one-button mouse" argument is that Apple's Magic Mouse and trackpads now essentially have no buttons, so we should be talking about a "no button mouse" instead, right?
I'll admit that Apple's obsession with killing off buttons is a little weird, but it's had zero effect on my workflow. My MacBook Pro's trackpad is configurable to an almost excessive degree thanks to multitouch and tools like BetterTouchTool. Right now I can click, right-click, middle-click, scroll, three, four, or five-finger swipe in four different directions, pinch, expand, rotate, four-finger tap... and those are just the options I've enabled. With multitouch, my trackpad can recognize up to eleven different points of contact, meaning the possibilities are nearly endless. All of that on a trackpad with only one button.
Say what you will about Apple's war on buttons, but I've played all the way through both Bioshock and Portal using just my MacBook Pro's built-in trackpad, with no external mouse. That's not something I'd even attempt to do on a non-Apple trackpad, no matter how many buttons it comes with.
5. Any reference to 1984
Ever since the App Store launched, with its draconian and often Byzantine rules on what is or is not acceptable in the store, roughly 574,892 articles have come out retreading the 1984 theme. Apple kind of brought this one on themselves with that Super Bowl ad 26 years ago; iconic as it was, you just knew people would someday jump at the chance to get all "ironic" and say that Apple is now the "Big Brother" they once decried. Which is exactly what's happened, of course, because not a week goes by now without at least five articles mentioning Steve Jobs and Big Brother in the same sentence.
Here's a quick challenge: name the protagonist, or any other character besides Big Brother, from Orwell's novel... without using Google or Wikipedia. If you can do it, then kudos to you: go right on using that epic cliche of a comparison. Although last time I checked, nobody's going to storm your house, put a gun to your head, and direct you to store.apple.com and force you to buy anything it sells. Additionally, Apple still doesn't have an equivalent of Room 101 at the Cupertino campus. Maybe they'll announce it at WWDC.
6. "Apple is the new Microsoft"
Apple isn't the new Microsoft. You know why not? Because other than Windows 7 and Office, the "new" Microsoft doesn't know how to make a successful product. The Zune tanked. The KIN will tank. Windows Phone Blake's 7 (or whatever they're calling it this week) is going to tank. The Xbox, for all the market penetration it has, is a loss leader for Microsoft even after five years on the shelves. Internet Explorer's market share, which was overwhelming ten years ago, is inching downward toward 50%. Apple's market cap just surpassed Microsoft's, and the reason why had just as much to do with Microsoft's financial free-fall as it has Apple's ascendance.
If anything, Apple is more like the old Microsoft. So fat with cash it can buy just about whatever it wants. Dominance in at least one industry, thanks to the iPod. A tight grip on public mindshare of what a smartphone is and is capable of doing, because of the iPhone. And yes, I'll admit it: a growing overconfidence, bordering on arrogance.
Apple isn't the "new" Microsoft. It's got far more in common with the Microsoft of the mid-90s, when it was on top of its game and had yet to be smacked down by regulators or competitors. But the comparisons run thin when you look at the numbers behind them, because unlike mid-90s Microsoft, Apple doesn't have a monopoly on anything. Worldwide Mac marketshare is near 5%. The iPhone's worldwide marketshare among smartphones is about 16%, and something like 2-3% when we're talking about cellphones as a whole. iTunes Store sales account for about 27% of music sold in the US. The iPod is the closest thing Apple has to a monopoly, but even that has a 70% or so marketshare -- not the massive dominance of Windows or Office.
Mid-90s Microsoft was a colossus, capable of steamrolling the competition into dust. Its reputation was earned and deserved -- I mean, it got to the point that Bill Gates even demolished Homer Simpson's half-baked little startup. The Apple of 2010 wields a lot of power, and it sometimes does it in a very heavy-handed manner... but name one thing Apple's done that even comes close to what Microsoft did to Netscape Navigator.
7. Smug Mac users
This last one needs to die for a different reason: because unlike any of the others, this one is often true. Mac geeks, you're all guilty of this. So am I, right now, in this article. There's me, something like 700 words ago: "I'd never try to use the trackpad on one of their laptops, hur hur hur." We look down our noses at Windows and computers without Apple logos on them. We justify paying a little more for our Macs by talking about build quality, reliability, and the ability to run OS X with the same borderline snooty tones as BMW owners describing the merits of their cars versus a Ford. "Macs never crash," we lie. "OS X runs so much better than Windows," we say through clenched teeth, right before adjusting our ascots.
The "Get a Mac" ads didn't do our image any favors. I'm glad those ads have been retired, because I hated them for the same reason a lot of Apple haters did. John Hodgeman's PC character was a loser, but he was a loveable loser, the kind of character a lot of us geeks can identify with. Justin Long's Mac character, whether intentionally or not, radiated smugness. I may be a Mac user, but I'd rather have a beer with "PC" than frappuccinos with "Mac" any day.
I think this smugness, whether it's perceived or actual smugness, is what fuels most of the anti-Apple hatred these days. If you don't own an iPhone and have no intention of buying one, then it's no skin off your back if Apple runs its App Store like "Stalinist Russia" or "Nazi Germany" or "North Korea" or whatever bit of hyperbole is in vogue this week. If you don't own a Mac and don't want to, then why does the opinion of a measly 5% of the computing world even matter? I'm willing to bet it's in large part because of the Smug.
So there you have it: six cliches that need to die because they're inherently dumb, and one that needs to die because it's sometimes true. Go ahead and keep using them if you want, but at this point it's like busting out the "cabbage patch" in a dance contest: may be good for laughs, but no points awarded. As always, feel free to disagree with me, because what do I know? I'm just a smug, Kool-Aid drinking fanboy, who never gets to play any games on his one-button computer thanks to Big Brother Steve and the New Microsoft.
I went into an Apple store the week the iPad was released. The table was surrounded 3 deep to get a look at it. As it finally cleared up a bit and I got to take a look, some guy walks up next to me, picked it up like he was holding the baby jesus, and with a look on his face bordering on orgasm, he looked over at me and whispered, "oh my god, I can't believe I'm finally touching one."
That one is news to us here who have always used Macs and have also been married for 24 years. No viagara needed! :)
That’s something I thought MS screwed up with. They allowed computer companies to sell machines labeled “Vista Capable” but shipped with 512 of memory.
Did they expect that to really work?
I have a laptop with Vista Ultimate and it works flawlessly. It’s equipped to run the OS and yet to have a problem. Never had a compatibility issue, crash or freeze up. Networks better than anything I’ve tried.
If I read what Mac users (and linux users) say about it (you know, people who don’t own or use it), you’d think Vista couldn’t run a keyboard.
Maybe I’m the exception. I did research before purchase. The hardware was right.
That’s a big reason why Apple’s stuff works. It’s simply matched to run the OS and still has the power to do more.
I think that was MS’s big blunder for a lot of things.
It's remarkable that this person actually links to Wikipedia's definition of Godwin's Law when it's obvious he has never read it. Sort of like those e-mail hoaxes that people forward including a link to Snopes (saying "Snopes has confirmed this!") which actually debunks it.
Free market baby should be a conservatives motto in this matter.
motto, that reminds me I need some apple sauce.
I’m still on Vista. I like it much better now that all the service packs are out.
This smug Apple Kool-Aid drinking fanboy is straight out of 1984 and has a one-button mouse for a brain, although he’s right about one thing: Apple isn’t the new Microsoft.
Actually, I couldn’t care less what machine people decide to buy and use. I just wanted to see if I could get all his cliches into one sentence. :-)
That’s funny. I was in Best Buy a few times shortly after iPad was released and noticed some things at the Apple table. (3 times I had to wait over 20 minutes there)
1 Teenagers primarily were looking (about 90% were age 16-18)
2 Apple table was never more than half populated on the computer and laptop side. Most of the time it was the same kids the whole time
3 In my three visits where I had to be right across from the table the whole time, not one person touched an iPad and very few even looked. Most walked past, if they noticed anything they saw the back of a big monitor (it was cool).
4 The (non-Apple) laptop and notebook aisles where (80+%) of machines were occupied by people of all ages
5 Nobody bought an Apple while I was in the store
6 Didn’t count but did notice several non-Apple systems were purchased during each of my visits
Consider my experience anecdotal? Yes.
But there was a major lack of interest displayed in the store.
Compare that to what the fanboys feed us on the internet.... The store should have had a line all the way back to the grocery store down the street just for people to possibly see an iPad or Apple product.
How many iPad purchases do you think were made by new Apple customers?
I’d bet 90% or more were bought by previous Apple owners and 2\3 of those buy anything with the Apple logo on it. Maybe not all obnoxious fanboys but loyal customers and “collectors”.
Aw, cut him some slack. He’s probably never touched a woman’s boob before.
> That one is news to us here who have always used Macs and have also been married for 24 years. No viagara needed! :)
Oh, I'm with you there -- I've used Macs since before there were Macs (i.e. the Lisa)... also machines running MS-DOS, all versions of Windows, various Unixes, various Linuxes, and some others. Not in the least gay.
I was only mentioning that it's a common anti-Apple flame meme.
BTW, I am still an Apple fan, waiting for the first iPad price drop to buy one..
Leftists control speech.
Leftist control consists in killing opponents.
Therefore the title: "7 anti-Apple cliches that need to die."
Good trollbait of an article. LOL!
Mac as a "marital aid"? Wow. Creepy.
If you want on or off the Mac Ping List, Freepmail me.
And you'd be totally wrong... Apple had nothing to do with any of that. Your claim that Apple shut down the Atari ST in 1986 is BS. The Atari 520 ST and the Commodore Amiga 1000 through 4000 were around far after 1986. The Atari ST line was commercially available into the early 1990s. Atari shut down the ST development in 1993 to concentrate on their new Jaguar games console. I was there. . . and was even involved in the bankruptcy sale of Commodore in 1994 and a friend of mine was the principle of one of the three companies that was certified to be a bidder on the assets of Commodore at the auction in 1995.
And the answer provided on Yahoo! Answers is totally bogus and wrong...
"Because Apple has never allowed their products to be built and cloned by anyone else. It's called open sourced. They've kept everything secret, expensive and to themselves. Conversely, IBM let out all the secrets for their PC back in the 80s. Everyone made clones and copied what IBM had done. That is why the PC market is 10 times larger than Apple's market. Apple is the only company providing Apple products so they control the price. Naturally, they keep it expensive. And for no good reason."
...because Apple products are not "ludicrously overpriced."
IF one compares similarly configured Windows PC computers to the Apple computers, one finds that the Apple products are competitively priced, and often LESS EXPENSIVE than the Windows computers. This has been shown many times. Apple does not compete in the bargain basement... But when one configures a Windows PC to match the components and specs of an Apple computer, the prices are often within 5-10% of each other... higher or lower... competitive.
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